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FRIDAY, JULY 25, 1969
NIGHT EDITOR: MARCIA ABRAMSON
Nixon and gun control
HE NIXON administration has put its
faith in the glories of tradition and
all of us may suffer for it.
Two spokesmen testifying yesterday
before a Senate subcommittee informed
the legislators that Nixon is opposed to
the gun control legislation now pending
According to' these spokesmen, "The
registration and licensing bills represent
a distinct departure from previously held
concepts of the federal role in firearms
controls and would launch the federal
government into an area traditionally
considered tha province of state and
The legislation before- Congress calls
for a system of national registration of
all guns and licensing of their owners.
Under this legislation persons such as ex-
convicts, alcoholics, and drug addicts
would be prohibited from owning guns.
It should be plain to anyone that the
argument put forward in this testimony
is sheer absurdity. In essence the reason-
ing is that if the federal government has
never done something before then the,
federal government must never in the
future do it.
But even if a tradition or a states' right
did exist which might be used against
such legislation it would be no reason to
prevent its passage. The arguments for
national registration of firearms have
been presented many times over the last
five years and they are compelling. The
tragic list of assassinations this country
has compiled and the growing number of
gun murders in recent times are argu-
ment enough for the adoption of a na-
tional law of this kind. Only through such
a national law can any sort of adequate
control begin. The loopholes and incon-
sistencies which allow individual states
to deal or not deal with gun control would
only perpetuate a frightening and unex-
YET THERE are significant reasons 'to
indicate that merely controlling the
ownership of guns may be entirely in-
adequate to limit the death and injury
caused by guns. Only yesterday the news.
services noted the killing of one and the
wounding of three more innocent people
in the state of Michigan. Most disturbing
is the fact that the men who used the
guns in these cases would not have been
kept from doing so by the legislation
pending in Washington. The reason is
that the men who did the shooting were
Yesterday in Grand Rapids a Green
Beret just back from Vietnam was shot
and killed by a police officer who thought
the gun he heard discharged was directed
at a fellow officer. In fact it had been
discharged by that officer. The victim of
this "accident" was entirely innocent-he
just happened to be in the wrong place
at the wrong time.
The same is true of three innocent by-
standers who were wounded yesterday
when police opened fire on a crowded
Detroit street while pursuing two escaped
BUT THESE are only two incidents of
the misuse of firearms by police. The
Algiers motel case, the shootings during
the People's. Park disturbances in Berke-
ley, and countless o t h e r examples
stretching back into the past speak of
the way in which police shoot first and
ask questions later.
Some have suggested that police mis-
use of guns is a substantial argument,
against the passage of any form of gun'
control legislation. If the police are going
to have guns then people should have
them too-if only to protect themselves
from the police. It must be admitted, in
light of the increasing police-caused vio-
lence in tlis country, that such an argu-
ment has a certain degree of merit. But
in the' interest of lowering the incidence
of killing, rather than raising it, another
course might profitably be followed. In-
stead of limiting federal gun control leg-
islation to the populace at large, it should
be applied, even more stringently, to
police. Policemen, subject as they are to
situations of high stress should meet
high, nationally establisled, standards of
JT IS APPARENT that the Nixon admin-
istration, in backing away from even
the registration law now before Congress,
is ignoring the painfully obvious..
IT IS WHAT Adlai Stevenson might have deemed wry circumstance
that Monday-the fourth anniversary of his death-coincided with
the publication of an explosive memoir by Norman Cousins called:
"How the U. S. Spurned Three Chances for Peace in Vietnam."
The document, appearing simultaneously in Look magazine and the
Saturday Review, covers some ground that has been touched upon in
explorations of fumbled opportunities during the Johnson-Rusk era. But
it offers a good deal that is new-including events in which Cousins was
personally involved-and cumulatively it is a shocker. It deserves to be
pondered in full.
Meeting with UN Secretary General U Thant in October, 1966,
Lyndon Johnson stressed his hope that Thant would help to promote
peace talks. Thant replied that he had made such an effort in 1964
after a talk with LBJ and, according to Cousins, recounted the sequence.
He first wrote to Ho Chi Minh urging immediate secret talks as a
prelude to formal meetings. Three weeks later, Thant received an af-
firmative answer from Ho; Hanoi was ready for secret discussion.
U Thant transmitted the news to Stevenson,who hastened to Wash-
ington to deliever it to Dean Rusk.
Four long months ensued; then, in late January, 1965, after an-
other journey to Washington Stevenson was obliged to tell U Thant
that the State Dept. was reluctant to begin talks--secret or public-
because it feared the Saigon regime could not survive the disclosure
that such conversations had begun.
A few days later the U. S. bombing of North Vietnam began, finally
blasting any possibility of meaningful discussion. The official explana-
tion advanced for the bombing-even as Ho's bid was being spurned-
was that it was designed to bring pressure on Hanoi to negotiate.
"PRESIDENT JOHNSON listened with visibly increasing concern to
U Thant's account of the failure of the United States to take ad-
vantage of the kind of initiative he was now, in 1966, strongly urging
upon the Secretary General," Cousins writes.
"He said this episode was a new book to hi'm and that he was
hearing about it for the first time. The President turned to Dean Rusk
and asked whether he had knowledge of the matter. Rusk replied that
Stevenson had not been authorized to reject the negotiations. He did
not say, however, whether Stevenson had been authorized to accept
them. Nor did he say why the State Dept. had not acted promptly and
affirmatively when Stevenson first reported, in September, 1964, Hanoi's
willingness to have exploratory talks."
In December, 1965-during a U. S. bombing pause-LBJ aide Jack
Valenti told Cousins that LBJ's "major objective was to get the United
States out of Vietnam under conditions of stability and honor." He
was avowedly enlising Cousins' aid (and no doubt that of others) in
seeking contacts that might open the door to talks. Shortly thereafter
Cousins was fortuitously dining with the Polish ambassador to the UN.
who indicated his government's eagerness to sponsor a peace move.
A succession of developments appeared to set the stage for a Cousins
mission to Warsaw for a private meeting with a Hanoi representative.
An error in translation of a letter from Ho Chi Minh abruptly
shadowed the project; by the time that was cleared up a decision to
resume the bombings was made. We, claimed that the step had been
taken because Hanoi had given no "positive response" to the bombing
One year later Henry Cabot Lodge found Janusz Lewandowski,
Polish representative on the International Control Commission, willing
to serve as an intermediary. Again Ho Chi Minh was responsive;
modifying his demand for an unconditional bombing halt, he consented
to send emisaries to a secret meeting with U. S. spokesmen in Warsaw.
A few days after Lodge received this news, we bombed theout-
skirts of Hanoi for the first time; Lodge insisted this was a "military
error," But when a final effort to salvage the talks was made, Hanoi
was bombed again. Another "error"?
ON of course, is a central figure only in the first act; he was
dead by the time the two Polish scenes occurred.
Yet, reading Cousins' chronicle on the eve of this sad anniversary,
old questions poignantly recur. It is surely conceivable that history
would have been very different if Adlai Stevenson had been named
Secretary of State - the post for which he so frankly yearned and for
which he was so eminently qualified -- by John F. Kennedy or Lyndon
The tragedy is that Stevenson - that wise, gracious spirit, whose
sense of history was profound - must have been tormented by such
reflections in the long months after he left the UN. In ways none of us
can know, such retrospect may have hastened the moment when death
struck in Grosvenor Squar'e on that sunlit July 14 four years ago.
(c) New York Pos
- - I
~"'mL~o~J.~4j~5 "17P~,r _________
To the Editor:
LET'S TALK a lit
Model Cities prc
your staff writers h
an example to den
importance, or the
of defending the em
program of the Harr
Ron Landsman se
as an example of
progress program f
white residents of t
tral area of the cit
alive only becaus
wrested control of
April; an example*
ened by the perhar
studen'ts and street1
Ann Arbor "economi
elite, the oldRepu
to polarize the coi
thus bring down tl
"No," says Daniel
all that, on the f
Model Cities, he ass
ceived under Mayor
sees Harris carryin
which will leave th
faced "far after the
rounds," with the
the crises of peol
which only the radi
Letters to, the Edi~tor
.d el Cities University have consistently tried council action
to discuss." in considerable
Model Cities is more than build- that if the b
ttle about the ing inspectors. That is why it is tured at that
agram. Two of worth looking at the facts of its would be lost,I
ave used it as history here in Ann Arbor: be able to cont
nonstrate the Federal Model Cities legislation kill Model Cti
unimpolerta provides for a Model Cities policy Before April
is administra- board in each program area, lican caucus, c
whose makeup is' defined by the control; had a
local government. Ann Arbor to scuttle Mo
es Model Cities Model Cities policy board, care- 'Landsman poir
a vital social fully and openly constituted from On April 14
for black and active community groups ac- henson, now
h'e North Cen- cordingi to a formula provided by moved on scra
y; a program City Council, had turned out in moved t scra
e Democrats actual composition not at all the would be mor
City Hall in way Republicans had envisioned move was tr
of good policy it. The area residents on it by line vote, with
ion is threat- and large displayed great inde- majority ve
ps unintended pendence and a determination to program, inclu
some radical be a policy board in fact as well portant . featu
people and the as in name. mertnt forathe
c and political Sev steps, including the 'Model CitiesE
blican guard" election of Ezra Rowry as tempo- mentation of
mmunity and rary chairman, flashed a signal in As it evolve
hie Harris ad- conservative quarters that it was AnitArbolvt
time to "reconstitute" the board, Ann Arbor sti
Zwerdling to turns. A sense
'ollowing day. REPUBLICANS reponded by ing has perva
erts, was con- calling public hearings to reopen residents who
Hulcher. He a question they had decided for- We believe tha
g on with a mally some months prior, that is,
nent program the formula for constituting the gredient. Not et
Le people still policy board. A real estate broker agrees.
building and in the area circulated petitions
k h "-Waltex
make their calling the policy board " unrepre- Car
"real crises- sentative." Many members of theChai
ple's power- policy board, who had been of- Democ
cals of South ficially named to the * board by July 2
and who had put
affort already, felt
oard were restruc-
point, good faith
and they would not
tinue to participate.
, it was clear, would
7, 1969,.the Repub-
onfident of Council
lready decided thus
del Cities, as Ron
in the minority,
p the policy board
w one; he said that
re democratic. The
nsparent. A party
the new Democratic
d the board and the
ding as it does un-
res of self-govern-
residents of the
area in the lInple-
es, Model Cities in
ll faces many hard
of real policy mak-
cded the group of
make up the board.
at's an essential in-
veryone in 'this town
Yan, Ann Arbor
By HOWARD KOHN
THE MARINES are rich in tradition, but
not so rich they give it away for noth-
Recruits in Officers Candidate School at
Quantico Bay (Va.), for example, have to
shell out $500 for dress uniforms which in-
clude bone-handled swords.
But bone handles have been scarce for
the past few years, and the Marines are
making do with plastic handles.
In many more profound ways Marine
traditions have indeed fallen on evil times.
And mpre than anything else, the Vietnam
War is responsible.
Repeatedly galling to Marine sergeants
who drill young shocktroopers are the
search-and-destroy strategies of military
command. To the drill master who chased
the Japanese across the Pacific in defiant
frontal assaults, Vietnam has gone to hell
in, a political handbasket.
"We used to have a saying in World War
II that the only good Marine is a dead
Marine or a live one - never a wounded
one," gripes Sgt. John (Buck) Richardson
of Quantico Bay. "Now Marines get picked'
apart playing games."
Richardson is part of an extreme tough-
minded Marine philosophy. But many oth-
ers are chafing under a military strategy
which has yielded nearly 50,000 wounded
Marines (less than 20,000 s h o r t of the
World War II total) but secured very few
Even victories like Hamburger Hill have
been empty because of immediate with-
For the 50,000 wounded refugees n o w
back home, the criticism sometimes evolves
into doubt - doubt whether the bullets
and shrapnel were personally necessary or
ONE OF THE 50,000, Joe Thompson,
commissioned out of Quantico as a sec-
ond lieutenant, never once saw the enemy
he was fighting.
Thompson had tried to dodge the draft
by teaching in Swartz Creek (Mich.) for a
year. But his draft board classified him
1-A and he enlisted last fall.
Around Christmas he arrived in Viet-
nam. On Feb. 9 of this year he' was am-
bushed while leading a patrol' through a
deserted village near An Hoa. Shrapnel
ripped into his shoulder, groin and temple,
tearing out a 4 x 8 centimeter p i e c e of
Thompson is now an out-patient at the
VA Hospital in Ann Arbor, where he re-
ceives two hours of therapy a day. He's
paralyzed on his right' side. And although
he can comprehend words, he can speak
only monosyllables (yes, no, but) and com-
municates in large left-handed scrawls.
"I would go back to Vietnam again," he
writes, leaving out prepositions, adjectives
For emphasis he shakes his head a n d
slowly says "no, no, no" to the suggestion
he should be bitter a b o u t his wounds.
Whatever doubts he felt before enlisting
have been entirely assuaged.
DOCTORS GIVE HIM a 50-50 chance for'
complete recovery. But his psycholo-
gical well-being is a requisite to his phys-
ical well-being. He will have to concentrate
on patterning new brain cells to re-learn
speech and motor skills.
Thompson didn't win a hero's welcome
or even a conversational medal (except for
the nominal Purple Heart) for his trouble.
Vietnam tickertape parades attract more
anti-war than pro-war fans. And medals
are hard to come by in guerrilla warfare.
Most corridor-mates share the s a m e
status. But they often grouch angrily, in
the sultry summer evenings at Ann Arbor's
Thompson's wife, Colleen, also has her
misgivings about the human cost of Viet-
"I can't find any reason to like it," she
looks away from her husband defensively.
She has been particularly upset by the
Marine officers she's met in the past half-
"All of them seem to be chomping on the
bit to be over in Vietnam," she criticizes.
"Very few care about the men that have
come back home to hospitals."
COLLEEN SPEAKS OF t he calculated
impersonalism of the doctors and the
"I was just relieved he even recognized
me after that buildup," she remembers.
GREAT LAKES is a yawning brick con-
traption which registers 30 wounded
Marines a week. Doctors there are rated
as some of the best in the military.
"The thing is - they're so damn mili-
tary," Colleen winces. "They treat an ex-
amination like it's drill inspection.
"They'never talk directly to the patient.
They just talk about him. Joe u s e d to
freeze up when they came around."
Thompson was at Great Lakes for three
months. From there he went to Allen Park
(Mich.) for a month and finally to Ann
During this five-month ordeal, while Col-
leen was logging 18,000 miles on her car,
the Marines didn't pay her aynthing.
"I don't know who is to blame exactly,"
sh esays, "except that nobody really cared
enough about my situation to do anything."
THE MARINES have a blissful bureau-
cratic explanation for the mixup.
When Thompson arrived at Great Lakes
he was asked bookkeeping questions so
IBM forms could be filled out and pay-
ments processed. This isn't usually neces-
sary since previous records should be in
But Thompson's original forms were still
plodding throug the check-in line in An
Hoa when he was shot.
And his identification papers had been
lost in combat.
"They wanted to know his Social Secu-
rity number and he couldn't remember it.
It was really insane. After going through
a traumatic experience like that, they
wanted his Social Security number . .
Later the IBM punch-cards were dis-
carded and Thompson signed over his
power of attorney to Colleen.'
But before she could act upon her power
of attorney, the Marines declared her hus-
band "mentally incompetent" - thereby
nullifying his signature.
trustee to again establish herself legally
to act for her husband. After that even
the Marine doxology doesn't have an an-
swer for the continued non-payment.
When Thompson was transferred to Al-
len Park in June, Colleen also requested
her furniture in temporary storage at
Quantico Bay to be sent to Ann Arbor. No
answer. And no furniture.J
Finally she appealed to Rep. Marvin
Esch (R-Ann Arbor) who apparently leap-
frogged over the payroll lock-in and freed
her pay and furniture for the 4th of July.
But Colleen still would like to try the
Marines on charges of negligence.
"Some of the officers I talked to did
seem concerned. Some just shrugged. But
almost all looked at me with that know-it-
all smile . . . that I was a woman and
couldn't be expected to understand their
CAPTAIN Phillip Zeeman of Great Lakes
was the first to hear of her grievances.
"When I met him he talked right past
me. He recited a whole spiel about the,
Marines but didn't bother to ask if I had
"I think maybe one of the reasons why
the military is so gopfed-up is because no
women help run it," Colleen ventures.
"And I don't mean more WAC's."
T E THOMPSON e were married in
August. of 1967. Thompson was just
about to' graduate from Central Michigan
University; and Colleen had finished'a
year at Michigan State University. They'd
been dating since Colleen's freshman year
of high school,
She is now working at a library part-
time and helping her husband learn phone-
tics and isometrics the rest of the time.
HE HOPES he'll be able to teach again
someday. VA doctors are hopeful, too.
"But in order to recover a soldier some-
times must first accept his wound and even
take pride in it-like a badge of courage,"
one of the ;doctors points out. "That can
make a big difference."
"Thompson has never sulked about being
hurt." Colleen says. And she notes he's
improved noticeably since coming to Ann