Letter to the editor: Several takeaways from last week


Regarding the Clock Tower Accords: Apply a simple test. Ask if each of the initiatives would make a noticeable difference to a poor African-American teen, north of Delmar. For items that fail that test, like the artwork, ask if you are still happy to absorb tuition and fee increases to pay for them.

Bonus question: As a Jesuit Catholic university, SLU has little to do with law-enforcement policy and was already more sensitive to issues affecting the poor than most other civic institutions. So why was SLU the target for “occupation” again? Bonus bonus question: The Accords said SLU, M-SLICE and Tribe X would “support” the listed initiatives – so, how much money have M-SLICE and Tribe X chipped in thus far?

Regarding the Starbucks tempest in a coffeepot: Disdain for how some presidential candidates of one party are engaged in the admitted silliness of judging coffee cups is fine. But will there be a companion editorial on the other party, all of whose candidates would regard the in utero dismemberment of any student reading this newspaper to have been a glorious exercise in “choice”? Bonus question: If people are willing to abandon their families to shop on Thanksgiving – and the stores would not open if they were not – is it really the companies’ fault for choosing something else over people?

Regarding the Mizzou situation: What policy initiative, short of personally babysitting the entire student body on the quadrangle, could Tim Wolfe have possibly taken to prevent a drunk student and a bunch of truck-riding yahoos (who may very well not even be Mizzou students) from using racial slurs? Bonus question: Has anyone produced a photo of the infamous “poop-stika” yet?

Regarding Syrian refugees: Unlike editorialists, governors actually have to take responsibility if they fail to protect their citizens. Strangely, college editorial boards tend to oppose the death penalty because the government gets it wrong every so often, yet put nearly mystical faith in government’s ability to discern the intentions of every last person in a refugee wave larger than SLU’s student population.

Another simple test: Pick a random guy from a random village in central Syria and list all the information you think the U. S. government would definitively know about him. Having been deployed to such villages in northwestern Iraq in 2003, I will offer one take – probably not a lot. The quality of a vetting process is not proportional to the number of government agencies involved or the time it takes; and, unfortunately, our current vetting process works well only at screening out individuals who have already published or done something bad. Bonus question: Why are we not reading about tens of thousands of Syrian refugees being accepted by oil-rich Arab Gulf states, where they would actually share a language?

Merry Christmas, everybody… Starbucks included.

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