Letters to the Editor

9/11 memorial design has merit, should be built

The 9/11 Memorial proposed by USF students Barron Hall and Aimee Font-Sanborn should be funded and built not only because former Student Government President Mike Griffin promised funding, but more importantly because of the merit of the design.

Hall and Font-Sanborn created a design intended to record the perspective of the USF community as witnesses to an event that is a watershed in U.S. history. It is an event that shaped our current foreign policy and will play a central role in the presidential election of 2004. Many of us knew people directly impacted by the Sept. 11 attacks; most of us know people in the National Guard or other branches of the armed services who have been charged with the national response to the attack. There are students enrolled at USF who will be asked to put their lives at risk in the continuing response to Sept. 11. If you have cognitive ability, you have been affected by the events of Sept. 11 and their aftermath. Why shouldn’t USF create a memorial to an event that had such a profound effect on the world?

It may be that The Oracle did not fully understand the design element of this project when they argued that the memorial should not be built because the attacks of Sept. 11 did not touch USF in “a way that separated it from other universities.” The core of the project design emphasizes the unique reflection each of us has of that day in our collective life.

Please go to www.usfcam.usf.edu for more information on this project.

Vincent Ahern is the coordinator of the public art program at USF’s Institute for Research in Art.

Assault rifle ban did not work, deserved to expire

The critical point about the ban is that the legal criteria defining an “assault weapon” were purely cosmetic — most laymen, shown a pre- and post-ban rifle side by side, would be unable to distinguish between the two. The presence or absence of the few secondary features controlled by the ban has no effect whatsoever on the “firepower” or functionality of a firearm — the caliber and type of ammunition remain the same.

Popular support for the ban can easily be explained by the fact that most people polled were unaware of the true scope of the law or wrongly believed that the ban applied to fully automatic weapons (a misconception eagerly propagated by the mass media). Despite being originally touted as a crime-reduction measure, even the ban’s proponents have been unable to prove any beneficial effect after 10 years of data collection.

The notion that terrorists would spend thousands of dollars legally purchasing semiautomatic small arms in the United States rather than smuggling cheaply acquired automatic weapons across our porous borders is laughable at best.

As for danger to law enforcement, FBI statistics show that officers are two to three times more likely to be killed by their own sidearm than by an “assault weapon,” with the latter being responsible for, at most, three officer deaths in any given year. Clearly criminals prefer other types of weapons.

Most important of all, the right of U.S. citizens to bear arms is guaranteed by our Constitution. Ben Franklin told us once that giving up liberty for some temporary safety is a bad bargain. In the case of the “assault weapons” ban, we didn’t even get temporary safety in exchange, just illogical restrictions on law-abiding gun owners.

Andrew Hoerter is a sophomore majoring in computer science.

Students need to learn respect

In some of my classes I have noticed a large amount of disrespect to the professors and other students. When the clock says it is time to leave, students pack their stuff up while the professor is still teaching or while other students are asking questions.

We all pay for class and should get what we pay for. As adults, we are allowed to leave class whenever we want and some have class halfway across campus ten minutes after the end of the previous class. That doesn’t mean you can’t pack up and leave quietly. That also doesn’t mean that the rest of the lecture hall (sometimes upward of 200 students) must do the same.

Show some respect and treat others as you would like to be treated.

Rob Jones is a freshman majoring in biology.