HEY! Lets Arm Criminals and Leave Law Abiding Citizens Helpless!

Every year Rotary Clubs across the nation sponsor a speech competition, encouraging high school students to examine an ethical problem and measure it against the four-way test.  I wrote the following speech in 2013 as a high school senior. At the time I was frustrated and unable to understand how anyone could possibly think it is a good idea to implement gun control. Two years later- I still don’t understand how anyone could think this is a good idea, which is why I thought it was time to dig up the ol’ speech.

Rotary Four-Way Test

Rotary Four-Way Test

Speech Given in the Four-Way competition 2013:

Everyone on the ground! Hands on you head! Anyone moves I shoot!  Get on the get on the ground! These were the terrifying words spoken by armed gunmen attempting to hold patients in medical clinic hostage in Colorado Springs last February.  He would have easily succeeded, if it wouldn’t have been for an armed citizen.  Jeff Ferguson, a doctor at the practice who shot the gunmen and saved over 40 lives.  There have been many attempts to pass laws that prevent men like Jeff from owning guns, but we need to preserve this right.  Let’s measure this right against Rotarian Herbert J. Taylors four way test.  This test, which uses four questions will help us to determine if allowing citizens to own guns is ethical. Is it the truth, is it fair to all concerned, will it build good will and better friendships and is it beneficial to all concerned. Through this test we will see why American citizens desperately need to be allowed to own firearms.

Question number one. Is it the truth? Right now there is an estimated 300 million firearms owned by U.S. citizens. Guns are in and of themselves a tool, the same way chainsaws, or matches are tools.  In the movie Texas Chainsaw massacre, the crazed killer uses a chainsaw to brutally murder his victims.  Yet, there isn’t a single person who would argue for the prohibition of chainsaws. Chainsaws are tools used to cut down trees, not kill people. When an arsonist lights a match that burns down a building, is that match at fault? Are match manufacturers responsible for the fire? Should laws be passed prohibiting you from having and using matches, or restricting which types you can have, and in what quantities? The answer is of course not. Matches are tools; the same match that was misused by the arsonist is used to light the fireplace that keeps your house warm. Guns are tools and their sole purpose is not to kill people. They are a part of our culture; they are used for recreation, sport, hunting and defense.  Guns as a creation fundamentally change certain dynamics of violence. For example they allow the weaker individual to fight the stronger.

There was a bang at the door.  A 14 year old boy rushes his younger siblings who were 12, 10, and 8 upstairs, and grabs his father’s pistol on the way. On his way up the stairs he turns to see an armed man burst through the doorway. That 14 year olds name is Michael Bates. Michael took drastic measures and shot the man in order to protect himself and his younger siblings. Without his father’s pistol, Michael would have been easily victimized by the gunmen.  Now imagine if suddenly a law was passed prohibiting the 300 million guns that are currently owned by private citizens. Wow, well your first thought is great! No more gun related violence. But when you really think about it you’ll realize that only the law abiding citizens would actually give up their guns, criminals who misuse guns will break that law, just like the all the other laws they break. Laws can’t control the lawless. So where would that leave law abiding American citizens? Well, they would be at an extreme disadvantage against criminals with firearms and have to rely solely on law enforcement. Guns as the great equalizer would no longer exist. The hope for the weaker individual to combat the stronger is gone and along with it vanishes the private citizen’s sense of security.  The truth is, Americans need guns.

Question number two:  Is it fair to all concerned? The founders of America, our fore fathers certainly thought that allowing citizens to own guns was not only fair, but a fundamental right. The bill of rights the second amendment to the constitution states a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.  All American citizens are born with the right to own a gun.

“This year will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!”

That is what Hitler decreed in 1935 upon initiating gun control in Germany. The citizens of Nazi Germany had no way to prevent their government from doing what every they wanted. This later resulted in the horrifying events known today as the holocaust and World War two. As Americans we are lucky that our founding fathers put in place legislation that prevented our right to bear arms from being taken from us.

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in Government.”  Thomas Jefferson. Life isn’t fair, but our fore fathers wanted us to have a fighting chance at fairness.

Question number three: Will it build good will and better friendships?  Guns are not only a part of our American history but they have also become a part of our culture. They are a part of our background, our heritage, our upbringing, and our world view.  Restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms amount to the destruction of a valued way of life, and are in that way a form of cultural genocide.

An  alarm clock barely buzzes before its eagerly switched off, it’s still dark outside,  there are seven or eight pairs of mud covered boots just inside the door, and you can hear the excitement mounting as everyone bundles up and begins anticipating what the day has in store.  This is how my family starts the first day of buck season, it’s a tradition that brings my family together and has created many lasting memories.  Every year my family gears up, eats a huge breakfast prepared by my grandmother and heads out with high hopes of getting a 12 point buck. Anyone who doesn’t go hunting waits anxiously for the hunting party to return so they can hear the many stories they are sure to bring back. This is how I was raised. I was also raised to know gun safety and proper usage. My father is a State Police Corporal and he holds gun safety in high regards.  The ownership of guns has brought my family closer by creating traditions like the one we carry out every hunting season. There are about 50,000,000 U.S. families just like mine who own firearms, and hardly any of these families have ever harmed anyone with their guns, and virtually none ever intend to. Nearly everything these families will ever do with their guns is both legal, and largely a part of their tradition and heritage. So when we advocate restrictions on their rights to own guns, we are casting aside a part of their lives.  Lasting friendships and good will are based on trust, security, values and lasting tradition. Guns are part of what brings us together, ensures good will, and builds relationships on tradition.

Question number four: Is it beneficial to all concerned? Of course allowing Americans to own guns is beneficial. Gun owner ship has declined crime rates and prevented genocides. In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.  China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves and were killed, The tragic history of civilian disarmament cries a warning against any systematic attempts to render innocent citizens ill-equipped to defend themselves from tyrant terrorists, despots or oppressive majorities.  Proof of the benefits of private citizens owning firearms can best be seen when guns were taken away. The genocides that resulted and the corrupt governments that took control were direct results of gun control. When Florida passes a right to carry law, allowing citizens to carry a weapon, their crime rates dropped an average of 36% .When Texas passed its right to carry law in 1995, the murder rate averaged 30% lower than when guns were ban.  Lower crime rates are simply one of the benefits that come along with private citizens owning guns.

The four-way test shows that gun ownership is ethical. It is the truth guns are a tool that level the playing field.  It is fair and it is a fundamental right given to us by the founders of America, our fore fathers.  It absolutely builds good will and better friendships through our culture, heritage and traditions.  Lastly gun ownership is beneficial to all concerned because it lowers crime rates and provides the American people with a sense of security.  A very wise person once said that nothing worth having comes without a fight. As Americans we need to have the courage to fight for our right to bear arms. It is my hope that as a nation we would recognize the value of gun ownership and stand up for our second amendment right.  Thank you for your time.

By Kyra Azzato



Legitimizing Violence

Arguably one of the most dishonest and annoying tactics employed by protestors, and media is trying to sell to completely dichotomous issues as a package deal. (I.E: if you agreed with the Ferguson Grand Jury, you think black lives don’t matter; if you support Israel, then you must hate palestinians… that sort of thing.)

The most recent of these “package deals” being pushed comes in the wake of the Eric Garner protests against the NYPD: If you’re angry about Eric Garner’s death, you must hate all police officers. The problem with this anti-cop rhetoric is that it’s being spread by influential figures like New York City Mayor de Blasio, cable news and political pundits.

Here’s the problem:  you can disagree with the way the police handle something without wanting to kill officers who are already risking their lives, but fanning the flames and trying to drum up resentment for the police allows groups of sick people to use the cause as a legitimate front for their hatred.

When we don’t rebuke hoards of people marching at “F*ck the Police” rallies, chanting, “What do we want? Dead Cops!” Eventually someone is going to make good on their threats. The recent murder of two NYPD officers had nothing to do with race and everything to do with a belligerent, hate-filled individual with a long criminal record killing two random officers because he thought public opinion was behind him.

The status posted by Ismaaiyl Brinsley before murdering two NYPD officers.

The status posted by Ismaaiyl Brinsley before murdering two NYPD officers.

To make matters worse,  he was right – in the wake of the shooting, many took to social media to celebrate the killings. Two wives lost their husband, a teenager lost his father. You don’t rejoice over someone’s murder because of their career choice, whether you agree with them or not.

The same thing happened this summer when a significant number of people sided with the known terrorist organization “Hamas,” while Gaza lobbed missiles at Israel and hid behind human shields. Enough people condemned Israel that actual anti-semites felt comfortable taking to the streets, assaulting Jews and looting their businesses.

Protestors need to stop spouting hateful slogans and encouraging violence – we do not want to go down this road. Having every police officer constantly fearful of being slaughtered by a wanna-be martyr nut job is probably not going to help race relations. I know that kind of stress would certainly put me on edge if I were working an already dangerous job.

To Review:

1. You thought some police officers were too tough before? Wait till you see how things go now that someone shot two of them, just because they don’t like cops. This probably isn’t going to do wonders for race relations either.

2. Saying that it is karma when someone kills one police officer because of something another police officer did, just because they’re both police officers follows the same logic as firing one accountant because another accountant majorly botched an expense report.

3. Everyone acts so tough until they need the police. Perfect example: the organizer of a “F*ck the police protest,” had her car stolen while she was off chanting for dead cops. Immediately after, she went to the police station, begging for help getting her car back. I’m sure the irony was lost on her.

4. Fanning the flames with hateful rhetoric legitimizes violence. It already happened in Europe during the Israel-Gaza conflict with rampant outbursts of anti-semitism. It happened again in New York city when the internet celebrated the deaths of two murdered police officers. Don’t escalate things any further.

5. And finally, because the heaps of ungrateful, damnable pro-cop-killers aren’t going to say it: bless the law enforcement, and all first responders, for protecting us every day – thank you for your hard work.

By Cole Ellenbogen.

The Blatant Unapologetic Dishonesty Surrounding Ferguson

I wasn’t planning on writing anything else about Ferguson – I already said my piece about the rioting – but on Monday I was reviewing for final exams when class was interrupted by protestors walking around the building, yelling about the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson.

And then I thought about the blatant lies that are being used to perpetuate a certain narrative about what happened. These are the things that infuriate me about Ferguson:

“Hands up, Don’t Shoot!”

This is a slogan that protestors across the country have taken up, referring to the witness allegation that Mike Brown was shot while his hands were raised above his head in a sign of surrender. The official autopsy tears down this claim, as well as another lie being passed around by protestors that Brown was shot in the back as he fled.

To add to that point, the witnesses who told police that Brown was shot in the back, and that Darren Wilson stood over him and shot him again to finish him off were clearly trying to vilify Wilson, and cover for their friend. They should be arrested for obstruction of justice.

Rough sketch from the autopsy performed on Mike Brown

Rough sketch from the autopsy performed on Mike Brown

Yet protestors still use the slogan, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” in complete contradiction to the evidence. The St. Louis Rams players opened their most recent game against the Oakland Raiders with a “Hands up, don’t shoot,” protest, aggravating police who are working overtime to protect the stadium.

The fact that people are keeping up this huge lie on the national stage, simply because it gets attention and fits narrative they are trying to sell is disgraceful.

“Officer Darren Wilson Shot an Unarmed Teen”

You probably recognize this statement from the write in to almost every story covering Ferguson since August. It’s irresponsible to lead with that statement for two reasons. Firstly, teen is a deliberately misleading word choice: most people use “teen” to mean grade school age. Most people use “young adult” to mean high school age. At 18 years old, Brown was a legal adult. Painting him as a child to win sympathy is wrong.

Secondly, an unarmed person does not remain unarmed if they are trying to take someone else’s gun.

Publishing Officer Darren Wilson’s Address

Wanted poster offering $5,000 for Officer Darren Wilson's location, and $1,000 for each of his family members, posted by "protestors." Photo Credit: youngcons.com

Wanted poster offering $5,000 for Officer Darren Wilson’s location, and $1,000 for each of his family members, posted by “protestors.”
Photo Credit: youngcons.com

A gang in Ferguson put out a $5,000 bounty for Wilson’s address, and an additional $1,000 for each close family member. So it seems to me that publishing this information, when people are out for blood, is a grossly irresponsible thing to do. Yet the New York Times thought it would be appropriate. In doing so they put Darren Wilson and his family in danger.

The “Black Lives Matter,” Chant

Of course they do. All lives matter. I don’t hear anyone arguing they don’t.

My biggest issue with protestors who use this tactic is they are trying to change the parameters of the issue. It’s no longer about whether Officer Wilson acted in self defense – it devolves into, “If you disagree with us, you must think that black lives don’t matter.”

Here’s the thing: disagreeing with the Ferguson protestors does not mean I value the lives of one race more than another; it means I value forensic and physical evidence over conflicting and disproven witness testimony.

Do None of Them Have Jobs?

Someone will have to tell me what generous employer has given all those protestors and rioters four months off work. Protests are fine, but not when they interfere with the livelihood of other Americans. I believe this man sums it up best.

Tyree Landum was worried that he would loose his job when protestors blocking the highway, keeping him from getting to work. He has a right to be that mad.

Media Downplaying or Justifying the Rioting

While 10 businesses and a church burned to the ground in Ferguson, and more were looted, Time published a piece talking all about how rioting is actually pretty great. (Try telling that to the business owners who can’t feed their families because they lost everything.) They’re probably right, I’m sure those protestors really do mean well.

Totally unrelated note, here’s a video of Mike Brown’s stepfather yelling at the crowd to “Burn this B**** down:”

But again, probably totally good intentions.

Pro-tip, if you really want to convince the media that you’re looting because of how upset you are, you probably shouldn’t be smiling as you run out of the store with your stolen merchandise. Just a thought.

I’m Preparing For Finals

Sorry to be a little selfish here, but studying for finals is stressful; I don’t like exam week. I also don’t like being called a racist. That being said, I really don’t like being called a racist while I’m trying to study for exam week, by protestors who are marching around campus buildings in circles.

Please let the rest of us do our work in peace, and if you are going to protest, don’t lie. Thanks.

-By Cole Ellenbogen

Police Chief: The Greatest Racial Disparity in the city of Milwaukee is getting Shot and Killed

Milwaukee police chief Edward Flynn was verbally attacked by protestors, angry with police for shooting a suspect that authorities say assaulted an officer.

Flynn fired back, saying that police doing their jobs are not the problem. Take a look:

Flynn also had harsh words for some of the protestors: “They know all about the last three people who have been killed by the Milwaukee Police Department in the course of the last several years. There’s not one of them that can name one of the last three homicide victims we’ve had in this city.”

By Cole Ellenbogen

Speak For Yourself: A Petition Against THE General Body and the Consequences Their Actions Have on the University

If you do not agree with the actions of THE General Body sign this petition.

Although THE General body calls for increased diversity, they attack their fellow students because they are “privileged” because they’re white, straight, male, christian, cisgender, able bodied, and class enabled.  All things they did not choose to be.  They purport that they are speaking for those “who can’t” on campus, meanwhile bashing their fellow students for being things they can’t help…

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 7.27.47 PM

Syracuse Student Ben Castaneda refutes THE General Body’s idea that only white, straight, male, christian, cisgender, able bodied, and class enabled students can disagree with them.

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Student Conner Renaud explains he is at Syracuse because of his hard work, even though THE General Body says it’s because he is privileged.

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Syracuse Student Keelan Erhard informs a THE General Body supporter about diversity.

THE General Body even admits they do not represent the entire population saying “WE DONT SPEAK FOR YOU” referring to those members of the university that are white, straight, male, christian, cisgender, able bodied, and class enabled.

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Sierra Lee posts admitting THE General Body does not represent ALL the students at Syracuse.

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Student Kevin Spectre notes that THE General Body contradicts itself by demanding diversity, yet condemning the privileged.

THE General Body is making demand as if the university were a democracy, even though it isn’t.  I would like to remind students of THE General Body that they choose to come to school here fully knowing the level of diversity, and accessibility.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 7.40.15 PM

THE General Body supporter Kareese Kirby complains about going to a school she CHOOSE to go to, because it’s “not diverse enough”.

Yet supporters of THE General Body protest as if it is their right to be able to change the school they choose to go for and are paying a service for. Even though it is a private university- AKA a corporation.

Students confused about the meaning of "corporation" take a break from patting themselves on the back to wave a poorly painted banner. Photo Credit: THE General Body

THE General body is clearly confused about the meaning of “corporation” .
Photo Credit: THE General Body

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Student Sarah Mikal understands the meaning of a private university, and explains to THE General Body coming to Syracuse was a choice.

Next thing you know they’ll be camping out in Macy’s and Target saying there is not enough diversity, and demanding that the store force customers to also buy culturally diverse attire. Then they’ll protest and refuse to leave because the store reduced a sale from 30% off everything to only 20% off everything.

Sounds a bit ridiculous doesn’t it?

But this is exactly what THE General Body is fighting so hard for.

They want to force other students customers of the university to pay for services they don’t want diversity classes. They’re mad the university the private corporation cut back one of the many scholarships sales they graciously provided.

Theres nothing wrong with wanting change. But lets put an end to this ridiculous protesting and go through appropriate channels. Join the Syracuse Student Association. Their mission is “to represent and be the defender of the students.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 8.03.42 PM

Hmm now this might just be me… but doesn’t it seem like a better idea to go through the Student Association instead of camping out in the administrative building with an outrageously long list of demands, protesting that immediate change be made (which is unrealistic), even though as students we really have no say because it is a PRIVATE university. In case you’re unsure, the answer to that question is YES,  it is a better idea to go through the Student Association! 

Please stop this protest so that the productive members of this university, including Chancellor Kent and his administration, can get back to work.

By Kyra Azzato

The Modern-Day Evil Mastermind

Unlike cartoons, and movies it can be a little more difficult to identify an “evil villain” or “bad guy” in real life.  They don’t wear condescending capes, live in creepy castles on hills surrounded by perpetual rain and laugh menacingly as lightning strikes (at least most of them don’t.)

So if you have suspicions someone might actually be evil, follow these easy steps to put your uncertainty to rest!

As an example I will apply the steps to Jonathan Gruber– an economist highly invested in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.”

Step One- Power

We all know villains are power hungry.  In most cases the villain’s power lies in his resources; he may have a highly trained army at his command, or magical power. But in the real world you should look for one key thing: influence.

Influence is central to being a villain. PhotoCreds: Disney

Influence is central to being a villain. PhotoCreds: Disney

For example Jonathan Gruber is a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the the director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is an associate editor of both the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Health Economics.  

Sounds like he has a pretty decent amount of influence to me.

Step Two- Money

Whether they’re trying to get it, or already seem to have boatloads of it, villains are almost always connected to money in some way.

Gruber created a model, that was designed to statistically verify the changes in health care spending in relation to public and private health care costs, based on changes in heath insurance benefit design, public program eligibility criteria, and tax policy.

He called the model the Gruber Microsimulation Model, and in 2009 earned nearly $95,000 in the first 4 months after contracting with the Department of Health and Human Services, and another $297,600 when he renewed his contract for another 8 months.

In 1 year Gruber made nearly $400,000 dollars off the Model.

Which seems to be the running price for his model. This is just a small sample of his what he has been paid:


Michigan: $481,050

Vermont: $400,000

Minnesota: $329,000

OH YEAH! Not to mention in the last 7 years Gruber has made over $ 2 million assessing the choices made by the elderly in Medicare’s prescription-drug plan.

I think its fair to say Gruber definitely has money!

Steps 1 and 2 are not enough to determine if someone is evil, though: these steps simply help you see if they have the means and resources.

Step Three- Exploitation

Villains are often egotistical (which is often their downfall). They consider themselves better in almost every way and try to use this to take advantage of the common person so they are able to carry out their ultimate plan.

In this video Gruber suggests that the “stupidity of the American voter” helped Obamacare pass:

…And here he details the exploitation of the American voter:

“It’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.” – Jonathan Gruber, at the Honors Colloquium 2012 at the University of Rhode Island.

Once you’ve established a that a persons is influential, and has a great deal of money, the next step is to determine whether or not they are using their power and money to exploit a group of people.

And if the shoe fits…

Americans should be outraged by Gruber’s blatant disregard for the voter. They should be furious he feels that he has the right and ability to take advantage of the very people he is pretending to be helping… and getting paid to do so.

By Kyra Azzato

An Open Letter To Chancellor Kent Syverud


Enough is enough.

I support you. I’m not writing to complain about transparency, or scholarships, or divestment. I’m not even writing on behalf of my fellow students – I would never purport to speak for the rest of Syracuse University. I’m writing to tell you that I am tired of this protest dragging on, tired of self-righteous social media slack-tivism, tired of protestors hurling accusations of racism.

But most of all, because I’m worried about what this means for the future of this school. Below I’ve outlined my concerns, along with the simple request that you end this before you set a dangerous precedent of immature obstructionism, trespass, and lack of respect – or worse: listless spending at the whim of student complaints, resulting in soaring tuition prices.


Some students have the misconception that Syracuse is a republic or a democracy. Proof is painted on their protest signs that ask “Is this a school, or a corporation?”

Students confused about the meaning of "corporation" take a break from patting themselves on the back to wave a poorly painted banner. Photo Credit: THE General Body

Students confused about the meaning of “corporation” take a break from patting themselves on the back to protest outside.
Photo Credit: THE General Body

I recommend that you put the topic to bed:


Sample bill, by which students (consumers) pay the university (corporation/vendor) for a service


Syracuse University is an organization that receives payment in exchange for goods or services. In that right, it is a corporation. The fact that the university extends services such as scholarships, resources and representation, is a nicety; by no means are you obligated to indulge the delusions that this private institution is a democracy, or a charity.


Syracuse University is expensive. Tuition pays for a lot of the services we enjoy on campus,but what happens when a group demands you cut back on university investments because they are indirectly related to fossil fuels (because I’m sure none of the protestors drive cars,) and compel the university to remodel every single building on campus to add more transgender bathrooms? What happens when the group also adds that you cannot make budget cuts to pay for these pricey renovations they demanded?

Issues aside, a sensible person would realize the money isn’t coming from thin air. Changes would a mean tuition increase, far greater than what we’ve already experienced. I cannot, and will not pay higher tuition based on the whim of a few dozen students, nor should my fellow students.


I admire your restraint amid serious allegations from students, parents, and even some faculty that your desire to salvage the university’s reputation are somehow racially motivated attempts to stamp out ethnic diversity at Syracuse.

However, this protest has escalated to where it is now because you have not laid down boundaries. I understand your desire to be seen as friendly and fair by your students, but this has come at the expense of respect.

Yay, happy people at Syracuse University. Photo Credit: ESPN

Yay, happy people at Syracuse University.
Photo Credit: ESPN

You have tried to make the students feel like you are one of them, while simultaneously attempting to wield authorityBy striving to be loved and respected you lost the favor and the cooperation of the student body, and wound up with this:

Protestors enter Crouse Hinds against the wishes of the building's owners - also known as trespassing or unlawful occupancy - and leave smudges on the windows. Photo Credit: The Post Standard

Protestors enter Crouse Hinds against the wishes of the building’s owners – also known as trespassing or unlawful occupancy – and leave smudges on the windows.
Photo Credit: The Post Standard

And, might I add, protestors trying force the administration to see meet with them, sneaking through a back door, overtaking the building against the wishes of the staff and refusing to leave, is criminal trespass.


My point, Chancellor, is that you are dealing with people so self-righteous that they compare themselves to Germans living in occupied East Berlin – people who think that the productive solution to a problem is to sit down and get in the way.

These people are walking all over your administration. By not swiftly handling the issue, you are not only bringing yourself long-lasting terrible press, but you are setting a dangerous precedent that will be in place for the rest of your tenure: every decision you make is negotiable.

If you want to be the respected leader of the university, with the support of your students, then earn it. Stop placating, stop entertaining the fantasy that this private organization is some kind of democracy where college freshmen and twenty-somethings tell adults how to do their jobs, and put your foot down.

Only then can meaningful change occur at Syracuse.

Forgive me if I seem blunt: but my friends cannot do their jobs, prospective students are being put off by the chaos, and I fiscally cannot afford to pay the tuition hikes that THE General Body’s proposal would bring. I doubt I’m the only one.

Thank you for your time, Chancellor. Don’t let the stubbornness of a few damage the rest of your students.


Cole Ellenbogen

5 Signs Your Peaceful Protest May Actually Be an Angry Mob

Peaceful protests are an essential part of democracy, but emotions can run high, and sometimes things can go south pretty quickly. If you ever find yourself wondering, “Am I a part of a violent and possibly illegal clash with police?” you can refer to these 5 signs that you might actually be a culpable participant in an angry mob. I recommend brushing up on these in advance if you’re planning on being in Ferguson, Missouri when the Darren Wilson Grand Jury verdict is announced.


Sometimes people get angry with authority, and take to the streets in protest. It’s all fun and games until someone puts down their picket sign – or more recently, pieces of paper with witty slogans designed for internet photo compilations – and pick up one of these bad boys.

An anti-government protestor throws a molotov cocktail toward security. Photo credit: thevelvetrocket.com

An anti-government protestor throws a molotov cocktail toward security.
Photo Credit: thevelvetrocket.com

You’ll be able to know that Molotovs – or Petrol Bombs if you’re European – are in play if you see the telltale fire that accompanies them. They’re often used against riot police when push comes to shove. If these things are being thrown around, your protest has probably turned into a riot.


Unity is key in a protest, especially if you want to keep things civil. If one group of protestors is selling T-shirts to spread awareness of your cause, this is a good! Signs and clothing are excellent ways of peacefully getting the word out about your plight.

Group of pro Michael Brown protestors selling shirts in a parking lot, before a second group led by Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael brown, allegedly assaulted and robbed their sales outpost.  Photo Credit: mr. conservative.com

Group of pro-Michael Brown protestors selling shirts in a parking lot, before a second group led by Lesley McSpadden, mother of the late Michael Brown, allegedly assaulted and robbed their sales outpost.
Photo Credit: mr. conservative.com

But even something as innocent as a T-shirt sale could get dicey. If you’re part of a splinter-protest group that appears to be assaulting the T-shirt sellers and stealing their merchandise as result of a trade-mark dispute, you’re probably in an angry mob.


A public vigil is a great way to unite a community. Pillaging is a great way to divide it! There could be looting in progress if you see groups of people breaking through glass storefronts, or masked persons running from stores carrying merchandise – this one can be tricky, be sure you stop and ask to see if they have a receipt.

A looter flees the seen of a Ferguson store after a candle-lit vigil. Photo Credit: ABC News

A looter flees the seen of a Ferguson store after a candle-lit vigil.
Photo Credit: ABC News

If the person does not have a receipt, they’re either forgetful, or a looter! This is a possible sign that the peaceful protest has deteriorated into an angry mob. If you are unable to get away from the mob, and absolutely have to participate in the looting, avoid places like gun stores, or ones that have NRA stickers on the windows. You’ll know a place is safe to rob if it has this sign either in the window, or on the property:

A poster advertising that there will be no armed resistance on the premises

A poster advertising that there will be no armed resistance on the premises.


If signs like this appear around your town, such as the ones that a group called RbG Black Rebels have plastered all over Ferguson, be alert!

Wanted poster offering $5,000 for Officer Darren Wilson's location, and $1,000 for each of his family members, posted by "protestors." Photo Credit: youngcons.com

Wanted poster offering $5,000 for Officer Darren Wilson’s location, and $1,000 for each of his family members, posted by “protestors.”
Photo Credit: youngcons.com

While they provide an excellent opportunity for you and your friends to earn some easy cash, they’re also a decent indicator that a lynch mob of vigilantes (and not the good kind) is forming, and you should do your darnedest to stay away.


Arson is typically frowned upon by most, and has no place in a peaceful protest. One sign that arson is in progress is smoke coming from buildings.

There are a few buzzwords to listen for to make sure it really is mob-arson, such as: “Burn it down,” or “Burn that mother ****** down.”


Protests are important to America: it’s part of how we can exercise free speech, and make others aware of major issues. But opportunistic mob-violence tears apart communities, and distracts from the issues at hand.

By Cole Ellenbogen