Fear of War
Put away your viewpoints for a moment, and read this story from a human perspective. A man in the city of Nablus built a home with brothers to house their family. Not soon after the house was built, a knock is heard on his door and his life is changed for 6 years. Abdul-Latif Nasif says that Israeli troops invaded his home one night, taking over the upper storeys of the house and used it as a military observation post and base. They left giving the family relief, but they came back. He says for 6 years now, he and his family have lived in fear of when the knock will come on the door and his home invaded again. The Israeli army says that they have to raid the home because the city, which used to be where many people who bombed Israel came from, could still be planning more attacks. Mr. Nasif says he wrote to the late Yasser Arafat, telling of all the damages to his home as well as the situation he lives under; he received a check for $150 dollars (in Palestinian currency) to take of the damages. No matter your political views or allegiance, it is still sad that in a war, many people's lives are disrupted and have to live in fear. There must be many more stories about disrupted lives, on both sides of the war, which tell of people who live their days in fear.
- Mohan Bell
Convicted Sex Offenders Rape Pell
Let me paint you a picture, dear readers. It is the day before the deadline to pay your bill, and the Bursar’s office has already sent you two reminders. You are five hundred dollars short and wondering why you did not receive that Pell grant that could have solved your problems easily. Well, rest assured; even though you did not receive that grant, it has been put to good use. The convicted sex offenders in the US correctional system are getting an education, or possibly a television, with that Pell grant. Baffled, dear reader?
According to Ryan J. Foley, an AP writer, convicted sex offenders mandated to state-run treatment centers are receiving federal aid, specifically Pell grants, to take college courses through the mail. While this may seem perfectly fair and constitutional, it is the exploitation of the grants that presents a problem. The grants being distributed to the sex offenders are not being monitored and administrators cannot be absolutely sure that the grants are being used to actually further their academic endeavors. James Sturtz, one of Iowa’s most dangerous sex offenders, admits to misusing the grants claiming that two of the courses were “too hard,” and his lack of internet access prevented him from completing his assignments, so he dropped the courses. My question then becomes, why accept the grant if you are aware of the difficulties your status presents? He eventually used the remaining money to purchase clothing and is “saving” any leftovers in the case he decides to take more courses in the future.
Dr. Henry Richards, superintendent of the Special Commitment Center in Washington State argues that the sex offenders need to obtain educational skills in order to prepare them for their release; “I think the numbers of committed persons aren't so large they would significantly preclude other citizens from taking advantage of educational support. To preclude them seems mean-spirited to me.” While this argument may seem perfectly rational, the article also states that under a 1994 law, prison inmates and persons convicted of particular drug offenses are not eligible for Pell. Is it not “mean-spirited” to “preclude” them as well?
Reading this article, I could not help but be slightly biased in my opinion simply because the persons receiving these grants are sex offenders. I have managed to put my bias aside but am still quite annoyed. If the Education Department is going to distribute grants to sex offenders, other convicted felons should have the same options. Also, it is imperative that these grants are monitored when they are distributed. I don’t know about you, readers, but it burns me that while some students are forced to work two jobs to just cover their bills, these convicts are using federal aid to purchase televisions and clothing. I need a flat screen and Prada mules as much as the next convict, but I’d rather pay my bill first. Do you agree?