Readers’ Forum: 1/21/20


Gun laws 

Thirty seconds — a seemingly insignificant amount of time, but you’d be surprised what can happen in just a little bit of extra time. You can set a goal, stretch, clean off your desk, drink a glass of water or text a friend. In August of last year, 26 people were shot and nine were killed in just 30 seconds in Dayton, Ohio, before the suspect was taken down by police. Thirty seconds was all it took. 

Without going into Utah’s regulations on guns (or lack thereof), which are just as lax as those in Ohio, it’s obvious that all states must respond to the rise in mass shootings. Some haven’t taken steps to lower the chance of mass shootings through “red-flag” laws. 

Utah representative Steven Handy began pushing for a red-flag bill in Utah for the third time shortly after the deadly shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. It would allow the family member of someone who is at risk of carrying out these acts to seek an emergency order from a civil court judge in order to temporarily take that person’s guns. 

Whether you think bills like these are the solution or not, it’s clear something needs to change and change now. As students and as voters, we need to become more aware of this rising problem and do the research ourselves. It is becoming apparent that after a tragedy becomes ‘old news’, many are silent once again and ignore the need for change. We must support and vote for the people who will keep the conversation going and who are committed to finding the solutions. 

Our response can’t simply be a 30-minute address, or even a 30-day debate — this 30 second tragedy and victims of others like it deserve an ongoing conversation.

Sabrina Martin
Cottage Grove, Minnesota

The scooching problem

As a student at BYU, I would like to address the ridiculous problem that plagues my large
auditorium classes: the scooching problem.

Now imagine this common occurrence: you arrive to your class, barely on time, to see that the only available seats are in the very middle of the rows. Since the professor instructs you to find a seat, you are forced to endure the excruciating ordeal of having to awkwardly climb over 15 people to get to the middle. As you embarrassingly try to shimmy over others, the already sitting down furiously pick up backpacks, laptops and notebook and try to make themselves as small as possible, similarly like a roly poly curling into their shell. 

You can stop this madness! When you come upon an empty row, scooch in. Will you be a little squished in the seats? Yes. But could you be squished next to your future best friend? At this school, possibly! Do you feel too tall? It doesn’t matter! No one ever minded a little knee brushing. What if you have to go to the bathroom frequently? Hold it and think about the important lecturing you can now listen to. If you worry about making it to your next class on time, it takes me 65 seconds when sitting in the middle of the row to exit class and 25 seconds when sitting on the end (I would know, I timed it). Is 40 seconds worth the pain? I hope the students of BYU will understand my torment. 

Halle Gebhardt
Medford, Oregon

So you’re aware of breast cancer — what else?

Imagine you’ve gone back in time to a high school football game in the middle of October. The cheerleaders have pink awareness ribbons on their bows. The football team is wearing pink socks. The marching band might even have on pink gloves.

Yup. It’s Pinktober.

However, unknown to most people, October also serves as the awareness month for several other conditions other than breast cancer — with colors other than pink. Turquoise, for example, represents a condition called dysautonomia. I happen to have this condition. Other examples include purple, green and teal for Rett Syndrome, mental illness and food allergies, respectively. A lot of these awareness campaigns are actually pretty active in their respective months. But mostly, you just see the pink movement.

Don’t get me wrong, breast cancer awareness is vital. The cancer afflicts millions of people. My point is, so do so many other conditions. But you probably don’t know about those conditions unless you have personal experience with these afflictions, or you spend time Googling medical conditions, which isn’t normal.

We know awareness has worked — you see the pink ribbon everywhere in October and experience pink-outs at sporting events. Why not accompany all that with turquoise ribbons and a blue-out for dysautonomia? Or a purple-out for Rett Syndrome? Do some research to get a basic understanding and spread some awareness in your community with events that are already happening, like sports. You could add some green and teal during other months for the other campaigns I mentioned earlier. There are multiple awareness campaigns in almost every month of the year. Multiple colors of ribbons. Millions of people trying to live their lives with medical hardships who could use some awareness.

Am I biased about this? Of course I am. When you live with a condition, you think about it often. But if it were you or a loved one, wouldn’t you be biased too?

Hannah Christiansen
Phoenix, Arizona

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