Weapons in America

Its a pun, get it??

“ I have a right to bear arms” seems like a quote from a Texan ranch owner or Kentucky mountain person, but I believe has a place in this country. Debates over the proper restrictiveness of gun control laws are ongoing, with both sides making concrete  reasoning behind why guns should or should not be available to the public. With the amount of public shootings, be them in schools, malls, or any other numerous locations give good reason to be afraid of firearms. But for each horror story I have heard ones of a man with a gun stopping a shooting, saving multiple peoples lives. The truth I believe lies somewhere in between.

Balance is the hardest thing for humans to maintain in their lives. Be that eating correctly, exercising, and getting enough sleep. These flaws in humanity reach over to politics. With weapons and public use of them people want the whole hog or none of it. As citizens of a liberal democracy it goes against us fundamentally to deny something, that in good faith and with responsibility, can be a constructive tool.  In John Stuart Mills novel On Liberty he discusses the idea of what is in the bounds of actions of a man. “men should be free to act upon their opinions—to carry these out in their lives, without hindrance, either physical or moral, from their fellow-men, so long as it is at their own risk and peril.”(Chpt 3, Mill). Men are free to carry a weapon on them, they take responsibility for the weapon and everything that comes from it once in their

Does this scare you? Good.

possession. No single person has the right to impede someone else of that ability, but, their is a catch. If the responsibilities of a weapon are taken upon by someone there needs to be a sense of discipline, with its use and upkeep for “ It may be better to be a John Knox than an Alcibiades, but it is better to be a Pericles than either; nor would a Pericles, if we had one in these days, be without anything good which belonged to John Knox.” (Chpt 3, Mill). Basically in layman’s terms he is saying that it is better to be self disciplined and self sacrificing, not own a gun or think about it(John Knox), then to have a gun and be irresponsible with it(Alcibiades). But the best option would to be a Pericles, this would be someone who wants a gun even with the pressures of how terrible they are, and is responsible for it. Here is where the government begins to play a role. Liberalism plays a huge role in Mills writing, and would seem to be a solution to this gun problem. This line of thought gives enough birth to allow people of sound mind and good intention to own a weapon, but should stop those who would use them for harm. Be that background checks and a cool of period, guns should stay out of the hands that are a danger, but if someone wants large rounds, or high powered rifles for their own use, or to get certified to carry a weapon with them and is responsible they should be able to. It is there right, nd it should be upheld.

Weapons are a dangerous topic. People want to protect their families from them, and others want to with them. Both sides should have needs meant. With proper balance and control, guns should be allowed into the streets and hands of responsible citizens willing to bare the weight that comes with owning a firearm.

There is no right or wrong on this topic, but maybe one day we can all love each other!

Men’s and Women’s Basketball

The Michigan men's basketball team plays in front of a packed arena.

The Michigan men’s basketball team plays in front of a packed arena.

I am an avid sports fan and during my first semester at the University of Michigan I attended several men’s basketball games including the Hillsdale game and the Syracuse game. I also attended a woman’s basketball game against Cornell. My experience at the men’s games versus the women’s game was very different. On a Tuesday night for the Syracuse game the arena was packed and the crowd was electric the entire game. The student section, known as the Maize Rage, cheered, jumped and chanted almost the entire game. Students had lined up hours in advance of the game in freezing cold temperatures to ensure that they got a seat on the bleachers of the student section. The entire crowd would roar almost deafeningly loud during big plays, especially toward the end of the game as Michigan sealed the victory over a very talented Syracuse team. After the game I could relate to Bartlett Giamatti’s description of a spectators experience from his book Take Time for Paradise. He explains how spectators are intrigued and excited by sports because they create a series of events that has never been put together before, which can lead to an exciting ending. I left the game feeling excited after cheering on the wolverines to victory. Continue reading

When Will Amateurism Die at the College Level?

Recently, while reading the article, “Dispatches From the NCAA’s Deathbed” I got to thinking, how much longer will amateurism last in college athletics? While thinking this I couldn’t help but link the course material reading for our PolySci class to a very similar topic which was discussed in a Sports Sociology class I took this semester.

In the article, “Dispatches From the NCAA’s Deathbed” they talked about Ed O’Bannon and his ongoing trial with the NCAA over the right to his name and likeness used in NCAA basketball video game. Ironically, in the video, “Schooled” they talked about the same trial. We watched this video for the sociology class I was taking and they talked about many interesting points, which relate to the, “Dispatches From the NCAA’s Deathbed” article.

ed obannon

Ed O’Bannon on the cover of SI

Throughout the video the topic of athlete’s rights were discussed and whether or not these were being violated. Many people believed they were, and that athletes are performing for their universities, and bringing in huge profits, especially with football and basketball. In the video they also talk about how the NCAA cannot stay together forever operating under this “amateurism” code. Walter Byers, the man who invented the term “amateurism” and the athletic scholarship for the NCAA even was quoted towards the end of his life saying, “…the system cannot be upheld forever, today’s college athletic’s have become far too commercialized.” So this is the main problem here. The athletes are being cheated out of money for their performance, as well as their likeness, image, and name, as is the case with Ed O’Bannon.


How much longer can the NCAA operate under the amateurism code?

The NCAA is crumbling and the Ed O’Bannon case may be the start of the downfall. In the article, “Dispatches From the NCAA’s Deathbed” they go on to talk about how things are not looking good for the NCAA due to the fact of that the judge, Claudia Wilken, will most likely not side with NCAA. She is not caught up in the politics of the NCAA and the connections that the commercial world has to the NCAA. She also just not very caught up in the sports world as well, being described in the article as “…not knowing all that much generally about sports.” So the sympathy for the NCAA is not there.

judge wilken

Judge Wilken

Overall, the takeaway which I get from both this article and movie is that amateurism in the NCAA is a dying concept. It was created at a time where NCAA sports were not heavily entrenched with commercialistic undertones, taking advantage of student-athletes while making huge profits for themselves. In the end it is just a matter of time until student-athletes will be paid, in my opinion and according to the article and movie which I have described, it may be sooner than later.

Political Activism Still Not in Sight

Derrick Rose wears “I Can’t Breathe” shirt during warm-ups.

In light of the recent political protests by professional athletes, many bloggers have declared that political activism has finally made its way back into the realm of professional athletics. With the St. Louis Rams’ protest of the decision in the Michael Brown case and Derrick Rose wearing a warm-up shirt that says “I Can’t Breathe” in protest of the grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer responsible for Eric Garner’s death, professional athletes are finally starting to become political activists, right? Wrong. It’s important to understand the distinction between a political statement and political activism when analyzing the actions of professional athletes.

A political statement is a single effort to promote political change that doesn’t necessarily mean the person has a long-term commitment to the cause. Political activism, on the other hand, consists of constant efforts to advocate political change over the long-term. While any political involvement by professional athletes is great, I argue that these particular instances are political statements instead of political activism.

Continue reading

Men’s Basketball v. Women’s Gymnastics

Last week, I was able to attend the men’s basketball game against the Syracuse Orange. Throughout the entire game, the two teams were basically neck in neck and it was anyone’s game. Vibrant electricity was pulsing through the crowd and the cheering for the Wolverines was making the ground quake; specifically, the noise from the student section stood out immensely. The student cheering section for men’s basketball games in the Chrisler Arena is commonly known as the “maize rage.” Through the encouragement of the maize rage, with less than a minute remaining, Michigan’s Spike Albrecht managed to break the tie by scoring a 3-pointer, thus putting the Wolverines back in the lead. The maize rage went crazy in wild cheers and song supporting their team. It was truly an incredible feeling to be apart of. Just as Giamatti writes in his Take Time for Paradise, I can attest that “The spectator, seeing something he had only imagined, or, more astonishingly, had not yet or would have never imagined possible, because the precise random moments had never before come together in this form to challenge the players, is privy to the realized act of imagination an assents, is mastered, and in that instant, bettered.” The ability to be apart of the maize rage was something that allowed for a bond to form not just among the spectators, but also between the spectators and the team. Through our cheering on the team, we formed a bond with them that motivated them to push themselves harder and eventually resulting in a Wolverine victory. Continue reading