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May 11, 1978 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-05-11

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Page 4-Thursday, May 11, 1978-The Michigan Daily
Gmichigan DAILY
Eighty-eight Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, M. 48109
Vol. LXXXViII, No. 6-S News Phone: 764-0552
Thursday, May 11, 1978
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
Paraquat's perils
" " TE'RE CONCERNED with the health of our
Y citizens," declared a State Department
official Tuesday, referring to efforts to eradicate
the nation's drug use.
But from all indications it is apparent that the
U.S. government is very insensitive to ways of
handling drug consumption. The paraquat
situation is a timely case in point.
Since 1973, the American government has sent
an estimated $50 million to aid Mexico in
destroying its marijuana cros by dusting them.
using American helicopters which dump a toxic
herbicide called paraquat. The government's
rationale for initiating the funding in 1973 was that
it was having difficulties monitoring drug traf-
ficking across Mexican borders.
But most Mexican peasants, not wanting to
lose their primary source of income, harvested
the crops before they disintegrated from the her-
bicide. Thus, paraquat-laced marijuana has been
widely marketed in the U.S., endangering the
health of millions. Though the Department of
Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) has yet
to compile evidence of paraquat-related illnesses,
it is widely acknowledged that the poison can be
Insensitivities of the government regarding
paraquat take various forms. When paraquat was
initially being considered for crop destruction,
government authorities failed to consider the
biological effects of smoking the chemical
because officials thought paraquat would instan-
tly destroy the plants.
Obviously, that assumption was the result of
poor thinking. No compensation has been ren-
dered for that irresponsible action. The gover-
nment should have realized from the outset that
trying to regulate an illegal drug market is risky
business-especially if the drug is consumed on a
very large scale.
THE GOVERNMENT has also acted unreason-
ably in dealing with health hazards of paraquat.
Though HEW issued a warning in March as to
the dangers of paraquat, no real action has been
taken to protect the millions of pot consumers.
Three laboratories have been licensed by the
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to test
anonymously submitted marijuana samples for
the herbicide. But the centers are inadequate in
meeting the great demand for tests for con-
The need for more testing centers is evidenced
by the flood of commercial paraquat test kits
springing up in drug stores daily. However,
several scientific officials have questioned the
reliability of such kits and their quality is not
being regulated by any government authority.
This leaves the public defenseless from the perils
of the paraquat spraying which is funded in large
part by the government.
It is indeed disillusioning that the government
is so unfeeling as to the needs of a public whose
lifestyle is to a large extent dependent on
marijuana. Marijuana should never have been
eriminalized in the first place-the paraquat
poisoning should not be tolerated.

Kent State: Remembering
the tragedy appropriately

By Dan Oberdorfer
Kent State will long be remem-
bered as the place where two
unyielding forces clashed,
resulting in four dead and nine in-
jured all in the name of peace.
On May 4, 1970, the two forces
seemed as divergent as any
rivals could be. On one side were
the students who asked for peace
and understanding. Pitted again-
st them were Portage County
deputy sheriffs and national
guardsmen dispatched by Ohio
Governor James Rhodes.
THE STUDENTS had reason,
rocks and numerical strength on
their side; the guardmen had
rifles. And in the end four studen-
ts were shot dead.
One guardsman, who thought
the massacre of four students
was inevitable, summed up the
attitude of the law saying,
"Maybe it'll make these people
wake up."
Today, however, the issues at
Kent State are not as clear cut.

be a long-range movie camera.
The demonstrators, however,.
had lost some of their former
strength. A mid-afternoon rally
began with the group divided.
While singer Michael Spiro
twanged on his guitar on the cen-
ter stage, a group of not more
than 30 Yippies attracted mem-
bers of the crowd to a sidwshow
of their own making-a
rhetorical anti-imperialism
speech by Yippie leader Steve
BUT THAT WAS not the last we
heard from the Yippies that day.
After more than 2000 students
and sympathizers concluded a
long, peaceful march around
The Yippies) avere eret
too solettitito laigh o ithe
police, (11to reacted to its
like thiigs of years goute

set-back by our action. Nor did
the Yippies and their 100-odd
followers storm the fence to
scare, or to provoke the police.
Moreover, they were even too
solemn to laugh at the police, who
reacted to us like scared thugs of
years gone by.
The Yippies stormed the fence
solely to so something. There was
no logical purpose to their ac-
tion-opposition to the gym and
the tactics used to override publis
opinion against the gym had
already been presented during
the rally.
Meanwhile, most students at
Kent wanted the Yippies to leave
the campus. Said one student
returning from grocery shop-
ping: "It sucks. I can't, forget
(the killings) but I don't waNT
to do this to express my feelings.
These people can't change with
the times."
It is clear that outside
a oitatnrc th Yinnip in thic

THI YARWHNtuens gi au s, oe x ppies in m
mlS eYEAR-WHEN students campus, the Yippies-who are case, regularly visit Kent as
masssed to commemorate the again attracting national atten- sort of mecca which cannotb
dead on the eighth anniversary of tion after years of silence-prod- forgiven, yet which also cann
the massacre-Portage County ded a group of Revolutionary be properly remembered b
Sheriff's deputies were not Communist Youth Brigade token gestures of anger sucha
restrained from joining the followers to join in a serious, but the storming of the fence. Th
celebration in their own peculiar empty, attempt to shake down obligatory fence shaking ws
way. It was 1970 all over again the $30,000 chain link fence which every bit as characteristicc
when some 100 deputies fired a guards the gym annex. today's activists as was th
volley of teargas at us in an at- As a participant in the attempt, police's antagonistic response.
tempt to disperse a crowd which it did not seem to me that it had
had stormed a fence surrounding sprung from a realistic conten- Dan Oberdorfer is a Daii
the controversial gymnasium tion that the progress of gym con-
annex near the site where the struction could be halted or even staff writer.
four students were shot.
for most of the day, however, -<. {.;s... ,g.- .>--'.,.,, -- - . ....e -. ;Y:.:; { : :::.> >
the police had been subtler in
their tactics. Almostsno cop Submissions of essay and opinion to the
postedvisiblnetcuouslybadbh Daily's Editorial page should be typed and
the walls of the gym annex, which triple spaced. They will be returned to the
is about 20 percent completed.
The only visible cops wereper- author only if a request is made to do so.
ched atop Taylor Hall near the Publication is based on conciseness, clarity of
Commons where the main events
took place. Those deputies were thought and writing, and overall appeal.
monitoring the activities through {}" }}" '} '}::.ii{Si
binoculars and what appeared to




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