Like all students, Stephen Guillermo wanted a break from studying before finals week, where he could just focus on having fun.
After a night of drinking with his friends, he walked into his apartment complex, but onto the wrong floor. Then he walked into the home of Amisi Sudi Kapecha, who saw Guillermo as an intruder and fired the shot that abruptly ended his life.
As journalists, Stephen’s tragic death took different tolls on all of us. At times, he was a story; at times he was a number.
Welcome to the United States, home of beer, cheeseburgers, free speech and lots of guns. We also have an entire system of laws that protects our right to enjoy all four of these things.
Our founding fathers believed that a citizen’s right to bear arms was important enough to be in our constitution. According to this document, we have an equal right to own a dog, a car or a gun; all of which can kill if not treated responsibly.
While guns may be a source of fun for some and personal safety for others, they have another role for citizens. According to our forefathers, they defend against tyranny.
Think back to that moment you chose to come to SF State. You knew you wanted to go to college but the process of picking the right one depends on many factors. Maybe you came because you’re a local and it was the obvious choice or maybe coming to SF State was less about the school and more about getting the chance to live in San Francisco.
If you are like most of us, San Francisco has a certain allure to it that can’t be found anywhere else on Earth and has history to back it.
San Francisco is where beatniks became; where Jack Kerouac slaved over his typewriter and Allen Ginsberg wrote in blood and called it “art.”
This is where Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison took countless hits of Monterey Purple, spoke with God and regurgitated his words into music.
In the last few years our country has slid further into a state of distress, where some of the most devastating violence is being carried out by civilians and war is being waged by government entities.
The country feared Christopher Dorner, mourned the death of Boston Marathon runners, prayed for Sandy Hook families, witnessed The Dark Knight come alive in Colorado, wept in solidarity with Virginia Tech, bled with the victims of Fort Hood and stood in shock as LAX became a morgue. We watched 13 fall in the naval yard of our nation’s capitol only weeks before a man indulged in self immolation at the National Mall. Just last week, the people of Maryland witnessed a mall shooting that resulted in the death of two young employees.
In all of these incidences, motives ranged from radical Jihadism to mental illness, gun control and political oppression. Whatever motive has been linked to the breaking point of any of the assailants, make no mistake: this type of chaos is bred from the womb of inequality and given sustenance from the breast of oppression.
Many associate my generation with its strong love of technology and apparent inability to pull itself away from a flashing screen. This is a misconception though. My generation does have an obsession, but it’s not with the screens themselves — it’s what’s on them.
When you see someone on their phone, they are checking Facebook, Instagram, email. We don’t have an obsession with technology, we have an obsession with ourselves. Smartphones and computers just make it easier to constantly check up on the latest in our lives.
“The great tragedy of this century,” is the Syrian Civil War, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres. He is not referring to the 110,000 and rising casualties, but the scale of humanitarian devastation both in Syria and in the surrounding region.
Three resolutions face the international community on how to handle this complicated conflict: military intervention, humanitarian assistance or abstinence.
For the U.S., military intervention is problematic and doing nothing is morally flawed. The U.S. and the international community’s best solution is to provide humanitarian assistance to the millions of refugees.
There are 1.84 million registered refugees taking shelter in surrounding countries, according to the U.N.; 5,000 civilians leave Syria per day and nearly 5 million are internally displaced.