Many college graduates today lumber into the workforce $100,000 in debt. Because of today's abysmal job market, thousands walk commencement without a secured job or any prospects. And still, college is the American dream for parents and their children who want professional careers with the chance for advancement. Here are two ideas to help families navigate the behemoth debt problem that's making a college education a risky scheme that doesn't pay off for many.
First, serve America in the all-volunteer U.S. military branch of choice straight out of high school to grow into maturity, and then attend college with the G.I. Bill, once an honorable discharge is in hand. Serving in the military instills high school grads with work ethic, embeds the kind of citizenship in American freedom only service to that freedom can engender, and provides the opportunity to develop career goals.
Second, for high school grads not adventurous enough to join the military, complete the first two years at a community college while living at home. These institutions teach the first two years of lower-division humanities. Tuition is half the cost of a four-year college; living at home dispenses with room and board fees that cost from $800 to $1,000 a month.
Mark Norris, Lawton
Statistics not racially biased
The acquittal of George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin prompted nationwide debate, including expressions of outrage by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Jarred Johnson (Your Views, Aug. 4) wrote that “the black community and others have been working on reducing gang and inner-city violence since the late 1980s.” No doubt they have, yet the U.S. Justice Department reports that between 1980 and 2008, “blacks were six times more likely than whites to be homicide victims and seven times more likely than whites to commit homicide.”
Some 90 percent of black murder victims are killed by other blacks. In New York City in 2003, 96 percent of people who were shot and 90 percent of those murdered were black or Hispanic. Nationwide, the No. 1 cause of death for African-American males between the ages of 15 and 34 was being murdered with a gun. Police officers who stop a potential suspect are shot four times more often if the suspect is black than if he's not. If police and ordinary citizens are more wary of blacks, especially young black males, that shows common sense, not racial bias. Obviously, the efforts of groups Johnson refers to have had limited success.
The overwhelming majority of blacks are peaceful, law-abiding citizens. But when Johnson cites “how many more blacks are incarcerated compared to other races” as evidence of racial discrimination, he's wrong. It's evidence that those committing more crimes are more likely to be incarcerated.
Elliott Doane, Oklahoma City
Popular vote the best way to elect U.S. president
Regarding “Electoral College best way to decide winners” (Our Views, Aug. 4): Your basic premise of why the Founding Fathers designed the Electoral College is erroneous. The Electoral College exists at the current design due to the lack of communication and transportation options at the time. In today's world, it's possible to count and report each vote within a few hours under most circumstances. The people of the United States are best served when each vote counts equally, not when 49 percent of the votes may be discarded due to a majority of votes being the deciding factor of a state's entire Electoral College sum.
It doesn't seem logical that Oklahoma would be any less represented by a popular vote system than the paltry representation under the present system. Ten to 12 states of the representation similar to Oklahoma's delegation are required to offset states that have swing delegations. In the previous two presidential elections, those of us who voted for Barack Obama in Oklahoma weren't privileged to have our votes count, as all of the electoral votes were cast for John McCain or Mitt Romney. To say that every vote does count under the present system isn't correct.
While each vote may influence the way in which a state's electoral votes are tallied, nationwide popular vote isn't the deciding factor. The National Popular Vote organization is correct — the popular vote is the best way to elect U.S. presidents. The Electoral College is as outdated as the feather quills used to draft it.
Colleen Walker, Edmond