Rhode Island 4th-
Fireworks and fire
By ROSE SUE BERSTEIN
THE FOURTH of July is a great time for reminiscing about
The America That Was, for radicalization, for initiating fits
of disgust and for good old-fashioned contemplation.
And this Fourth of July was a great time for all of thesd.
First there was a quiet niceness of a normal vacation day,
with stores closed and streets less crowded. Everyone seemed
to have gone away, and sitting in the back yard became a solitary
But then my father took me on a drive through the "bad"
parts of town, where I observed the latest sport. The good old
American custom of Fourth of July bonfires - which I had
accepted as part of the celebration and only now discovered to
be strictly a local phenomenon - had given way to a new
custom of burning houses and cars. Any unoccupied ghetto-area
dwelling is subjet to conflagration, and on this year's extended
holiday, 74 buildings went up in flames,
THOSE WHO settled for the less dramatic bonfires - we
had 577 of them - need a little extra excitement these days,
so abandoned cars serve as their torches; fifty-one automobile
fires were reported. A friend who lives near the site of a ritual
neighborhood bonfire told me, "You should have seen the bon-
fire on DePasquale Avenue. And for the grand finale, there was
a car. It was burning furiously until the firemen came."
This was the night before the holiday. The city burned and
officials knew it was coming, but they couldn't stop the raging
people who would light the fires. I observed a large street
bonfire, not really in our ghetto. The crowd outside was angry
- white people and black people, young and old stood around
and their eyes flamed just like the bonfires. They knew what
day it was, and I'd imagine they felt their burning to be symbolic.
There went America, I thought. Isn't it about time?
The morning of the fifth marked the annual day for par-
ades and family picnics. At one of the largest parades in the
country, in Bristol, Rhode Island, a town which paints its main
street's center strip red, white and blue for the annual cele-
bration, protest hit for the Fourth.
A GROUP of Vietnam Veterans Against the War asked for
permission to march in the parade, and after a hassle of tem-
porary refusal followed by an order to march at the rear of
the line, the veterans gained a place smack behind the American
Legion. When the vets marched before the throng of 100,000,
applause rang through the audience, jamming the streets of tiny
But the part of the Fourth of July celebration that I always
likes best and which is still popular with middle America is a
public concert followed by fireworks on a hillside site in our
large, unspoiled municipal park,
This year the crowd at the fireworks was different from
the groups I had remembered, though. There were so many
carloads of people that the park's entrances were all jammed
and we had to park a quarter-mile outside and walk in. Then we
noted that instead of the many family groups there were many
older persons, about sixtyish, and a preponderance of h i g h
AS I SAT and watched the environmental assault that con-
stitutes a fireworks display, I mused about the Real Meaning the
extravaganza held. Imagine using our city money for this, when
people hate the city so much they are willing to risk their safety
to burn it down. I bet they paid those firemen overtime to set off
the fireworks, and there are so many pressing problems in the
city that the money could have gone towards.
Perhaps we need that display, though. One of the most
amazing parts of the holiday was the applause the firemen
garnered. These were the same firemen that had travelled the
city the night before, trying to stop the widespread flames
Then, they had been met with stones, bottles and jeers.- Ap-
plauding vigorously now were the same people who had hurled
insults and street weapons at the firemen.
The audience was entirely monosyllabic. At each firework,
they responded first by an appropriate tone of "ooh", "ah" or
just plain "oh." Then came the clapping. And then the next
MEANWHILE, the audience put on its own display, w ith
assorted sparklers, roman candles, and, for audio effects, salutes
and cherry bombs. All of these, of course, are illegal, but even
in this heavily monitored setting no one dared disturb the cele-
All the time the noise was deafening, thunderous. Bang, bang,
bang, incessantly for an hour. Is this what it's like in Vietnam,
I wondered. A few moments later, a long-haired youth sitting be-
hind me had the same thought, but his companion assured him
that no, it was different there. His buddy had a friend who had
gone to Vietnam, and he claimed it was "just like living in New
York City." "You couldn't tell there was a war going on," he
Others in the audience, though, kept reaching the same
thought. Why are they bombarding us with this thunder and
smoke? It must be to teach us a lesson. And what about pollu-
tion? That smoke went up in clouds everytime they set off a
display, and no one was oblivious to it.
AFTER A WHILE the mosquitos became the guerrilla fight-
ers, and I wanted the program to end. There's only so much mus-
ing you can stand on a hillside packed solid with humanity, all of
the same few molds.
I stared at the stars and thought of living in the world out-
side Ann Arbor. I remembered my friends I'd left for the summer
and felt alone in the crowd of thousands.
But then the man behind me commented, "Wouldn't it be
funny if there weren't any more fireworks and everyone was just
sitting here?" I knew I was among kindred spirits and I felt
somewhat more settled a'nd I waited until the final display,
An American flag was in the center as two tanks bombarded
each other, for the grand finale. Then I knew I'd come home.
Friends and supporters of Rainbow People's
Party (formerly White Panther Party) leader John
Sinclair are becoming more hopeful that he may
get out of jail this year.
Sinclair was sentenced in July, 1969, to 92 to
10 years in jail for possession of two joints of mari-
juana. But his friends believe there is some chance
a bill reducing penalties for possession of marijuana
will be enacted by the State Legislature this year,
since the House has already passed it.
If the bill passes, they hope Sinclair can be
pardoned or paroled. If it doesn't, they want to
pressure Gov. William Milliken and the state to
free John on appeal bond while his case goes
through the court system. Passage of the new law
would back their claim that 10 years for two joints
is "cruel and unusual punishment," and that Sin-
clair is really being jailed for his revolutionary life
A Committee to Free John Sinclair has been
formed by his friends, including Allen Ginsberg,
Bill Kunstler, State Rep. Jackie Vaughn III, Zolton
Ferency, and Jane Fonda, among others. They are
currently seeking contributions to the John Sinclair
Freedom fund. Some of the money will go for a full
page advertisement to appear in the Detroit Free
Press. If you want to contribute, the address is
JOHN SINCLAIR FREEDOM FUND, 715 EAST
GRAND BOULEVARD, DETROIT, MICHIGAN
Well-known man about town President Rob-
ben Fleming now knows exactly who pays the most
attention to his frequent comings and goings. Af-
ter returning from a two and a half week vaca-
tion this past week, apparently unnoticed by the
Ann Arbor community, he was amazed to hear his
telephone ring. "Of course, wouldn't you know it,"
he replied to the voice on the phone. "I've only been
in town for an hour and The Daily calls."
Sheriff Harvey's office at his new command
center, strategically located on Hogback Road (yes,
Hogback) in Pittsfield Township astride U.S. 23 and
I-94, and halfway between Ann Arbor and Ypsi- ,
lanti, is quite a change from his formerly cramp-
ed quarters at the county jail.
Plush carpeting, an elegant conference table, sub-
dued lighting and an excellent stereo, all tastefully
located in his air-conditioned L-shaped office, con-
tribute to Harvey's comfort.
Unfortunately, state law provides that Harvey's
office must be located within the city limits of the
county seat: Ann Arbor, so Harvey still maintains
an office at the jail, but without any of the com-
forts of his Xanadu.
Senior police command officers are not im-
pressed with the recent survey of their department
conducted by the "Center for Criminal Justice, Inc." 4
at a cost to the city's taxpayers of $10,890.
The officers regard the study's conclusions as
"naive" and "nothing we didn't already know."
"Hell," said one officer, "I could have told City
Council everything that's in that report."
One "recommendation" made by the consulting
firm which officers found particularly irking was
that calling for the abolition of "double-unit" pa-
trol cars. The move to one-man cars, the study
concluded, would increase police efficiency and les-
sen "response time" to incidents.
However, the officers claim, if serious trouble
developed, two cars would have to be sent to the
scene, not one. If one of the drivers were required to
leave his car to assist his fellow officer in "bringing
in" a suspect, by the time he returned "his car
wouldn't have any tires on it."
Letters to The Daily
To The Daily:
I WAS disturbed to read your
article entitled "'U' student may
testify to RISC investigation"
(July 3). I was indeed greatly
disturbed because statements
falsely attributed to me besmirch
truth and reality.
The statement in question is
"Taylor told The Daily in an in-
terview that he covered the Peo-
ple's Peace Treaty Conference for
the Campus News Service, a na-
tional news service organized by
the Republican National Commit-
As a transcript would show, I
said no such thing. I did say, "I
attended the Conference out of
personal curiosity and in antici-
pation of writing an article for
the Free Campus News Service."
At no time did I mention the
Republican National Committee,
nor to the best of my knowledge
is my news service, the Free Cam-
pus News Service, ever been as-
sociated with such a group.
I HAVE NO idea of whether or
not a "Campus News Service",.
whether organized by a political
party, or not, does in fact exist.
But I am sure that research on
The Daily's part could easily as-
certain the truth. It is poor jour-
nalism to do otherwise.
What does remain is that I
have had no contact ever with a
Campus News Service (sic), or
the Republican National Com-
mittee as your article flatly states.
You have rendered a grave dis-
service to myself, FCNS, "Cam-
pus News Service" (if such a
thing exists), and the Republi-
can National Committee. I be-
lieve a small correction box and
apology would be in order on your
part if Truth and Justice are to
Letters to The Daily should
be mailed to the Editorial Di-
rector or delivered to Mary
Rafferty in the Student Pub-
lications business office in the
Michigan Daily building. Let-
ters should be typed, double-
spaced and normally should
not exceed 250 words. The
Editorial Directors reserve the
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420 Maynard Street, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Edited ond managed by students at the
University of Michigan
tditoriois printed (n The Michigan Paily espress the (ndividuai
opinions of the author. This must be noted in a)) reprints.
Saturday, July 10, 1971 News Phone: 764-0552
NIGHT EDITOR: TAMMY JACOBS
Across time The European system of peace
- scloser to the peace of the happy
To The Daily: hunting grounds than is the Ameni-
IN A SAMPLE copy (June 29, can and also always results in the
196?), you so graciously sent me, greatest number actually realis- ~
the article, "A Blueprint for a log that ideal,
World Federation-II", seems to Though the author, Thomas C.
reach across the years and de- Breitner, fails to specify any par-
mand an answer from me. ticular variety of peace, be implies
I distinguish peace into three that his choice is the ideal or at
varieties: The ancient European least that which gives the illusion
which gives the most perfect peace fhedalvrthlngse-
available on this planet (between joyment of time. Whether conva-
wars); the American rather chan- lescence is to be classed with the
tic peace which, however, does not usual conceptisn ofd the enjoment
eventuate into the biggest possible ofpaeisofcueam t
war for every generation as does John L Coffin
the European;-and the peace of Ava, Missouri
the Happy Hunting Grounds. July 5