The (Un) Natural State

By Alex Ross, @alchristineross, Contributing Writer

Arkansas: the wholesome “heartland” of America. Within its homogenous population, sightings of tattoos, designed scars, and man-made horns protruding from human foreheads would soil the human landscape, right?

In short, if you want sub-skin décor or inkless tattoos, don’t go to “The Natural State.”

The state, surely wanting to stay natural, recently passed a law deeming artistic scarring and shaped silicone implants illegal. Known as scarification and subdermal implants to the marked masses, they’re nothing new.

According to an Alternative Press article, senators, who are clearly experts on tattoos and piercings, ruled that these methods were “untraditional” and unsafe. Obviously, these guys never spent an entire “sick” day on the couch watching Nat Geo. They would know that scarification practices have been a significant part of African culture for as long, or longer than, Arkansas has been a state. Senators’ lack of knowledge of rules and regulations followed by tattoo parlors and their artists also becomes apparent through their argument. Way to do your research, guys.

It’s peculiar how society allows people to put grossly disproportional implants in their chests and faces for their own decorative purposes. The legislative claims prove suspiciously vague to be working under. The law has a big, red target on the untraditional.

People want horns? Give them horns. They want tattoos? So be it. Silicone and pigment may not be natural, but human nature and choice are. 



image Legal.

Editor Thanks Bonaventure Community

[All the ruined items being placed outside the Lazo’s house just two days after the Hurricane ripped through Rockaway – Photo by Ryan Lazo]

By Ryan Lazo, Co-editor in chief/feature columnist, @RMLazo13

If there was ever any doubt in my mind on whether I chose to attend the right university, there is no question I know the answer now.

St. Bonaventure University is a part of me forever after what occurred over the past week.

As most people know, my family and I were badly affected by Hurricane Sandy. We live in Rockaway Park in Queens, N.Y. My house sits one block away from Jamaica Bay and one block away from the beach and the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s a beautiful place to live, and I’ve cherished all my memories I have growing up in this tight-knit community.

However, Sandy changed everything.

The Category 1 hurricane roared into the peninsula and caused immediate havoc with a record storm surge of 10 to 12 feet. It immediately brought flooding to the area, and coupled with high tide and a full moon, the impact was devastating.

In the few times I was able to contact my family, they told me what was going on — flood water engulfing our entire first floor of the house and fires springing up all over my community.

I left for home as soon as I could and saw the damage first hand.

Everything was gone —My family’s clothes, furniture, my brother’s toys, DVDs and video games.

To help Ryan and his family, click here to visit the donation page.

The worst was cleaning up the photo albums which held pictures of my childhood, vacations and other cherished memories.

It hurt to see my mother immediately begin to cry as she watched my dad, my brother and me get to work and try to clean up the place that was once our home.

The boardwalk that brought tourists to our area and made it a must-travel summer destination, destroyed. Businesses gone in the blink of an eye, including my own father’s restaurant.

But then something unexpected happened.

Jim Mahar led BonaResponds to my community and, specifically, my home. The group, filled with some friends, Bona students and alumni, helped us clean it up in a matter of hours, tearing down walls, moving anything that could be salvaged and helping boost the morale of my family.

In addition to the immediate action of BonaResponds, my family and I were swarmed with texts, phone calls, messages and tweets from those within the Bona community reaching out with support.

And that support turned into a donation page, one that promised to help me and my family begin the recovery process.

In a time of need, the Bonaventure community showed its true colors.

It’s a community that is caring of each other, one that is not afraid to reach out and help those in need. Not only were they able to help me, but they were able to help my community, and the strangers we worked with quickly became family.

There are not enough words in the English language that can truly describe how thankful I am.

This university has not only given me an education and the tools to claim a job in the workforce — they gave me another family.

While a simple “Thank You” will not suffice for how much everyone within this amazing Bonaventure family has helped me, it truly is meant with all my heart.

The saying really is true — “Once a Bonnie, always a Bonnie.”

And I will never forget it.

[A video compilation of the damage Hurricane Sandy did to the Rockaways]

Don’t only blame the smokers

The fresh air outside of Plassmann Hall has been replaced by cigarette smoke. Students exit their classes and are greeted by the smell. The same goes for Friedsam Memorial Library and most other buildings on campus. 

A university policy states for smokers to stay at least 30 feet away from every campus building. However, plenty of smokers gather closer to the door than they should, unintentionally — or blatantly — exhaling smoke on everyone.

But, in all fairness, the university makes it hard for smokers to even follow said rule, especially during the colder seasons and rainy days.

Plassmann has one ashtray 30 feet from the door, but has two directly outside of it. Out of the 18 buildings on the main campus, only De La Roche Hall and the library have at least one ashtray 30 feet away. Otherwise, most campus buildings lack convenient receptacles for rule-following smokers. 

For example, those who sit on the curb in the circle near Robinson and Falconio halls are doing exactly as they should, but those who gather on benches outside of the Hickey Dining Hall or Café La Verna do not follow the rule. 

Above The Influence’s website is chockfull of facts about every drug imaginable. The website states on its Reality Check page, “Smoking puts your friends and family at risk. Each year approximately 3,000 non-smokers die of lung cancer from second-hand smoke.” 

Until the university provides more ashtrays at proper distances away from the doors, those who choose to smoke will do so by convenience. In the meantime, those who don’t will just have to suck it up — literally.