Always better

I would like to congratulate the university, as well as all the”behind-the-scenes” workers, for the fantastic 2002 Meliora Weekend. The entire event was well-planned, highly organized and successfully implemented. I attended several of the speaker events and was impressed with the personalized approaches to the topic “Leadership,” it was refreshing to hear the themes of honesty and virtue in several of the prepared speeches on Saturday. The featured speakers appeared to be as excited about participating in Meliora Weekend as the audiences were to hear them speak. Thank you for a wonderful event.

?Marilyn M. Schnee

Flawed reasoning

I don’t even know where to begin with Michael He’s article. I guess the best idea would be to go through the entire article piece by piece, and then express my overall disgust. The first thing that really gets to me and plagues me throughout the article is the condescending tone used when referring to Mr. Jeffrey’s ideas merely because he smokes pot. Thrown aside are the facts that he graduated from Princeton University, started a national organization comprised of thousands of people who share his thoughts and goals, and that he is an up and coming politician.

So already you can see that I am capable of reading Mr. Jeffrey’s biography page on his Web site as well as Michael He, nevertheless, combining that with the knowledge that he smokes pot does not put me in any position to pass judgements about the man, let alone talk down to him. Furthermore, as Michael He mentions, a large part of Mr. Jeffrey’s campaign is to empower the youth of our society. I think that it is extremely disrespectful and ignorant to trash someone who is trying to give people who think they have something to say ? but really don’t, as the case may be here ? the chance to do so. Not to get personal, but what has Michael He done to warrant passing such judgements about a man who has accomplished so much, and has such high aspirations for the future, even if his dreams do not coincide with He’s?

But let’s not get hung up on one issue, as there’s plenty here to talk about. Next we can discuss the illogical, irrelevant, drastically exaggerated analogies and examples provided by the esteemed author. Particularly amusing was the comparison between smoking pot and murdering people. And I quote, “Tens of thousands of murders happen a year, should we strike murder from the books as a crime?” Are you kidding me?

How can you actually compare a crime punishable by death, to that which is 99 percent of the time simply a misdemeanor. Obviously nobody is suggesting that we eliminate murder as a crime. In fact, by raising the topic of murder, you have helped to clarify Mr. Jeffrey’s point ? in comparison to a lot of the other stuff going on in our world, marijuana isn’t that bad. As Michael He continues, he attacks Mr. Jeffrey for his statement that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco.

However, accepting one study performed to be the overriding authority on the matter is, to use one of He’s words, “preposterous.” In order for any type of final conclusion to be made on the issue, years and years of research must be done. You can’t take the results of one study. I’m sure if I wanted to I could go online and find hundreds of studies that stated the contrary. Michael He continues his assertion of knowledge by stating, “smoking of marijuana causes head, neck and lung cancer.”

No shit ? so do cigarettes, and alcohol tears apart your liver. Thanks for the medical update. The fact remains that right now, nobody knows which is the worst for our bodies, merely that all three affect us differently. Concluding this idea, He writes, “So please, vote for this man if you would like to die.” What kind of comment is that? I don’t even want to touch that one.

Nearing his conclusion, Michael He again completely misconstrues one of Scott’s major points. Jeffrey explains on his Web site ? apparently He’s only source of information ? that marijuana is a gateway drug simply because it is illegal. It is one of, if not the least harmful of illegal drugs, but nonetheless, its status of illegality means that it must be procured through a drug dealer. Scott continues to explain that once united with the drug dealer, one will be more inclined to buy other, harder drugs, under influence of the drug dealer, perhaps friends, and most importantly, their own curiosity. By legalizing marijuana, Scott explains that you would eliminate the drug dealer, and a good amount of the temptation that might occur to try other drugs. Obviously if people wanted to they could still get their hands on harder drugs. And again, the patronizing, sarcastic remark that follows He’s feeble interpretation of Scott’s theory is uncalled for.

I absolutely love Michael’s last example. His reference to the kingdoms of the middle ages was so out of place, I had to stop reading and laugh for a second. Once I finally read the paragraph and understood his point, I again had to stop reading and laugh. First, there is no place for a comparison of our society and its laws and practices to those of the middle ages. That aside, lets say this example does somehow have a place here. First, not all royal families were hated. Furthermore, if kings were hated, it’s probably because they ransacked villages full of thousands of innocent people, not because they pardoned a family member every once in a while.

Which raises the next point ? we still pardon people. Ever hear of midnight pardons? That would be the reason that Marc Rich, a close personal friend of former President Clinton and a man who happened to owe millions in back taxes to the government, was able to escape jail time.

This article was absolutely ridiculous. It read like that of an uneducated eighth grader who passed it out to his friends, because the school newspaper wouldn’t even take it. Furthermore, there are so many issues that go untouched ? such as the entire economic situation. For instance, if legalized, the government could tax the hell out of marijuana, making them a ton of money. In doing such, many of the costs that inflate the price of marijuana to its consumers would be eliminated, such as travel, and most importantly risk. Marijuana is expensive because it has to be worth the risk of getting caught for whoever is providing it. I don’t even know that much about this entire issue, but at least I have the common sense and common courtesy not to trash people who actually do. I could care less if you disagree with his opinions, at least have the decency to give the guy some credit.

Just because he smokes pot and you don’t in absolutely no way does that make you better than him.

?Jeremy SternClass of 2005

Marijuana ok

I would like to start of by saying that Michael He has no argument in his article declaring that marijuana is bad. The only argument that he gives is that pot is illegal.

First off he asks “Tens of thousands of murders happen a year, should we strike murder from the books as a crime?”

Of course we should not. Murder is a crime that has a victim, it takes the life away from a person forever and hurts those that are close to them, while smoking marijuana is a victimless crime. The only person that it could potentially hurt is the user, and if the user chooses to potentially harm their own body that is their choice. He also claims that smoking marijuana is as, or potentially more, harmful than cigarettes or alcohol.

Cigarettes and alcohol are both legal despite their health risks, so why should that be a reason for marijuana to be illegal? It is not a good reason, the government has no right to tell a person what they can and cannot do with their own body, that is an individuals choice. If a person does not want to smoke marijuana that is their own choice but they don’t have the right to tell anyone else that they cannot. He also makes no case against the fact that if marijuana were legal that it would stop leading to the us

e of harder drugs because the way that a user finds harder drugs is through their dealer. If a marijuana user were to get marijuana from another source then they would have a much harder time finding hard drugs.

In conclusion I would like to see Michael He give one good argument against the legalization of marijuana.

?Kevin HorodasClass of 2005

He disgusts

When I read He’s commentary on Scott Jeffrey’s platform, I found myself disgusted. Right from the start the writing is slanted and vituperative, using phrases like “pothead” in a derogatory manner and implying that anybody who supports legal marijuana has an IQ of less than 35. Beyond the blind slamming, however, there is very little offered in terms of actual reasoning. The only negative aspect of marijuana mentioned is that it is bad for your lungs, like tobacco.

That is simple to counter. Tobacco is legal for one thing, and what’s more, cigarette smokers tend to smoke more regularly than those who smoke marijuana.

Additionally, cigarettes contain nicotine, which causes there to be a powerful physical addiction. Marijuana has no physical addiction. And what business does the government have forcing us to be healthy anyway? The government hasn’t shut down McDonalds to protect us from heart attacks, why should they illegalize pot to protect our lungs?

The commentary blindly dismisses the statement that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. Like cigarettes, alcohol also has the potential for strong physical addiction, and while it doesn’t hurt the lungs it can severely damage the liver. Also, when was the last time you heard of a belligerent pothead?

The argument that legalizing marijuana would break the link to hard drugs has a lot of truth to it. He’s counterargument “What the hell kind of mumbo jumbo political b.s. is that?” shows nothing but ignorance. Let me spell it out for you ? when pot is illegal, you have to buy it illegally. If it were legal, then it would be safer, cleaner, cheaper, and taxable. When it’s illegal, you might get pot that is laced with harder drugs, or whoever you buy from might try to persuade you to buy stronger drugs.

It’s true that Jeffrey’s argument that 20 million people smoking pot legitimizes it is false ? that is an appeal to pity. However, the comeback of “it’s just illegal and you can’t change that” is an appeal to force, at best. Things shouldn’t be illegal “just because.”

In summary, I was quite disgusted by the commentary. It took the stance that marijuana should be illegal without even asking why. Last I checked there had to be reasons for laws. We shouldn’t have to disprove laws, they should have to be proven in the first place.

?Aaron GallantClass of 2005

Cat incident important

In view of more momentous issues cited by Ben Elias in his letter “No more cat” (CT October 10) it is understandable that he was tired of folks mourning the mutilated cat. Another way of looking at it is that these folks were using their influence to address an issue on their doorstep as opposed to addressing larger issues where their influence is minuscule.

For my part, I was glad to learn that some UR folks were taking the issue very seriously because the incident should serve as a strong warning that somebody on campus, or in the neighborhood, is urgently in need of help. It is no coincidence that ghoulish serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Speck, David Berkowitz and, more recently, Andrew Golden, Mitchell Johnson and Kip Kinkle, youngsters responsible for the Tennessee and Oregon school massacres, all started their careers by torturing domestic animals. All were a menace to society as a whole. All were responsible for the deaths of innocent human beings.

People who derive satisfaction from maiming animals are sick and need psychiatric care. Candlelight vigils won’t undo the evil that was done, but they can help raise awareness and possibly help to prevent further atrocities and even apprehend and get help for the perpetrator for the benefit of all.

I picked up this issue of CT during Meliora Weekend and was impressed with its scope and quality.

Kudos to all concerned.

?Bina RobinsonAlumnus, Class of 1944



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