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October 06, 1983 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-10-06

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I

OPINION

Page 4

1 br h 1tdiq an ila
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCIV- No.26

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Deterring the MX

T HE MX MISSILE is one huge mis-
take. Though no one can come up
with any good reasons to build it and
many reasons against it readily
come to mind, the MX is still alive.
Congress can change that in the next
few weeks by eliminating funding for
this colossal mistake.
President Ronald Reagan, like for-
mer president Jimmy Carter before
him, continues to ignore logic by
fighting for the MX.
Reagan argues for the ten-warhead
missile despite warnings that it is a
destabilizing weapon. He argues for
the MX despite knowing that no secure
basing system is available. He even
argues for it after his own commission
said the United States should not shape
its strategic nuclear deterrent around
the MX.
The missile almost certainly would
push the Soviet Union closer to a
preemptive first strike. The MX is not
a defensive weapon and if the Soviets
feel the United States is moving toward
a first strike, they may be less hesitant
to launch their own attack.
The Soviets already have announced
that if the United States goes ahead
with the MX, they will move to a com-
puter launch-on-detection %position.
That means if a computer detects any
incoming missiles it automatically will
launch Soviet missiles. Human
decision is removed from con-
sideration-as in the movie
Wargames - and if the computer errs
no one can reverse the damage.
The MX, with its ten warheads, is too
big and too vulnerable to be a defen-
sive weapon. The only weapons that
can be classified as defensive are those
that reasonably can be expected to
survive an attack. Land-based nuclear
missiles, especially those in per-
manent silos, are the easiest nuclear
weapons to destroy in a first strike.
The MX would be the easiest of the
land-based missiles to knock out.
Why? Because no practical plan
for deploying the MX is or will be
available. Several have been proposed,
all with serious flaws. Among them
was the Carter administration's short-
lived race-track plan. That plan called
for the missiles to be loaded onto un-
derground railroad cars and be moved
from location to location via a maze of
tunnels in the West. The most recent
plan calls for the MX to be stored in
already-vulnerable Minuteman III

silos until a better plan can be found.
Pretty shrewd. Too bad a better plan
can't be found.
It is even more amazing that people
still fight for the MX in the aftermath
of the Scowcroft Commission findings
which urged that U.S. nuclear forces
move toward sigle-warhead missiles.
The commission, appointed by Reagan
to study the feasibility of the MX,
correctly pointed out that single-
warhead missiles both are the best
deterrent to nuclear war - outside of
having no nuclear weapons - and
allow for the most flexibility in respon-
se to a Soviet attack.
It is much more difficult to wipe out
ten single-warhead missiles than a
single ten-warhead missile. And,
borrowing the terminology of those
who feel it is possible to fight a
"limited" nuclear war, having single-
warhead missiles would allow the
United States to respond to a Soviet at-
tack in kind. If the Soviets launched
five missiles with one warhead each,
the United States could do the same.
But you can't launch a ten-warhead
missile and use only five of its
warheads.
The MX is a waste, but now fighting
it has become more difficult. The
president's recent arms reduction
proposals seemed aimed in part at get-
ting congressional approval for the
missile.
Reagan's plan would cut U.S. and
Soviet warhead levels from about 7,500
to 5,000 per side over an eight-year
period. The "build-down" plan would
force each side to remove two old land-
based warheads for each new one
deployed.
If the Soviets accepted the proposal,
Reagan could go to Congress and say,
"If we deploy only 100 MX missiles we
will get rid of 2,000 old warheads." It
sounds impressive but ignores the
MX's strategic deficiencies.
Congressmembers, including Ann
Arbor Republican Carl Pursell, should
see through the smokescreen put up in
front of the MX's many weaknesses.
Pursell once did, but now, against all
logic, he apparently favors it. A vote
against MX funding would put Pursell
and the rest of Congress on the side of
logic.
The best way for Congress to make
sure the weapon Reagan once dubbed
the "peacekeeper" keeps the peace
would be to vote to kill it. And may the
MX rest in peace.

- Thursday, October 6, 1983
PROVIDENCE, R.I.-The
police caught my mugger. And
my life would be easier if they
had not.
Suddenly I have a power I am un-
prepared to wield-the power to
seek prosecution in a case where
the defendant, if I proceed, will
receive an automatic prison term
even before the case comes to
trial.
I know too much about my
mugger. I know his name; I
know about his family and frien-
ds. I find to my utter surprise
that I cannot any longer be
dispassionate about what hap-
pens to this man who might have
killed me. Were I being reviewed
for a jury in his case, I would be
disqualified, and yet I have more
power than'any jury or judge to
seal his fate.
I ALSO know too much about our
prisons. Never for one moment
did I believethat sending this
man to prison would result in his
rehabilitation. It is easy to
espouse the philosophy, "lock
the door and throw away the
key," as long as the criminal
remains anonymous. But even a
mugging is a form of human con-
tact. It creates a bond, however
hostile, and a set of mutual
responsibilities which may affect
both parties' lives for years.
I had been driving home from a
late-night party when a figure in
running shorts jumped out in
front of my car, waving his arms.
Thinking he was in some trouble,
I stopped. Suddenly the car door
was open, and I was looking at a
small handgun.
After taking my wallet, my
mugger turned to me. "If you go
to the police, I'll tell them you
molested me," he shouted, and
ran off into the night.
Angry and shaken, I called the
police anyway, and went to the
station to make a report. The
next day a phone call came from

The Michigan Daily

Should this
crime victim
press charges?
By William 0. Beeman

the police department. Based on
my description, a detective said,
"we think we know who did it.
Can you come down now?"
AT THE station I quickly
picked my mugger out from a
pile of photos. In 10 minutes he
was in the building, where detec-
tives kept us in separate rooms.
Soon one of them appeared with
what was left of my wallet-it
had been retrieved from a
sewer-and a ring my father left
me when he died two years ago.
The money was gone.
"Do you want to press
charges?" the detective asked.
I was still angry: "Yes, of
course. What did he say about
the robbery?"
"HE CLAIMS you stopped him.
He says you propositioned him
for a sexual act. There was an
argument over money. Then you
took out your wallet, and he
grabbed it and ran. He says he
didn't have a gun."
"How did he manage to get my
ring, if he didn't force me to give
it to him?" The detective
shrugged his shoulders.
Late that night my phone rang
twice, and the party of the other
end hung up. I answered a third
call, to be met first with silence,

and then a woman's voice. "My
name is Paula," she said. "I'm
Randy's girlfriend-the guy they
arrested today. I want to talk to
you about Randy. He's my whole
life. If he goes to prison he'll
die."
WITH SOME hesitation, I
agreed to meet her that night.
She was an attractive young
woman, training to be a medical
technologist. She said she was
supporting herself with a job in a
jewelry factory until she and
Randy could get married.
"I've been living with him for
over a year now," Paula told me,
adding, "we've been waiting for
four months to get him into a
drug treatment program, but
there's no room. He just gets
crazy sometimes, and does these
things."
Explaining that Randy was on
probation for an earlier offense,
she said, "If you press charges,
he'll go right to jail for five years.
He called me tonight and said
that he'll kill himself if he has to
go. He was crying and scared."
IT WAS in the next half-hour
that I learned more about my
mugger than I ever wanted to
know-about his diabetic mother,
his father, his older married

brother and his punk younger
brother. Paula begged me not to
press charges. "What he did to
you was horrible, but if he goes to
jail it's worse. There are more
drugs there than on the street."
The next day I returned to the
police station. "What will happen
to this guy if his case goes to
trial?" I asked.
The answer was quick and to
the point: "We have him on a
previous conviction-receiving
stolen goods. The sentence was
five years, and it was deferred. If
he is charged with this violation,
he goes directly to jail for that
term. When the case comes to
trial, he will be brought from jail
into court, and if he is convicted,
his sentence will be added on to
the five years."
.The were just holding up the 4
papers until I decided whether to
press charges, the detective con-
tinued. He confirmed that
Paula's fears were well-taken:,
"This guy is scared-less of going
to prison. I give him about 10
days to survive. He just isn't
prison material."
Randy is now out on bail. In
one month I will appear before a
grand jury, where I will be able to
arrange for his release, or say the
word that will send him off im-
mediately to an uncertain fate in
prison. But given this power I
never sought, I only feel weighed
down by the terrible questions it
raises. Who would be served by
throwing Randy into jail? Who
would be injured by letting him
go free, perhaps to repeat his
crime?
I am empty of answers. Yet I
alone must decide.
Beeman was mugged in mid
September. He wrote this ar-
ticle for the Pacific News Ser-
vice.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY
Daily should stop

To the Daily:
I have been both appalled and
shocked at the coverage you have
recently given the Michigan
Union. My first example is your
coverage of the "Meet the
President" reception. It was
truly a non-event. Sure, it merits
coverage, but why an editorial
against it ("Where's the party?"
Daily, September 28)? It does not
matter whether it was held in the
Union, in the president's house,
or in a dorm room. The impor-
tant fact is that the president is
meeting students, not the
location.
Second, your Union "financial
scandal" is simply not true
("Union builds, but so does its
rdficit " Dail- Octher 1 ) While

this to be totally untrue. If they
do indeed have money problems,
they are working conscientiously
to correct them. Anyway, they
are probably the result of the
recent expansion.
I am not merely talking about
physical expansion. It seems as
if there are more events going on
there than ever before. Just
about every organization from
the Hart for president campaign
to the Michigan football
cheerleaders have had an event
or meeting there. Student
organizations have been truly
BLOOM COUNTY

picking o
using their Union. And because
of it, the Union is busier than
ever.
It was not always this way. As
a freshman, I went to the Union
once. There was nothing for me
to do there. Today, there are a
number of restaurants with a
variety of foods available. One
can get a good lunch for about
$2.50 or a great cheap date at
$5.00. Where else on campus is
there such a facility? But it does
not stop there. New events are
being planned all the time, in-
cluding concerts and special

n Union
events. The expanded study
lounge offers, as always, free tea
or coffee. Simply, the bad'
coverage you have deliberately
given the Union is not deserved.
If you wrote constructive articles
discussing the problem of several
years ago, I would applaud you.
However, the situation did
change and I trust your coverage
will also. The Union should get -
the long overdue credit it deser-
ves.
-David J. Kaufman
October 5
by Berke Breathed

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