Time For Change

written by Kris Costa

The hearts at Mindset are deeply saddened by recent events at Umpqua Community College.

Unfortunately, it is my belief that this will not be the last school shooting to take place. The rash of violence spreading across the nation against our schools and the innocents within is nothing short of evil.

My appreciation goes to the first responders, medical responders, crisis centers and others, whose grim tasks now include and necessitate drill upon drill of reacting to such domestic terrorist emergencies. No longer carrying an element of sheer surprise, these tragedies have become scenarios whose practiced responses are now a matter of protocol in our American culture. The re-enforced skill sets of our task forces, and other emergency preparedness teams and individuals have no doubt increased the likelihood of surviving such a horrifying scenario, however, much needs to be discussed and implemented to avert the terrorist act in the first place. It is not enough to deal with the after effects. These occurrences MUST be eliminated. It is my opinion that the most influential to facilitate effective change in our own schools lie with us, the civilian public.

I often wonder how many parents have asked the serious questions to our schools regarding  security and preventative measures, and if so asked, what are the responses?

Our government representatives and the like, will address various talking points around gun control, mental health, etc., all of which are vital and valid and necessary discussions to have,  for quite some time to come. However, let us not forget that it is not the government’s responsibility to appoint school security to all the schools in the nation and regulate it. Our Legislative branch will provide rules to govern society, and the Judicial branch will set ramifications when violations occur. The police and others will respond to such violations. However, the job of keeping our schools safe lie with us, the proactive general public. It simply is not acceptable or effective to wait around in fear for someone, or some other body of people, to do the job we need to be doing, which is stand up for safety of our youth and other personnel in schools.

If you are a parent, have you questioned your child’s school on security procedures? Do you know what the procedure is concerning lock down? Do you know if those procedures are drilled with any regularity? What situations are covered? Most importantly, how is the school addressing preventative measures? How is the school physically secured? Are there increased security measures in place?  Are there “No Gun Zone” signs posted? Does your school believe that is a deterrent? Would they consider additional preventative security measures if the budget for such could be supplemented? Would you pull your child/young adult out of the school if you were not satisfied with their answers? Is there a parent group formed and it is applying pressure  (and support) to the school to make the hard decisions and take serious action?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Do your children know how to adapt to life where they hear about school shootings in the news regularly? Do they really feel safe? And there is so much more.

If it is not worth the effort to find the answers to the above, and more so, to do everything possible in our power to protect our children in school, then we may loose a lot more lives waiting for others to address these issues on our behalf. I believe in prevention, and it begins in our own neighborhoods. Speak up, form a collective, offer solutions, pressure the schools to respond, financially contribute. It’s not about who “should” be doing what, it is about doing the best we can and now. Lives matter.

There are so many facets to the issue of school violence and violence prevention. Enforcing physical boundaries against it, before it happens, may just be the easy part.

Here is the real question: If we could go back to the day before each school shooting, knowing what we know now, would there be one thing that could be done differently?  If the answer is no, then there is no need to pay attention to this post.

~KBC

Miss Demeanor- First Time out.

canstockphoto14358960

Miss Demeanor

First Time Out


It’s funny the way that words work and how they have so many different meanings and so many different forms. When said in one context, a word can mean something so different than if it were said in another context. Being independent can mean so many different things and has so many forms.

Independence is not only a word, but an action, a feeling, a way of life, and such an important aspect of being an adult that I have yet to even figure out its true definition myself.

What does one do when in the process of figuring out what something really means? One action to take is to look it up in the dictionary. As I sit here with my Webster’s Dictionary open to the correct page, I am still not convinced that I have fully comprehended the meaning of the word “independent”. Webster defines it as follows:
Independent; free from outside control, not depending on another’s authority.
Then beneath that there is another definition that reads;
Not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.

So, what does this tell us? Does it tell us that being independent means to be free from outside control? Does that mean we should not listen to our parents or our teachers in school? Does being independent mean we should say “no” when a professor asks us to write a paper? Maybe we should throw our hands in the air and crawl into bed when our boss tells us to come in for work.

I think that independence is something different for all of us. I always thought I knew what it was or what I wanted it to be, but I don’t think that I ever really experienced independence until this year and I believe that what I have experienced of it is only a taste. I guess the first time I felt independent was when I moved away from home and into the dorms at the college I was attending. I was nervous, but so excited, and I think that both of those emotions are huge ones that preclude the feeling of being independent.

Living away from home was awesome. There were so many things that I enjoyed like the freedom and the privacy away from everyone at home. I didn’t have to share anything and I could keep my room in any condition I wanted. I could come home at three in the morning and wake up at four in the afternoon. However, with every positive there is always a negative to follow. With that being said, I am not trying to sound like a pessimist, but more a realist.

I learned a lot. I learned that if I stayed out until three in the morning and slept until four in the afternoon, that I would be absolutely exhausted and my whole day would be ruined. I learned about loneliness and that sometimes I would rather have people around me than not at all. I missed family dinners on Sundays and my little sister stealing my clothes.

Being independent teaches you a lot about yourself and the scary thing about that, is that it is not always easy to learn the truth about who you are. Being on my own ignited
a new perspective in me that I would have never gained if I were in the comfort of my own home. When out of your comfort zone and thrown into situations that make you feel on edge sculpt us into the grown ups that we are supposed to become in the world Suddenly, all the friends that I used to hangout with and spend all my time with began to look so minuscule in my eyes. I began to see them for their true colors and their true motives for being a part of my life and I no longer found time to entertain them. I figured out what relationships in my life were worth hanging on to and which were absolutely worth letting go of. When it all comes down to it, I ended up really surprising myself and I pushed people out of my life that I once thought would never leave it. I also learned that some of the people that were so hard to let go of were actually the most important to move on from.

Life is all about making choices that are good for you. If there is one thing that I have learned recently, it is that it is so important to make choices that are beneficial for your future. People, myself included, are often weighing their decisions based on the actions and feelings of other people, and that is where I believe we are at fault. That is
where we stumble and lose course because life and your choices are about YOU and only you.

I sometimes think that we were created with our hearts bigger than our heads because it is so hard to make choices when they are not both in an agreement. I believe that real independence within yourself is learning how to make a choice that both your heart and your head agree on. It is one of the hardest tasks to accomplish, but when it is executed, nothing ever feels so good.
-Alexandra Costa
Allie Costa
Alexandra was born in Red Bank, New Jersey and moved to Scottsdale, AZ with her family in 2002. She is currently pursuing her college degree in English and Psychology.

Tough Decisions

“The liquid burns your innocent throat as it slowly makes its way from the bottle to the inside of your sober mouth. The first swig is tough, the second also does not come with ease, but with each swig the sting decreases along with your judgment. Your vision becomes blurry, your stride is not so steady and your mind is far from clear. You look around yourself and notice that most of your friends are in the same state as you are, if not worse. The party has died down and most of your fellow partiers are now coupled away in the bedroom or heaping heavily over a guest room toilet. You have come to the conclusion that everyone has had enough to drink, or maybe even a little too much.

roadview

Your thoughts, as you applied your make up prior to the party, was to simply have a good time and come home safely. Your thoughts now, inebriated and short of judgment, are scattered so far across your brain that even you can’t tell what they are. The only thing you are thinking of currently is getting home. As the thought of your comfortable bed dances through your brain, your car keys begin to tease you from inside your purse. They invite you to insert them in the car ignition and press your right foot to the gas; bring everyone to their beds. You know that this is a bad idea, although at the time it seems to be the easiest, but when is the easiest decision ever the best? No one wants to wait for a cab, no one wants to pay for a cab and conclusively, none of your friends want to even take cab. You are the most clear headed out of all your friends, although you really are not clear headed at all. It seems a unanimous vote has taken place, and the winner is you, you need to drive everyone home. Hey, you’re only a few blocks from home anyway, right?

You elude the thoughts in your head that encourage you to call home and tell your parents that you need to be picked up. You are scared of the consequences that they may implement if they were to find out you are stranded and drunk at a party. What you are not clearly thinking about enough, however, is the consequences that you may face if you drive while drunk. At first the idea of driving everyone home seems completely ridiculous, you have had way too much to drink and driving your car is just completely out of the question. You decide to call a cab and are put on hold for quite some time, how annoying this all seems to be. As the line holds, the idea of drunk driving rapidly becomes more and more appealing to you. Your stomach is hurting, your head is pounding and all you want to do is collapse onto your bed in the comfort of your own home. Your brain suggests that you call your parents, they always said to call them in an emergency,  but is this really an emergency? Calling your parents is just out of the question entirely; partying, drinking, and boys were not on the agenda you told your dad earlier this evening. Your friends are becoming ill beside you as your phone is still on hold; you become increasingly anxious and unsure of what to do. You begin to regret the drinking that you embarked on earlier and realize that this night was not thought through enough. You are frustrated and annoyed; before you even realize it, you’re on the highway, foot on the pedal and hazy eyes on the road in front of you….”

Everyone, at one point in their lives or another, adults included, think to themselves that nothing can happen to them. One commonality of the human condition, is that at times we believe that we are invincible. Most human beings prefer to be in control of things. For example, many people are afraid of flying. This would seem to be due to the fact that you are suspended in a large object and flying above solid ground, tens of thousands of feet in the air. For some, this is the reason that people are afraid of flying; but for the vast majority, what people are really scared of, is the lack of control over their lives. Many individuals would be completely comfortable flying thousands of feet above solid ground, if they were the ones in the cockpit. This relates to drunk driving in the sense that many people, especially teenagers, falsely believe that while being drunk they still have enough control to operate a moving vehicle. Warning to everyone who has a pulse on this planet; you are not “Superman” and you cannot drive anything while drunk!

Young adults are faced with tough decisions every day. They need support to make these decisions because it is not always easy to make healthy choices and it is especially difficult when you are young. We young people need the support and knowledge of those who have lived longer. Our parent’s mistakes not only to help them grow, but to help us grow. Teenagers should not be afraid to talk to their parents!!! I believe that I can speak for all parents, when I say that if you are drunk and at a party, call for help no matter how “grounded” you think you could be; whether it is a parent, a grandparent or even an older sibling, just call. Every twenty-two minutes a person is killed in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident! (FirstEagle.com). If there is one thing that I have learned, as cheesy as it may sound, it is that your parents are your number one friends; they will have your back whenever you need it, they will pick you up when you are down lower then you ever thought possible and they will love you through even the worst of mistakes. The one thing your parents cannot do, is help you grow if you are dead. Drunk driving will not only kill you, but it can kill any other person on the road or in the car with you.

“You are driving steadily, for what it seems like a couple minutes. Your friends are loudly laughing in the backseat and you are having a hard time focusing. Your head is throbbing uncontrollably and you are beginning to swerve on the icy roads that lead to your house. As you turn around to tell your friends to be quiet, you feel an outrageous spark of pain and suddenly, everything becomes blank. The next time you open your eyes, you’re staring at a broken and blood spattered windshield. You painfully turn around, feeling each of your ribs grind against each other with extreme discomfort. It is at this moment that you begin to weep at the sight of your permanently silenced friends in the backseat of your now crumbled car”.

-ARC