Community Connections | Take charge of your sexual health

  KRYSTAL DODGE | thorn008@rangers.uwp.edu

According to the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), “One in two sexually active persons will contract a STI by the age of 25.” That is a very intimidating statistic, but it is something that can be improved with knowledge. There are resources available on campus and in the community to help you take charge of your sexual health. If you are going to be sexually active, you should be responsible.

Many college students are transitioning from being a juvenile to an adult. In that stage, a lot of exploration happens, and there are numerous new things to try. Unfortunately, they might not have the knowledge needed to go with these new experiences. The other problem is not having resources available, or not knowing about available resources.

UW-Parkside has a Student Health and Counseling Center (SHCC). The SHCC is located on campus behind Tallent hall, and the number is 262-595-2366. It is open Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays it is open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

The SHCC provides many services to help you prevent and treat Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), as well as reproductive health and planning. Pregnancy tests, HIV test, contraceptive supplies, and counseling for reproductive health concerns are available to students. You can receive the vaccination for Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV).  STI testing, pelvic examinations, STI treatment, and emergency contraceptive – Plan B and Ella are also available in the center.

Planned Parenthood is another resource that is available that is available in the community. They provide many services, and some of them can also be free based on your income. The number is 262-654-0491, and the address is 3601 Roosevelt Road in Kenosha. They are open Mondays from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays their hours are from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. They are closed Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

They provide women and men’s healthcare. Birth control, pregnancy testing and pregnancy services are available. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) testing is another important service available. They also provide testing, treatment and vaccinations for STIs. They have appointments as well as walk ins for things such as emergency contraceptives.

Take charge of your sexual health and be an advocate for yourself. You are the only one that can protect you. Take advantage of the resources available to you and become knowledgeable.  There are some diseases that are sexually transmitted, and they have no cure. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

 

Shots fired: the debate on gun control

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MARCH ON WASHINGTON FOR GUN CONTROL / Assemblance at the US Capitol Reflecting Pool on the national Mall just off 3rd Street in Washing DC on Saturday morning, 26 January 2013. COURTESY OF ELVERT BARNES VIA FLICKER

It’s not too soon- let’s talk about guns.

 

RORY LARSON | larso066@rangers.uwp.edu

Gun control— it means many different things to many different people, but let us have some real talk here. Gun control means controlling guns. We as Americans have options for how we would like to pursue the issue. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and in our polarized country, we often seem to forget the complexity of issues and boil it down to being on one side or the other- ban guns or no regulation. It is not. The following is a series of four common arguments against gun control, and responses to them.

  1. “Our country was founded on an uprising against the government. Our guns are meant to protect us from the government and the second amendment says so.”

 

 

Well, that is a lot to unpack from the get-go. Our country was indeed founded on an uprising, but there are some fundamental misconceptions there that many people fail to recognize. The American colonies wanted fundamental rights that were secured to British citizens, to have representation in parliament and a say in how the colonies were run. It was only after Britain refused to grant Americans those rights after many attempts at diplomacy did war break out. War was not our first option.

The second amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” If you believe that gives Americans the right to bear arms constitutionally, you would be correct. But there is that other part–a well regulated militia. Individual gun owners who may or may not have proper training and are certainly not well regulated do not make a citizen’s army. If that alone was not enough, since the constitution there have been many technological advances that make the right to own guns to protect yourself from the government completely obsolete. Guns will not protect you from the SWAT team, an army or nukes.

  1. “Guns protect us from bad guys. Anyways, criminals will find a way to get guns no matter what.”

Theoretically, guns can be used for protection and sometimes are. Whether or not this is actually how guns are used is another story. Armed men and women have stopped criminals with guns before, but it is far more often that “good guys with guns” add more tension to armed situations and are more likely to misfire or make the situation worse. Human error is just a fact of life.

Statistics have shown that the “good guy with a gun” protecting the innocent is little more than an occasional heroic story with little basis in everyday life. In homes with guns, people are three times more likely to be killed than unarmed homes according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Also, the more people that own guns makes the number of guns for criminals to access increase exponentially. The NRA opposes regulations on stricter gun storage. Just because people find ways around laws and regulations does not mean we should sit idly by and let it happen. Laws are what keep this country a civilized democracy. If we have no faith in laws to help protect our citizens we would not have any laws or regulations at all.

  1. “Background checks are too invasive.”

If you are a responsible gun owner you should have nothing to hide in a background check. Background checks are standard procedure for nearly every job and your personal information is now less private than it ever has been. A simple lookup on WCCA in Wisconsin will turn up records of just about anyone who’s broken the law, whether it was a minor slip up or a felony. Proposing background checks does not mean that, across the board, anyone who has had a legal transgression will be banned from purchasing a firearm but it does allow us to have a better system to identify higher risk individuals and prevent possible gun violence.

  1. “What about hobbies like hunting or collecting?”

Many hobbies have laws. Some people like to make bone-jewelry, but did you know that owning human remains can be illegal. Some people collect cars and have to get special license plates and follow regulations about what conditions they can and cannot take it out in. People love animals, but over a certain number of pets you have to have a special license and certain animals are illegal to own. Proposing that certain types of guns be more restricted or have more regulated ways of obtaining them does not inhibit hobbyists. A gun should have at least as much regulation as owning cars and driving them in the United States.

Gun control is about protecting people. Individual rights are important in America, but the selfishness or short-sightedness of certain individuals should not be allowed to override the safety of millions. America is the only place mass shootings like this occur. America is the only place that gun violence on this scale in a so-called world power happen. Take a stance and look for a solution and help prevent the nearly 96 deaths a day (CDC, 2016) that occur due to inadequate gun control in this country.

A Message from Nature | Bloodshed in environmentalism

ADELANA AKINDES | akind001@rangers.uwp.edu

Something I don’t hear about too often is the bloodshed involved in environmental activism occurring around the planet. Industry continues to engulf the world, and is pushing its way into every untapped natural resource, every land that never belonged to them. There are people who are fighting back and speaking up about the environment. There are people who dedicate their lives to defend the land and to defend each other. Often they are the original people of the land, the Indigenous people with cultures, roots and livelihoods tied directly to the environment in which they live. And increasingly so, those who speak out are targeted, and killed, in order to silence the message that they carry.

Countries in Latin America and Southeast Asia have the highest rates for these murders, with Brazil and the Philippines being the most deadly countries for environmental activism. Most of the violence takes place over land rights disputes, involving huge industries–the main ones being mining, agribusiness, damming, logging and poaching–and the the indigenous communities of the area. Members of these industries often partner with gangs and militia, and in this way they are able to kill those in opposition without repercussions.

Last year, a documented 197 people have been murdered due to their environmental protests, which averages to four people a week. The numbers have been compiled by Global Witness, a group who has been keeping track of these specific types of murders since 2002. Since then, over 1,000 murders have been documented, with the true number believed to be far higher. Some of the more well-known victims include nun and environmentalist Dorothy Stang and indigenous land rights environmentalist Bertha Cáceres. Yet far more victims have gone unnamed and unreported, and usually none get justice in the end.

I still remember when I was first exposed to this information. It was in my Peoples of Southeast Asia class, an anthropology course I took here at Parkside two years ago. I learned about this beautiful ceremony in the northern forests of Thailand, where monks wrapped the robes that were typically reserved for them around the trunks of trees. These “Ecology monks” saw the deforestation in Thailand, caused by logging activity, and developed this practice in response. By ordaining trees as if they were monks, as if the trees were being initiated into monkhood, the monks were making a statement about the spiritual inherentness of the forests. I wasn’t prepared to hear that one of these monks was stabbed to death. This type of peaceful environmental activism was still seen as a threat.

The fight for indigenous people’s rights to their own land is occurring across the planet. Even in countries where this extreme violence is not taking place, the battle is still going. Just look at Standing Rock in North Dakota, or No Back 40 in Wisconsin. It’s important to be aware of what environmentalism looks like across the world and across cultures. People are risking their lives everyday, armed with nothing but their voices.

Adelana Akindes is a senior majoring in environmental sciences and is the treasurer of PEC.

Trump’s military parade plays with fire

JOSEPH CANNING | canni001@rangers.uwp.edu

        It is a leaden November day; the washed-out sun glints off the helmets of thousands of gathered soldiers who march shoulder-to-shoulder in synchronized blocks down a wide road. Crowds look on. Behind the soldiers there are columns of tanks, artillery, missiles, cars, and behind them, more soldiers. Above it all, fighter jets are screaming and belching fire. Now, imagine those troops are Americans. Imagine that street is Pennsylvania Avenue.

Trump’s parade

        That image may very well materialize in the coming months—United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis confirmed on Wednesday, Feb. 7 during a White House press briefing that deliberation was underway at the Pentagon for the first American military parade since the Cold War. In fact, five different versions of the parade are under consideration. One version suggests timing the parade with the First World War’s centennial.

The request for such a parade came directly from U.S. President Donald Trump. The Washington Post reported that his words to defense staff were: “I want a parade like the one in France.” The President was referring to the Bastille Day parade held in Paris each July.

Wrong time

But the prospect of a display of American military might is worrying given the current political climate. Tensions between Russia and the United States bear upsetting resemblance to the Cold War. On the same day Mattis spoke to the press, Russian mercenaries attacked U.S. troops and their Syrian allies openly. Russia later reported that American bombers had engaged Russian troops. Conflicts between nations guised as support for foreign allies, so-called proxy wars, were once a common occurrence between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The current war in Syria certainly fits that description.

Infamous for his sophomoric and provocative language online, Trump repeatedly goaded North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un last September by referring to him has “Little Rocket Man” and threatening that the dictatorship wouldn’t “be around much longer!” Those comments were in response to that country’s developing nuclear program and militaristic aggression.

Trump’s infatuation with atomic roulette puts millions of lives at risk. So does this military parade; it answers aggression with more aggression, and only makes the U.S. look weaker for it. Historically, America has hearkened to the sensible advice of Theodore Roosevelt: “speak softly and carry a big stick.” A capricious show of force now would suggest to the world that America’s stick is perhaps not as big as it used to be.

Wrong place

Such a military parade would also be contradictory to the values and national spirit that American soldiers and veterans have fought to protect; many veterans have already voiced their concerns. The U.S. may have been forged in an armed struggle, but it never carried the same military legacy as countries like France or Russia that still hold military parades. Both of those countries hold annual parades to commemorate pivotal wars in their nations’ histories. Trump’s motivations for his parade remain unspoken.

In addition to being disrespectful, provoking, and baffling, the parade would surely be expensive. A military source told NPR costs might be as high as $50 million, while the Washington Post quoted a more conservative figure of $10 to $30 million. Regardless, unjustifiable expenses and popular outcry seem sure to rain out Trump’s parade in time.

 

Veteran Or Military: There Are Services Available

  KRYSTAL DODGE | thorn008@rangers.uwp.edu

Nationwide, there is an increasing number of veterans entering higher education. While these students vary from a myriad of backgrounds and situations they are considered nontraditional students. These students tend to be older, and are considered transfer students due to the college credits earned while in the military. According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), “One of the biggest frustrations voiced by veterans is the daunting and unfamiliar bureaucracy of higher education.”

Some Veterans have difficulty adjusting to civilian and academic life. They may also have to recover from physical and psychological injuries sustained during their time of service. According to Villanova University, veterans face five issues while returning to college. These issues are being overwhelmed, adjusting to a new rhythm, isolation, post-traumatic stress, and boredom. According to the AAC&U these issues may be the cause for veterans not using all benefits available to them. They state, “Recent data from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) show that only a small percentage of veterans use all of their federal education benefits.”

There are many assistance programs available to veterans and active-duty service members. Tuition assistance and housing cost assistance are available for full time students. There is also assistance available to their survivors or dependents. The benefits available to veterans are the GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation, Veterans Education Grant, and many more that are listed on the UW-Parkside website.

UW-Parkside also has a Veteran Services office to help students through this transition period. Their mission statement is “Our goal is to serve each of our military and veteran students and family members as you have served our country. Your service to our country means something at Parkside!”  The office is located in D-189 Wyllie Hall, and can be contacted by calling (262) 595-2497.

The university also provides the Military and Veteran Success Center. The center is located across from the Cashier’s Office in Wyllie D-192. The purpose of the center is to help military and veteran students to transition into the academic community. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. It is a quiet place to study or to meet other military or veteran students.

UW-Parkside has their own Veteran’s Admissions Counselor, Sergio Correa. He is in the admissions office, can be reached at (262) 595-2300. He assists with the application and benefit process and prior learning credit.

Kenosha County has a Division of Veteran services. The office is located at 8600 Sheridan Road in Kenosha, and is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Their phone number is (262) 605-6690. They assist veterans and their families obtain local, state, and federal benefits. They specialize in assisting in the claim process from start to finish.

There are many organizations on campus and in the community to assist veterans. It is important for each person to be their own advocate, and to make use of these opportunities. One of the biggest obstacles is not knowing what is available or where to go to get assistance.