Oberlin Alumni Magazine

Spring 2014 Vol. 109 No. 2 OAM Home | Oberlin Online


On Target

Glancing at the photograph of the Kuzawa family (“Caught in the Crossfire,” Winter 2014), I was stunned and saddened to see what the article was really about. Surely this picture represents a morally reprehensible view of managing human conflict. Does anyone seriously believe that gun-toting parents will make playgrounds safer? For me it only illustrates the old adage, “might makes right.”

Having known my physician uncle to have been gunned down many years ago, I wonder how many more Sandy Hooks it will take “til we know that too many people (children) have died?” I hope that some day we will know the answer is not “blowing in the wind,” but in ourselves.

The Oberlin Rescue is an interesting case to cite, as it was in the article. We do have a constitutional right to bear arms…and the moral duty to oppose laws that are immoral.

I can find no record regarding whether those who participated in rescuing John Price, a fugitive slave, were armed, but they certainly used force to break into a hotel to free him after peaceful negotiations broke down.

Interesting conundrum.

I was sickened to read Harlan Spector’s informative and horrifying article. I said, it can’t be—not in Oberlin? I hope the efforts for home rule or leasing to a nonprofit succeed. There’s got to be a way.

Spector’s article was superbly written, even if the title was a bit misleading. I applaud him for the balance he maintained throughout. The title issue? “The will of the people” is a sticking point due to the fact that one’s perspective on that will depends upon who one identifies as “the people.” It would be so simple to exclude the Kuzawas, not to mention “We the people” of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. It would be just as simple to exclude those who try to ignore the laws of the land. Neither works.

Perhaps Obies don’t get around much—my guess is there are many playgrounds in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati where concealed carry by law-abiding citizens is a good idea—but I also suspect that within the vocal Obie population there is a fundamental misunderstanding of firearms. Perhaps those who are frightened or offended by a visible sidearm are not aware that Ohio requires potential concealed carry licenses to document extensive training in firearm safety and handling, carefully screens all applicants’ backgrounds, and does not reciprocate with states that have lesser requirements. Perhaps those against concealed carry are also unaware that it’s those who are not licensed who commit crimes with firearms, and those who are licensed and carrying who are able to protect themselves and others. Yet these are the facts.

My favorite example of the value of a handgun is the mall shooting last year where a bystander decided against firing his handgun because he could not take the shot without risking injury to others around the shooter, but the shooter saw the bystander’s handgun and promptly took his own life, ending the rampage. Now in my 60s, 
and with a plate and nine screws holding 
my right arm together, I’m less able to defend myself from an assailant than I used to be. I’m also aware that when seconds count, 
the police are minutes away. After much careful consideration—including 25 years as a Quaker—I’ve chosen to say no to those who would use force against me and mine, and to do so with deadly force when there are no other survival options. Further, as a friend and neighbor to many, I can think of a whole playground full of reasons why I might be carrying when I take my grandchildren to one.

Good luck, Oberlin, in your struggle 
against gun rights activists’ exaggerated ideas about second amendment rights. The loose gun laws they sponsor provide cover for criminal organizations. My bumper sticker states “US Guns Arm Mexican Drug Gangs.”

Arts and Sciences

I saw Professor Robert Bosch’s wondrous work Starry Starry Night and said to myself, I want this in my HOME! Using his understanding of the visual world via mathematics, and added to the creative sensibility of an artist, he has created 2-D and 3-D images that are so exciting.

I also visited his website (www.dominoart.com), where he provides the schematics to construct images (for free) to teachers for classroom projects. Professor Bosch would be interested to know I plan to use the schematic for myself. Yes, when my husband retires this year, together with friends, we will gather over glasses of wine to recreate Lincoln during the bitter cold nights in Minnesota! Thank you for sharing your creations with us young and old.

Wink Gets Nod

An amazing story, and a great profile on one of the greatest gifts a school can give its students—a caring, dedicated, and smart athletics director who is already putting Oberlin athletics on the map (“Coach Wink Hangs Tough”). I’m proud to know Nat (Natalie Winkelfoos) and call her a friend.


In the Summer 2013 OAM, we attached an incorrect pronoun to Addison C. Teng ’11. Addison is a he.

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