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October 09, 1977 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1977-10-09

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Page 4-Sunday, October 9, 1977-The Michigan Daily

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LOOKING BACK

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

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Eighty-Eight Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 28 News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed Iy students at the University of Michigan

1

Television. and amorality

J

ONNIE ZAMORA is a convicted
R murderer at the age of fifteen.
Friday night, a Miami, Florida jury,
refused to acknowledge the extraordi--
nary defense made by Zamora's attor-
ney, Ellis Rubin. Rubin contended that
the youngster's murder of an elderly
neighbor woman was the result of "in-
voluntary intoxication" - not by
liquor or drugs, but by day after day,
hour after hour, of violence-ridden,:
numbing television.
The trial was highlighted by the
particularly ironic publicity it
received; the entire proceeding was
covered by television cameras and
broadcast throughout 'Florida. Addi-
tional thousands saw excerpts of the
trial on national news broadcasts.
Rubin summoned witnesses who
testified that television could cause
someone to murder someone else, but
their opinions varied widely, and none
could cite specific circumstances to
confirm such an assertion, nor cite
studies directly connecting TV and
murder.

And so the jury rejected Rubin's
contention, and though it is chilling to
think that Zamora must serve at least
a minimum sentence of twenty-five
years in prison, the verdict seems cor-
rect. Amorality, whatever its causes in
a murderer, is not an excuse for the
act.
But the propriety of the verdict
cannot put aside the tragedy of the
Zamora case. It was apparent that the
boy actually believed that he had done
nothing wrong, that his 'murder was
nothing more than what he saw nightly
in programs such as Kojak, Baretta,
and Starsky and Hutch. Like most peo-
ple his age, he had undoubtedly
already witnessed thousands of TV
murders. Can one really expect the na-
tion's children to reject violence when
it seems as much a part of their lives
as sleeping and eating?
Though no defense could convince a
jury that Zamora is not a murderer,
the blame for his amorality indeed lies
with the familiarity of violence in our-
society.

the mess
Sy Murray, the shining star of
city hall, lost some of his glow
last week when the first ill effects
of the city's recent investment
boondoggle set in. Despite a
flashy recovery two weeks ago,
tie mistake that almost did the
city in took its toll on Murray last
week: Moody's Investor Ser-
vices, one of the country's top two
bond rating firms, suspended its
rating of Ann Arbor's bonds pend-
ing an investigation. As if that.
wasn't enough, the GOP announ-
ced loud and clear that Council,
the mayor, and the unsinkable Sy
were all to blame for the invest-
ment entanglement.
The effect of Moody's an-
nouncement is unfortunate, but
not permanent: it will delay the
date on which bids for $1.8 million
worth of water bonds were to be
hawked to the public. "It's sort of
like a suspension," said Murray.
"They're not downrating us, and
we can still sell bonds, but they
won't rate them until they get a
few things cleared up."' ,
Howeve}r, the effect of the Re-
publicans' reprimand.- albeit
targeted at Mayor Wheeler as
well as Council members - is a{
darker tarnish to Murray's
badge. The man who usually
knows everything in City Hall
failed this time on an important
piece of information'!- informa-
tion that almost cost thecity its
shirt. City Accountant Marc
Levin was fired for his role in the
cover up of developments in the
controversial arbitrage transac-
tion, city controller Lauren Je-
dele, also part of the messy pro-
ceedings, resigned, ostensibly for
health reasons, and assistant city
controller Steven Hendel was de-
moted for involvement in the
transaction and cover-up.
State of the 'U'
In his annual State of the Uni-

senting Councilman Louis
Belcher in his court fight to win
the mayor's seat. Mayor Albeirt
Wheeler won the election by one
slim vote last April, but Belcher
is claiming that certain voting
irregularities, including the
township votes, incorrectly
swayed the election for Wheeler.
Henry said he plans-to put all 20
residents on the witness stand ;o
ask whom they voted for, but two
of the questioned voters have al-
ready refused to comply with
Kelley's ruling. The American
Civil Liberties Union offered 1e-
gal counsel to the voters, sayirtg
"The secret ballot is a corner-
stone of American.democracy
and no voter should' have to re-
veal how he or she voted."
Phooey, said Kelley, who slap-
ped the two voters with contempt
of court charges.
* *
all wvet
Unless the Housing Office
backs down on its decision to
scrap paper towels in the dormi-
vories; chapped hands and bigger
laundry bills will be the burden of
dorm dwellers this year.
In an effort to cut the swelling
cost of dorm life, the Housing
'Rate Study Committee last year
suggested that canceling paper
towels in .dormitory bathroonis
would save residents approxi-
mately $10 each - a total sav-
ing for residentspf $40,000. How-
ever, savings or no savings, stu-
dents are screaming that the dis-
appearance of the paper goods ik
causing inconveniences that may
result in health problems.:
University Housing Council
members, however, are wiping
their hands- of the matter - at
least for now. "We've come to th
conclusion that nothing can b
done about it this term," saidI
president Doug Steinberg.
Please pass the Bounties.

City administrator Murray

versity address last Monday;
night, Univ rsity President Rob-
ben analyzed the perennial fund-
ing affliction, blasting the state
lawmakers for basing allotment
on the gross revenue in the Uni-
versity's coffers rather than on
the net funding given to the Uni-
versity by the state.
And very simply, said Fleming,
"The state owes ustmoney."
Fleming attributed a sharp
drop in state funding over the last
ten years to loss of citizen support
in reaction to campus unrest of
the late '60s and early '70s. He
also theorized that escalating un-
employment necessitated a
diversion of higher education

monies to welfare funds and to
offset inflation.
the township twenty,
The right to a private vote took'
a beating last week when Monroe
County Circuit Court Judge
James Kelley ruled that 20 town-
ship voters - who, without know-
ing, voted illegally in last April's
city elections - must reveal for
whom they cast their ballots.
The township twenty, who
reside in peninsulas which jut in-
to the city boundaries and reg-
istered to vote in the election,
were the favorite topic of attor-
ney Robert Henry,. who is repre-

Letters to

Th

neutron bomb
To The Daily:
v 'The recent Daily editorial claiming the
neutron bomb has no place in the American
military situation in Europe. Any reasonable
evaluation would conclude that the neutron.
bomb absolutely must be deployed if the
American military deterrent in Europe is to
be taken seriously.
My reasoning runs as follows: Unless the
NATO military commanders in Europe si-
miltaneously go insane, any war war in
Europe between the superpowers will be
launched by the Soviet Union. Given the mas-_
sive superiority of the Warsaw Pact nations
over NATO in conventional weapons, it seems
rational that a Soviet attack will not involve
explosives. The Soviet Union is aware that it
is entirely to the advantage to keep a U.S.-
Soviet confrontation in Europe beneath the
nuclear threshhold.1
If Soviet-mechanized army units come
smashing across the German plains, NATO
decision-makers will be faced with a terrible
dilemma if only present nuclear weapons are
at their command. Since launching a nuclear
counter-strike against the Soviet -columns
would kill innumberable civilians and radio-
actively contaminate the entire battlezone,.
any decision to use nuclear weapons would
have to wait for an evaluation of the ability of
the NATO conventional forces to hold off the

Soviet invasion. Yet by the time it was
realized by the NATO generals that the Soviet
thrust could not be stopped short of nuclear
war, the. Soviet troops would be half way to
the Rhine. Nuclear counter-strikes would
have to-be directed against targets right in
the heart of West Germany. In other words,
Germany would have to be destroyed in order
to save it. The Soviet commanders would be
banking on the fact that their NATO counter-
parts would rather surrender Europe than an-
nihilate it. In such a case, Soviet units could
arrive on the English channel without a nu-
clear shot having been fired.
The deployment of the neutron bomb, on
the other hand, would enable NATO to coun-
ter a Soviet invasion quickly and surely. If
war looked imminent, orders could be given
that neutron bombing strikes would be used
immediately against the onrushing Commu-
nist troops. Pinpoint bombing would crush
Soviet forces on the borders of West Ger-
many, not in its heartland. As an all out nu-
clear war in Europe would not be- to the ad-
vantage of either side, the Soviet Union would
in this case probably decide to press for a
ceasefire.
Thus, if neutron-bombs were deployed in
Europe, the Soviet Union would be forced to
realize that any invasion of Western Europe
would be doomed to quick obliteration. What
the, editors of the Daily fail to realize is that
the present "repugnance" associated with the

Daily
use of nuclear weapons is .precisely what
presently leaves Western Europe open to a
conventional Soviet attack.
It must be seen that America has only
three options in Europe. We can either defend
Europe with a massive (and expeisive de-
ployment of conventional forces supplement-
ed by a limited number of nuclear weapons,
defend Europe with nuclear weapons supple-
mented bf a small conventional force, or we
can surrender Europe to the Soviet Union.
Since the Daily opposes the increase in mili;
tary expenditures that would make the first
option possible, and opposes the second option
on the grounds that it is "reckless and danger-
ous," where, gentlemen, is the Daily's edi-
torial advocating the surrender of Europe? a
Barry Petersen
October 8
..:.:.:...:.:.:..::::" -..
Editorial positions represent
a consensus of
The Daily Editorial Staff
Letters should be typed and limited
to 400 words. The Daily reserves the
right to edit letters for length and
grammar.

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