On assault weapons, bringing Hockey Day in Minnesota to Crookston, Pirate girls' basketball, suicide, and all that ice...

Blame the weapons, too
After the shooting at Newtown, along with the other massacres that our nation has endured, most should agree that it's time to tighten up our country's gun control laws. President Obama has agreed to reinstate a federal ban on assault weapons, but in order for this to go into effect, Congress will have to vote in favor, which, according to the NRA is highly unlikely. Some may argue that banning assault weapons would diminish their Second Amendment rights. To put it into perspective, when the right to bear arms was added to the Bill of Rights the Founding Fathers weren't living in a world with rifles that could shoot off 15 bullets a second. These weapons are made to kill as many people as possible in a short instance. When these weapons get into the hands of the wrong people, destruction and despair follow. Katie Davidson, student staff writer

How about ‘Hockey Day’ here?
This Saturday, Jan. 19, is the annual Hockey Day in Minnesota, which celebrates hockey in what many call the “State of Hockey” from the moment a child puts on skates, all the way up to the professional level. After being celebrated in cities such as Moorhead, Baudette and Hermantown, this year the event is being held in Grand Rapids. For one day, that city, arguably, will be the unofficial hockey capital of the country, if not the world. And let’s get it here. Sure, it’s probably too late to host the 2014 event in Crookston, but in 2015 or 2016, isn’t it very likely that we’ll have more hotel rooms in Crookston? And who knows what else? Let’s show off that facility of ours, Crookston Sports Center, to the entire state. Let’s not sit on our heels on this one; let’s set the goal and make it happen. Get Hockey Day in Minnesota to Crookston.

Talented, balanced Pirates need to stay hungry
The iconic Steve Jobs once said, "Stay hungry. Stay Foolish." Those are words the Pirate girls' basketball team should think about as they head into the middle grind of their season. At 9-2 this season and on a four-game winning streak, the Pirates are mowing down opponents, winning their last four games by an average of more than 27 points. On Tuesday the Pirates go on the road to face a 3-11 Bemidji team before facing Red Lake and Section 8AA rival Frazee. January is where the great teams separate from the so-so teams. In 11 games, we've seen how balanced the Pirates are. Every one of the players on the bench is a very good player and can score. If the Pirates are going to be a force in the section tournament it is critical they "Stay hungry. Stay Foolish."

Blame for suicide lies in the victim
Another suicide of a public figure occurred when Aaron Swartz, co-founder of the Internet news service Reddit, hung himself Friday. At only 26, the genius had a promising life and career, but was charged with 13 felonies for allegedly stealing files to illegally share on websites. These problems may very well have contributed to the depression that led him to end his life, but the ultimate blame lies with himself. Comments by his family and girlfriend that his death is "the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach" do nothing for public perception of suicide. It may be easier to place the blame on outside sources rather than admit the victim suffered with mental health issues, but this guy previously blogged about depression, so the signs were there. Perhaps his family would better cope with this tragedy by carrying on his Internet rights cause or, better yet, help increase public awareness of mental health issues.

Ice, ice baby
Well, so much for the non-wanting of ice (a previous contribution to this space). You could go out to any parking lot around and make a skating rink out of it, thanks to the rain that fell last week and then froze not long after. There's almost a half inch of ice in some places. That being said, be careful when you're walking or driving about. This ice will most likely stick around for the rest of the winter, especially the thick stuff. It'll be most problematic during a thaw and refreeze; the ice will melt and when it freshly freezes, things will get extra slick. Take your time while driving. Leave a little early if you are able. Help people who aren't able to walk around as well on the ice. Brace yourself with something when walking around. Even though it's not a guarantee you won't slip anyway, you'll greatly reduce the chances of getting injured. Just take it slow and steady. Amanda Wagner, Times intern