Problems with Mass Testing

WILL BROWN
STAFF WRITER

This is an opinion piece. Every thought displayed and source chosen is to reinforce my own arguments.

As we begin our fourth week of “COVID classes,” it’s important to look back on the first three and reflect on the college’s response to the ongoing pandemic. By this point in time, every student has become acclimated to the new policies and procedures that surround us—with most agreeing with the importance of these policies and procedures, and few blindly disagreeing and disobeying them.

Another method that Alma College has utilized in the fight against COVID-19 is the mass testing of all students, faculty and staff on campus. It is important to note that initially the college was not interested in mass testing due to the point-in-time nature of the results: a student may walk away from the nasopharyngeal swab negative but then immediately come into contact with an individual who is positive, thus nullifying the test.

Clearly, the college has changed its mind on mass testing, but this by no means renders this scenario obsolete. Furthermore, as we continue with mass testing on Alma College’s campus, it’s important to note that this point-in-time nature characteristic of tests is not the only downside of mass testing.

A major problem with almost any test is its accuracy. When it comes to the accuracy of COVID-19 tests, it is often broken up into two parts: sensitivity and specificity. Sensitivity is the ability for a test to correctly identify an individual that has the illness. Meanwhile, specificity is the ability for a test to correctly identify an individual that does not have the illness.

A test with good specificity is oftentimes described as having a low false positive rate. Similarly, a test with good sensitivity is oftentimes described as having a low false negative rate. Both of these rates are typically low for a given test, with ARUP Laboratories reporting the COVID-19 test having a false positive rate of 0.01%. This should hardly concern a single individual who is taking the test; however, as the number of individuals being tested rises, so does the prevalence of false negatives.

If we take COVID-19’s false positive rate and apply it to the population of the U.S., we very quickly see that this seemingly small rate results in 33,000 false positives out of 330,000,000 total residents. Clearly, this is a substantial amount of people. This also pushes the idea that while false positive rates might seem small for the individual, they mean much more when thrown into the context of mass testing.

According to data provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Gratiot County has rate of 1.33% when it comes to its inhabitants testing positive for COVID-19. If we take this and apply it to Alma College’s mass testing program, we see that around 23 individuals, out of the 1696 tested, would test positive. Using the aforementioned false positive rate, we can also find that only 1 student would falsely test positive.

In this scenario, the false positive rate is not problematic. However, as one might be able to deduce, if the false positive rate is ever larger than the overall positive rate for a given area, then more false positives will be identified than true positives.

ARUP Laboratories also reports that false positive rates are problematic for two reasons. The first is that it can result in an individual being subject to treatment that they do not need, which can lead to unnecessary financial and health consequences.

The second is that it can give the individual a false sense of security against the virus. They might assume, since they tested positive with no symptoms, that they are somehow ”stronger” than the virus. This false sense of security against the virus could potentially lead to the individual later contracting or transmitting the virus due to a lack of precautionary measures taken by that individual.

While false positive rates in the Alma College community are not a major concern, it is important to keep them in mind when evaluating our response to the pandemic. Mass testing may be beneficial now, but, like most COVID-19 policies and procedures, they will eventually become obsolete as society adapts to the virus. Naturally, the next question with all of this is when will Alma College become safe enough to where mass testing, social distancing, and guest/mask policies are no longer required?

(A) Historic summer

ATULYA DORA-LASKEY
STAFF WRITER

Whenever the academic year reaches its final months, students across the country pick up their school’s yearbook. These books attempt to showcase the best of student life on their glossy pages, sometimes with embarrassing little errors that managed to slip past editing. No matter how much you would roll your eyes at the cheesy production, you and your friends would still crowd around a desk to see who got featured and how many times. You might ask yourself the following: Did they use my prom pictures? Who got voted best such-and-such? What does everyone look like in their senior photos?

Whenever the academic year reaches its final week, another book might get passed around. Like the yearbook, this too was a showcase of student life, but significantly shorter in length. It is paperback instead of hardcover, the pages are not as glossy, there are significantly more embarrassing little errors. You might ask, what is this? To which the yearbook club students would respond with either excited pride or complete indifference: Stuff that happened after the yearbook published.

Oh cool, you might think. So it is part of the yearbook…but not really. It is an extra segment, a bonus part. If later on in the summer you found out that you had lost the normal yearbook but retained the yearbook addendum you would be disappointed. If the book only includes what happened after the original yearbook was published, there is no way you can get a sense of what the entire year was like.

This summer, Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality began popping up across the nation. It did not take long for an attempt by the US government to revert everyone back to an blood-stained status quo. Democratic mayors quickly decided to sic the police on the protestors. Soon afterwards, a Republican Presidential administration resorted to even more authoritarian measures by using the Department of Homeland Security to abduct protestors into unmarked vans.

There is deserved outrage against Trump and his administration for this. However, most of the outrage refuses to discuss any history before Trump’s inauguration date. On August 10th, The Nation published an article titled “How Stephen Miller Turned the Department of Homeland Security Into a Political Weapon” in which DHS is described as having morphed into “..a tool for pushing Trump’s political agenda.”  On August 17th, The Washington Post published an op-ed titled “At Homeland Security, I saw firsthand how dangerous Trump is for America” in which former DHS official Miles Taylor writes that “The president has tried to turn DHS, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, into a tool used for his political benefit.” The implication is clear: The DHS was a completely upstanding and non-partisan department before Trump got his hands on it.

There’s a larger history behind the young department. The DHS came into existence in 2003 as a result of the Homeland Security Act which was passed in response to the fear created from 9/11. President Bush wrote that “…the threats facing America require a new government structure to protect against invisible enemies that can strike with a wide variety of weapons.” This was part of a larger project by the Bush administration to convince Americans that scary outsiders were coming to hurt them and their families, and that they could be stopped if we all continued to give away our civil liberties. The DHS was created to be the President’s private police force. It has not been turned into a political weapon, it was designed as one.

From August 17th – 20th, the Democratic party held its national convention and allowed several disgruntled Republicans to take the stage. The Democrats wanted to push a message of “country over party,” in order to depict Trump as an anomaly. On the first night, the Democrats had former Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich appear to tell us that Trump is “…unlike all of our best leaders before him.” Kasich clearly considers his endorsement to be historic, telling the camera that “In normal times, something like this would probably never happen.” On the second night, Democrats had former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell speak about how we must vote against Trump because we’re still the same America “…that inspires freedom all over the world.” The implication is clear: The Republican party was honorable before Trump got his hands on it, and these men are still principled enough to speak out against Trump. 

There’s a larger history behind these two men and the horrible things they’ve done with their former positions. In 2011, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a union-busting bill that limited collective bargaining rights and banned strikes for 360,000 public workers. By 2016, Kasich had closed down nearly half of the abortion clinics in Ohio by using some of the most restrictive legislation in the country. In 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell helped lead America into the war in Iraq by lying to the United Nations Security Council about Iraq facilitating a nuclear weapons program. Claiming to be a country that (as Colin Powell put it) “inspires freedom over the world,” America named the invasion Operation Iraqi Freedom. Operation Iraqi Freedom went on to kill 600,000 Iraqis.

These are some of the men who helped enable Trump’s rise to power. They did it by exacerbating wealth inequality, fear-mongering abortion access, and by normalizing the act of misleading the public with deadly lies while never facing consequences for any of their actions. Some might argue that the Democratic Party only platformed these men to get Trump out of office. If the Democratic Party’s sole intention was voting out Trump, they could be doing it more successfully by adopting incredibly popular proposals such as legalizing marijuana (67% of Americans support) and Medicare for All (69% of Americans support). Instead, the Democratic Party expects you to believe that they will win the election by chasing down disgruntled Republican voters even though 90% of the Republican party approves of Trump.

It’s not about doing whatever it takes to get Trump out of office. It’s about creating opportunity through the portrayal of Trump as an ahistorical aberration instead of the horrific end result of past political decisions. Opportunity for the Democratic Party to promise to remove Trump but never have to promise to solving the problems that created him. Opportunity for men like Kasich, Powell, and even Bush to clean their hands of the responsibility they share for getting us here in the first place. Opportunity to continue some of America’s most dangerous institutions and practices by placing the blame for their inevitable consequences on Trump alone.

Let me be clear, Trump represents a unique threat to democracy, but so did Bush. If the American public can be convinced to let the Bush administration and Republicans like Kasich off scot-free for the lasting damage they’ve done to this country, then there’s no doubt they’ll be convinced to do the same with members of the Trump administration once an even worse person comes to power off the political decisions Trump has made.

We’re trapped in a cheap yearbook addendum that covers no history at all before January 20th, 2017. We need to properly analyze our entire history to find the decisions that brought us to this awful point, so we can stop them at the source. If we keep treating Trump like an ahistorical incident, we can expect our future to be filled with a never-ending cycle of even worse yearbook addendums.

TikTok under political fire

MADDISON LUEBKE
COPY EDITOR

PHOTO BY MORGAN GUST

Disclaimer: The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Almanian or Alma College.

Over the course of this summer, we saw a new wave of social media influence take over the lives of young people. With nothing else to do, our phones became the only form of social interaction most young people had. TikTok, an already popular video creation app, lead the pack as it gained popularity over the past few months.

Whenever an app becomes so integrated into how we communicate, it has the capability to be weaponized as a political force. TikTok uses interest groups and watch times to evaluate what kind of content people like, so it was easy for political activists and popular figures to find the community that resonated with their message.

With this kind of algorithm, TikTok has created a platform of hyper-personalized media consumption. This personalization for the user shows that they have the information accessible to be able to figure out information about focus groups across the globe.

TikTok poses an interesting threat to the government, and more specifically this presidential regime. Trump’s campaign was blatantly anti-China, and TikTok was created by the Chinese media company Bytedance.

Some claim that TikTok is stealing U.S. Citizen information and selling it to foreign governments. As a college student with minimal knowledge of politics and no knowledge of data analytics, I can’t claim to know how all of this works; however, it is important to know that TikTok isn’t the only part of our lives that can be tracked.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube: all of these apps for your phone have capabilities of tracking what you interact with. All of our devices we depend on—especially in an environment of all online classes—are manufactured and programmed in Asian countries.

Even at home in the United States, as soon as a child is born, they are given a birth certificate and a social security number— two things that are used by people for the rest of their lives.

In a recent interview with Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren, Donald Trump said that banning TikTok in the United States was one of many options the country could take to “punish” China for the coronavirus. Banning an app in order to blame an entire country for a global pandemic that is almost under control in all countries besides the United States seems to be a reelection move if I had ever heard one.

In the age of new media, we plaster our faces, our birthday’s and our private information on the internet on a daily basis. It is an active decision on our part to participate in these online mediums; however, banning the internet as a political move goes against the United States past policy on internet censorship.

The United States has always been a country that pushes for freedom of information. We don’t want the government to be able to censor what news were seeing. We are a democracy that believes all of the people here have a right to know.

If Trump bans TikTok, it sets us down a path of governmental restriction of media consumption. They could make listening to non-American musicians’ illegal. They could ban foreign films. We would be stuck in a media bubble made up of exactly what our government wants us to see—blind to the outside world.

I make TikToks, not to be famous, but to have a creative outlet when all of my other forms of creativity have been cancelled. With coronavirus, we are living in a world where social media interaction may be the only interaction.

Women’s History Month sparks power in students

KAELYN WOJTYLKO
STAFF WRITER

Many do not realize that the month or March is Women’s History Month. On Monday, Mar. 8, 2020 it was International Women’s Day as it is every year now.

Women’s History Month is all about trying to get equality. Still to this day women are not necessarily equal to men, especially in the work field. Wage gaps range depending on gender, age and the job being done. It is estimated that it will take another 40 years for women’s pay to become even close to male’s pay in the workforce.

International Women’s Day is the focal point in the movement for women’s rights. Women still fight for the equality that they deserve. There are multiple topics that people would like to cover during this day and in general.

Female athletes still are not treated nearly as well as male athletes. Not only is the pay different for pro-athletes, but the media coverage for female athletes is not advertised nearly as much as male athletic events. It has been a question if women should be allowed to compete in male dominant sports because some sports do not have women’s teams, for example, football.

Currently, there are female football coaches but still not many women playing football on pro teams. As women continue to fight for equal rights to do what they love, they break the norms of the gender-stereotyped norms.

There are so many stereotypes, in the work place especially, that claim that men can perform better in the workplace. Many women work so hard on a daily basis and shape the lives of the future. Women still go to work while pregnant and dealing with other bodily issues that happen over time.

Empowering women through women’s health education is very important because even as a women you may not know everything about your own health. Many women go undiagnosed with multiple different health problems because they don’t know what to ask at the doctors office. There is a time to draw the line with women’s health because you can only go so long with being in pain due to what you think could be cramps.

Many doctors still do not immediately test for things like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, etc. Endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome is believed to effect 1 in 10 women in the world, however, many women remain undiagnosed.

Many women also push to increase visibility for women’s creativity. Women who have chosen careers in artistic fields sometimes feel undervalued and like their work is not as appreciated compared to a man’s according to several studies. For example, female authors are believed to not have their work appreciated due to many hurdles and struggle in best selling genres such as horror and science fiction. Many women, such as J.K. Rowling, have gone by initials and their last name or a made-up name that does not sound feminine just to get their work published and to try and reduce the fear that their work will not be appreciated by audiences.

Women continue to need the support in all different categories, this is just to name a few. Breaking the stigma and stereotypes of being a women continue to get harder as topics get deeper. We all have the power to change this.

Trans students want to see Alma’s actions speak

CHAPIN KARTSOUNES
WEB EDITOR

The lack of restrooms that are available for any student, no matter what gender they prefer, on Alma’s campus is something to question.

You may not have noticed this issue because it doesn’t particularly affect you, but for the students that it does, it is more than an inconvenience.

There are very few all gender bathrooms in common areas of campus, and this problem needs to be solved. There are students on our own campus who have nowhere to do something that everyone does, and no one can help.

It’s time we start growing with society and creating spaces that allow people to use the bathroom if they need to, just like everyone else can.

There is a solution to this issue — we need single use bathrooms that are accessible and plenty around campus. These can be used by anyone, no matter what gender they identify as.

In the end, no one would be inconvenienced. A lot of people would be helped, and a positive change would be made!

I think the first step of this process should be addressing the few all gender bathrooms that already exist on our campus.

The most well-known all gender bathrooms are the ones on the first floor of Dow. These are routinely disgusting. The smell carries past the door, and the toilets are always very dirty.

The point is there, but Trans students deserve the basic decency of having a restroom that is useable.

Another gender inclusive bathroom used to exist across from Tyler Van Dusen but has since been removed and painted over. There are only male and female bathrooms in Saga, as well as the rec center.

There are no public all gender bathrooms in SAC, but students are allowed to use the one in the teacher’s lounge on the first floor if needed.

It is absolutely not okay that a student may have to walk up and/or down three flights of stairs just to use the restroom during class.

This issue has surpassed being just an inconvenience to students who need single use bathrooms. It can interfere with their health and disrupt their education because they would need to walk up and down flights of stairs which would cause them to miss more class time than those who could just use the restroom down the hall.

Because of the fact that I am cisgender, I have spoken to many individuals with whom the lack of all gender bathrooms effects. I then decided to use my voice as a staff member of The Almanian to broadcast their worries.

“If I’m somewhere like the rec or SAC, I’ll have to walk across campus just to use the bathroom,” said Oliver Labuda (’22). Labuda also stated that they sometimes leave SAC during class to use the single use restroom in the Eddy Music Hall.

Other students opened up to me about their struggles with not having a bathroom that is accessible to them.

“I have taken to social media to speak out about the issue,” said David Parnell III (’21) who has spoken with members of administration about the lack of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.

“Your Trans students just need your actions to speak,” Parnell stated in a tweet that got several likes and retweets from other Alma students.

The school has taken a step by making bathrooms of dorm buildings single person use because anyone can use and access them at any point.

If we had more areas like this around campus, it would be a step towards making Trans students on campus feel a little more comfortable.

When you have a marginalized group speaking out and asking, “hey, we need this thing to make us feel more humane on your campus,” and the issue only seems to get worse, there needs to be a call to action.

The college should take responsibility for this mistake and allocate more bathrooms around campus to being single use, all gendered and easily accessible. This is a small step that could help many students at Alma who deserve comfortability.

Next time you’re walking around common areas of campus buildings, check the bathrooms. If you see an all gender bathroom, check the conditions. If none are satisfactory, or there isn’t one in sight, realize that.

Alma College, we want to see change. As long as everyone pees, they all deserve a place to be able to do so.

Title IX Visibility

ATULYA DORA-LASKEY
STAFF WRITER

The Almanian Hears YOu

In the coming weeks, the Almanian will be asking the students and employees of Alma College about their experiences with the Title IX system in order to complete a comprehensive and fully independent student-conducted report. You can DM your stories to us on Twitter at @Almanian_news or email us at editor.almanian@outlook.com. And if you prefer encrypted/anonymous communication, you can contact us on Signal at +1 937-768-3045.

The Almanian recognizes that it may be difficult to share your stories for many reasons, and as such we promise to treat them with sensitivity and confidentiality.

You may choose to share your story solely over electronic communication, or you may message us to arrange a meeting with one of the Almanian’s reporters at a location where you feel most comfortable. You may also choose to take a break at any time during the process.

The Almanian guarantees that your story will not be shared without your consent. You will be able to choose whether you want your story to be detailed in the report or whether you want your story to simply inform the overall picture that our report paints of the Title IX system.

If you choose to have your story detailed, you may also choose whether to be anonymous or named. We will provide you a final look at what your story looks like before we publish so you have the opportunity to change your mind.

The Almanian is doing this report because we believe that there are problems with the Title IX process and other pathways to justice. These are not problems merely limited to Alma but ones that exists everywhere and at every level. These are also not problems that can be placed on one person, but are instead the combination of various institutional, legal, and cultural factors.

Perhaps the most prolific and recent example of these problems was the infamous People v. Turner case, better known as the Brock Turner story. Turner admitted to sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in an alley on his way to a party, but demanded leniency in his sentencing due to his “potential” as an athlete and a student. The judge agreed and Turner only faced 6 months in jail.

Although the injustice in this case may seem overwhelming and symbolic of so many other evils, the bright spotlight placed on this problem led to changes to address it. The judge that presided over Brock Turner’s case was stripped of his position in the following election and the state legislature passed laws to prevent an outcome like this from happening again.

Like everywhere, Alma College has problems in regards to how it seeks justice. Experiencing those problems can feel isolating because so much of the Title IX process relies on secrecy. This can make us feel alone despite many of us experiencing similar issues. The Almanian believes that sharing these stories––whether anonymously or plainly––can help us both feel less alone and identify common problems as a community.

Maybe you didn’t report. Maybe you reported but feel like the college did not take the situation seriously enough. Maybe you reported and feel like the college did properly address the situation. Maybe you had a different experience entirely.

No matter what your story is, the Almanian is here to listen.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Small fish, big pond: how transfer students adapt

BRETT JENKINS
STAFF WRITER

When I first arrived at Alma College as a transfer student, I had no idea what was in store for me. I was nervous and excited, and I was dreading the Michigan winter, which had a reputation that preceded it all the way back to August. Now, with a semester under my belt and a long, restful winter break, I’ve had time to reflect on my experience.

Transferring to a school like Alma from an out-of-state community college is a unique experience and one that I’m really grateful for. And at last, I finally feel like I have an answer to the question I’ve been asked more than any other, “why Alma?”

Aside from the usual boilerplate answers I usually gave people, I couldn’t put my finger on it. I cherish the time I spent at Salt Lake Community College (or “Slick” for you Salt Lake City locals), but Alma had something unique to offer: the sense of community that comes from all the students who live on and around campus. The community of learning at Alma College is one of its greatest amenities and one that I think goes under-appreciated. However, becoming a part of that community and taking advantage of everything it has to offer isn’t always easy.

As many of us remember first-hand, the first few weeks at school can be overwhelming for incoming freshmen. It is an avalanche of new information—new faces, new places, and new expectations. It really does feel like being thrown into the deep end of the pool on the first day of swimming lessons, except this time you’ve got a $300 stack of books and a hundred other kids splashing around with you.

It’s a lot to handle and the college knows that, which is why there are so many resources available to freshmen, especially in those first few weeks. Things like orientation and the first-year seminar classes that all freshmen have to take are life-preservers to help keep everyone’s heads above water.

Transfer students, thankfully, are equipped to deal with a lot of the stress that plagues first-year students. They have already gone through that crucible, and they know what to expect.

But that doesn’t mean their transition is painless. There’s still a lot to learn and, in some cases, a lot to un-learn.

Unfortunately, most of the resources for new students aren’t perfectly suited for transfer students. Even the resources that would be really helpful can be hard to find. That is why Alma has the Transfer Assistance Program (TAP).

“The transfer program is supposed to give you a sense of belonging,” said Johnnie Upshaw (20), a TAP mentor and a transfer student himself. “The first time I actually left my room in my first semester was for a TAP event and I met like four people that I’m still friends with today,” said Upshaw.

My personal experience definitely affirms that goal. When I arrived Alma, it was immediately clear that I was an outsider. However, I didn’t feel excluded. Quite the contrary—I felt welcomed by both the staff and the students, largely thanks to outreach from the TAP mentors.

For some students, transferring from a community college to a four-year school can improve the experience overall.

“It gives you a transition from dependence to independence. At community college, you’re still under your parents’ roof. You have more independence on campus, and then you go back

home to being dependent. When you come to a university where you stay on campus and you live there, it’s like full independence. You’re learning adulthood.” said Upshaw.

No more war nerds

ATULYA DORA-LASKEY
STAFF WRITER

Graphic by ALLISON WOODLAND

Do you feel clueless about what’s currently happening in Iran? Have you felt confused about why the US is even involved in the middle east for almost your entire life? When you were young and people told you that soldiers fight for our freedom, were you ever puzzled as to how that even worked? Recently, have you quietly muttered “Who the hell is Soleimani?” Did you ever feel like all of this was common sense, and that one day when you grew up this would click for you? If you said yes to any of these symptoms and we’re afraid or embarrassed to speak up or ask questions, then you have been unfortunately infected by the loathed War Nerd.

It’s not your fault, most people have been infected by the War Nerd (including myself), but the first step to seeking help is knowing more about what bit you. And that starts with finally asking some questions.

So, what is a War Nerd? They are not your average Republican or Democrat voter, people interested in military history, they definitely aren’t your enlisted family members. They’re not even the people who tore down the “NO WAR WITH IRAN” banner hanging in Mac Mall.

War Nerds are the wealthy sell-outs who pretend to be smart so they can personally get richer off of warfare. They are the suit-wearing talking heads who appear on the news to tell you that this war is definitely a good idea and that anyone who disagrees is either ill-informed or a terrorist. War Nerds are parasitic creatures who have one singular goal: making you divert trillions of dollars away from improving your country and instead towards their careers and the careers of their friends, no matter the bloodshed it takes.

They use a variety of tactics, but the most common is making you feel stupid. When Trump launched a missile strike and killed an Iranian commander named Qasem Soleimani which put us on a path towards violent conflict (most likely in order to get reelected), the War Nerds came crawling out of their holes with their thesauruses and hastily scrawled note cards. “Soleimani (whom the vast amount of Americans had never heard of) was one of most evil men in the entire world!” announced the smug War Nerds on their slated cable guest appearances. The clear implication is that if you don’t know who Soleimani was, then it is you who is the ignorant one, it is you who isn’t American enough.

Since you not knowing about Soleimani is a you problem, so you shouldn’t embarrass yourself by asking questions or pushing back. “Prepare to ship out your children and your friends to die in Iran, because we must defend Freedom,” proclaims the War Nerd from his comfortably air conditioned television studio. He doesn’t mean his children or his friends, but that is left unspoken.

That isn’t the only fact that gets left unspoken when War Nerds start calling for violence. Take this article by Stephen Hadley (pictured in the top row, third from the left) in the Washington Post for example. The article opens with a byline that describes Hadley as a former national security advisor, then Hadley takes 914 words to say that these dangerous aggressions might be good because they could lead to the possibility of diplomacy. Nowhere in the article is there a disclaimer that the author also makes hundreds of thousands of dollars every year serving on the board of directors for Raytheon, a defense contracting firm that stands to make enormous amounts of money if we go to war.

On NPR, Jeh Johnson (top row, first from the right) was introduced as the former Homeland Security Secretary and treated as an objective source before the host began asking him questions about Iran. Johnson responded by “sensibly” scare mongering about what Iran could do to retaliate against us. Nowhere in the NPR story is a disclaimer given that Jeh Johnson also makes hundreds of thousands of dollars every year serving on the board for Lockheed Martin, another defense contractor that has the potential to make serious cash if people die. Both Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have seen their stocks shoot up following Trump’s missile strike.

The poisonous effects of War Nerds can even spread to anti-war advocates. On the day after Trump heightened tensions by killing Soleimani, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (MI-8) composed a 10 tweet long thread in which she talked about how evil Soleimani was before saying that the strike wasn’t strategic enough. In an effort to seem “reasonable,” you may also be tempted to add these disclaimers to your condemnation, you’re actually just further propagating War Nerd talking points. The average American doesn’t care about who this man was, they care about their kid coming home for thanksgiving instead of for their funeral.

“Aha!” says the smug War Nerd, “Did you know that Soleimani killed American troops in the middle east? I did, because I’m smart, unlike you.” This is where the mask of reasonableness completely slips off the War Nerd, because they always seem to forget why our soldiers were in the middle east to begin with. Maybe if they remembered to tell us that we sent Americans over there because War Nerds like Ari Fleisher (bottom row, first from the left) lied to us, the American people wouldn’t keep having War Nerds like Ari Fleisher on to lie to us again. War Nerds want to blatantly use their past mistakes to justify future ones.

If you are a fellow student on this campus, then you know our country has been at war for our entire lifetimes because older generations decided to listen to these leeches. We are not making the same mistake.

You don’t have to be a political science major to know that killing random people across the world––and getting our own soldiers killed in the process––so some corporate tool can make a couple more dollars is psychotic. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. We’re not going to listen to War Nerds anymore, we are going to shove these blood-sucking monsters back in the locker where they belong.

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