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.

Military life takes toll on children, families

Approximately 1.2 million children live in U.S. military families. Although most children experience moving at least once during childhood, the typical military family moves every two to three years. There are currently 222 bases in the United States alone, along with 737 U.S. military bases located overseas in 63 different countries. There is no telling where a soldiers family may be stationed next. A “military brat” is the term used for a person whose parent or parents have served full-time in the armed forces during the person’s childhood. These so called “brats” have to grow up learning to cope with the stress of being offspring of an American soldier. Studies on military families have shown that in general, children who move frequently experience greater difficulty making friends, more school-related difficulties and have more emotional and behavioral problems than children who move less frequently. Children are just expected by their military parents to uproot their lives for the supposedly greater good of the family. The military probably couldn’t do its job without the strongly held beliefs of soldiers and officers regarding the importance of honor. Military service is a respectful job responsible for defending this great country. To what extent though, do the children of these heroes have to suffer for their country? For many, geographic mobility is the most stressful aspect to growing up in a military family. It’s not fair for these children to be put into high anxiety situations at their most vulnerable stages of life. Childhood should be spent focusing on developing positive friendships with peers and increasing academic status. How are the children supposed to do so when they have to relocate and leave all their familiar settings behind? It is a vicious cycle that will never end until the parent retires or is discharged from his or her position. The only hope that the children will have is the fact that at the legal age of 18, they can then decide where and when they want to move. A study by Dr. Jeffrey D Leitzel found that adolescents in military families who had to adjust to a move reported significantly more difficulty leaving their old friends and making new friends than did youths from civilian families. Furthermore, delays in making new friends were associated with feelings of loneliness, depression and social alienation, while a longer length of time in their current residence was associated with fewer symptoms of depression. In the end, it is the parents’ decision alone. They are the only ones who decide to choose the military as their career of choice. It is a free country, and it’s also our free...

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Customer disservice

By Ashley Taylor The customer is always right. Right? Not necessarily, but who would know with the way people behave today? American businesses drill their employees with the idea that the customer is always right, even when they are wrong. It’s a concept that makes sense. A business serves the customer, and the happy customer purchases goods or services. The purchases make profit, and it’s a wonderfully complete circle in the business realm. In the pharmacy business, as in many other retail positions, the customer happens to be wrong much of the time. Unfortunately, people suffer from instant gratification syndrome and the entitlement bug. The idea that a person deserves something free of charge and instantaneously has become a national phenomenon. What happens when a controlled substance is being abused, and a third party insurance company steps in? Or when privacy practices are not met because customers feel they are more important than some “imaginary line” that tells them to wait their turn? Studies have been shown that these behaviors could indeed be psychological disorders. An impulse control test, performed in a variety of ways, reveals how some people could be lacking an important emotional intelligence trait. In the tests performed by universities, children are given a gift but must complete a task before receiving it. The children who could not control their impulses were studied later in their childhood and were found to be irritable and sulky. The children who were patient were attentive and competent. So why is it that these monitored, and obviously bad, traits are never addressed? The basic rules parents teach children are thrown out the door. People don’t need to use manners. Anyone can cut in line. There’s no need to pay the cashier any money, let alone a kind word. And curse words are a familiar second language. When customers are told that it is simply impossible to complete their order, or that it could take 15 minutes to complete, they revert back to the childhood tantrums they had in Toys-R-Us screaming, “It’s not fair. I want it now.” The screaming fit only results in managerial action to satisfy the immediate need. The employee performing the duties and abiding by the laws in the pharmaceutical realm is scolded for right doing. Poor behavior and disrespect are rewarded, while a manager drones on, “The customer is always right.” Entitlement should not be encouraged in businesses. Employees should be treated with respect and dignity just like the customer. The business cycle only functions when employees do their jobs. Kind words and patience are key motivations for a job well done, and you’ll find most...

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Saviors for hire

Nobody wants to do what is necessary to stop the world’s worst conflicts. These days, it’s popular to talk about ending genocide in Sudan or rescuing child soldiers in Uganda. United Nations bureaucrats talk of peace through endless “conferences.” Facebook groups urging an “end” to the latest atrocity make people feel better by signing up. Little is accomplished. Wars continue, families still die, and children still fight. There is one way to end much of it. It is not popular, politically correct, or good for Facebook groups. But it works, and it has been done before. Elizabeth Rubin, contributing writer for the New York Times, documented the stunning course of a civil war that tore apart the coastal African nation of Sierra Leone from 1991 to 1995. A nasty group of rebels known as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) threatened to overrun the country. Composed partly of drugged-up child soldiers, the RUF took particular delight in chopping off the limbs and genitals of civilians they came across. Often they would amputate the breasts of nursing mothers or smash their kneecaps with hammers. As the homicidal rebels approached the capital of Freetown, help seemed impossible. The UN and powerful nations eagerly sent promises, “concerns,” and platitudes, but no troops. So the president of Sierra Leone turned in desperation to his last resort. He contacted a private security company called “Executive Outcomes (EO),” composed mostly of former South African special forces soldiers. For $15 million and diamond mining concessions, EO agreed to do what the UN would not: rid Sierra Leone of the psychotic arm-choppers. Against a rebel force numbering in the thousands, EO deployed 300 elite soldiers and a helicopter gunship. Within a month, they had almost completely driven the RUF from Sierra Leone. No more limbs were chopped off or children abducted. The country held its first presidential elections in almost 30 years. In some villages, people lined the streets to cheer these “mercenaries” who stopped the carnage. Unfortunately, it did not last, as the UN and the World Bank ordered Sierra Leone to cancel its contract with Executive Outcomes. When the mercenaries left, the rebels returned. Only this time, they took over the country and inaugurated a reign of terror. Sierra Leone should serve as a lesson. When genocide, civil war, or limb-chopping happens, the solution is not to negotiate, hold conferences or sell T-shirts. The best, most effective response is overwhelming military force. Because the president of Sierra Leone knew that, 300 mercenaries did in a month what the UN, the “international community,” and every advocacy group on the planet could not. Had Executive Outcomes been allowed...

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Early marriages unwise, harmful
Dec09

Early marriages unwise, harmful

It seems that more and more people are getting married at a young age lately. This is a bad idea. People have their whole lives ahead of them, and yet they decide at the tender age of 19 that they have found “the one.” Nonsense. At this age, most people have so much more growing up to do that there is no way they can handle marriage. This commitment is the mother of all commitments. It’s not one that should be taken lightly, and young people often don’t realize the seriousness of it. Where are the parents in all this? One would think that they would have some sort of say in the whole matter, that they wouldn’t let their child fall into something that is almost sure to fail. Almost 50% of all marriages in the country end in divorce, and the younger couples are, the more likely they are to separate. So what is the rush? Why do young people who “think” they are so madly in love feel the need to tie the knot so early? Infatuation. Everyone has fallen victim to it at some point. It’s the feeling that comes over people when relationships first begin. Everything is butterflies and hearts, and it seems as if nothing could possibly go wrong. Both people are bright eyed and bushy tailed over one another and can’t seem to get enough of one another. It’s at this point when couples believe there is no one else for them and they have found that special person. For some reason, people think this is the best time to decide they want to marry, which could not be a more terrible decision. Infatuation is only temporary. Around six to eight months is when couples start having serious issues: Is he spending too much time with his friends? Are they spending too much time with each other? Arguments will often happen over the silliest of things. It is about this time when they start to see the real person they have been dating, and the “newness” of the relationship ceases to exist. At this time, they must step back and ask themselves a few questions: Am I willing to work through these issues we are having, and do I really want to continue down this path with this person? Unfortunately, for some people, it is too late. They’ve already taken the plunge into marriage, and they’re stuck in a downward spiral that ends in divorce. This tragedy can be easily avoided with a simple, yet often overlooked solution. Wait. Wait until you’re at least 30 years old to marry. By then, the...

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GOP gets bad rap: Republican Party unfairly cast as racist
Nov18

GOP gets bad rap: Republican Party unfairly cast as racist

Abraham Lincoln was a racist. Well, actually, he was a Republican, which to some means the same thing. It is accepted as truth by many that the Republican Party is the refuge of bigots and racists, while the Democratic Party is hailed as the champion of black Americans, especially with Barack Obama’s election. However, Republicans have historically been strong proponents of black advancement in America, and accepted truths to the contrary, they still are. From its beginning, the Republican Party stood to liberate black Americans from the oppression of slavery and racism. Lincoln, the first Republican president, secured freedom for black slaves, and many other Republicans after him continued in the same spirit. Ulysses S. Grant, who defeated the Confederacy, signed the first anti-Ku Klux Klan legislation as president. Jeremiah Haralson, Jefferson Long and other black Americans rose to be elected to Congress after the Civil War as Republicans. A Republican congress passed the Civil Rights Bill of 1866 over the veto of Democratic president Andrew Johnson and drafted the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed citizenship to black Americans. In 1964, a greater percentage of congressional Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act, and in 1966 Edward Brooke, a Republican, became the first elected black senator. Clarence Thomas, currently the only black Supreme Court justice, was appointed by President George H.W. Bush. General Colin Powell became the first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appointed to the office by president Ronald Reagan. He became the first black secretary of state during President George W. Bush’s first term, and after his retirement, Condoleeza Rice took his place, the first black woman to hold the office. Despite this storied history, most black Americans today are Democrats. This may have to do with the fact that Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and he had much more national visibility than the Republican congressmen who joined him. While it’s true that today there are no black Republican congressmen or senators, that has more to do with demographics than anything else. If, as some surveys show, up to 90% of black Americans identify themselves as Democrats, there simply aren’t that many black Republicans to run. When they have, however, Republican voters have enthusiastically supported them. Former congressman J.C. Watts Jr, was elected as a Republican to four terms in Congress by voters in Oklahoma, an extremely white, Republican state. Lt. Governor Michael Steele of Maryland, a black Republican, ran unsuccessfully for one of the state’s senate seats in 2004, but he did receive the overwhelming majority of Republican votes. Fortunately, even some Democrats are beginning...

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More stuff won’t satisfy
Nov18

More stuff won’t satisfy

By Laura Beth Gebhardt Satisfaction does not exist in today’s society. There is always something better to work for, to obtain. The latest Ipod, the bigger plasma TV and the faster car are a few of these things. This constant desire for more leaves people constantly unsatisfied. This need for more is taught as early as childhood. Something as simple as watching Disney movies influences the way children think. Belle was discontent with her simple farm life, and longed for adventure. Ariel wanted the one thing she couldn’t have, the life and love of a human. She became so unsatisfied with living under the sea that she risked everything to get it. Jasmine was a princess who lived in luxury and yet wanted nothing more than to be the common person. Aladdin was the everyday man who looked up at Jasmine in envy. He longed for the life she lived. This idea carries on to people’s everyday life. If a people have curly hair, they want straight hair. If people have a car from the year 2005 they want the one from 2008. People become obsessed with getting the latest and greatest, but it never satisfies. People look at the lives of movie stars and long to have what they have, but those stars’ suicides, drug addictions, alcoholic tendencies and depression prove that possessions do not bring happiness. Ezekiel 7:19 says that in the end, gold and silver and all the things people have accumulated will be worthless, because material possessions will not save from God’s wrath. They are wholly insufficient. The one time that being unsatisfied is a good thing is in one’s relationship with Christ. He created people in a way that leaves them in constant hunger for Him. This leaves believers constantly striving for more, yet fulfilled in Him. Psalm 17:15 says, “Because I am righteous, I will see you. When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.” The love of God is the only thing that brings true...

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