Concealed weapons on campus OK, encouraged

Imagine a gunman walking into your classroom and opening fire while you are studying.

If none of the students in your classroom have a concealed weapon in their possession, then you and your classmates do not have much of a chance of surviving.

With recent mass shootings such as the tragedy in Aurora, Colo., which we have witnessed all over the news since the event occurred on July 20, the University of Colorado is now permitting concealed weapons on its campus. 

Most students are reacting to this in a positive way, but some professors have threatened to cancel class if any of their students have weapons on them. This controversial issue is one we can reflect on as the student body of Dixie State College because carrying a concealed weapon is allowed on our campus.

I believe that a lot of DSC students do not realize that concealed weapons are allowed. I certainly did not know until I did some research about the topic. So is this Colorado controversy a possible DSC controversy as well?

The positives clearly outweigh the negatives. I do not mean to be cliché, but guns do not kill people. People controlling the guns kill people. This is just like writing with a pencil; the pencil does not write down the letters. You do not tell the pencil, “Sign my name.” You physically pick up the pencil and write your name. It is the same as someone picking up a gun and pulling the trigger. The gun cannot shoot all by itself.

In Utah, the person who is carrying is required to take a four-hour class to obtain a permit. It is also highly recommended to get some hands-on training with a skilled gun handler.

The carrier should have plenty of knowledge about the seriousness and responsibility that carrying entails. Public safety officers also run a significant amount of tests on carriers to provide information on their criminal and mental background. 

Not just anyone off the street can carry a weapon. Some states don’t allow private citizens to carry a concealed weapon at all.

One thing that makes this whole situation a lot more comfortable to the public is that these weapons are concealed. The weapons are not seen. The purpose of concealment is a win for both sides. The only one who knows a person is carrying is the actual person doing the carrying. Everyone who is uncomfortable with seeing a gun does not even have to know it is there.

I do not feel comfortable carrying because I have not seen the need to on our campus. I think it will be something that will be more common in the near future. Carrying concealed weapons on campus is seen as an increase of security and awareness. 

Luckily, we all have the freedom of choice — the choice to carry or not and to be able to respect the people who feel the need to.

Imagine a gunman walking into your classroom and opening fire while you are studying. If you and some of your classmates have concealed weapons, then the ending can play out differently. Think about how many injuries and lives may be saved. 

Movie nights redefined by creative students

Popcorn isn’t the only thing in need of spicing up when it comes to watching movies.

It’s been said there’s nothing to do in St. George besides watch movies, so make the most out of the experience.

Maddison Rodet, a junior integrated studies major from Santa Clara, said she used to make movies with her friends.

“We would think of a plot or reenact a scene from a movie…and somebody else would judge whose was best,” Rodet said.

Rodet also said she made a movie with a large group as part of a date.

For those who are camera shy, Rodet had another suggestion.

“Grab a laptop and head out to the sand dunes for an interesting movie experience,” Rodet said. “It’s fun—especially on a summer night because the sand is kind of cold.”

Make sure to take blankets to avoid getting covered in sand.

“You have to be careful because lots of sand can get in your computer,” Rodet said.

The sand dunes are not the only way to make use of the natural desert landscape in St. George.

Carson Ence, a junior biology major from St. George, recommended watching movies in the desert.

For a drive-in movie feel, project the movie onto a flat surface, make sure the sound system is in check, and watch the movie from the back of a truck.

Lisa Jensen, a junior nursing major from Pleasant Grove, suggested driving farther away from the city where it’s dark so the stars can be seen.

If the desert is too far of a drive, a park is another destination for movie-goers.

Jessica Hardman, a sophomore nursing major from St. George, said she has watched movies with her friends at parks around town.

“You can get a lot of people,” Hardman said. “That’s really fun.”

Keep in mind that St. George parks close after the sun goes down so make sure to go earlier in the evening. There is an exception to the park-after-dark rule, though. The city of St. George offers a free movie every second and fourth Friday of the month at the Sunset on the Square event.

Deanna Osborn, a freshman physical therapy assistant major from Detroit, said she enjoys the free entertainment at Sunset on the Square.

“It’s a really relaxed, free environment,” Osborn said.

The only thing that might cost money is those cravings for popcorn and cotton candy offered by a few of the many vendors at the event. 

Another fun movie experience Osborn had was at a friend’s private pool. Osborn said there was a projector screen outside, and everyone lounged in the pool while the movie played.

DSC men’s soccer beats Cal State 2-1

The Dixie State College men’s soccer team beat California State University Los Angeles on Thursday.

DSC, winning the game 2-1, gave the No. 8 ranked team a good game. DSC kicked its first goal deep in the net toward the middle of the first half.

Both teams were competitive to try and move the ball down the field with multiple shots.

CSULA capitalized on its advantage and took an easy shot and brought the score 1-1 by the end of the half.

With a foul from DSC’s side, CSULA got a free penalty kick that resulted in junior goal keeper Tyler Walter’s hand injury during the beginning of the second half. Walters was replaced with freshman goal keeper Bryan Brubaker.

Brubaker saved the day by stopping all three shots to the net in the final 44 minutes of the game.

DSC later had a perfect shot set up and allowed a header for freshman defender David Stirland to make the winning goal for the Red Storm.

“This just sends a message to the guys,” said head coach Danny Ortiz. “With all their work we can play with anybody. If we can get that day in and day out, we will be just fine”

CSULA kicked shots all the way across the field to try and recover, but kept coming up short as time ran out.

The Red Storm play at 8 p.m. on Monday at Hansen Stadium against Colorado Mesa University.

Location-based apps create acceptable stalker society

If you were to ask me where people I know are, I can tell you with a glance at my Facebook page because location apps have made stalker-ish habits so easy to develop.

Some might say it’s downright creepy. I just think it’s convenient.

Think about it: How many times have you seen the “headed to the gym” post on Facebook and wondered what gym that person goes to? Just wait for that check-in to the gym and you know the name, address and hours — everything you’ve ever wanted to know about that gym.

Let’s say, though, you take it one step further and lurk around to find out who else has checked in at that location. Before you know it, you are scouring for your long-time crush so you know where to work out to run into him or her. No, just me?  Well — moving on then.

Checking in on Facebook is based more on wanting people to know where you are occasionally, which is great, but apps like Foursquare exist for the sole purpose of everyone knowing where you are every time you leave your house. Foursquare is a location-based app that not only gives you points for every check in, but also rewards you with “mayorships” when you check-in multiple times in the same location. I mean come on, how cool is it to have the bragging rights to being mayor of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons?

The creepy aspect of this app to some is the fact it links to both Facebook and Twitter to provide every friend and follower with your exact location. I personally have logged more than 1,000 check-ins on the app between about April of last year and now. To me, apps like this are an amazing tool for individuals, as well as business owners looking for ways to promote their business, in this Internet generation.

Back when I was a kid, we all thought the people with tin foil hats on their heads were hilarious. There was no way government agents, or aliens for that matter, were tracking us — they were just crazy!

Now you look around at how we document our movements and activities with these location-based apps and services we surround ourselves with and wonder: If we make it so easy now for the government to track us through a simple Facebook page, then are the aliens next after all? I certainly hope so. I’ve been trying to signal the mother ship for ages now.

Darkness not deterrent for sporty students

Elementary and middle school night games are usually played in small towns on somebody’s farm, in a tight-knit neighborhood or in a church parking lot. 

Does that seem strange? Wasn’t the curfew in the 1980s at sunset? Not anymore. From elementary to college, night games are still a fad. 

“It all started by doing mostly illegal stuff,” said Travis Sieh, a senior criminal justice major from Tooele. “Nothing bad, but running around on the golf courses and jumping into other people’s yard had a lot do with the night games I played.” 

Sieh said his favorite night game to play was ghost in the graveyard where everybody determined one base and a ghost. The ghost would count down the numbers on a clock and once he hit 12 would scream, “Midnight.”

“Everybody would have to try and hide from the ghost and make it to the base before he caught them,” Sieh said. “It was my all-time favorite game.”

Whitlee Roundy, a junior elementary education major from Richfield, said her favorite night game was called bigger and better.

“We would go from house to house asking a person to give us something bigger and better than a penny and then ask the next house to top the next door neighbor,” Roundy said. “I loved it because it involved a lot of friends getting together.” 

Roundy said now her night games consist of throwing glow sticks in a hot tub and going night swimming. She said she works too much to play night games anymore.

Karli Kriese, a sophomore general education major from Palmdale, Calif., said she didn’t play night games as a kid.

“I guess growing up in California you don’t really play games out on the streets,” Kriese said. “We would play freeze tag during the day and if it happened to get dark we would keep playing, but not intentionally.”

Kriese said her favorite thing to do after dark in California was body surfing on the beach.

“When we were younger it was just body surfing and it was fun, but once kids started to get into high school it turned into nude body surfing,” Kriese said. “I guess the type of night games change as you get older.”

Sieh said now that he is in college, he has somewhat forgotten about the games he played as a kid.

“Now my night games consist of playing volleyball out at the school’s courts or playing glow-in the-dark Nerf football,” Sieh said. “Not many college students want to go play freeze tag anymore.”

Sieh said he would love to rehash some of the true night games he used to play as a kid.

“I wish I would’ve grown up in Utah sometimes,” Kriese said. “I would’ve loved to have a childhood like that—where running around outside was OK and not scary.”

While DSC students may no longer play their childhood night games, they still find time to bring together friends to play after dark. DSC offers  plenty of space for night volleyball, glow-in-the-dark Nerf football, and even a little capture the flag — if you’re up to it.

Night crime in St. George low, still present

St. George is one of the safest areas in the state of Utah, and Dixie State College’s campus is even safer.

However, even though the likelihood of victimization is low, students should still be aware that crimes happen in southern Utah, and they can happen to anyone.

According to a crime rate comparison of southern Utah against the national median, about one in 1,100 people have the chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in St. George. However, the highest crime rate in St. George is specifically for property crimes. A person has about a one in 45 chance of being the victim of a property crime.

Property crimes are defined by the Utah Department of Public Safety as “the unlawful taking, carrying, leading or riding away of property from the possession, or constructive possession, of another person.”

Officers with the St. George Police Department agree with the statistics: The southern Utah area is generally a safe place to be—even after dark.

Captain James Van Fleet said DSC’s campus has one of the lowest crime rates in the city.

“For the most part, whether they’re from the area or out of the area, [students] are pretty aware of the things that go on on campus,” he said. “And that’s why [DSC] has a very minimal amount of crime.”

Van Fleet said Campus Security is efficient at DSC, but a lot of the credit for the school’s safety can be given to the students themselves.

He said students should always report suspicious activity, even if it could be nothing. He advised people to keep an eye out for things happening that aren’t usual.

“We ask all our citizens if something doesn’t look right, or if something looks out of place, to call us,” Van Fleet said. “We’d rather go out and check it and have it be nothing [than have it go] unreported and be a crime.”

Van Fleet said there are crimes against people and crimes against property, and darkness usually promotes property crimes.

He said cars are a huge target for thieves, and an unattended and unlocked car that’s parked in an obscure lot will be more likely to be burglarized than one sitting directly under a streetlamp.

He said leaving anything on the seats of a car, even if it looks like it may be worth nothing, is an open invitation for a burglar. He said some burglars will break car windows if they think there’s something of value on the seats.

Van Fleet also advised students to shut their home curtains and leave an outside light on whenever they’re not home. If a burglar sees valuable objects inside a window and realize the residence is empty, then the burglar might take a chance and break in.

While property crimes are more prevalent, Van Fleet said crimes against people will always take precedence.

“Property can always be replaced,” he said. “People can’t.”

He advised students to travel in groups after dark and stay in well-lit areas. He said if people must travel alone at night, then they should travel where people can see or hear them easily if they need help.

Donovan Millet, a freshman general education major from St. George, said when he ventures out for nighttime activities like camping and shooting, he’s never too fearful of being a victim.

However, he did say there are areas of St. George that can get questionable when the sun goes down.

“It really depends on where you’re at,” he said. “I tend to feel pretty safe around [the college]. Boulevard sometimes can get a little weird, and the same with Dixie Downs. Washington is kind of sketchy sometimes.”

He said the St. George Boulevard, Dixie Downs Road and Washington City are the places where the not-so-law-abiding citizens tend to hang out. But even though the nighttime population can come across as a bit seedy, Millet said usually the danger is just in his head. 

“Sometimes you kind of think when people are walking over, there might be a chance you can get mugged or something,” he said. “But that’s just kind of one of those things in the back of your mind. I’ve never gotten jumped or [anything like that].”

Van Fleet said that, although there are perceptions of certain areas being more dangerous than others, no single areas are particular hubs for drugs or crime.

“We don’t have specific drug or gang areas,” he said. “Unfortunately we make drug arrests uniformly across the city. Crimes are going to occur wherever there are people who are going to commit crimes.”

Dakota Shook, a general education major from St. George, also said the area around DSC was safe, and it doesn’t take much to keep it that way.

“Just use common sense,” he said.

To get perspective, sometimes the St. George nightlife needs to be compared to other cities in other states.

Ian Yarosz, a freshman biology major from Utica, N.Y., said St. George is tame in comparison to his hometown.

“Utica is the bath salt capital of the planet,” he said. “This one time I saw a girl run out of a bar butt naked yodeling. There was a news story on it a couple days later. She was actually on the bath salts.” 

Yarosz said he’s seen enough people using bath salts to know how they behave, and he hasn’t seen anything like that in St. George. In fact, the scariest thing to happen to him at night didn’t even involve humans.

“The weirdest thing (that’s happened to me) was I went on a midnight run a couple of nights ago, and there was this random dog wandering down the street,” he said. “That’s about it. There’s really nothing here.”

Reports on crime rates in Utah are still being compiled for 2011 but The Utah Department of Public Safety’s full report on 2010 shows the overall crime rate for the state dropped by 4.12 percent in one year. 

DSC’s Campus Security did not include its numbers in the official report, but the rest of Washington County’s police agencies reported that property crimes, specifically larceny, rank higher than any other crime by almost triple.

Drug offenses in St. George ranked third in the state behind West Valley and Salt Lake City. According to the UDPS report, more than 1,000 arrests in 2010 were “drug [and/or] narcotic offenses.” 

The drug offenses and any violent crimes are not listed as being related.

However, violent crimes still happen, and Millet said vigilance is key to staying safe.

“It really depends on the group of people you run around with,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re at, if you’ve got someone who’s going to go piss people off, people are going to react. If you don’t bring reproach upon yourself, then you should be fine.”

The Skewed Review: darkness keeps ‘adultisms’ at bay

Oh darkness, I love thee so.

One of the most horrible things about becoming an adult is the tendency to ignore our childish thrills. We don’t believe we can fly if we try hard enough, we’re definitely never going to find that pot of gold, and that monster in the closet suddenly stops existing at night.

Or does it?

As adults, our brains are constantly trying to rationalize things and make us behave in rational ways. Our dreams and nightmares become just those things that happen when we sleep. Once the sun peaks, the light shines, and we’re able to see the whole truth. And the truth, when you come to think of it, is so bland.

However, in the dark of the night when we can’t see what lurks in the shadows, the truth becomes the worst thing we can imagine. Whatever it is our brains conjure are the things that wait for us in the places where the streetlights don’t shine.

So, let me deviate from my Poe-etic rant and review our little hamlet as it stands after dark. I’m rating the streets of St. George nine out of 10 burned-out streetlamps for being too blasted bright. Here we are, stuck in the middle of a desert where we could fully enjoy the wonders of the night sky, and what do we do? We try our hardest to make certain each star has to compete with our LDS temple.

Hopefully it’s somewhat clear how much I value the night. It’s beautiful and it’s scary. You know, like me.

Darkness is the time when the adultisms that have been beaten into us over a lifetime seem to recede a bit in favor of those vampirical forces that rear their terrorific faces in the absence of light. Yes, I made up three words for that run-on sentence. The adult in you sort of hates it, right?

That’s where the night comes in handy. When we can’t see the game of life being played, it’s easier to break those stupid rational rules.

Who’s to say there isn’t some demonic hell creature in your hallway closet that can only appear at midnight? Can anyone say for certain that a coven of witches doesn’t gather outside your dorm every new moon and cast spells? Is it absolute fact that a dragon doesn’t appear and search our streets for gold when it’s impossible to see? Can you show me documentation that a flock of fairies isn’t hiding in the rubble of the Whitehead building just waiting for the sun to go down so they can fly around and cause mischief? 

I advise you to take some time at night and let your imagination run free. Drive out to the middle of the desert, lay out on a blanket, and look up to the heavens. Let your thoughts get carried away. Turn out all the lights in your house, sit alone in the darkness, and see how long it takes for your imagination to create some other-worldly being.

Or do what I do. Go on a midnight run down an abandoned trail, or take a witching hour hike up a darkened mountainside. It’s thrilling to imagine some zombie or cannibal or Leatherface just waiting around the next corner to gouge out my eyeballs. In a way, it also makes me appreciate being alive a little more.

OK, I must deviate again to add a review. For those of you who think you can actually go out running by yourselves in the middle of the night, you need to reevaluate our society. Your review is to read five out of five articles on rapes and muggings that happen at night. If you take my advice and go nighttime adventuring, then do it with a buddy. Or better yet, do it with multiple buddies who are linebackers.

We have plenty of time to see things as they are when the sun shines. It’s when our planet faces the void of space that we get to see things as they might never be. Nighttime is when our inner child returns to us.

So I say, come out, little child. Come play in the dark.