What is wrong with us?
One hundred days into 2023. One hundred and fifty mass shootings under our belt. More than 11,500 people killed by gun violence thus far. Across our country, “Amazing Grace,” our new national anthem, is heard more often than the “Star Spangled Banner” in a growing number of communities.
In Kentucky, the AR15 rifle used to kill five people, will soon be auctioned off, so someone else can use it for its intended function—kill as many people as possible within the shortest period of time.
What the hell is wrong with us?
We know what we need to do! Get rid of military-style weapons on our streets; get rid of politicians who greedily accept blood money from the NRA, and begin to imagine that, unless we do something drastic, everyone of us will soon be confronted with a similar calamity in our own circle of friends. As things stand, right now one in five adults have already lost one family member to gun violence.
Costly textbooks harm students’ future
For decades, students have struggled financially while questioning whether they can afford the textbooks they need to attend classes. Since 1977, the price of textbooks has risen by 1,041%, three times the rate of inflation. In my experience, one textbook can cost as much as a month’s supply of groceries. College itself is very expensive; there is a risk of putting students in a financially insecure environment to ensure their own future when textbooks are added to the cost.
Thankfully, organizations like the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) are working on ways to create more options for textbook affordability, such as moving toward open access and Open Educational Resources (OER). Despite the challenging impact of Covid, CALPIRG is still working with the grassroots organization to collect a large number of petition signatures from all campus communities to demonstrate student support. CALPIRG aims to ensure that UC Regents’ funding goes towards students’ futures and not their debt.
This issue will be heard, and eventually, students do not have to choose between spending money to support themselves or textbooks needed for class.