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December 05, 1980 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-12-05

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OPINION

Page 4

Friday, December 5, 1980

The Michigan Daily

People kill people, but guns sure help

It was a shocking moment. Here was
stalwart warrior of the right James Kilpatrick
denouncing in ringing, unequivocal terms the
notion that the Second Amendment sanctifies
an alleged God-given right for all Americans to
own guns. It was easily the most jarring ut-
terance to come out of October's Ann Arbor
stopover of the Kilpatrick-Shana Alexander
debate, transformed into a traveling road show
following its fall from grace with "60 Minutes."
Kilpatrick's unexpected declaration (to be

Coming'
Apart
By Christopher Potter

racial and sexual equality, criminal rights, and
freedom from religion.
TRADITIONALLY, THE self-styled conser-
vative's concept of freedom for the individual
extends little further than the petulant, mer-
cenary exhoration: "Keep your grubby hands
off my money!" This melancholy history of
jingoistic self-interest makes all the more odd
the -right wing's occasional forays into civil-
libertarian pastures-such "as the anti-
flouridation drive in the 64s and, lately and
more strangely, the pro-laetrile movement.
What triggers such digressions from dogma,
especially in the topical realm of firearms
regulation? Why would those who cherish the
holy cause of law and order above nearly all
else choose to rally furiously against a principle
which would seem to fit their gospel hand-in-
glove? If one discards (as Kilpatrick, does)
Second Amendment considerations, and also
eschews the cynical though tempting notion
that conservatives are against gun control
simply because most liberals are for it, one is
left with a pair of rationales that Kilpatrick en-
dorses: 1) Gun control, like Prohibition, just
won't work; 2) It will leave our society more
vulnerable to the machinations of its criminal
element.
The first rationale seems superfluous to the
point. It's true Prohibition was an unenforce-
able disaster, regarded in its time as a
national joke. To be sure, it is entirely possible

gun legislation would run into similar ob-
stacles.
BUT IS THAT the ethical point? Prohibition
was an attempt to engineer American social
morality for fear of some future dissolution;
gun control speaks to the gut immediacy of life
and death. We are dealing not with degrees of
statistical enforcement, but with the precious,
perishable commodities of human flesh and
blood. If gun control saved just one family from
a murderous father's intent, spared a single
elderly woman from a nighttime street attack,
wouldn't it be worth all the mistakes and
bureaucratic inefficiencies that such a
program might' produce? How else do you
morally measure success?
Kilpatrick's second rationale-that gun
regulation would somehow endanger our
citizenry-would be less easy to dismiss were it
not emanating from the wrong demographic
neighborhood. If any segment of our society
has a claim to voluntary self-protection, it's the
ghetto neighborhoods serviced fitifully at best
by local police. Yet in the eyes of the pro-gun
Jeremiahs, it's the slum denizens who are of
course the villains, not the victims. The war-
nings from the right comprise the most thinly
veiled racist scenarios of white neighborhoods
laid seige to by marauding minorities.
THE ENTIRE rationale has a fascinatingly
nihilistic quality coming from the paragons of
order and rigidity. The venerable pro-gun
slogan "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws

will have guns" conjures up overtly anarchistic
images of cringing, impotent suburban law en-
forcement agencies helpless to defend a sud-
denly self-defenseless white public from the
brute assaults of organized crime and political
extremism. The movement's tone casts pro-gun
conservatives not as symbols of the status quo
but rather as new American radicals, willing
and eager to coalesce into paramilitary
vigilante bands to rescue their vision of the
beseiged remnants of society.
It's no secret that large segments of the
political Right maintain an almost orgasmic
love affair with the gun-in fantasy if not
always in practice. They are devout prac-
ticioners of the buckaroo mystique, worshiping
the icon of the lone, lean cowboy facing down
the enemy at high noon-fearless, nervelessly
ready to commit violence for the purification of
the nation and of his own macho soul.
And through it all, the ironic, subliminal
message of these law-and-order zealots rings
clear: Law and order doesn't work. When push
comes to shove, there'll be no one there to
protect you except you-start arming now,
pardner, before the savages swallow you up.
CERTAINLY A rational, selective case can
be made in favor of firearms freedom; a
prudent case could be argued for practically
anything-just read Jonathan Swift's "A
Modest Proposal." It doubtless would be safer
to walk through Detroit's Cass Corridor or spy
on an Ohio .KKK rally armed rather than

unarmed; yet to argue for self-protection in the
extreme cases is to argue for it in the norm as
well-the habit becomes addictive. It remains,'
the law of the jungle, no matter how gussied up
in emergency save-our-community jargon; its
potential for apocalypse remains close and
horrific.
It makes me ill when I read about the-
atrocities like Allard Lowenstein's slaying, or
about the estranged husband who walked into>
an Alabama church and proceeded to gun down'
not only his wife but also a half-dozen-other
parishoners who happened to be in the vicinity.
"Guns don't kill people, people kill people!" the
Right pontificates-but surely a knife-wielder
in that church would have been disarmed far
more swiftly. It's a matter of logistics and
weaponry, of frail human physiologies torn to.
shreds in a microsecond.
Surely we are exposed to enough peril in the
world not to be subjected to the whims of any
trigger-happy slob with the means to actualize
his private fantasies and hates. If ever the
"clear and present danger" principle applied
to individual constraints, it begs to be applied
here; people, alas, will always kill people-but
they do it so much better with guns.
Christopher Potter is a Daily staff
writer. 11is column appears every Friday.'+

sure, he remained for other reasons staunchly
anti-gun control) was at the very least
refreshingly unhypocritical. There has always
been something grotesquely inverse about the
civil-libertarian righteousness with which pro-
gun advocates trumpet their cause; with
precious few exceptions, these guardians of
the sacred prerogative to bear arms remain
otherwise among those least likely to champion
civil liberties in areas like free expression,

Eit ambtign e iy
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Weasel,

by Robert Lence

Vol. XCI, No.76

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

AyE YO UNUM& YEAR.

LDV DEii pCEMBER.
\ . FAVORIt7E
MONKH

kd-

THE SKY IS ALWAYS
OVERCAST, BLEAK AN? NML W
L WKING ... THE TREF..S
ARE BARREN ... AND
EVE THING IS DYING f
l1
IIh
r

THEY NVE Gat' ovm AT
HEAU'N SERVICE ?
~j~Aft

0

A little closer to homes

AFTER A LITTLE shuffling and a
little inconvenience, the Univer-
sity has finally acknowledged and
taken the first significant step toward
& solution to itsannual problem with
housing incoming foreign students.
University Housing Director Bob
Hughes has drafted a proposal that
would provide low-cost, temporary
University housing for foreign students
who arrive at the University unable to
make prior arrangements for their ac-
commodations - in past years, the
University has allocated only one large
lounge in South Quad. Once that room
was filled, remaining homeless inter-
national students were forced to
struggle with language barriers and an
alien culture in search of housing,
traditionally scarce in Ann Arbor.
The new proposal, which awaits ap-
proval from University Vice-President
for Student Services Henry Johnson,
would reserve at least 100 spaces in
regular South Quad dorm rooms
during the fall arrival period for
foreign students struggling to locate
housing.

When questions were first raised
concerning the severe shortage of
temporary housing for foreign studen-
ts, University housing officials
claimed there was "nothing else we
can offer." But, largely as a result of
dogged pressure from the Michigan
Student Assembly, it has now become
apparent that some measures can be
taken to alleviate the critical situation.
MSA Vice President Amy Hartmann
and s6me staff members of the
University International Center went
to housing officials, and then to higher
administrators, and eventually to the
Regents. Finally, there has been a
response.
Hartmann and the International
Center staff members who fought
relentlessly for the desperately needed
change in the housing policy deserve
high praise as the catalysts that
brought about this new proposal.
If the proposal is enacted, students
who come to the University next year
from other countries and cultures may
find their experience at the University
and in the United States a little more
positive.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Get the pros'

out of IM sports

To the Daily:
The intramural sports program
at The University of Michigan is
one of the best in the United
States. The program offers a
recreative league for those avho
are learning a sport, a com-
petitive league for those who
desire competition, and, new this
year, a superstar league for those
with an extremely exceptional
ability in a certain sport.
A Buckeye's
To the Daily:
An open letter to the entire
University community:
Being a diehard Buckeye, I've
had the opportunity to experience
both the infinite elations of vic-
tory in "The Game" and the
lowly depressions of being on the
losing side. Even though I
definitely prefer last year's out-
come, I would liketo extend, in
the Buckeye spirit of good spor-
tsmanship, 'congratulations on
your fine performance on the
football field November 22 and

One of the basic philosophies
behind IM sports is to allow
students to experience the thrill
of competition along with the
feeling of team unity and spor-
tsmanship. Just how competitive.
should one get in IM sports?
Extensive facilities and highly
organized programs are provided
to enable students to participate
in a variety of sports at a com-

good

wishes

throughout the season.
I also can sincerely anticipate
the great times you'll have in
California; I wish you all a great
time in Los Angeles. Good luck,
Blue! Beat Washington!
To everyone who went to the Go
Bucks/Go Blue Festival in Arch-
bold, Ohio, it was great. See you
there next year. Go Bucks!
-Mack Berry
student, Ohio State
University
December 1

petitive level for enjoyment.
Most teams that participate in IM
sports are comprised of a group
of friends, and enter into the
program with such a feeling in
mind. Although these teams can
be very serious about winning
and often play at a high-caliber
level, they still play for fun and
not ultimately,. competition.
However, there are also teams
that recruit highly talented
players. These people are chosen
to participate in only one par-
ticular sport. Then, when another
sport begins, a totally new team,
with new, specially talented
players, will be entered under the
same name.
The IM department should at-
tempt to control thissproblem
somehow. One solution would be
limiting the number of people on
an all-year team to ap-
proximately 25-35 people. This
Counselors
To the Daily:
I would like to respond to the
letter by undergraduate Yas
Usami complaining about
academic counseling she
received last yeAr as a fresh-
woman (Daily, December 2).
Academic counselors for LSA
interpret scores on placement
tests based on written recom-
mendation from the department.
This includes English, ,foreign
languages, mathematics, and
chemistry, to name a few. Coun-
selors should not be maligned for
relaying information provided by
their departments, even when the
results do not please the student.
Placement scores on the
English test are designed to
exempt students from or place
them in freshman composition
(writing) courses. The results of
that particular test do not require
that a student elect any remedial
work to improve reading speed.
The workshops designed by the
Reading & Learning Skills Center

limitation would help prevent,
but not totally control, recruit-
ing for IM sports because about
50-75 people would be necessary
to form separate teams for each
sport.
The present system of forming
competitive teams is unfair and
definitely unsportsmanlike. The
other teams in the competitive
league have little chance, if any,*
to fairly win the title of best IM;
team, judged by point totals.
awarded for each team's finish in
each sport. These "recruited"
teams should only be allowed to
enter the new superstar league,
if they are allowed to exist at all.
Then, the other teams would have
a more equal chance to win the
championship trophy. This is
what IM sports is about-fair,
competition.
-Todd E. Moskowitz
December 3
defended
those scores are not used for
placement in any course at the
time of orientation and freshman
registration.
The counselor who suggested
these optional workshops to the
student - did merely.
that-suggested one way in which
the student's work might be im-
proved. It remains to be seen
whether reading slowly was the
only reason that this student did
not meet her expectations for the
first semester here.
Counselors are chosen partly
for their experience in un-
dergraduate teaching in LSA,
and are either full faculty or ad
vanced graduate students. Coln-
selors are given extensive, cQn-
tinual training in handling
student problems. Above all,
counselors are people who choose
to work at this job because tliy
are interested in helping.
If a student wishes a complaint
to be taken seriously, he or she

PIR GIM a 'U' tradition

To the Daily:
I agree wholeheartedly with
the .Daily's observation that the
Public Interest Research Group in
Michigan has embarked on many
projects that deserve commen-
dation (Daily, November 25). But
I disagree with the rationale of
the statements made and
question the soundness of the
logic used to support the other
opinions expressed.
First, to use the words "ease,
painlessness, and conveniences
when referring to CRISP is
amusing to say the least,
whatever the context.
Second, and more important,
the editorial suggests that
PIRGIM should "win the support
of a significant number of studen-
ts-say 50 percent." The
casualness of this remark belies

cess.
The real question is why any
legitimate student group should
be required to meet any set per-
centage of student support. If no
student support exists, the
organization will die on its own.
The point is that PIRGIM
already receives a vote of con-
fidence from a significant num-
ber of students. To require them
to do more is to deny a significant
number of students who already
work with and/or support
PIRGIM that opportunity to do
so. It is probably fair to say that
student support for PIRGIM in
any given semester is greater
than that for any other student
organization on campus.
If PIRGIM is afforded the op-
tion of using CRISP, it is one,

!nN \ ___ - --- -w NIVI& 7L

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