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After the shooting at Virginia Tech, there was a common belief amongst most people that Universities should be a safe location. Indeed, this is a belief we should try to uphold. However, many urban schools struggle to reach that standard. In the same state, Virginia Commonwealth University, which now holds the annual Governor’s campus safety conference, is a mile below such a standard of safety. The area is plagued by shootings at a night club, the violent crowd brought in by rap concerts, and homeless or impoverished people hanging around.

It is not rare to hear gun shots from my dorm building, which in fact had a bullet fly though one of the windows in the years prior to my matriculation into the university. In the month before school, someone was shot in the restaurant across the street that is tailored to a night club crowd. Beside the restaurant is the night club, where police have to go nearly every time there is an event there. During my first year at the university, there was a rap concert at the famous Landmark Theater, lying in the middle of the school’s campus, which led to a gathering of people at the Monroe Park corner. I had walked past about fifteen or thirty minutes before some maniac decided to a fire a gun into the air. Due to the shooting at VT, an alert system was created to notify students in the case of an emergency. However, the system has yet to be perfected (There is actually a test in a few minutes…) and is not even used during such instances as I have mentioned. But who’s to say that a guy won’t come running from the club onto the campus firing a gun. If this is the case, the alert system is useless for the most immediate danger to the VCU population. Yet, there are too many incidents at the club or in the streets to sound of the alarm every time something happens. It is best to eliminate this danger, but the school is slow to take such action.

Most of the homeless people in the area are polite and passive, not pestering anyone about giving them money if they say no. But because of the large number of impoverished people in the area who lack the means to buy food on a daily basis, there is certainly a number of dangerous people amongst them. The beautiful Monroe park is known for the number of homeless people who crash there. After dark, it is essentially off limits, mostly due to the potential for incidents. Dating couples can forget about an evening walk in the park, and in fact anyone can forget walking just about anywhere after dark because the surrounding area is worse. VCU has the capability to aid the homeless, even if it is just enough to curb the danger to its students and faculty. And with an image that has been trashed recently, the school should now have the motivation to so. The school spends so much money on construction, but have they considered buying out the club? The school produces and distributes so much food per day, but have they considered helping supply the homeless with food so they won’t ask the school population for money? Have they considered developing plans to help homeless move on and to renovate Monroe Park, the very namesake of the Undergraduate campus? I am aware that the are is better than it was in the past, but it is still not even close to good enough. Some improvement is not an excuse for taking a lackadaisical approach to the future.

It would be of great benefit to everyone; students, faculty, and the homeless population, if VCU would take responsibility of the area and act to truly change the community. “With great power comes great responsibility.” VCU has yet to accept its responsibility for the safety of students and successful function of the community. The school pays the mayor hundreds of thousands to teach a class for which he rarely shows up. I think VCU can spare some effort for the betterment of the students and the community.

The United Nations has reported that the number of people killed by AIDS has gone down for the second striaght year. This is, itself, incorrect since AIDS is an “immune deficiency” and other health issues actually cause death. Nonetheless, it shows that the lives of people living with AIDS has been extended, or rather their deaths have been postponed. While this is happening, the total number of infections is still rising. It is good that we are improving medications and treatments, but we are losing the battle that is most important; prevention (citation: reuters). Even in the United States, there are some areas that have been reported to be as bad as some places in Africa. With all the money going towards the AIDS fight, it seems our approach is not working.

Research is a slow moving process. Dr. Robert B. Herberman has taken the initiative to voice concerns based on early research. His actions in making a warning about the use of cell phones is plausible and respectable considering their wide use and the true nature of their uncertain effects. The Electromagnetic fields created around cell phones have recently become a big concern, especially for children who tend to use cells more and more every year. What kind of long-term effects do electromagnetic fields actually have? Are their any other items or technologies, such as laptops, that could be of concern as well? There are many questions that fit within the issue, and almost no answers. If cell phones do cause problems, the problems may not be small issues. The brain uses electrical charges on a regular basis, and electromagnetic fields could alter the function of the brain resulting in tumors. Headaches will not be the concern here (citation: AP).

I made another sonic the hedgehog health tip video. This one has more information, and I took up my effort to the next level. I continue to try to maintain some humor and some lightheartedness, but the purpose of the video is clear; to educate. I tried to keep the main body, with the explanation, clear and concise. The transcript is as follows:

“Learning to deal with stress is one the best ways to stay healthy. The inability to resolve stress can result in chronic pain or sickness. The body system that controls reactions to stress, the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis is linked to the immune system and a number of other areas that can affect day-to-day well being. The Hypothalamus is located just above the brain stem…The Pituitary Gland is under the Hypothalamus…And the Adrenal Glands are on top of the kidneys. The processes of each organ rely on the others in a cycle. If one portion of the cycle has a problem, the entire cycle may have a problem. Insomnia, Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or other health problems can be the result. Stress management tactics can help avoid such issues.

I recommend expressing healthy anger. Battling Dr. Robotnik is certainly stressful so I often taunt him to make myself feel better. Experts list other ways to deal with stress as well:

 

1) Seeking out others with Similar Issues – My buddy Knux has had a few run-ins with eggman

2) Find a Hobby – Tails likes to work on his airplane, the tornado

3) Use a Mantra – I am the fastest thing alive…I am the fastest thing alive

4) Take a deep breath and count to ten – This works at the worst of times

5) Read a Book – I think a comic would do

6) Space out or use your imagination – (Hum)

7) Make Plans – One day I will defeat Eggman for good

 

Stress doesn’t have to last, Let it stay in the past.”

 

 

 

July 23 and 24 CNN will be showing its special about “black america.” I am tempted to watch, and may very well do so, but I get the feeling I would be disappointed by the way went about displaying a group of people. The main question I have is if they are going to focus on the negative or the positive. For example, it is true that young black men are often undevoted to their families, but when I volunteered in a hospital pediatric emergency room, I remember seeing numerous black fathers who were completely dedicated to their children. Another concern I have about the show is that it appears to lump all black people together. Amongst the black community there is immense diversity and individualism as amongst any culture. The timing of the show is very good with the recent uprising of racism, but will the show be powerful enough to make people think? Will the show be from a viewpoint that does not destroy established community, but brings multiple communities of people together? Maybe my expectations are too large or maybe I have a misconception of what the show is actually about, but with the publicity they are giving the special…I hope that it is truly deserving of the spotlight.