Letters to the editor for Dec. 27, 2013

Illegal turn on Bunker

To the Editor:

Even though I am no longer a student at Anoka High School, this issue still concerns me. Everyday after school last year it would take me forever to get home when I lived five minutes away from school. The traffic was always horrible, and I put blame to the illegal turn on Bunker that is right outside the school.

Instead of being able to take this turn, I would have to go sit at the turn lane on Bunker and 7th Avenue and wait for a long period of time to be able turn and make my way home.

I would like to see a change and make this illegal turn legal. Doing so would decrease the traffic that is after school everyday and would help the students get home faster.

This would also help the students who are leaving school at a time that is not after school. For example, when I would leave school after volleyball practice and there were no cars around, I would have to go sit at a turn lane and wait forever.

It seemed ridiculous to have to wait at a turn lane when I could have made my turn earlier and saved myself some time.

Making this turn legal would help save multiple students a lot of time. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Mariah Welle
Ramsey

Unethical practices

To the Editor:

According to Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary, factory farming is the main source of U.S. food production, but also produces harmful practices that are unethical.

Gene Baur has traveled all over America examining farms and documenting the treatment of farm animals. He has helped introduce the first U.S. laws to prohibit cruel farming practices in Florida, Arizona and California.

Most consumers don’t pay attention to where their food comes from. Due to their busy schedules, people get in and get out of the grocery stores as fast as possible.

The food industry likes to put labels on its products showing animals looking healthy and happy.

For example, milk jugs show the cow standing in a nice green field with the sun shining. This is a false portrayal. The livestock in these industrial sized farms are bred to grow unnaturally large to produce more meat, milk and eggs, according to Baur.

Their bodies grow so fact and large that pain and deformities result. Furthermore, due to high demand, factory farmers try to speed up production, which leads to further abuse of these animals.

Chickens are thought to be the most abused, according to Baur. Female chickens are “debeaked” shortly after being hatched, which means having a portion of their beaks cut off by a hot blade to avoid feather pecking caused by the stress of cramped cages they are kept in.

Because there are many nerves in a chicken’s beak, debeaking causes severe and continuous pain.

The life of pigs doesn’t get much better. Baur reports that the average life of the pig starts out with getting impregnated at about seven months of age. Pigs keep getting pregnant until they’re sent to the slaughterhouse after a certain number of years.

During this process the pigs are kept in small iron crates that don’t allow much movement.

Cows in factory farms live in the same depressing and abusive conditions. According to Baur, shortly after the calves are born, they go through painful mutilations, such as dehorning or branding. They then are fed an unnatural diet to fatten them quickly until they meet the market weight before they are sent to the slaughterhouse.

People need to be aware of this cruel treatment so changes can be made. Rather than buying factory farmed products from “big box” stores, consumers should try local meat markets.

The meats are directly from the producer, instead of being processed and shipped all over the country. If consumers vote with their pocketbooks, these companies would rethink their harmful practices of factory farming.

Yours faithfully,
Kyle Koppy
Andover

Video games obsession

To the Editor:

Last September, a man by the name of Aaron Alexis murdered a dozen innocent people in a shoot-out. It wasn’t long after this tragedy that people found out about Alexis’ obsession with violent games and drew a correlation between violent games and the massacre.

This is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it’s almost a cliche. Many people believe that censorship and regulations of video games can help curb such behavior, however, I do not believe video games should be censored, and specifically I believe that violent video games are unlikely to cause violent behavior.

At this time, there has been no study proving that video games do or do not cause violent behavior. Some studies suggest that video game playing acts as a form of catharsis, letting players take out their aggression on the virtual equivalent of a punching bag, while other studies claim video games increase aggression in players.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United States has by far the highest rate of gun-related murders while consuming less video games per capita than Canada and the Netherlands. There’s also data showing a decrease in juvenile violence despite an increase in video game sales.

We often hear of notorious mentally-ill people playing violent video games and committing violent acts. A possible explanation could be that as video games become more accessible, it’s more common to hear of somebody playing these games.

There is more correlation between a child lacking compassion and positive guidance than one where a child played violent games. It could also be stated that instead of violent games breeding violent people, perhaps it’s that already violent people seek out violent games.

Those who are unfamiliar with this media are more inclined to believe it causes violent behavior and lay blame. This combined with the fact that some mentally-ill people do play violent games helps build the hysteria around video game censorship.

Essentially, the censorship of violent games is an argument between free speech and security. I believe that by censoring video games we are achieving little to no security, but greatly limiting this rapidly growing media brimming with potential.

It’s incredible how far video games have come and perhaps one day, people may hold certain titles with the same regard as “The Iliad” or “Fargo.” If these great works of art that depict violence are not censored, then neither should video games.

Zach Chavis
Anoka

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