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November 20, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-11-20

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Friday, November 20, 1987

The Michigan Doily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVIII No.52 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.

Shapiro responds, sometimes

V

I

Motown handgun freeze

DETROIT CITY COUNCIL will con-
sider legislation next week to freeze
handgun ownership. The proposal
prohibits the sale of handguns within
9} days of its passage. It also man-
dates registration and safety courses
every three years for those who own
guns. Mayor Coleman Young, an
unlikely ally of the National Rifle As-
sociation and local gunshop owners,
opposes this resolution.
Gun control opponents usually
paint a picture of an upstanding citi-
zen, alone at home, who is forced to
shoot an intruder in order to defend
their life and home. Though this sce-
nario occasionally occurs, opponents
give it undue emphasis and conve-
niently overlook the 314 Detroit chil-
dren, under the age of 17, who have
been victims of handgun violence this
year. They also ignore the 34 children
whose experience with guns was fa-
tal.
Detroit has clearly reached a crisis
situation for which there a r e
undoubtedly many causes. One can
attribute the situation to crack,
poverty, or lack of education -
handguns are an integral element.
Guns are why suburbanites are afraid
to venture into the city, guns are in-
volved in drug buys, and now guns
are an unforgettable part of the lives
of the children of Detroit.
Some may say this situation makes
the "right to bear arms" crucial and
that this is the time for every citizen
concerned about their own safety to
arm themselves. However, Detroit is
already coming dangerously close to
fitting the definition of a war zone, a
siege mentality is the last thing the
city needs.
Carrying a gun automatically iso-
lates one from others. Possession of a
handgun gives one power over those
without guns and a confrontational
role against others with guns. What

Detroit needs now is a concerted ef-
fort toward public safety. Crime-
watches, neighborhoods non-vio-
lently ganging up against drug
houses, and adults setting a safe,
peaceful, non-criminal example for
their kids will create a sense of com-
munity Detroit seems to be lacking.
These measures will hack away at the
cycle of violence every child in De-
troit is currently born into. A cycle
handguns only perpetuate.
Equating a gun in the home or on
the body with self-protection is mis-
taken. The FBI reports that 44 percent
of gun deaths begin as arguments, not
attempted crimes, and 60 percent of
those killed with handguns were shot
by someone they knew. The theory of
the right to own a gun in order to
protect your family may be comfort-
ing in a crime-infested world, but in
reality handguns in the home do more
to endanger families.
Others may wonder if freezing
handgun ownership is the right an-
swer to Detroit's high number of
handgun deaths. Washington, D.C. is
a stellar example of the effectiveness
of this legislation. The district re-
ported a large drop in handgun deaths
after it passed such a freeze. Chicago
also instituted a freeze which was
followed by a ten-year low in homi-
cides.
Of course, the criminal element will
be able to obtain guns outside of the
city by proving citizenship in the
town where they purchase the gun.
But the freeze will make it harder for
everyone to obtain guns, provide
stronger penalties against criminals
caught with illegal guns, and ensure
safe use by those who legally own
handguns. Mayor Young and the
Council should unanimously endorse
this proposal. And maybe Detroit will
lose a few hundred less children to
handgun deaths next year.

By Henry Park
.It takes a lot to make University Presi-
dent Harold T. Shapiro respond.
It is heartening that in his editorial
"Shapiro responds to racism," (Daily,
11/17/87) Shapiro acknowledges a responsi-
bility to set the record straight on "the Uni-
versity's response to the problems of
racism."
Typical of Daily readers who respond to
letter-writers or the Daily itself, however,
Shapiro starts out with obligatory'if'oblique
insinuations of "misinformation" and
"inaccuracy." In a fashion similar to that of
many letter-writers who claim that the
"Daily sucks," Shapiro gives no specific
reference from the allegedly "inaccurate" edi-
torial. Shapiro's claims are impossible to
refute or set straight.
Usually letters to the Daily charge
"inaccuracy"'or the vaguer "irresponsibility"
because of a basic intolerance for the opin-
ions expressed by other letter-writers or the
Daily. The intolerant writer hopes that the
reader will not notice that his/her charges
were unsubstantiated.
In a verbal rebuke to the Daily's editor in
chief, Shapiro made it clear that he was un-
happy with the statement in the Daily edito-
rial that said Shapiro shows "no interest in
racism." Indications from the grapevine, not
Shapiro's editorial itself, are that Shapiro
and other administrators thought they
weren't getting any credit for the work on
racism that they have done.
Past editorials and articles by the current
crop of editors at the Daily have already
credited Shapiro with all the actions against
racism he cited in his editorial ("Black lead-
ers reach agreement with 'U,"' 3/24/87; "A
first step forward," 3/25/87; "'U' develops
anti-racism workshops," 3/26/87; "Search
for vice provost continues," 4/1/87; "UCAR
begins petition drive," 4/3/87; "UCAR con-
tinues fight," 4/9/87; "UCAR keeps up
pressure;" 4/10/87; "Ransby speaks out on
campus," 9/10/87; "Six point plan,"
9/10/87;etc. Daily). If anything, the Daily
is guilty of leaving the impression that the
racism problem is resolved since it has given
front-page coverage to every proposal and
promise the administration has made,
including those not yet implemented by the
administration.
Taken literally and out of context the
statement "no interest in racism" is strong
and inaccurate if not taken as a matter of
Park is an Opinion Page Co-Editor.

opinion. The editorial in question, however,
asserted that Shapiro was using the case of a
disc jockey's racist remarks on a University
station to implement a code. The Daily has
written this before.
Indeed, in a front page editorial, which the
Daily indulges in less than once a year, the
Daily criticized Shapiro on this very ques-
tion last year. ("Cheap Solutions," 4/15/87)
Ironically, Shapiro's assertion that he has
some responsibility to set the record straight
on University efforts on racism only under-
scores the Daily's point made in the editorial
"Shapiro's power grab" (11/9/87) that
Shapiro has no interest in racism, only some
sense of what is politically opportune. There
is no other way to explain why Shapiro re-
sponded to a short editorial buried in the
bottom corner of the fourth page, but he did
not publicly respond to the following:
-The Daily's front page "Cheap Solu-
tions" editorial of last spring.
-Regent Baker's printed assertion last
spring in the Detroit Free Press and Ann
Arbor News that 10 percent Black enroll-
ment was "impossible" and that the high
schools, not the University were to blame.
-Incidents directed against Mary Clark in-
cluding "Funky Black Bitch."
-The incident where a Black woman was
pushed around in an elevator by whites ask-
ing to see her "tail."
Why did Shapiro respond to some of
these incidents and not others? Some inci-
dents created political opportunities either to
pacify protesters or gain supporters, others
did not.
The Daily's front page "Cheap solutions"
appeared at a time of intense anti-racist
activity on campus last spring.
Regent Baker's editorial started out with
abundant praise for President Shapiro, as if
to say Shapiro has done enough and the rest
of the problem is in the high schools.
The Mary Clark incident seems to point
directly at the University administration.
On the other hand, the Sevransky case had
national publicity despite its existence as a
mere symptom of minority underrepresenta-
tion at the University and other serious racial
problems on campus. By attacking the
Daily's editorial, Shapiro could also capital-
ize on the frustrations of various administra-
tors who believe they do not get any credit
for anti-racist work. (One might ask why
Regent Baker and various administrators
have so much praise for University efforts
when so much work remains to be done and

why should pulling the knife half-way out of
someone's back receive credit in the Daily.)
On a related note, it is interesting that
Shapiro cites programs of action in the
Housing Division as a case where the Uni-
versity is working on racism and sexism. At
the same time, he told a group of women
concerned about date rape that the University
has no responsibility toward the Greek
housing system.
As an economist, however, Shapiro is
certainly aware that with overcrowding and
deteriorating conditions *in the dorms year
after year - 112percent occupancy this year
- its tearing down of University Terrace
housing, its refusal to build a new dorm or
limit admissions, is one of the factors driv-
ing thousands of students into the Greek
system.
What is more, Housing's authoritarian
policies makes the Greek system seem like
not only a lot of fun, not just the only
place where students can have a party of ten
or more people without getting permission
from the University, but also the only place
where students can just be left alone.
This brings the issue back to the code,
which is what the editorial "Shapiro's power
grab" was about in the first place. Regula-
tions in some dorms such as those concern-
ing parties, which infringe on the so-called
right to free assembly, drive students into
the Greek system' The Greek system despite
some brave exceptions and blatant tokenism,
is a pillar of class, race and gender segrega-
tion. Thus, Shapiro's dormitory
regulations, which are a taste of the code he
wants implemented across-the-board, drive
students into institutions known for their
segregation.
The Sevransky case is another case where
the code actually fuels racism. Shapiro is
well aware of long-standing opposition to
his proposed code of non-academic conduct.
When he sought to punish Sevransky
through the establishment of a code, he
knew very well that student opinion would
be divided.
Indeed, nothing could be worse than to set
two of the strongest movements on campus
against each other - the anti-code move-
ment and the anti-racist movement. Perhaps
Shapiro perceived this when he backed off
the idea of a mini-court system to try
Sevransky.
Nonetheless by confusing the complicated
issues of civil liberties and racism, Shapiro
consciously or unconsciously abets racism
by dividing the student body.

Wasserman

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4

More Iran hypocrisy

LETTERS.
Anti-racists support LaGROC demand

R ECENTLY, THE United States
sowed the export of high-technol-
ogy products to China in an effort
0o prevent China from selling Silk-
worm missiles to Iran. This effort
by the United States is hypocritical
it light of U.S. arms sales to Iran
which precipitated the Iran-Contra
affair.
t The United States is asking
China to stop selling arms to Iran
while the prosecution of the perpe-
tiators of the Iran-Contra affair has
not concluded yet. What's needed is
a coherent approach to guide arms
sales.
The United States continues a
tremendous oil and oil-products
trade with Iran. Although the Rea-
gan administration and others have
said that a trade embargo is in the
works, it does not make sense to
cut off trade with China to prevent it
from trading arms to Iran, before
the United States has cut off its own
trade with Iran. China should stop
sending arms to both Iran and Iraq,
but the United States must coordi-

U.S. allies can also use weapons
for oppressive purposes. The lives
of people in the U.S. bloc are just
as valuable as those in the Soviet
bloc or Iran, and U.S. arms trade
policy should reflect that fact.
Instead of arming and trading
with both Iran and Iraq in order to
obtain influence over them, the
United States should consistently
work toward preventing arms from
flowing to both belligerents in the
tragic Iran/Iraq war. If the United
States were consistent in its actions
toward Iran, Iraq and the United
States' oppressive allies, then it
would have some credibility in its
actions against China.
It is easy to become cynical about
the U.S. arms trade, but is impor-
tant not to despair for lack of solu-
tions. There are many groups and
people that offer differing solutions
for the apparently anarchic arms
trade that run from electing
Democrats in favor of more restric-
tions on the arms trade to trans-
forming the economic system to rid
tha n.ne ,.aPof ite nrfit mtivp

To the Daily:
The United Coalition
Against Racism (UCAR)
stands in complete solidarity
with the efforts of Lesbian and
Gay Rights on Camp u s
(LaGROC) to end all forms of
discrimination based on sexual
orientation. Specifically, that
means complete support for a
change in the regental by-laws
to prohibit discrimination on
the basis of sexual orientation,
just as the University
supposedly prohibits
discrimination on the basis of
race, sex, religion, etc.
UCAR realizes that the daily
victimization of lesbians and
gay men usually g o e s
unreported and unnoticed -
except by the victims
themselves. We see the very
fear of reporting anti-gay
incidents or biases a s
symptomatic of the depth of
the hatred against lesbians and
gay men that this system
fosters. The lack of education
about the lives of gay people,
of l-eian .av ..., rvat. th

action-must cement these links
in an organized response. For
example, at the same time that
racist violence has sharply
increased (Howard Beach,
Forsythe County, lynchings in
Central Park in New York and
Concord, California), reported
violent attacks against gay men
and lesbians has risen one
hundred percent (emphasis
added) since 1985, according to
the National Gay and Lesbian
Task Force. In addition, AIDS
continues to affect the Black
and Latino/a communities at a
rate of double both group
percentages in the total
population. AIDS continues to
ravage Africa and Haiti, areas
still oppressed by United States
imperialism, while the
government and right-wing
groups attack gay and minority
peoples with AIDS, not the
disease itself.
UCAR stands against
racism, sexism, classism,
homophobia, and all forms of
oppression. We realize that
nnne nf n will h free until nl

broken, the chains must be
broken. Only by linking our
struggles can we achieve
victory. A luta continua!
-Cristina Antworth
Pedro Bonilla
Paul Carmouche
Dave Fletcher
Decries anti-
To the Daily:
Over the past two weeks
several incidents have startled
me considerably. Scrawled
across an entire blackboard in
the Frieze Building was
"DEATH TO ISRAEL-
LONG LIVE ABU NIDAL,
SAVIOR OF THE ARAB
RACE." As a supporter of
Israel, this statement w as
upseting in itself; even more
disturbing however, was the
audience that this was directed
towards--a group of 30 stud-
ents taking Hebrew 201, or
more significantly, a group of
Jewish students. Adding to
my alarm, was the fact that
similar antwnanizine remarks

Bruce B. Graves
Tracy Hervey
Paul Lefrak
Erika Smith
Kim Smith
Michael Wilson,
for membership ofTUC AR
November 19

Semitic acts
ment hidden under the guise of
an anti-Israel slogan. Anti-
Semitism,as with any other
form of bigotry and prejudice,
is intolerable and must not be
not only anti-Israel, but on a
larger scale anti-Semitism.
Similary, the bloody attack on
a synagogue in Turkey by
Abu Nidal, killing many inn-
ocent worshippers, was proof
that his targets and hatred are
directed towards Jews in
general.
People are entitled and
encouraged to hold and to
express their opinions; in as
much that it is not filled with
bigotry and senseless malice
tnwards nthers Is this what

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