Letter from the Editor: perception

I woke up from a nap in my office the other day with the vivid memory of the dream I was having. My entire staff was working on old-timey Smith Corona typewriters when all of a sudden, out the window, I saw a massive tornado heading straight for us. I began shouting for everyone to get down into the basement to safety and we all ran for the protection we could only find underground. The tornado tore over us, destroying everything in its path and sweeping us up into the eye of the cyclone.

When we were sucked up, however, we were not greeted with the horrible end that we all expected. Instead, we found ourselves floating gently through a warm stream of wind that brought us great comfort and joy. It was pure bliss — Dorothy being softly swept away to the Land of Oz.

This was a clear analogy of the situation we face each week with our print deadline. An insane whirlwind that, to the untrained eye, looks like an anarchical storm of insanity with no rhyme or reason. Phones ringing, people shouting for no particular reason and keyboards clicking.

The work is difficult, stressful and time consuming, and it can sometimes transform us into irascible [expletive deleted]. But in the end, when the work is finished and we finally see it printed in fresh ink, we gain a huge sense of satisfaction from the fact that we put everything we had into it.

We do our best every week and work with altruistic intentions as we try to truly do good in the world. This is the main reason that most of us are interested in journalism — because we want to inform and make a positive impact on our communities.

On the flip side of that, there are the kind of journalists that we all detest. Those who are disingenuous or who are more interested in the shine of gold than the minds of peers. But good and bad comes with every profession. There are those who uphold the ideals of their jobs, and those who destroy the sanctity that others revere.

Unfortunately, it’s the ones who fail to do their jobs well that are much more talked about than those who do what they’re supposed to. The mark of someone doing their job well is often that no one is talking about them.

This is certainly the case with law enforcement.

The last few years have been filled with vitriol directed toward those who have sworn to protect and serve. Videos seen on television media drive the conversation as we often see cops who do atrocious things as the leading stories on Nancy Grace and Jake Tapper.

As those that have failed to correctly do their jobs get all the attention, those who quietly go about their work every day, doing what they are supposed to do, go unnoticed. Those who go 30 years without incident will seldom be so much as mentioned in a news story, but will receive the same anger meant for those few bad eggs that we all hear about committing unspeakable acts of violence.

Monday, we were reminded of the positive side of law enforcement. The SMC Police Department’s Captain Raymond Bottenfield and the SMPD’s Officers Jason Salas and Robert Sparks were flown out to Washington D.C., along with 10 other officers from around the nation, to be personally awarded with Medals of Valor.

Bottenfield, Salas and Sparks were the cops who ended the shooting spree on and around SMC’s campus three years ago that left five people dead and the community shaken.

These things remind us that for every bad cop, there are many good cops who execute their duties well in the face of extreme danger.


Our cover story this week is the impending opening of the Metro Rail on Friday. In our centerfold we present the stats of an average SMC students commute driving against the costs of riding the rail. Along with showing the effects on students,we write about the safety concerns of not having rail crossing arms near busy roads. Safety has been addressed, but we lay out the pros and cons of the way things have been set up.

In news, the inexhaustible Ashleen Knutsen gives a complete and thorough breakdown of all the construction related to SMC — what’s happening, when it’s happening and how much it will cost. Everything from The Pit on Pico to the satellite campus in Malibu, anything you want to know will be there. Check it out people. She’s good.

Also in news, Managing Editor Bailey Peraita put together a nice piece about the extension of library hours during finals week, spurred by a program called, “Finals, AS is Here!” (I know). This will give students that little bit of extra time that could make the difference between an A and a B. Oh, they’ll also provide puppies, coffee and pastries, possibly my three favorite things on the planet. I’ll be there, most likely only for the puppies.

We also have a piece by Grace Gardner on the Ecosexual wedding ceremony where the club married the sea (hopefully not a shotgun wedding) and a piece by Jacob Hirsohn detailing the positive effects of musical streaming services on the recording industry.

And finally, just as I was starting to feel proud of myself for not mentioning Trump in my lead, I remembered that we gave Adam Thomas two opinion pages to explain his prediction that Trump is going to win the presidency. His argument is long, thorough and convincing (though I’m not fully convinced), and gives plenty of reasons why this is more than just a possibility. If he’s right, then evolution is heading in the wrong direction.

Two weeks from now will be our swan song. It’s been a long, exhausting, fun, horrible, amazing semester, and we have a lot of good memories to take with us into the future. I’m just trying to enjoy it right now. Stress is for the tourists. We’ve become vets and will put everything we’ve learned into that last issue. Until then, try not to think too much about the future. Enjoy the moment... and the issue. Maybe both at the same time.