Las Vegas Sun

December 17, 2014

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Where I Stand:

Forum debate yields a few surprises

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Jeremy Chen of Green Valley High School

About 1,000 students from high schools throughout Southern Nevada participated in the 54th annual Sun Youth Forum on Nov. 23. The students were divided into groups to discuss a variety of topics. A representative was chosen from each group to write a column about the students’ findings. Jeremy Chen of Green Valley High School writes about issues covered by his group, “Home in Nevada.”

One of the many questions participants of the 54th annual Sun Youth Forum were presented with was “Should prostitution be made legal?” Those who supported the idea of legalization (prostitution is already allowed in some areas of Nevada) argued that it would help give those forced into prostitution legal protections and a legitimate income. Using a more optimistic point of view, some said that legalizing prostitution would drastically reduce illegal human trafficking because it would eliminate demand.

Those who were against prostitution used the traditional moral and religious argument: Prostitution is a misuse of the body given to us by God. Others feared that such an act would lead to an increase of substance abuse since it would give junkies a way of sustaining their addictions.

When our group voted on whether prostitution should be legalized, many of the supporters of prostitution were girls. When I spoke with one of them, she said that in the end it’s really the girl’s choice if she wants to engage in prostitution, and the other girls seemed to agree.

Another issue we discussed concerned the growth of Nevada. Because of the decreasing amount of water in Southern Nevada, should we limit the growth of Las Vegas to conserve water or allow growth to continue and find another source of water?

The arguments in favor of water conservation cited the ecological concept of carrying capacity — the idea that the resources of a certain area naturally limit population growth. Those against limitation argued that Las Vegas was a city that grew along with the rest of the nation because of our extremely large tourism base. In their view, growth is inevitable. In the end, the vote among the students was largely in favor of limiting growth rather than taking water from elsewhere.

Finally, we got to the use of Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository. Our initial vote had the room at about an even split when given a choice between developing Yucca Mountain or not. The opposition’s argument was based on safety. Many opposed to the project held the not-in-my-backyard philosophy. It was a pretty unnerving idea to have nuclear waste traveling along the interstate and possibly through Las Vegas; however, that was not our only fear. Some of us were afraid of the terrorism opportunities that would present themselves should we begin use of Yucca Mountain.

Those who supported Yucca Mountain essentially believed the opposite, contending that the dual layer storage units would live up to their proven capabilities. The most prevalent argument for Yucca Mountain was one of necessity. Traditional methods of storage are simply running out of space, according to the group. The vote at the end of the discussion ended up being a whopping 85 percent in favor of Yucca Mountain.

At the end of the day, my discussion group was able to come to a few conclusions. First, we definitely did not have enough time to cover everything. Second, we discovered that a room filled with a bunch of opinionated teenagers can get pretty heated. Third, and finally, we teenagers are looking to the future, and it looks pretty bright.

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  1. "Prostitution is a misuse of the body given to us by God."

    Of course one must believe in "God" for that entire moral principle to be valid.

    It's encouraging to see high school girls embracing the fundamental liberty of "my body my choice" endorsed by Roe v. Wade and its progeny. Maybe they can rein in the nanny state which insists they are victims.

    ". . .With morality the individual is led into being a function of the herd and to ascribing value to himself only as a function. . .Morality is the herd instinct in the individual." -- Frederich Nietzsche 1882 "The Gay Science"

  2. Within the framework of pure reality, there really is no debate.

    Prostitution relates predominantly to young girls, who are denied meaningful guidance, access to a quality home environment that supports a quality education. Any debate there?

    Legal prostitution is the legalization of converting a young girl into a commodity, which is a clear sacrifice of her humanity, self-esteem (or identity) and future potential.

    Does that sound too complicated or unreasonable?

    This is a question of elitism. What are the chances of any President's, senator's or CEO's daughters fighting for the right to pursue a career in prostitution?

    So prostitution = lowly social position (probably for LIFE) and a desperate attempt to escape impoverishment.

    So "no" to prostitution, unless you are in favor of destroying young girls.

    That was relatively easy. How about water?

    Water is one of the 4 basic survival needs. Without water, you die.

    So either an area acquires the water that it needs (without depriving another area's needs) or the people move to where there is water.

    See? When you stay within the bounds of reality, everything becomes much simpler.

    A final word to the youth:

    Life has enough challenges and natural horrors to keep you occupied & alert...without indulging in contrived legal and moral debates that run in endless, futile circles.

    You are the future.

    Either learn from our mistakes or learn how to build spaceships. LOL