"God and Guns": Gun control perspectives

Dozens of students filled the HUB multipurpose room to attend the “God and Guns” panel on Feb. 17. Lead by world languages professor Lindy Scott, sociology professor Stacy Keogh-George and political science professor Julia Stronks, the panelists discussed gun control in the United States. Each panelist gave a different perspective on gun control. Scott gave a brief overview of the biblical understanding of how to respond to conflict.For the first three centuries Christians were largely pacifists following Jesus’ teachings. When joining the Roman army, soldiers had to swear allegiance to a Roman god or affirm the deity of the emperor. Because of this, Christians would not join the army, Scott said. Today soldiers do not have to swear allegiance to any God. This begs the question of whether or not Christians should participate in the military, he said. “Although they were pacifists, generally, in the New Testament, there is a conception of the society,” Scott said. While Christians were not active in the military in those times, they were still active members of society, Scott said. In Romans 13, the apostle Paul writes how the diaconates are to fight against evil, which leaves Paul to question what God wants from Christians. When Jews were in captivity in Babylon, they sought to leave but were told to find the shalom of Babylon. Followers of Christ should bring health to society, Scott said. “It’s a tricky balance,” Scott said. “How do people use their faith, practice their faith in ways to heal their country?” Scott said that it is not necessary for believers to arm themselves if they believe in the power of God. The Bible does not talk about the Second Amendment but it does reference swords. In one case, Jesus tells his followers to take the swords, Scott said. In another mission trip, he tells them to leave the swords.  The purpose of the swords is an open question. A Christian response to the political issue of gun control, which usually represents the two extremes in favor or not in favor of the second amendment, is compromise. Misikir Adnew, a freshman from Ethiopia attended the panel. In Ethiopia, gun control is not really discussed, Adnew said. She does not hear a lot of stories of people buying guns for individual use, except for hunting, as guns are largely used only in the military. Keogh-George spoke about guns in society and provided a PowerPoint with statistics on gun ownership. The 2010 general social survey shows that 34 percent of United States citizens own a firearm. When asked why they owned a gun in a 2013 survey, 48 percent polled said for protection, 32 percent said for hunting and 7 percent said for target/sport shooting, according to the presentation. “All of what was discussed was as shock to me to learn because it's a huge contrast from where I'm from,” Adnew said. Keogh-George also provided statistics of gun violence, including mass shootings. A mass shooting is defined as a single shooting incident which kills multiple victims. There were 372 mass shootings worldwide in 2015 which led to 475 deaths and more than 1,800 people injured, Keogh-George said. “That’s pretty scary,” Keogh-George said. “If that number doesn’t scare you that’s probably a product of desensitization we get from the media because we’re hearing about this so often. That’s a pretty significant number.” There is a disproportionality when the percentage of guns owned by U.S. citizens is compared to the percentage of the U.S. in the global population. The U.S. owns 46 percent of the world’s guns while making up 4 percent of the world’s population. “Our country is founded on the right to bear arms,” Keogh-George said. “That’s deeply, deeply embedded in our culture and ideology.” People perceive gun control as a policy to strip them of their guns. That’s not the case, Keogh-George said. Instead, gun control policy focuses on how guns can be used in a safer way in our country. Senior Nicholas Gosselin said he has always felt like gun control is a hot topic. “I agreed with most of what they said but my only questions came around when they were talking about stats and the fact that this is a huge problem because the numbers were low,” Gosselin said. “It seemed like for a large group of people, not even a full percentage of people, are actually hurt or harmed by guns…So why is the topic so controversial as it is?” Stronks spoke about the Second Amendment. In the colonies, Native Americans and people with mental instabilities were not allowed to have guns. Citizens carried guns because of the rural nature of the colonies, Stronks said. There was no law enforcement, so instead citizens had the responsibility to protect the community. Stronks read the second amendment which states, “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”. The language of the Second Amendment has sparked a debate of whether or not U.S. citizens should own guns, considering that we no longer live in a country with a militia, Stronks said. “We [haven’t had] very much Supreme Court guidance on how to interpret the Second Amendment for 200 years,” Stronks said. In the 1970s and 80s as a result of increased violence, partially due to gang violence, individual states started to pass fairly restrictive gun control laws, Stronks said. In 1975 in Washington, D.C., officials passed a law in which residents could only be granted the right to purchase a gun through the approval of the police commissioner. "I have no clear cut view of gun control just because I'm not that exposed to it back home," Adnew said. "I don't want to think the U.S. is more violent but I think that maybe in the U.S. people are more focused on individual rights.” However, a 2008 case in which a former police officer was denied a gun by the police commissioner led to the officer’s arrest for the possession of a gun. The National Rifle Association represented the man in court and the Supreme Court determined that his arrest was illegal because the Washington, D.C. law violated his Second amendment right, Stronks said. Although Supreme Court Justice Scalia said that it is an individual right to own guns, he also said that no rights are absolute, Stronks said. States across the country have laws that reflect their views on gun control. States are responsible for the safety, health and welfare of the people, not the federal government. That is why individual state laws regarding gun control are different. “As a person of faith I believe…in responsible gun control,” Stronks said.

Krystiana Morales Staff Writer

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Contact Krystiana Morales at kmorales17@my.whitworth.edu

They’re going down, we’re yelling timber

The recent windstorm sent trees falling all around Whitworth, especially in the Loop.

Whitworth is ranked 20th in beauty for Christian campuses across the globe, according to Christian Universities Online. The campus has a grounds crew that helps maintain this standard through upkeep of the campus.

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However, the unnatural growing conditions associated with this upkeep may have altered how the trees grow.

Some trees may have needed to be removed but were kept for their beauty. Others didn’t grow the way they needed to because of the sandy soil underneath much of Whitworth, university arborist Will Mellott said.

“Because of the soil, the trees’ roots can’t grow down, but have to grow out to reach water,” Mellott said. “This means that the roots are shallower and don’t provide as much support.”

Normally roots can extend out in equal proportion to the tree’s height in order to reach these nutrients. Because of the proximity of the trees they begin grafting which causes them to fall together, Mellott said.

Last year Whitworth experienced two small storms that uplifted almost 100 trees on campus. Because those trees fell, it left previously protected trees open to nature’s forces, Mellott said. Many of the trees that fell last summer had grafted roots, which caused them to fall in groups.

Mellott attributes the amount of trees that fell this year to the fact that this protection was gone.

It was those combined forces, along with the force of mother nature that ultimately caused the trees to fall.

“It is a combination of a bunch of factors, “ Mellott said. “Part of it is an action of God. Everything on this earth evolves and dies, and this is the way that the trees followed this course.”

Instead of looking at the destruction, he urges students to examine the future.

“This is an evolving landscape. As caretakers for God we are called to watch over them, but we can’t worship the creation,” Mellott said. “Just because the trees fell, doesn’t mean our responsibility to maintaining nature is over. Now we look to the future student and plant more other trees that do fit this system and follow the natural evolution.”

 

Parker Postlewait

Staff Writer

Contact Parker Postlewait at

ppostlewait16 my.whitworth.edu

Women’s soccer finishes difficult season with defeat

 

The Pirate Women took on the Lewis & Clark Pioneers last Saturday at home in a well-fought match resulting in a loss for the Pirates. Scoring twice in the first half, Whitworth was unable to hold off Lewis & Clark in the second half as they scored four times to win 4-2. This loss ends the season for the Pirates with a 6-11-3 record.

The Pirates started out strong with senior forward Tiara Pajimola scoring the first goal of the game within the rst 15 minutes, putting the Pirates up 1-0. Pajimola was assisted by junior Dallas Nelson, making this her fourth goal of the season.

“We came out wanting to play for each other,” Pajimola said. “We wanted to remember the reason we came to Whitworth and just have fun together. Each senior got to step in the eld for one last time in their collegiate career and it was a good feeling and an amazing experience.”

Whitworth continued the pressure on the Pioneers with another goal in the 23rd minute by freshman midfielder Kelly Wucherer, assisted by sophomore midfielder Jennifer Loehner, bumping the Pirates’ lead to 2-0. The Pirates finished out the half with their 2-0 lead. Senior goalkeeper Andrea Stump had four saves against Lewis & Clark during the first half.

“I thought the team played well overall, regardless of the score,” senior de- fender Hannah Bokma said. “We had a lot of great passing sequences that lead to a lot of opportunities on goal. We battled until the end.”

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Starting the second half, the Pioneers came out fast with a goal by Anna Thorndike in the 57th minute. Another goal followed shortly after by Lewis & Clark's Megan Ratfield. Thorndike scored once more less than 10 minutes later, resulting in a 3-2 lead over the Pirates. The final goal of the game came five minutes later, followed quickly by the final whistle.

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“Lewis & Clark has an outstanding offense and put away the opportunities they had in front of goal,” Bokma said. “I thought our team responded well to the goals and kept playing hard.”

Throughout the game, Whitworth had a total of 22 shots on goal compared to Lewis & Clark’s 18. Four players received yellow cards throughout the game.

“This game was full of mixed emotions,” junior midfielder Kailee Carneau said. “Our team is closer than we’ve ever been. We all bonded so close this season. Everyone on the field gave it their all.”

“Although we could not pull o the win, we left everything on the field and that’s all you can really ask for,” Bokma said.

The women’s soccer team has concluded its season and will return next fall for the 2016 season.

 

McKinley Powers

Staff Writer

Contact McKinley Powers at

mpowers18@my.whitworth.edu

Influential poet B.H. Fairchild inspires students

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The audience listened with rapt attention as poetry filled the hall. The poet had each member hanging on for the next phrase, filling the space with the flow of his stanzas, spinning imagery and narrative.

B.H. Fairchild is an accomplished poet, and has won many awards such as the Beatrice Hawley Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, according to his Poetry Foundation profile.

Fairchild’s poetry reading was held on Tuesday, Sept. 29 in Weyerhaeuser Hall. The performance drew in faculty, students and other members of the Spokane community. Some students were required to attend for various classes, and many were excited to hear the writer’s work.

“I had read a few B.H. Fairchild poems in high school and I really liked it,” freshman Jordan Seiersen said. “It was interesting hearing his poems out loud rather than reading them.”

The reading reinforced the importance of reading poems out loud. That was especially true for Fairchild’s poems because they are from personal experience, which gives his stories a deeper meaning and makes them applicable to the population. They are quite beautiful, Seiersen said.

English professor Thomas Caraway introduced Fairchild to the audience. A long-time fan of the poet’s work, Caraway loves how Fairchild brings in sound, metaphor, figurative language, as well as interesting narratives and characters, which makes him such a powerful writer, Caraway said.

“He’s able to combine all of the elements that make poetry so important,” Caraway said. “All these things kind of come together like at the end of a symphony where you’ve had all of these individual strings. You know, the choir part is good over here, and the strings are good over here, and the brass, every- thing, and with the end, the crescendo it all comes together. And that’s what his poetry does for me.”

Fairchild read the poems “Language, Nonsense, Desire,” “The Limits of my Language: English 85B,” “The Deposition,” “Cigarettes,” “What He Said, What She Said” and other pieces from his book “The Blue Buick.”

Fairchild provided commentary on each poem before he read them to provide insight into his personal experiences. He explained the inspirations for each piece, ranging from a high school Spanish video to his days working as a young adult in his hometown.

Fairchild spoke of his days before poetry, and his revelation that days of “work, eat, sleep” were aimless. He wanted a purpose, which he found in literature, because there is always a point and a promise. Poetry fulfilled that purpose, and the influences of growing up in a blue-collar American society is evident, Fairchild said.

His work explores the area where he was born and the empty landscapes that accompany it, along with the lives of the working residents. Many times his poems include his own family and friends, according to his Poetry Foundation profile.

The audience didn’t stay silent throughout the performance. Many times the silence was broken by laughter, usually caused by Fairchild’s humorous anecdotes. Students often take too many literary classes, and could not accept a poem for what it was an enjoy it, Fairchild said.

The friendly atmosphere brought many poetry lovers and new enthusiasts together.

 

Meghan Foulk

Staff Writer

Contact Meghan Foulk at

meghanfoulk19@my.whitworth.edu