Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Concealed guns on campus

The Lone Star State is a place defined by gun culture. A lot of Texans grow up shooting cans in the backyard, aiming 22s at targets. It’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.   That being said, Texas students with gun licenses could be allowed to have concealed, approved weapons on campus. If the students are of the legal age and went through the proper training, why should they not be allowed to carry them on campus? Gun-free zones scream, “Come shoot me! I’m not armed!”   Those who say, “If people left their concealed guns at home, they wouldn’t have the temptation to commit a mass shooting,” many times fail to acknowledge that the majority of people who shoot up schools or movie theaters do so with weapons that do not belong to them.   Once fired, bullets don’t take time to consider legislation. It’s irresponsible in a time when mass shootings occur so frequently to make universities slaughterhouses full of defenseless potential victims.   But some may cringe at the idea of concealed firearms on a campus, and rightfully so with the increasing number of shootings in public venues.   The potential of something violent happening becomes greater when students on campus decide to carry concealed weapons. Who’s to say that some mentally unstable person isn’t going to take someone’s gun who does have their concealed handgun license and start a massacre?   However, just because someone carries a firearm doesn’t mean that person has intent to kill. The majority of licensed, concealed weapons never see the light of day because their carriers only have them for self-defense purposes.   Considering both sides of this argument, maybe there is a reasonable conclusion. Allowing firearms might only work in Texas. In places like New York and California, where residents squirm at the thought of loaded weapons, carrying a firearm into a school would cause more harm that good. The culture isn’t prepared for that — people are afraid. That fear is reason enough not to allow concealed carry laws at universities, even Texas ones.   While defense is important, having the guns in such populated places would cause more harm than good.   But if most Texans feel qualified, prepared and safe with this idea, why should they not be able to carry a concealed weapon to college? It could stop many potentially fatal situations from...

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The Bells bids editor Godspeed
Nov25

The Bells bids editor Godspeed

The written word isn’t dead.   If I’ve learned anything during my three and a half years at UMHB, it’s that. James warned people in the New Testament about the tongue being a weapon, possessing both the power to wound and an equal power to heal.   Though James probably didn’t know what a journalist was, he knew that communication is vital.   He didn’t know what Twitter would be or what Yik Yak would become, but he knew that people could hurt each other through the things they say. He also knew that certain words can bring salvation.   The written word isn’t dead because humanity — the passionate, opinionated, adventurous and life changing people that make up this world — those humans and their stories aren’t dead. There are so many tales to be told. Thank you, UMHB, for allowing me to tell mine, and those of the amazing other people I met during my time here.   Working as editor-in-chief of this newspaper hasn’t been easy and at times, it wasn’t fun. I’ve been encouraged by readers who affirmed my drive, my commitment and my love for the written word. But I’ve also encountered critics who thought I made some really big mistakes, who called me out on my errors and who told me that I could do better. You’re both right.   Thank you, administration, for allowing me my freedom of speech and creative control. I value your constant support and loyal readership. Dr. Mynatt, Dr. Tabartlet and Mrs. Green: your wisdom is valued and your patience appreciated. Mrs. Kendig, your words and friendship have encouraged me that journalism is bigger than a snarky political opinion, well-written lead or entertaining review. Journalism is about people. You taught me how to use words effectively but never take life too seriously.   And thank you to my staff. Each of you contributes something entirely different to this publication, and each of you has taught me something about myself — the things I’m bad at, the things I’m good at and most of all, that this job is about relationships. Thank you for respecting me, listening to me and laughing with me when you weren’t laughing at me.   Thank you, UMHB, for allowing me to find myself both as a writer and as a person.   Thank you for teaching me that what I do and write matters.   Whether it’s one upsetting text message, a rude Facebook comment or an entire opinion article, the things you say can determine the course of someone else’s day.   The things you say have an effect on people. The...

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Would it rock your boat too much to vote?
Nov07

Would it rock your boat too much to vote?

Political efficacy. It’s a fancy term political scientists use to refer to the idea of people’s participation in government affecting outcomes.   In a democratic republic of more than 300 million people, it’s tempting for some to throw their hands up in desperation, thinking that their votes won’t make a difference.   This is an unfortunate misnomer. Nancy Neuman, former president of the League of Women Voters said it this way:   “Lower voter participation is a silent threat to our democracy…. It under-represents young people, the poor, the disabled, those with little education, minorities and you and me.”   While one individual vote may not seem like a lot, if entire blocks of people stay home from the polls, a sizable portion of the population’s decision making power is wasted.   According to polling data from the 2012 presidential election, only 59.3 percent of the eligible population voted. Slightly more than half of the people in the United States tend to make national decisions.   It is sad that in America, arguably the freest country in the world, so few people exercise the rights they were born with.   Why would citizens not vote when they have the opportunity to express support for interests they care about, while watching a peaceful, non-violent transfer of power ­— a concept many countries in the world are only now barely beginning to discover?   A democracy is only as functional as the people are active. A lack of voter participation underscores a culture of hypocrisy.   People complain about almost everything when it comes to government but seldom lift a finger to change anything even if they do vote.   For instance, according to statistics, people in the U.S. generally dislike Congress, but they continue to elect the same representatives term after term. A cause of this phenomena could be political laziness.   Many times, non-voters and voters alike are uninformed of the issues that matter to them. There’s definitely no lack of opinions.   It’s simply a lack of knowledge — the force that spurs people to action. This causes non-voters to continue their pattern of inactivity and voters to continue selecting the same names on the ballot they always have.   Further, it’s your duty to vote. Brave men and women die and are seriously wounded both physically and emotionally for your right to choose between political activity or laziness. The least one could do is participate in the free form of government their sacrifices make...

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I roll my own dice
Nov07

I roll my own dice

I’m what some call a “leaner” — a freethinking citizen who regularly votes with the Republican Party.   Why? Well, it’s the party that aligns most closely to my mostly conservative beliefs. But, I reserve the right to vote my way rather than be swayed by the allure of partisanship.   I vote for who’s best for America; I define myself as the way I’m registered: “Independent.”   One definition of that word is: “free from outside control; not depending on another’s [save one’s] authority.”   I am accountable to none but God and voting based on issues is most important.   I am pro-life. That’s why I detest abortion, which a majority of democrats advocate as choice and the death penalty, which many republicans view as justice.   It’s a common misconception that Independents are centrists. According to Linda Killian, author of The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents, several independent camps exist.   1) Millennials who lean toward libertarian ideals on economic and social issues 2) Conservative Tea-partiers 3) America First democrats, formerly known as Reagan democrats 4) Swing vote suburbanites and more.   What makes independents strong is their ability to compromise. It’s important to remember compromise and conviction hold different denotations and connotations.   Democratic societies function optimally when two or more reach agreements. Continue to fight for what you believe, work toward that end goal, but at the same time, realize government is a man-made, flawed invention that will never achieve perfection or complete morality.   It’s of great benefit to realize both parties have contributed positively to our nation. When was the last time you heard Bill O’ Reilly applaud a democrat or Wolf Blitzer applaud a republican?   It’s been that way for a while now. Partisanship has turned politics into sport.   If you were a liberal democrat in the 1980s, you would’ve sworn on your deathbed that inflation rose under President Reagan. It appreciably fell.   Republicans are no better. In 1996, most Republicans would have shot you for saying something like “Man, President Clinton really is rounding up that deficit. It’s been shrinking steadily.” True statement but they’d have none of that.   Independents are a force to be reckoned with. It’s time we all look to compromise, vote for whom and what we know is right and not let special interest money bind our...

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Americans: Virus victims or victors
Oct23

Americans: Virus victims or victors

Thomas Eric Duncan’s heart rate plummeted into the 40s. Time of death: 7:51 a.m. He was the first Ebola victim on U.S. soil.   Within a week, two Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurses, two of about 70 caring for Duncan during his time there, were confirmed to have the virus.   The fight is on. Is America ready?   President Barack Obama said Sept. 16 that the chances of Ebola reaching the U.S. were “extremely low.”   Wrong.   There’s no full-proof plan to combat Ebola.   America is unprepared, not only for Ebola, but other viruses as well.   The 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak proves poor anticipation by our nation’s public health officials. Press reports of Mexico’s “late flu season,” should have sounded an alarm. Yet, H1N1 had already crossed our borders before action was taken.   There’s also enterovirus D68. Medical professionals deem it a medical mystery. EV-D68 has spread across 46 states and the District of Colombia. It has affected nearly 700 people and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed EV-D68 has claimed five lives so far. Some believe the virus causes paralysis, but the CDC has found no evidence to prove this theory. EV-D68 has affected more Americans than Ebola, and we are still scratching our heads over this once ‘rare’ virus.   The United States isn’t only to blame. The World Health Organization shows itself as more interested in politics than aid. Just last month, the group failed to recognize Ebola’s death agenda. Their major health concern: electronic cigarettes.   For America to emerge victorious in the fight against pandemics, we must look inward. Why have we not developed a vaccine to counter Ebola in humans when the National Institutes of Health announced the development of a vaccine proven to prevent the virus’ infection in monkeys in the year 2000?   Arthur L. Caplan, head of the Division of Bioethics at New York University Lagone Medical Center, wrote in an opinion for NBC news that “if you live in … any developed country you do not have to worry about Ebola.”   He went on to write: “Medical authorities know that it is very hard to transmit Ebola, that those most at risk live in nations that lack gloves and moon suits and quarantine facilities and that it is the brave doctors and nurses who treat patients with Ebola in resource-poor conditions that are at the greater risk.”   Then why did the two nurses contract the virus? Will an investigation show breaches in CDC protocols?   What if she complied with all protocol and used her “resources” correctly?   The United...

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Anti-abortion: life for all
Oct23

Anti-abortion: life for all

Recently, I was reading in the Huffington Post’s religion section, and the Sept. 11 edition had an article I just had to read.   Rabbi Aaron Alexander, a frequent writer for this section, released an article titled, “Stop Calling it a Anti-abortion Movement or Become One.” You can go read the article if you wish, but in short, Alexander calls out the anti-abortion movement and he states some issues he has.   Among other suggestions, Alexander says that the anti-abortion movement should actually work with organizations like Planned Parenthood. Near the end of his article, Alexander says that we, as a group, should be willing to compromise with other abortion clinics.   This made me stop for a second. For the past six years, I have been adamantly anti-abortion. I have worked for the cause and done all I can do to spread the message of sanctity of life. Now, Alexander calls into question the anti-abortion cause and the values behind our ideals.   Alexander, in his article, does what many prominent pro-choice people often do when he uses and abuses the logical fallacy of red herrings when he says the anti-abortion movement needs to focus on issues outside of what the group is about.   Is the idea of loving people and doing everything we can to help people who are poor or hurting important? Absolutely. Anyone who identifies himself with the anti-abortion movement would easily say that he also wants to love people and help people.   This is a common misconception about the group today; people think anti-abortioners don’t care about people once they are born, they only care about the baby and making sure it isn’t aborted.   While fighting against abortion is easily the most commonly discussed section of the anti-abortion movement, it isn’t the only one, and I would argue that it isn’t the most important. I would argue that there isn’t a most important part of the movement.   We do believe that life is sacred from the point of conception to natural death. Why would one part of life be more important than any other part? It isn’t. That is what we are about.   Because the awareness for the sanctity of life is more prevalent, adversaries are more prevalent as well.   We need to know how to recognize and debunk arguments such as the ones Alexander is making. We need to realize that there is no room to compromise when it comes to the sanctity of life and finally get up and take a...

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