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Up In Smoke

Jamie Chung

In recent weeks, university officials and sportswriters have spent a lot of time arguing that college football doesn’t have a marijuana problem.

This isn’t to say that college athletes aren’t smoking pot and getting arrested for it, because ESPN published two articles this month detailing the widespread use of “grass” by collegiate athletes, it’s to say that nearly everyone involved in the process is attempting to point out that “smokin’ rope” isn’t actually a problem.

It’s presented as “not really a problem” because athletes are merely relieving the stress of national pressure in a way that supposedly doesn’t induce violence, impair judgement, or ┬áinhibit performance in the way that alcohol, a legal and widely abused campus substance, does.

ESPN’s report detailing the widespread use of marijuana on college campuses didn’t spend much time mentioning the University of Oregon in Eugene, because they prepared a second article for the purpose of highlighting a successful program with an apparently relaxed attitude towards the sweet leaf.

While completely stepping over the issues of substance trafficking and the violence that always follows the collection and distribution of black market goods, I’d like to point out that the problem here really isn’t the widespread use of cannabis by college students…

It’s what the pot smoking suggests about the individuals involved.

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It’s A Secret Service

Charles McCain
photo: Charles McCain

I’ve been fascinated by the United States’ Secret Service ever since 1981 when I watched television coverage of men in suits emerging from the shadows to throw themselves in front of a wounded President Reagan.

As disturbing as it was for a second grader to watch a deranged man shooting other men on television, it was also incredibly inspiring to see good men run into danger to put an end to it.

What is it that causes a man to unquestioningly step in front of a bullet for another?

While we admire the kind of bravery that gets put on display in situations of duress, most of us don’t ask what comes after these moments of bravery.

Especially if you live through them.

We tend to think that staying alive is it’s own reward, but consider that the victor usually gets to:

Clean up the carnage.

Rebuild what has been destroyed,

Then tend to their own wounds.

There’s a human toll that comes from protecting people. Sentinels and their famlies make sacrifices to operate in a world where long stretches of the mundane are punctuated by moments of tangible horror and violence.

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Posting Our Rules

Unless you’ve been flush with cash your entire life, you’ve probably shopped at a non-union grocery store.

I spent much of my early childhood in rural Californa, bouncing between “The Grocery Outlet” and “The Alpha-Beta.”

For those of you who’ve only shopped national chains like Kroger, Albertsons, or Safeway, non-union grocers are able to sell “quality products for less” because they do not offer certain services to their customers or employees.

You pay for what you get, and you get only what you’re willing to pay for.

Finding a non-union store isn’t hard. Just look for a grocery store that is being picketed by a lone protester who:

1.) Isn’t holding his sign right side up.
B.) Is listening to a bright yellow DiscMan.
3.) Never worked there… because he’s being paid to protest, by a union.

A non-union store doesn’t spend the same amount of money training, insuring, or paying their employees.

You also won’t find a Starbucks or a bank in their store. Often the lighting is spotty, the refrigerators loud, and the background music non-existent.

Non-union grocers provide great product value at the expense of employee and customer service.

This mean’s that you’ll regularly save a gang of money, while finding yourself having some pretty… interesting… experiences.

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