Editor’s Note: The following letters were written by local students for a persuasive writing course in Dexter.

June 30, 2012 • Dear Editor

The right to bear arms

Dear Editor:

Do you think you are safe right now where you are at? Well you are never really safe unless you have a gun or any other type of self defense weapon on you. Gun regulations should be less strict to provide safety at schools and for personal safety, also to assign rifles to men who were in the Army but weren’t necessarily infantry men.

Kids at school these days feel so safe when actually they should not! Schools wear “No Gun Zone” as badges of honor when all it is doing is giving kids a false sense of security. A “Gun Free Zone” is a perfect target for a serial killer. [auth] Why you might ask? It is a “Gun Free Zone”! Who is going to take him down in a “Gun Free Zone”? A perfect example of this would be the Virginia Tech School shootout that happened in 2007.

The shootout left 32 kids dead and 15 others wounded. What a coincidence because Virginia Tech is a “Gun Free Zone” school. The murderer managed to do all of this in less than nine minutes! Feeling safe and being safe are two totally different things.

People need a way of protecting their home, their family, and if it comes down to it, the lives of others. If someone were to be breaking into your house would you not want to stop them before they harm you or your family members? I know I would! Also, it would be much easier and safer to take care of the intruder yourself instead of waiting for the police to come and handle it. As in the case of Sergio Aguilar on a regular Saturday night in Turlock, Calif., where he beat his 2-year-old son to death on the side of the road believing he was possessed. Police were called in but by the time they had arrived Sergio had already beaten the baby to death. Had a law abiding citizen been there with the legal registration for his weapon would have shot Aguilar would the baby have survived?

The government’s strict gun laws prevent men who were enlisted in the military as non-infantry men the right to arms. If a kid became a hunter by the age of 8 and by the age of 18 he was a superb shot and the military gave him a stove instead of a rifle does this mean he can sue the army and the court will give him a rifle? Of course not! He would have had a right to bear arms “in the context of military service.” Non-infantry men should be able to have a rifle.

The Second Amendment states that we as Americans have a right to bear arms. The NRA highly supports that Americans should be able to bear arms.

After all, a gun in the hand of law abiding citizen helps stop crime! Gun control laws should be less strict to provide personal safety, to provide safety at schools and to help out American soldiers everywhere.


Hector Varela



Dear Editor:

Do you think we should legalize immigrants? We need to allow immigrants to come to the United States and work. The reasons why they should come to the United States are: it’s hard for them to find jobs in Mexico, kids dropped out of school in Mexico, kids die at younger ages in Mexico.

First, I want the government to allow illegal immigrants to come to the United States because it’s hard for the Mexicans to get jobs in Mexico.

About 41 percent of Mexicans don’t have their high school diploma. They have no high school diploma because they didn’t care about school back in the late 1950s or late 1960s. Forty-one percent of Mexicans have no jobs because they were either lazy at school to get their high school diploma or they just don’t want to go look for a job.

Next, the kids in Mexico die at younger ages because of the killings that have been going on in Mexico. Kids in Mexico die because of the mafia.

Were you to owe money to the mafia, they will hunt you down until you have their money. The other way kids die is from a gang related shootouts in Mexico. The last and final way the kids die is from kidnapping because their dad probably owed them money and that’s how they were able to get the money quicker if they just kidnap.

Finally, kids in Mexico drop out of school over the age of 20 to 64 college students have no high school diploma there were at least nearly one in five males who have dropped out of school back between 1979 and 2007. They either didn’t care about school in the 1980s — that’s why they dropped out of school — or they just had problems at school or at home so then they just end up dropping out of school.

We should tell the government that we should let the immigrants come and work in the United States. Kids die in Mexico at younger ages, it’s hard for Mexicans to get jobs in Mexico, kids drop out at any age in Mexico.


Elijah Loya


Drinking age

Dear Editor:

Do you think we should lower the drinking age? Well I do. I believe when you turn 18 you become an adult. When you’re 18 you are old enough to buy cigarettes, you can also purchase property, vote and even serve on jury and still you can’t purchase alcohol. Now I know that isn’t fair for most young Americans. If you’re asking yourself “does this guy really believe in this?” I’m here to tell you, yes I do. These are the three main reasons why we should lower the current drinking age: first, if we’re old enough to go to war we should be able to drink, many underage kid’s already drink and cigarettes are worse than drinking.

If someone can go to war, shouldn’t he or she be able to have a beer? This statement is true. Why can’t we have a beer, yet we can kill or be killed trying to serve our country? How strange is that? Why can’t we celebrate without being harassed by the police all the time?

Then we have minors drinking even when they know it’s illegal. The trend over the past decade has had a polarizing effect of sorts, fewer 12-20-year-olds are drinking, but those who choose to drink are drinking more. Between 1993 and 2001, the rate of 12-20-year-olds who reported consuming alcohol in the past 30 days decreased from 33.4 percent to 29.3 percent, while rates of binge drinking increase among that age group over those same years, from 15.2 percent to 18.9 percent. Data specific to college and university students also indicate this polarization of drinking behaviors over time.

Finally, we see the affects of cigarettes. Most parents don’t like their kids smoking because smoking can give you lung cancer. But still they let us buy them at age 18, yet they do not let us get a beer. I say no to smoking at age 18 and yes to drinking at age 18.

If this doesn’t change your mind about lowering the drinking age, then, well, you’re not fair to young Americans. And, I believe if 18-year-olds had the right to drink youth death rates would drop because they wouldn’t need to drive fast from the police. Don’t you think if kids were of legal age to drink they would drive calmly. That’s why I believe the government should change the law about our drinking age.


Ivan Gutierrez


Teen pregnancy

Dear Editor:

Do you know a teen parent? If so then are they struggling? Did they finish high school? Do they have their GED? Are any of them single parents?

Teen pregnancy is 100 preventable. It can happen to anybody. If you’re not ready for the consequences, then just don’t do anything at all. I believe that teens should wait until they are done with school. You don’t want any of these things happening to you. So before you have sex think about high school, your education and the people around you.

Forty percent to 80 percent of pregnant and parenting teens fail to get a high school diploma. Some 3,500 babies are born to teenagers every year. The challenges faced by these pregnant and parenting teens in finishing school are complex. Providing enough for these teens is difficult when there is incomplete data on whether or not pregnant or parenting teens are in school. What are the chances of a child growing up in poverty if: (1) the mother gave birth as a teen, (2) the parents were unmarried when the child was born, and (3) the mother did not receive a diploma or GED: 27 percent if one of these things happens, 42 percent if two of these things happen, 64 percent if three of these things happen. If none of these things happen a child’s chance of growing up in poverty would be 7 percent. In another way, if these three things happen, a child’s chance of growing up in poverty is nine times greater than if none of these things happen.

It takes two to make a baby, but all too often when a pregnancy is announced the guy gets lost in confusion. Teen childbearing costs tax payers at least $9 billion each year, including public sector health care costs, increased child welfare costs, increased prison costs, and lost tax revenue. The estimate commutative public cost of teen childbearing during this time period $6 billion. Being a teen parent isn’t that easy. It’s hard and a lot of work. Most importantly it is a lot of money. You have to buy diapers, baby wipes, shampoo, clothes, lotion and formula, so don’t think that being a teen mom/dad/parent(s) is easy.

It takes two to make a baby, but being a single parent is very difficult. It means that you’re on your own. Teen fatherhood is not to be taken lightly; it means to have a lot of responsibilities, as with the teen mother also. You would want the father and mother to be together throughout the baby’s life. It’s very easy for the guy or girl to leave you and the baby like that. Teen fatherhood is not something to be taken lightly has a lot of responsibilities

Teen pregnancy is very difficult. Teens who are parents are going to struggle a lot, especially with money. Most teens’ parents don’t graduate or finish high school, or get their GED. Most teens who get pregnant or already have a baby are single parents. If you talk to teen parents they’re most likely going to tell you that their pregnancy was unexpected, a lot of hard work, and very stressful, so I suggest you to wait.


Jasmine Elizalde


Legalize marijuana

Dear Editor:

Should marijuana be legalized? Marijuana should be legalized because more than 60 U.S and international health organizations — including the American Public Health Association, Health Canada and the Federation of American Scientists — support granting patients immediate legal access to medical marijuana. Legalizing marijuana would save money and generate tax revenue if it would be used for medical reasons. The government should legalize marijuana because it is safer than alcohol and tobacco.

Legalizing marijuana would save money and generate tax revenue. According to Jeffrey Miron, a professor in economics at Harvard University, if the government legalized marijuana they would save about $7.7 billion per year in resources, which is substantial, and a net improvement in the U.S. government budget of $10 to $14 billion annually. Marijuana legalization would also generate tax revenue of approximately $2.4 billion — if marijuana were taxed like all other goods — and $6.2 billion if marijuana was taxed at rates such as alcohol and tobacco.

Marijuana should also be used for medical purposes. Marijuana is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief — particularly of neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage) — nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders.

Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome and dementia.

Marijuana should be legalized because it is safer than alcohol and tobacco. The government should legalize it because marijuana does not make people get angry or make you get in car accidents or any other negative results like alcohol. Marijuana is safer than cigarettes because tobacco has many harmful chemicals such as tar, ammonia, acetone, arsenic and many other poisons. Marijuana does not give one a risk of getting lung cancer like tobacco does.

Based on all the information I have provided it is clear to see that this should be proposed into law. Marijuana is helpful in many different ways, so it should not be illegal if it is just like any other pain medicine. Please write your local congressmen to make a change and legalize it.


Jesseray Acosta


Steroids in MLB

Dear Editor:
Should steroids be allowed in Major League Baseball? Some of the best players of baseball have used steroids. Even the world’s best hitters have used steroids like Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez. Steroids have been used in the pros for a while now and people have been caught but not all of them have. Steroids are always going be out there, but the government needs to try their best to stop it in the MLB. Steroid use should not be used in the MLB because it’s harmful to the body, it’s cheating and it’s addictive!

Steroid use is harmful to the body and can affect it really bad. Steroids affect a person’s hormones in the body, it can also affect one’s sperm production and can shrink one’s testicles. Steroids affect growth; it can stop one’s growth completely. It can also cause infections. It may cause HIV and Hepatitis B and C, maybe even lead to endocarditic tissue, which is where the tissue of the heart increases or expands. Then there are moral problems.

Using steroids is cheating in any kind of sport. The pro athletes who have done it and have been accused are Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. All of the professional athletes should not use them because it doesn’t let them play to their best potential. Steroid use may also affect the way they play because it might lead to harmful side effects. Steroid use is also not fair to all the other athletes because not everyone uses steroids. If everyone doesn’t use them some people are going to be better than others by cheating.

Next, steroids can be addictive. Steroids are also addictive to some people. Doctors state it has been proven to cause depression and with that, some people commit suicide. Addiction to steroids can result in: withdrawal, mood swings, loss of appetite, reduced sex drive and cravings. It also caused teens to commit suicide because they stopped using it. Again all steroids are harmful and shouldn’t be used in the MLB.

Based on all these facts the MLB should stop all steroid use and be testing its players every game or so. Steroid use should not be allowed in the pros because it’s cheating and is addictive. Steroid use should be stopped. All the veteran athletes should just leave them alone now like Barry Bonds, and let the players live their lives and just try to educate new players about steroids. Steroid use should be stopped in the MLB.


Lorenzo Coronado


Prison system doesn’t work

Dear Editor:

I am angry with the penal system’s current operations. Prisons should not be here because prisons only make crime worse and give criminals a free pass paid for by Americans’ tax money. Prisons waste more money to function or operate than is spent building schools or athletic centers for America’s children. Here are the following reasons: they get undeserving treatment, your tax dollars are spent, and it only increases violence.

There is more freedom in prison than on the outside. Prisoners get free cable, water, watch movies, they don’t have to work, and they get fed three times daily, all at the expense of your tax dollars. They even want to go back into prison just because they cannot support themselves and don’t get everything free on the outside. It costs more to keep offenders off the street than to build or even remodel a school. Also, 60 to 80 percent have an issue with substance abuse, and over 200,000 suffer from mental illness. (America incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country in the world.)

There is also a lot more tax money used to operate prisons; it costs an average of $23,876 to imprison one person per year. That’s just one person. It also costs an average of more than $49 billion a year to operate prisons in the U.S. With those totals you can build 12 new schools, a year’s worth of tuition, a room at Brown University, and maybe build a brand new house, but it’s used to build prisons.

Prisons increase more violence and crime, mostly, because the criminals are used to being in prison and go back to the same crimes they did before. Because that’s all they ever learn to do; they don’t know how to work, and they’re also used to getting everything free in prison. A higher percentage of African-American population is in prison. There are more imprisoned than in South Africa at the height of the Apartheid.

Nationally, 62 percent of people released from prison return within two and a half years. They’re so used to staying in there that they don’t learn to work so they can’t survive outside of prison.

Prisons give offenders a free life; they don’t learn how to act better around people. They get free cable, food and even free medical care.

Also, they use up more tax money to function a prison for a criminal to have a free life in prison and reward him/her for the crime they did than to actually punish them. If you ask me, I think the government is giving criminals a free pass for their crime.


Joseph Duran


Internet piracy

Dear Editor:

Do you think stealing is good? Did you know that music industries lose millions of dollars because of Internet piracy? Theft is against the law, and should be taken care of because of the following: decrease in sales, loss in jobs and struggling media industries.

Sales are one huge factor Internet piracy has affected. It can be caused because people download media illegally instead of actually purchasing the item in stores. Many websites like Vudu and Hulu allow you to watch television shows and movies for free. Many other people do similar to this, but instead download videogames from file sharing programs. These programs allow you to P2P (peer to peer) share to transfer these videogame files. Wouldn’t you feel bad if someone else took credit for your creation? I know I would.

Many losses in jobs can easily be explained due to Internet piracy. For example: many artists and producers lost their jobs or have been affected greatly because of company failure. If these artists and procedures don’t end up gaining their money from their money from their products then they will end up going bankrupt. Wouldn’t you hate it if one of your favorite rappers like Li’l Wayne went bankrupt, and didn’t create albums anymore? If a movie fails to sell in theaters then the producer will end up having a bad reputation in the media for making movie scripts.

Many of these media industries still struggle to keep up with their financial expenses. If people would resort to buying legal copies of their products then they wouldn’t have this problem. Examples are: going to the theaters, buying videogames from GameStop, or even buying the actual albums from local stores. Without Internet piracy the economy in the media category would plummet. If we can put a stop to Internet piracy all of our favorite industries will have a good opportunity to have even more sales than they did before. If you pirate products, wouldn’t you want to stop and not have the guilt of being a thief?

However, I do understand that in some cases Internet piracy can help spread the word of the producer’s work, but it seems that more of the time these products have no value if it’s available for free online. In some cases Internet piracy is needed to evolve and revolutionize technology.

Internet piracy should be banned from the face of the Internet for two main reasons: fraud and theft. Theft of copyrighted material is not right at all. Theft is illegal and should be dealt with seriously. Help me take a stand against Internet piracy. Contact your congressman.


Jose Lopez


Teen fathers

Dear Editor:

Do you think teen fathers should be responsible for their babies? The three questions to answer are: How is the father a part of the baby’s life? Why does the father have to take care of the kid? What for? Fathers of teen pregnancy should take on the same responsibilities as the mother for these three reasons: first, moral accountability, next, legal issues, and last, emotional issues.

The reasons teen fathers have responsibilities for taking care of their baby are: first, the father should have to financially and emotionally support the kid. Next, he should ensure the son/daughter is safe and cared for. Lastly, the father just has the responsibility to be interested in his baby.

You being the father have rights like: participating in the child’s life, but if you choose not to there’s something called child support.

Still, being the father has these considerations: it’s important the child has a father figure, kids need both their mother and father. Some kids who don’t have a father are sometimes affected emotionally. Last, the women are not to be alone in the responsibility of taking care of the baby.

“What for?” That’s the question that guys ask all the time. Well first, the father just has to take care of the baby regardless. Next, why would one leave the mother alone to give birth to the baby? The baby needed to see both of the people that brought him/her into the world. Last, but not least, why does one have to marry the girl? You don’t have to but if one loves her one should.

For all the teen fathers, step up to the plate and do what you need to do. Teen fatherhood will happen, but it’s just up to the father to help with the package; you did help make it. It takes two to tango so just remember the three reasons for taking care of the kid: moral accountability, legal issues and emotional issues.


Derek Miller


Border violence

Dear Editor:

What is a way to control the crime around the border? Lots of U.S. citizens are being killed due to cartels and drug traffic. Border violence is increasing due to the lack of border agents in the field. U.S. agents are being assaulted. In order for this to stop is to make sure our agents are loaded with weapons and protection.

Drug cartels are starting to associate with gangs. The biggest gang that is working with them is a prison gang called Azteca gang. The Mexican border patrol isn’t helping the cause because they are corrupt and taking bribes from drug cartels. Corrupt police are one of the biggest problems in this.

Illegal trafficking coming through the border due to corruption in Mexico. According to Altaus the Mexican authorities have tried several times to purge corrupt officers from the ranks but officers are still known to take bribes and abet criminal activity. Unfortunately crusaders who stand up to the cartels end up dead. The Mexican government has launched a war with the gangs and cartels.

U.S. citizens being killed over border violence and numerous killings along the U.S. and Mexican border in 2010 have put authorities on both sides on alert. Ben Conrey and Jerry Seper report that the intensity of the violence and the increasing number of Mexican victims of assassinations to protect their business. The authors warn that the recent rise in American casualties is symptomatic of the drug cartels expanding their trafficking routes across the border and not hesitating to kill anyone in their way.

Two years ago, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the investigation arm of the Department of Homeland Security, said in a report that border gangs were becoming increasingly ruthless and had begun targeting rivals and federal state and local police. ICE said the violence had risen dramatically as part of an unprecedented surge.

Yours truly,

Victor Prieto


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