By Emma Birky    Sterling, KS — May 3, 2018, 2:00 P.M.

When we started going to school as children it was drilled into our little heads the importance of communicating what you are feeling, whether it’s asking another student to share the jump rope or talking to teachers about assignments. Since the very beginning, we were taught how to socialize with other students and with our teachers.

But it appears all those skills we learned back in grade school have been thrown out the window once we get to college.

Communication is one of the first things we learn as human beings. I am not talking about just speaking words or having a conversation, communication is also about being clear and concise.

I myself am a Communication major and when people ask what my major is I usually get a small chuckle, or they will ask me what “Communication” even means. Even at Sterling College people have referenced it as the easiest major on campus. I didn’t pick Communication because it was easy, because believe me, it isn’t.

I picked Communication because it is a skill that everyone needs to master, and it is field of study that will be relevant for as long as humanity exists (sorry science majors it looks like I’ll be the one with a job when yours is entirely taken over by machines).

If communication was easy I wouldn’t be writing this editorial. The fact is communicating is not as easy as people think. The dictionary defines communication as “the imparting or exchanging of information or news.” Communication takes two people, one giving the information or news and the other one receiving. It is important that everyone who needs to know the information is included.

Being a good communicator takes a lot of different characteristics.Communication takes patience and kindness, and it requires selflessness and humility.

Patience is important when communicating with others because the message being sent might not be one that is enjoyable or fun but that is life.

That is “adulting.”

It can often be frustrating working with many different people especially at a place like Sterling College where we have many different departments using the same space, and it can be easy to get frustrated. It would make a world of difference if people were patient with one another and realize that we are still a part of the same school and same family.

People at Sterling College tend to worry too much about what people might think or worry too much about how someone might respond so we tiptoe around each other to avoid hurting feelings, but that can be easily misinterpreted as passive aggressiveness.

The Lord calls us to be open and honest with each other especially to those who are believers. It is okay, in fact encouraged, to communicate and share our frustrations as Colossians 3:13 says, “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you also must forgive” (English Standard Version).

On the Sterling College campus one of the first things you hear is “servant leadership.”

This idea of servant leadership is seen all over campus especially through the statue of Jesus washing Peter’s feet. This statue is a reminder to strive to be Christ-like, placing others before us and acting in humility.

On a small campus like Sterling College, we cannot be wasting our time with pettiness and arguments. Open communication expressed with selflessness and humility will be more accepted than just “beating around the bush.”

As Matthew 7:12 says “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law of the Prophets.”

Our campus is too small to allow these arguments and issues to keep happening.

And for Pete’s sake, we are all adults.

We are taught how to share our feelings in grade school, so why is it so difficult for us now to communicate with other adults.

Have we really lost so much of our communicating skills through technology? I think not!

We need to keep each other informed and when miscommunication happens, because it will happen, then we can address those issues with patience and humility.

By Anna Adamyk   Sterling, KS — March 7, 2018, 7:13 P.M.

In light of recent events, gun control is a huge topic in politics and media. We’re bombarded with opinions from both sides. One side claims more gun restrictions will prevent mass shootings and the other side claims that people need more guns to use as defense against shooters.

We’re all familiar with popular sayings that surface when gun control is being debated. Two popular ones are “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and “Once guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

The National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Executive Vice President, Wayne Lapierre, spoke in an interview after the Sandy Hook shooting saying “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” which is another slogan adopted by gun rights activists.

Now, after the recent Florida school shooting, those quotes are being thrown around once again along with blaming the nation’s poor mental health system. President Trump commented on the teenage boy’s mental health saying that, “[there are] so many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed.” NRA’s Dana Loesch commented “This individual was nuts… none of us support people who are crazy, who are a danger to themselves, who are a danger to others, getting their hands on a firearm.”

Government regulating guns is scary. It gives the government more power. It makes us feel incapable of protecting ourselves. It violates our Second Amendment rights. It takes away a hobby from thousands of people.

But mass shootings continue to shock the nation. And we just “send our prayers and thoughts” to those whose lives are shaken.

Let’s look at our past.

On Dec. 14, 2012, 20 children (between the ages of 6 and 7) and 6 adults were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut.

On July 20, 2012, 12 were killed and 58 were injured in the shooting at Aurora, Colorado, in a movie theater.

On June 12, 2016, 49 people were killed (more than 50 injured) in a mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando.

On Oct. 1, 2017, 58 people were killed (nearly 500 injured) when a shooter targeted concert attendees in Las Vegas.

On Nov. 5, 2017, 25 were killed (around 20 injured) during a mass shooting in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

On Feb. 14, 2018, 17 people were killed during school in Parkland, Florida.

These are just the most well-known mass shootings. Many more occurred between each of these.

Now, let’s look at other how other countries have dealt with similar situations.

A mass shooting in 1989 at a Montreal engineering school killed 14 students. Canadian officials wrote laws that require a 28-day waiting period for a gun, mandatory safety training classes, and bans on military style guns and ammunition as well as high-capacity magazines.

A mass shooting in Australia killed 35 people in 1996. The conservative Australian government established laws that restricted automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles and created a temporary gun buyback program that brought in 650,000 assault rifles.

Other countries like Japan, Norway, Israel and the United Kingdom tightened their gun laws after major shootings in the 1990s and early 2000s. Each of the previously mentioned countries has seen positive results since their gun laws were passed. Each country has a gun homicide rate of less than 0.5 per 100,000 people in contrast to America’s 2.9 per 100,000 people.

So what’s keeping America from regulating guns?

One reason could be the NRA.

They have endorsed catchy slogans that support guns. They gave thousands of dollars to 14 specific Florida Politicians and spent $54 million during the 2016 presidential election ($20 million was used fighting against Hillary Clinton and $11 million was used supporting Donald Trump). They suggested arming teachers. They remind people of the Second Amendment rights, which was written before assault style rifles were even available to the public. All of these things sound like the NRA is looking out for America’s well-being but in reality, it’s an amazing marketing strategy. If guns are legal, the NRA makes money. And the more the NRA convinces people we need guns, the more money they make. It’s not about protection, it’s about money.

The United States currently has regulations that prevent gun sales to individuals who are under the age of 18 (or 21 if you want a handgun), mentally disabled, a convicted criminal or were dishonorably discharged from the military. Purchasers have to supply identification and usually get a background check, but some private dealers are not required to conduct background checks. There is no way to check if the person has a mental illness and there are no safety instruction classes required.

Common-sense gun laws tease conservative views on guns but the past proves they make a difference.

Why does this matter to a college student?

We’re becoming part of a society that isn’t shocked by gun homicides or school shootings. We’re used to headlines reading about the shooting downtown that killed two people or a school shooter that murdered 15 children. We’re buying into messages about gun rights and gun advocacy because it’s what our parents think.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You have the ability to learn from the past and you have the power to determine the future. Simple regulations can go a long way. Gun control really isn’t scary.

 

Sources:

“U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons” by Jonathan Masters from Council on Foreign Relations

“How Australia And Other Developed Nations Have Put A Stop To Gun Violence” by Walter Hickey from Business Insider

“U.S. mass shootings in 2012” by The Washington Post

“Deadliest Mass Shootings in Modern US History Fast Facts” by CNN News