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December 8, 2004 Editorials The Wescolite Student Newspaper Please, Play Responsibly Letters to the editor By Scott Calhoun, Editor During Thanksgiving break I ate at a restaurant that has a policy that with every five dollar purchase they will put a dollar into any keno machine. I don’t remember what I ordered, but I do remember that I ordered enough food to be entitled to receive my free gambling dollar. After I paid my tab the waitress handed me a dollar bill and sent me along my merry way to the keno machines. To be honest I don’t really have the attention span to actually play the game. I just randomly pick ten numbers and hope for the best. Fate was smiling on me over my week long break. Somehow or other I managed to win eighty dollars by randomly selecting numbers. The rush I felt upon winning was amazing. I felt on top of the world. Of course the feeling quickly left when I compared it to how much I was paying for tuition, but that’s beside the point. The point is that during that moment of triumph I felt that I could almost do anything. I even felt that if I were to bet all eighty dollars I would be able to win even more money. In that instance I saw for myself just how easy it was to become addicted to gambling. I cashed out with my winnings and gave a hefty tip to my waitress; she did deserve it, and went home. There are people in the world that don’t have the ability to just walk away. They think that because they won they’ll be able to win the next time, and the next time, and the next time. It’s an easy habit to fall into. It’s easy to see how people can become addicted to gambling. Even upon losing people can easily become addicted. People keep gam bling thinking that eventually they will win. Some people begin making larger bets hoping to compensate for all of the times that they have lost. They keep telling themselves that eventually their luck will change. Eventually fate will smile upon them and give them the winning numbers, or the winning hand, or the thirty to one long shot horse race victory. Eventually after all is said and done they will have won enough to break even and then some. There are people in the world that will literally gamble away their entire livelihood. I want to say that it’s the industry that’s to blame. I want to point the finger at the people that created the casinos and the machines inside them, but that wouldn’t be true. The blame ultimately lies on the people that aren’t able to show self restraint. It would seem that it’s easy to just walk away, but to some people that’s just not an option. There is currently help available to those with gambling addictions. There are several treatment centers in Montana, there is one in Helena as well as other towns. All one has to do is search on the internet and they can find the help they need. The hardest part is taking the first step towards recovery. Gambling is a form of entertainment for many people, but to those with an addiction it’s like a drug. It’s very difficult to stop. Depending on the severity of the addiction, people will steal from their loved ones in order to pay off their gambling debts. This is behavior that is closely associated with drug use. Keno, Poker, and other various gambling games can be quite fun when done in moderation. They provide an outlet for entertainment that cannot be found anywhere else. It’s when they are done in excess that they can become dangerous. I would encourage anyone out there with a gambling problem to seek help. As stated earlier, help is out there. To the rest of the population that enjoys gambling in moderation you have my support. Go out, spend some time with your friends, have fun, just remember to play responsibly.. . .......... ' Dear Editor I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify some misunderstandings pre sented in the November 3, 2004 edi tion of The Wescolite. A contributor criticized the “new” rules that don’t allow Residents Assistants of any age to drink alcohol on campus or to come back to campus after having consumed alcohol. It was also implied that this new rule pertains to all on-campus resi dents. First, the rules about alcohol con sumption as they apply to all residents are stated in the Student Handbook and have not changed. Second, the UM-W administration felt, after discussing the matter with our University legal council, that Resi dent Assistants are held to a higher standard in terms of behavior and that drinking on campus allows opportu nity for abuse that could jeopardize their ability to perform their job. Thus, we ask that R.A.’s do not drink alco hol on campus. However, if they are off-duty and decide to drink off-cam pus, they are not prohibited from re turning to campus as the writer states. Apparently, the writer was somehow misinformed. Finally, Western has always encour aged open and frank discussion of its policies. Through the Residence Hall Association or the ASUMW Student Senate, concerns are heard and acted upon. Anonymous letters to the edi tor are often difficult to respond to because we don’t know who the tar get audience is. I would encourage all students to utilize their student leader ship when concerns arise. Sincerely, Eric W. Murray, Ph.D. Dean of Students The Wescolite is an independent, student run newspaper at UM- Westem. We strive to ensure that every student's voice is heard on campus. With that being said, the opinions expressed in these pages are not necessarily representative of the college, the student body or The Wescolite. The Wescolite welcomes work for publication. Submit entries at email@example.com or campus mailbox # 57. Wescolite Staff Editor- Scott Calhoun Business Manager- Travis Crismore Staff Writers Sandy Bradford Matt Bryn Ader Evans Deanna LeVine Jon Currier Jr. Elizabeth Sivils Marie Giere Scott Day Katie Bacon Lance Bosen Advisor- Rebecca Knotts / t D V E N T U R c CYCLE Liz LJ 201 E. HELENA ST, DILLON, MT 59725 406) 683-2205 FAX (406) 683-2258 HONDA & POLARIS SALES & SERVICE