28 April 2012

Goodbye Old Friend

Utah State University debuted their new logo Saturday afternoon to mixed reviews. Many people took to Facebook to complain about the simplistic design, some claiming they could have easily designed it themselves with Microsoft WordArt. While this may be true, the fact of the matter is the most famous, easily recognized logos in the world are also the most simple ones. Take this logo for example. 

The logo is so beautifully simple that any combination of orange and purple make people think of FedEx. The arrow formed by the negative space is just icing on the cake.
I fully understand that we as a university aren't trying to sell shipping supplies and services, but the same principles of simplicity apply to sports logos. If you don't believe me, take a look at the picture below and see which logos stick out as the most recognizable.

Nebraska? Simple as can be. Kentucky? Pretty basic. Virginia Tech? The list goes on and on. I personally like the new U-State logo. That's not to say that I don't love the old logo (see, that's the reason for the blog title) If you need more proof, just look at what I did in Minecraft.

Perhaps I am more willing than most to allow a new identity for USU to be established. If Athletic Director Scott Barnes is to be believed, Utah State will soon be saying a bittersweet (but mostly sweet) goodbye to the Western Athletic Conference for what should be slightly greener pastures in the Mountain West Conference, or as I like to call it WAC 2.0.
If you still need more reason to like the new logos, just take a gander at the new bull logo. Personally, it is everything I expected of a big blue revamp and more. The varying color schemes are brilliant, and will finally give some variety to garnish the beloved blue and white. Some might think this is a slap in the face of tradition. These are probably the same people that replied to the new logo saying "I really liked the 'A'". Well, I've got some good news for you. The A is not going anywhere. The A belongs to the school and represents pretty much everything besides athletics. As was clearly stated in the original press release, the new logo is the new identity of USU Athletics. 

Speaking of the bull logo...

I saved the best for last, but I am going to make you work for it. My favorite part of the new-look unveiling today was the uniforms. They are spectacular in their beautiful simplicity. I highly encourage you to read the article by our departing Statesman Sports Editor Tyler Huskinson and check out the new apparel for yourself via Tavin Stucki's photographs. http://www.usustatesman.com/usu-athletics-unveils-new-logo-1.2737084#.T5zjC6tYu3E

So, to all you new-logo-haters out there, take solace in the fact that it will grow on you. My first three gameday shirts will remain good reminders of the old identity of Aggie Athletics, and my next and final gameday shirt will be the beginning of a bright future. Oh yeah, three former Aggies were drafted into the NFL over the weekend. Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin to the Seattle Seahawks and Michael Smith to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. How many were drafted from that school down south? ZERO! Go Aggies!

07 April 2012

What More Do Women Want?

Spring has sprung...at least to an extent. It is still prone to snow in Logan and elsewhere in Utah, but generally the weather is getting warmer. The wedding season is just around the corner and all around one can see happy couples strolling about in their state of relative bliss. Meanwhile, like every spring of my life save a couple choice years in high school, I wander the springtime wonderland alone, growing less surprised every year at my own failure to find anybody willing to give me a chance.
Let's take a few steps back to see my motivations. As a good old-fashioned Mormon boy, essentially everything I did from the age of 3 when I sang "I hope they call me on a mission" at my oldest brothers farewell to when I hugged my parents for the last time before walking out the "other door" at the MTC, I was essentially motivated to one end, that of going on a mission. Yeah, I wanted to succeed in High School, get good grades and eventually a scholarship, but in the grand scheme of things, the ultimate end goal was to give my two years of missionary service. Fast forward two years and that was done. Now I could focus my life on the real goal behind it all...having a family.
Fresh off General Conference weekend, we all got to hear a fresh round of talks from inspired men of God on how to live our lives and the needed perspective to survive in this world of ours. Every year they talk about how the family as the base unit of society is being degraded. Every talk seems to have direct mention or at the very least allude to the need for the young people to get married, the married people to have children, and the parents to do better at it. There is always a talk directed to the single adult men encouraging them to just find a girl and get married. Oh if it were that simple. There is usually a casual reference at the end directed toward the young women to give the guys a chance, but it is usually received by a chuckle from the audience as this church is CLEARLY full of willing women sitting in waiting for any man to come along and marry them. Why oh why, then, am I unable to get past a third date? What exactly do these women want?
I am just about to finish my junior year at Utah State in Computer Engineering, and in a very serious way, time is running out for me. I don't mean that there will be no hope for me to find a girl outside of college, but it just gets harder. A lot of my friends are applying for graduate school to continue their studies. I find it hard to be motivated for more school after a four year degree. My goal from the outset was to get my bachelors degree, hopefully find a wife, and start a career and family at the same time, if not sooner. That's essentially where my motivations end. My career aspirations consist of providing for a family and following the example of the best man I know, my father. He got his Engineering degree and provided a very comfortable living for his family, while never putting his work ahead of family. They say it's a horrible thing to be motivated by money when going into a career. I'm not motivated by money as much as I'm motivated by family. Sure if money didn't matter, I would rather be a high school history teacher. However, my second passion after history is computers, so I have devoted the past three years of my life to an engineering degree.
Call me old fashioned, but my main career goal is to make enough money so that my future wife doesn't HAVE to work. I'm not saying she can't, but rather hoping that she would forego a career to focus on raising a family. I am the product of exactly that kind of family. My mom didn't have to work when I was growing up. She chose to work midway through my schooling as I was the youngest and could surely fend for myself until 5 in the afternoon, but she was always just a phone call away, and dad got home at 3 anyways. It was wonderful, and that's what I want for my children.
So, let's tally it up. I am going to school right now for the sole purpose of providing for a comfortable life for a wife and family later on. I am active in the LDS church because I know it's the right thing to do, and the only way to have an eternal family. I am ready and willing to dedicate my life and all that I am to a woman who will do the same for me; one that will simply take me as I am. What more do women want?
Perhaps they want somebody a little more successful. An athlete perhaps? A business major whose going to start his own business and rule the world someday? A natural born leader who will spend most of his life at work because he is needed? I am none of those things. All I have to offer is hopeless devotion and a comfortable life. I will surely never be all that rich, but I don't think I will be poor either. I was raised wanting nothing and having oftentimes more than reasonable luxuries beyond that. I have lived a blessed life, and that's what I aim to provide for a family. That's all I want. What more does a woman want? Where do I fall short?
I expect nothing more from a woman than I am willing to give. Devotion to me, family, and the church. That's about it. She doesn't have to be some beauty queen, she just has to be beautiful. Beauty is more attitude than outward appearance. Most girls I meet are beautiful. This world is full of them. The rest are usually man-haters or just mean-spirited people.
So, this is an open question to the world. What am I missing? Should I change my priorities? Should I become more career minded? Should I just order a bride through the mail? I understand that being hopeless will not solve my problems, but my hope is ever waning along with my hair line. I already know that I should eat better and exercise more to become more attractive, but what else do I need to do? I'm not perfect, that's for sure, but I don't seek perfection in a companion either. My parents have been perfecting each other for over 40 years. They didn't start out as they are now. Has the age of marriage truly died for the honest-and-trying and is solely reserved for the already-perfected? Seriously...

13 October 2011

Terrible People

First and foremost, I must apologize for not keeping up to date with my blog. It has been quite a while since my last blog post. I must confess that I cannot blame this fact solely on my being busy. That excuse has only been valid for the past week. That being said, here I am. In this post, I am taking the risk of writing about two different subjects that all come back to the same harsh reality: Terrible People are Everywhere.

Let's start with what Ben Wood has demanded that I blog about. Let's just say it has to deal with a passion that we share. This passion is a lack of good feelings (or possibly hatred, we'd really be splitting hairs though) toward fraternities, along with the ideas and ideals that they stand for. I have invested some thought into the root of my negative feelings, and have concluded that they are rooted in envy of those who are better off than I am, and general disliking of anything exclusive. Simply put, these guys are just tools. I understand that I am treading in territory that is full of stereotypes. However, I have only met one member of any fraternity EVER that has broken these stereotypes, and he is married now. Anyways, the most recent fuel for the hatred fire is an incident that occurred a couple weeks ago. The details are very sketchy, but what is implied is abhorred. A  17 year old girl was taken to the hospital with a blood alcohol level of .24 after having attended a party at the Pi Kappa Alpha (or Pike for short) Fraternity house. Now I have never attended a frat party, but the stereotypes that I have yet to see unproven would dictate that the young girl was offered alcohol upon entering the house without having her ID checked to show that she was of proper drinking age.

Now, I am aware that young people are idiots and think that underage drinking is cool, but I wonder how many "adults" (if by age only) saw this taking place and ignored it, or (heaven forbid) encouraged such behavior. The Pike president maintained in a statement that the fraternity was in now way responsible. She had a blood alcohol level of .24! She was close to death. I submit that there is NO WAY she could have entered the party already drunk, at least to that extent. Perhaps she wet her whistle before, but I don't assume that anybody goes into a party, dying of alcohol poisoning. I feel safe in assuming that she consumed a serious amount of alcohol AFTER she entered the house, at a party supposedly organized and supervised by responsible adults. One part of the previous statement is surely untrue. There is nothing responsible about distributing alcohol to anybody under the age of 21. Lest we forget, she was 17! She may very well still be in High School! I don't care how old you look, wouldn't somebody with a brain in their head be able to tell that she was under 21? Let's review a very important concept: If a girl is a freshman, or still in high school, you can be 99.5 percent sure that she is NOT 21.

Some people are billing the "friends" that took her to the hospital as heroes. It can be assumed that these same "friends" are the ones that let her get drunk to begin with. The only reason they are viewed as heroes is because they actually took her to the hospital as opposed to the soulless fiends who let Michael Starks die just down the street 3 years earlier at another fraternity house. Let's use an analogy to expound the point. If you stab somebody in the chest and miss their heart and they don't die quickly, are you a hero if you take them to the hospital? No! You are slapped with an attempted murder charge. If true justice existed in this world, anybody that aided in her consumption of alcohol should receive a similar charge. Unfortunately, none of the testosterone-motivated guys that got her drunk maintained their pair when asked details about the incident. They all cowered in their corner of secrecy and exclusivity, and complained when the university suspended their "fraternal leadership organization." The Pike president in his statement seemed to cry "yellow journalism" to draw attention from his yellow belly. Evading fault is what boys do, taking responsibility is what men do. For clearly and unequivocally separating the men from the boys, I thank President Christopher Walsh, said leader of the now unrecognized Pike fraternity.

As I mentioned before, there are two subjects to this post. The second hits me a little closer to home. It's about a girl. A silly, immature, heartless, unforgiving, inconsistent, fickle girl. Yep, I got turned down. However, this time it had a little more bite than usual. I have a long history of rejection from the girls of the world, usually after accepting several free movies and meals, only to inform me impatiently that they are not romantically interested in me. I must admit, it hurts less and less every time. This one was particularly fun.

Let's step back a year or so. This girl and I had a bit of a fling in late April of 2010. I thought I liked her at the time, but with impending finals week, we fell out of contact (admittedly my fault) and then I jetted off to Hawaii with 2 days notice right after finals week. I had a wonderful summer, returned, and talked to her occasionally over the next year. Fast forward to the beginning of this school year. We came into contact again, and on Saturday we went to the football game and left together, proceeding to go watch a movie together on a lovesac. That's all I really need to say, right? Good. So, I tried to hang out with her early this week, but we were both busy. Today, however, I had some free time and asked her if she wanted to go to lunch. We ended up settling on plans to go chat over ice cream. I had a time conflict come up, and it never happened. However, upon explaining this through a text, I got the following reply during my last class of the day. Remember, I had just asked if we could change the time for getting ice cream.

"Um, I don't think it would. I didn't want to say this via text, but looks like I don't have a choice. I'm not romantically interested in you. I'm not really interested in being friends either. You're a good guy, Tyler, but we just don't work or fit. I'm sorry for leading you on lately. I know it wasn't fair to you. Sorry."

In the tradition of Daniel Tosh's show, let's do a text breakdown, one sentence at a time. #1: You always have a choice to do something over text or not. Are you aware that your phone also functions wonderfully as a TELEPHONE? It's an archaic device used to speak vocally to other people via the microphone and speaker in your phone. Quaint, I know, but somewhat useful if you think about it. #2: This part is acceptable. She has every right not to be romantically interested in me. #3: Who says that they aren't really interested in being friends? What have I done to not even deserve the title of friend? #4: I like to think that I am a good guy, and I can understand that she doesn't think that we work or fit. I'm a guy, and she is a girl...that combination doesn't make much sense now does it. OH WAIT?!?...nevermind. #5: I believe that she is sorry for leading me on lately. That doesn't make it right. What the freak? We cuddle on Saturday, and I am no longer her friend on Wednesday. A total of 10 or so menial texts were sent in between. What happened? Since we aren't friends anymore, I will never know. #6: You're right, girl. It isn't fair to me. But what ever is when it comes to romance? It's a familiar game for me. I received a nearly identical rejection from a girl last winter. The only difference is SHE had the heart to tell me face to face. #7: Sorry. Yes, we're all a bit sorry for the terrible things we do.

Anyways, back to the story. In my act of defiance, I went onto Facebook to do the petty thing; to unfriend her. Upon logging on, however, I found that she had already taken care of that. Oh my! I have 300 some odd Facebook friends, the majority of which I never talk to. I don't even deserve the least personal designation above only one-time acquaintance that is Facebook "friend."  I don't think THAT'S fair to me. Whatever, have a nice life she-who-shall-henceforth-not-be-named.

Well, this has been an entertaining stream of consciousness for me. I took the opportunity to get a few things off my chest, and I feel better. I have not written off women, but rather have chosen to write off girls. There is a distinct difference. Girls do things like the girl that rejected me. They act immaturely and don't seem to care how their methods of rejection affect guys. Again, it's not the fact that she rejected me. It's HOW she went about it. I am still in the midst of a search for a real woman; one who will be honest, and make their feelings known without leading me on a wild goose chase for happiness. I envy my married friends who have found wonderful women, and maintain the hope that there is one out there for me. One thing is certain, this girl was not the woman I was looking for.

So yeah, it's not too hard to find terrible people in this world. Whether they aid in a near deadly experience for a young girl, or take advantage of a guy just looking for love. Either way, I maintain a belief that justice will prevail, and those with good intentions will come out on top. I strive to be one of them.

24 September 2011

Defending a "Cult"

Ms. Liz Emery seems to be playing games with my loyalty. Her first opinion article in the Utah Statesman was about gay rights and I wrote a blog post attacking her arguments. Again, I am not against her right to share an opinion, nor was I against the rights she desired, but rather how she went about it. Her next article was one that attacked fraternities as exclusive organizations that cater to the rich and popular party animals. I wholeheartedly agreed with that article and decided that I was glad that she was writing her strong opinions on a weekly basis. This week, however, she decided to again go on the attack, but this time against the LDS church, stating "evidence" that supports her conclusion that the church is a cult according to her definition of the word. Her article deserves a read before you finish reading this blog post. http://www.usustatesman.com/column-can-the-lds-religion-be-considered-a-cult-1.2633978

My personal definition of a cult differs slightly from the mainstream definition. It seems that many consider a cult to be any religions or spiritual movement that "makes" their members do something viewed as strange or dangerous by the outside world. The definition that I found reads: A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.Our leaders are charismatic, but they don't seem too authoritarian. While they suggest things that we should do, or implore us to do what is right as I see it, they do so lovingly, thinking only of our personal well-being. While some may disagree with their intentions based on circumstance, that is the principle behind it all.

Either way, her article is full of what seems to be personal experiences that she uses to generalize the church as a whole. She argues that members of the church are discouraged from questioning or challenging things that are confusing to them. I firmly believe the opposite to be true. It is difficult for one to accept that there is a living prophet today, especially if they have been raised to believe that the prophets ended with the bible, or even that there has never been prophets as there is no God. The invitation of the church is "pray to know." She claims that the mantra promoted by the church is "just have faith." Faith without works is dead. The General Epistle of James in the Bible addresses that issue directly. Members of the church and those investigating the church are strongly encouraged to study the doctrine, read the scriptures, and pray to know the truth of what they have been taught before making any decisions. While some missionaries or family members may encourage people to simply “have faith”, they are really selling the whole experience short. Coming to a conclusion by logic alone is not enough to keep somebody following a religion. It needs to be something spiritual; something within us that we can’t simply explain with words and conventional arguments.

The stance of the church is for people to acquire a testimony before being baptized or taking any step in the church whether it be accepting a call to serve or simply participating in the sacrament ordinance each week. Church leaders are required to ask a number of questions during interviews with each member or prospective member before they advance in the church. These questions include but are surely not limited to questions about a persons belief. Having a conviction that the church is true is inherently required before members can truly invest themselves into something like baptism or other church ordinances. We believe that these ordinances come from God himself and are not simply our invented means of excluding people from our club.

Another argument that she makes is that members of the church are discouraged from fraternizing with people that do not “share their values.” Youth in the church are encouraged to surround themselves with people that share the same high standards that they are taught to adhere. This does not mean that they are taught to avoid non-members, but to be wary of those that may encourage them to act contrary to their standards. Peer pressure is a real thing and can lead young people to do things that they wouldn’t ever consider doing before the peer pressure is applied over time. This practice is not meant to restrict our youth, but rather an effort to help them find out what is right in a safe environment.

The notion that seemed to strike Ms. Emery closest to heart was her misunderstood idea that members of a family that are not active in the church are somehow prohibited from being with their family after this life. However, to understand what she doesn’t like about it, we have to back up a little bit. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we believe that families are forever. We believe that this life is not the end of our existence, and that after this life, if we have followed God’s commandments as relayed to us by His prophets AND live a life conducive to the example of His Son, we can live in a paradisaical state with our family forever. However, knowing full well that none of us are even close to perfect, we cannot merit this eternal life by ourselves. It is only by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ that we are saved, AFTER all that we can do. This medium does not allow me to go into the level of detail necessary to properly explain this principle. Suffice it to say that I have scratched the surface of the tip of the iceberg.

Ms. Emery claims that if a member of the church marries somebody outside the church, they lose their right to be with their partner forever, and that the same applies to family members that leave the church. The fact that she would say this gives rise to the idea that she believes eternal life is a real possibility and that the church is somehow exerting restrictions on it. This mortal life is a finite existence. Everything can be measured in units of time from seconds to decades. The concept of eternity is not understood naturally by us mortal creatures. Indeed I have been “taught” to marry somebody within the church. I believe that a couple who starts their marriage with the intent that it will last forever has a better chance of getting there. Statistics don’t tend to back me up very well, but that is what I believe. It’s what I have seen with my parents and siblings and several generations before them.

Anyways, to point. I think it is inherently foolish of us to place restrictions on eternity. The church teaches that everybody will have the opportunity to accept the gospel in this life or the next. If a spouse doesn't accept the teachings of the church in this life, we believe they will have the opportunity to do so in the afterlife. Everybody will live forever. What we define as eternal life is something more significant. It is eternal progression and expansion. At this point I must reiterate that I can but scratch the surface on these topics. So, simply put, every human being will live forever after this life. In the church, we believe that we can become like God by continuing to progress in our understanding and character. Inherent to this idea is that it will take A LOT of work. To become perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect, is impossible in this life. Our current mortal existence is but a stepping stone along the way. Because it will require a lot of work, not everybody will want to do it. That is where agency comes into play. It’s not that God will punish us for not choosing what he wants us to choose, but rather that we restrict ourselves by not striving for perfection, and thus can never reach it. Ms. Emery claims that this is not true agency if we can’t choose to have eternal life no matter what. We can choose to be whatever we want to be. We are going to live forever anyways. If we want to remain like we are now with our limited understanding of the universe and the purpose of it all, God gives us that right. It’s even one of Newton’s laws. An object at rest tends to stay at rest.

So, this blog post has gone over a lot of topics. It feels like I just wrote a theological essay that, as my personal stream of consciousness, may just fly over the heads of everyone. The idea I was trying to get across is that the church is much more than just an organization of people. I believe that this church is one of the ways that God has decided to teach us that which he wants us to learn in this life. There is truth everywhere, and we can gain an understanding of God from the world around us, from flowers to trees to the endless grains on sand on the beach. I also believe that it is the only church that has the authority from God to perform ordinances that are required in this life to prepare us for the possibility of eternal life. These ordinances do not guarantee us anything, and the fact that us members of the church have already accepted the teachings and participated in the ordinances does not make us any better than somebody who accepts these same things much later in life or even after this life. God is no respecter of persons. He loves Ms. Emery just as much as he loves me, the prophet, or anybody who has ever lived a day on this earth. His desire is that all of us gain eternal life, and He has given us all the resources to achieve what is necessary in this life through His prophets from Adam down to President Monson today. The church itself is just the entity that administers what He wants for us. By worldly definitions it may be considered a cult, but truth is not devalued by worldly classification in the minds of those who believe it.

My simple hope is that Ms. Emery will somehow be able to see the church in a positive light again, seeing it as an entity to help people and expand their understanding rather than restrict it. If anybody has any arguments against what I have written, please let me know. I would love to discuss what I have written. Isn’t that the idea of having a blog?

01 September 2011

A One Medium Writer

Well, it's official. The 'Low Down will be my only writing outlet for the foreseeable future. I applied for a position on the features desk at the Utah Statesman, but was turned down, most likely due to a lack of experience. The Wednesday edition of the same Statesman featured two opinion articles by the new columnists that will represent the voice of the students for the rest of the semester. Their first articles were about the fact that homosexuals deserve the same respect as everybody else, and that a green campus is a happy campus, respectively. While I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that gays deserve respect like any other person, they do not deserve special treatment. If they want to be treated like everybody else, they need to be prepared with how typical people treat each other.
In many familiar situations, I find myself saying that something is gay. I do not mean it as an insult to the gay community, but rather use it as a word as that is all that it is. If gay people swear, do I not have the same right to be angry at them for using words that may be offensive to me or those around me? According to the concept of being politically correct, I cannot do anything to offend them, but they are free to say whatever they want. One particular paragraph that made me angry was when she instructed the readers to not refer to homosexuality as a lifestyle. She referred to being LDS or Muslim as living a lifestyle. One might argue that people raised in the Muslim world do not have much of a choice as to how they live their lives. In some occasions, their lives are even threatened if they do not live this "elective lifestyle" as she sees it as. You cannot tell me that living the stereotypical flamboyant "gay" way, having sex with other people and being constantly offended by those who do not accept you is not a lifestyle. Guess what else is a lifestyle? Pedophilia. It is a choice to be sexually active outside of marriage, and in my opinion it is a sin. I met a man on my mission that was openly gay, but recognized the importance of remaining chaste while still recognizing his role in this life. Anyways, that was not the point of this blog post. This was only one of the articles that I disagreed with, and am disgusted at the prospect of all the opinion articles following the liberal agenda. So we wait.
The second article written by the self-titled "Father Earth" was about the Blue Goes Green fee. There were a couple opinion articles in last years paper bashing the proposed fee. There was one article written by the news editor at the time. She has subsequently been promoted to editor-in-chief and hand picked all of the opinion columnists for this year. Her article was not news in the pure sense, and was surely not an objective article which would theoretically contain both sides of the argument. Instead it was the best piece of publicity that the proponents of Blue Goes Green could ever wish for. Naturally, the motion passed, and now "environmentally conscious" students will be using our money to promote themselves and their projects for a sustainable campus. To them, I ask this question. What can possibly be sustainable about a campus that is air-conditioned to a comfortable temperature throughout the summer despite the huge windows in most of the buildings, and heated to a toasty paradise during the frozen winter months of Logan? These students are going to spend their time and our resources to maybe throw up a couple solar panels or convince Facilities to raise the temperature a bit during the summer or spend money on marketing to encourage students to wear their jackets inside during the winter months. I believe their impact will be forgettable, but their legacy will be unduly praised as they proclaim themselves to be the wave of the future. If you really want to change anything, move to the equator and sweat through the heat to become carbon-neutral. Whatever makes you feel better about yourself.
Anyways, it appears that the age of differing opinions in the opinion section may be at an end. Gone are the days of the "Bright Blue Dot" competing with Justin the Libertarian, while staving off the conservative overtones in my own bi-weekly campus related rants. This week we reign in an era of a student government controlled by a "Mormon" fraternity, and a newspaper opinion section rapt with the liberal agenda. I will continue to read my beloved Utah Statesman, but it just won't be the same this year. I still have many friends on the staff, but will not have the pleasure of working with them. Change must come, naturally, but sometimes it is difficult to accept. So, there you have it. School is back, and there are plenty of things that I dislike, and I am more than happy to continue venting my opinion in whatever medium will accept me.

16 July 2011

Casey Anthony

So, I am probably the last person in this country to write my opinion on the "acquittal heard 'round the world" but there has been a development in the story. Early this morning, Casey Anthony was released from jail, given $537 from her jail account, and sent on her way to live a free life. There have been endless Facebook and blog posts about people angry at her, the jurors, and the legal system in general. One of her lawyers recently confirmed that they had received a number of threats including an email with a modified image of Miss Anthony with a bullet in her head.

By the way, the picture to the right is of a mother partying while her daughter lies dead and decomposing in the woods.

This type of desire for vigilante justice is as old and the court system. If the court fails to prove somebody guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and the public disagrees, this type of thing happens. Does anybody remember OJ Simpson? Yes, we have all heard a million comparisons, but this case seems a little different in my mind. First and foremost, there is no racial tension to deal with in this situation. She's white and her child was white. Secondly, there was no dramatic chase that lead many to imply OJ's guilt as he was running (if you call that running) from police. For Casey Anthony, it was just lies about her missing daughter and a non-existent nanny that she claimed abducted little Calyee. Either way, the justice system seems to have failed to provide justice for the victims of both crimes.

So, what are we to do about it? We can complain, sure. We can make new laws that, if they had been in place, would have kept Casey in jail for a few more years, but it won't fix the problem. The problem is that we have an imperfect system. Everything is governed by money and lawyers. The video footage of Casey Anthony's defense team celebrating with drinks and dancing to their victory is disturbing. Sure they won, but who in their right mind can believe that Casey Anthony is completely innocent. The verdict said it best; the jury found the defendant NOT guilty. So, why should she be allowed to go free you may ask? Well, that same justice system that allowed the defense team party like it was 1999 also allows guilty people to go free if enough evidence can't be found. Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt is something that is very hard to prove.

Now, I don't know all the specifics on the Brian David Mitchell trial or why it took so long (I refer anybody wondering to ask Ben Wood as he covered the sentencing process) but the man was guilty as sin. He was discovered WITH the girl he abducted, she testified in court of what he did, and yet there was still the possibility of him NOT going to jail for life because the court couldn't determine if he was sane enough to stand trial. What does that say about the legal system? People that are insane can't be held accountable for what they do? The defense in the Casey Anthony trial claimed that she had been abused by her father while she was young and used that to justify her not reporting the death of hear daughter. What? First let me say that I have never had to deal with anything as heinous as abuse. I have no idea what any of those poor souls who experience that have to go through and I feel eternally sorry for them. However, sane or insane, you should have to pay the price for your crime just like anybody else. I could go on and on about how much I hate the legal system and how I firmly believe it is largely to blame for the current financial crisis and any issues with healthcare. If people weren't allowed to sue surgeons for being human and making mistakes, or sue doctors for not being absolutely perfect, healthcare and insurance would not cost near as much. You know what, I will go as far as saying that any problem in this world can be blamed squarely on lawyers, lobbyists, and politicians. There you have it. Now, back to the subject of this rant.

Casey Anthony should be allowed to go free because that is how the justice system works. We can't make an exception just because somebody managed to hide something so well that investigators couldn't find enough evidence to allow a jury in any good conscience to hand out a guilty verdict. I feel very bad for the jurors. Some of them have reached out claiming that they felt sick to their stomach the day of the verdict. They may believe she is guilty, but all they did was their civic duty in weighing the evidence and making the hardest decision of their lives. As for Casey Anthony, she may not have been proven guilty of murder, but she has proven herself guilty of being a bad mother and overall disgraceful human being. Who knows what demons she has been fighting all her life, but I am sure she will have several to fight for the rest of this life and well into the next. If she is guilty, she will pay for it eventually. If she does happen to be innocent to some degree, she will have to answer for lying in a life and death situation. Either way, the future looks pretty bleak for her. Who would hire somebody like that? Who would want a person like that living in their neighborhood? I have no idea, but the whole story just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I hope you have all enjoyed my little rant on the current legal system and I would love any and all commentary on the issue. I suppose what I am asking is: does anybody disagree with me?

13 July 2011

Fieldhouse Blues

It has recently come to my attention that students who pay full tuition during the fall and spring semesters at Utah State University do not have access to the exercise or recreation facilities during the summer unless they pay a seperate athletic fee similar to the one paid by summer students. This is garbage! Since my entry into Utah State University in the fall of 2009, I have paid around $1600 in student fees, a large chunk of which goes to athletics. In one of my articles last year, I blasted the art department based on principal for increasing general student fees so they could improve. Many people used athletic fees as a cop out saying "we spend all this money on athletics, don't the arts deserve a little more?" I fiercely defended the student athletic fees saying the amenities are wonderful, and they reach a larger audience. However, now that I see that full-time traditional students can't use the athletic facilities while spending their summer in Logan desperately trying to earn enough money to pay tuition, I must cry foul. Shame on whoever made this decision to punish those that have to work during the summer to pay for their education.

A recent change went into effect that may kick the billiards club and all billiards classes out of the fieldhouse in favor of a cross-fit class. I wrote an article condeming this change and hope that the new leadership at ASUSU heard my plea, as well as the petition signed by hundreds. It seems a little ironic that the same University would deny these facilities to most of the student body during the summer months when they make such foolish changes in the name of better physical fitness for the students. For me, I have more time during the summer to work out than I do during the school year, so that is when most of my working out takes place for the year. While this is not the best work out schedule for my health, I have a feeling many students have the same prediciment.

So, in essence, the school is denying us the privileges that we pay thousands of dollars for just because we aren't paying for any classes during the summer. This is lame and unfair. I hope you all feel the same.