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Letters to the Editor

Gun control will stop violence

Re: Letters to the Editor, “Answering guns with more guns” and “Violence could prevent violence,” April 18.

Two letters in the April 18 edition of the Oracle advanced the hypothesis that the Blacksburg massacre may have been averted if only Virginia Tech students, faculty and staff had been allowed to carry arms on campus. Perhaps so.

As USF’s skeptical students frequently say: It’s a lovely theory, but would it work in practice? Beyond personal opinion, what evidence exists for the effectiveness of such a policy? How many known instances are there of murder in public venues being stopped by private citizens carrying concealed weapons? Has the number of lives saved exceeded the number of accidental deaths caused? And what about the side effects of giving everyone a license to kill on a college campus? What would it feel like to sit in a classroom knowing that one might be surrounded by loaded handguns ready to go off any instant?

America has long stood behind the cliché “Guns kill people,” and I infer that the letter writers are proponents of the rejoinder “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” Now, suddenly, the nation realizes that both statements are incorrect. People with guns kill people. We’re not going to get rid of the people. So we’d damned well better get rid of the guns.

We call upon President Genshaft to mobilize the USF community to demand life-saving gun-control legislation in the state of Florida.

Bill Rosenthal is a visiting instructor of secondary education and Elaine V. Howes is an assistant professor of secondary education.

RIAA shouldn’t scare USF

Re: “RIAA suing 11 USF students” by Joshua Neiderer, April 12.

Fear not, accused 11 USF students, for if you are innocent, then you shall be proven not guilty. You have made a wise choice by not giving into the Recording Industry Association of America’s revenue-generating, Web-based “settlement-o-matic” option. It must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you have committed copyright infringement. You have more going for you than you know.

It’s just a matter of knowing what flaws are in the system to prove your innocence. For example, a suit filed by the RIAA against a woman was dropped due to her claim that an anonymous person uploaded the offending material over her unprotected wireless network. The RIAA uses the services of companies like BayTSP to look on the torrent network for users who search for copyrighted material. The Association fails to confirm, however, that the person actually uploaded or downloaded copyrighted material.

The RIAA only knows that someone was searching for the material, which is, in fact, perfectly legal. Through its method, people can be falsely accused and sent settlement letters when in fact they never violated the law.

If that is not enough, the USF network itself is flawed with how it identifies a user. Two possible ways exist that a user can masquerade as someone else: Every physical network connection on your computer, whether through direct plug-in or wireless, has a unique code called a MAC address. By using your MAC address, you register your computer on USF’s network at the beginning of every semester. Using easy-to-find software, you can change your own MAC address to someone else’s, thereby concealing yourself as that person.

The other flaw with USF’s network is that after your computer is registered, USF gives your computer a temporary IP address that identifies you. All someone would have to do is tell the computer to use someone else’s IP. Instead of letting USF assign you this IP, all someone would have to do is just tell the computer to use a different IP. The IP you tell your computer could be someone else’s. It’s that easy to get on the USF network as someone else.

So I ask, are these 11 students really the accused? Can it be proven that these students are the actual people that committed these crimes and not computers that merely appeared to be theirs? I think not. Good luck, and don’t give in to the RIAA’s demands of settlement.

Chase Dafnis is a junior majoring in Management of Information Systems.