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November 29, 1993 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-11-29

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 29, 1993

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420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed
by students at the
University-of Michigan

-

JOSH DUBOW
Editor in Chief
ANDREW LEVY
Editorial Page Editor

I

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the majority opinion of the Daily editorial board.
All other cartoons, articles and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

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The real cause of crime isn't guns

I

By CHRISTOPHER DADE
Forget hunters, forget the
constitutional babble, and when
considering handgun control, let us
keep inmindour core concern: violence
in our society today.Contrary to popular
myth, liberals and conservatives do not
split cleanly over this issue. Though
their research is buried beneath the
mass of conjecture and emotion
clouding the issue, several liberal
criminologists have found that
handguns serve socially beneficial
functions like nonviolent crime
deterrence and self-defense far more
frequently than they kill or hurt people
in crimes or accidents.
According to criminologist Gary
Kleck, 800,000 times every year,
someone deters a criminal attack with
an handgun in the United States and in
98 percent of these cases no one is
wounded or killed, the mere presence
of deterrent threat being enough to
resolve the situation and protect the
innocent party.
For anyone casually throwing
around the idea of banning handguns, it
is important to see these numbers in
perspective. That is a huge number of
innocent people who don't get robbed,
don't get beaten, don't get raped, and
don't get murdered solely because
handguns are legal.
While we rarely hear of these cases,
Dade is an LSA Senior.
Not all Christians
think alike
To the Daily:
The Daily's reporting about the
recent bylaw amendment prohibiting
discrimination on the basis of sexual
orientation has brought out once
again the inaccurate way we use the
term "Christian" and "Christian
groups" on this campus when
matters of moral and ethical (and
"religious") concerns are being
discussed. The Daily writers need to
clearly understand that their writing
may foster some serious
misconceptions about "Christians,"
which disturbs many students,
faculty and staff who are members of
Christian groups and congregations.
The writers of this and other
articles, and most of the
spokespersons in those particular
"Christian groups" with whom they
speak who are vocal opponents of the
bylaw change, or of a woman's right
to choose abortion, or of other so-
called "liberal" views, speak and
write as though there is one
"Christian" viewwhich "Christian
groups" espouse. That is absolutely,
monumentally false.
I do expect the Daily to be more
careful, for you do many professed
Christian groups a disservice. I
suggest that writers either clearly
identify the specific Christian groups
about whose views they are
speaking, or use a qualifier such as
"some" ("Some Christian groups...
etc."). With regards to this particular
issue, for example, for many of us
Christians, "embodying Christian
values" does not hinge on one's
sexual orientation.
JOAN SCOTT

the media covers nearly all accidents
and gun crimes, even though they occur
much less frequently. When this one-
sided news coverage couples with
machismo-drenched entertainment, we
may find it easy to hate guns and "gun
people" even though our input does not
accurately reflect reality. This negative
predisposition toward guns often
figures more heavily into the gun-
control debate than do the facts
concerning the socially beneficial
function guns normally serve.
Remember that aggressors do not
attack those stronger than them.
Physical inequality is a necessary
condition for violence, and for many
individuals too small or frail to handle
long guns effectively, handguns
provide the only means with which
they can overcome their physiological
or situational disadvantage. This is not
conjecture, this happens. The fact that
so many violent attacks occur today
means that many people out there feel
free to victimize other human beings
simply because they have some
physical advantage. Nearly 800,000
times each year, however, these
aggressors are mistaken solely because
handguns remain legal.
The nature of violence and the sheer
pragmatics of our society, then, flaw
the logic behind banning handguns. A
law is nota magic wand that legislators
can wave and all existing handguns
Why should the learning be so
painstaking? Why not make learning
a process of experimentation, self-
growth and dare I say -
invigorating fun, all at one's
individual pace? We should strive for
the abolition, or at least the de-
emphasizing, of the formal grading
system.
Grades, for the most part, have
now become only an incentive or
worse, a threat, to make people do
work. The original purpose of a
grading system in American
education has been defeated. In
reality, grades are students' biggest
nemesis, making them bored and
disinclined to work. As every
thoughtful student knows, most
homework is not done out of a desire
to gain knowledge in a particular
subject; instead, it is performed in
avoidance of the potential
reprimands of a teacher, or in fear of
a poor grade. A person's success
should be measured by the amount of
eagerness and willingness one has,
without superficial tokens of
accomplishment such as grades.
KENNETH SWINKIN
LSA Sophomore
New wave calculus
To the Daily:
Your article "Calculus
Conundrum" poses its own
conundrum. You suggest that
Calculus 115 should focus on theory,
not calculators," and that students
should learn how to think on their
own and "understand and implement
the strategies of problem solving." I
couldn't agree more. The proper role
of these powerful super-calculators
(or any technology) in the classroom

would proceed on a one-by-one basis
through confiscation afterthey'vebeen
used in a crime.
Never mind also the interim years,
or decades, until this supposedly
cleanses the nation of handguns, during
which violent crime goes through th
ceiling because open season has beeW
declaredonthe innocentpublic. Toward
what end do we do this? Law-abiding
citizens need handguns precisely
because aggressors do not.
It would be nice if the solution to
violence and crime were as simple and
tidy as banning handguns, but this
simply strips the mean of protection
from those who need it most.
Restriction based on qualificatio@
constitutes real gun control rather than
universal gun banning which is the
direction that measures like the Brady
Bill move toward. Accidents can be
reduced more easily than can crime,
through education and safety
technology (muchofwhich is built into
the modern semi-automatic handguns,
often targeted by the technologically
ignorant).
Violence and crime can be reduce
also when policy strikes at the real
causes of crime rather than easy targets
like gun owners, but until then the
choice to own a handgun for self-
protection should remain open to
qualified individuals. The right to be a
victim is not a liberal virtue.
Department held focus sessions with
students in all sections of the New
Wave Calculus program (the
instructors were not present).
According to the report, the follow
comments summarize what most of
the students said about the course in
general:
"This course makes us think and
understand." "We are learning the
material, not just memorizing it."
"We are learning to think logically
and conceptually." "We are learning
to understand the theory behind
calculus instead of just how to do
things to functions."
Was this how you felt after your
calculus course?
MORT BROWN
Department of Mathematics
A soccer metaphor for
MSA
To the Daily:
I thought it might help for some
of you to hear some advice about this
MSA situation from someone new to
the campus, someone who hasn't
encountered MSA before. In other
words, from a first-year student. I'll
just first of all refresh your memories
concerning a statement in the Nov. 5
editorial that said,"... students either
don't care about MSA, or worse, they
don't know about it." My sentiments
exactly. My only source of
information about MSA is the Daily
and other newspapers. I don't see
anything about MSA from MSA
itself.
MSA should start reaching out to
the student body; perhaps a weekly
newsletter-detailing the goinlg on at

College Roundup

Every few years, Congress needs to
be reminded of the contents of the U.S.
Constitution. Normally this lesson
comesfrom the Supreme Court. In 200
years, the Court has ruled 121 acts of
Congress to be unconstitutional.
Now it's time for the chief execu-
tive to hold a civics lesson in the Capi-
tol rotunda. The subject: Article II,
Section 2; "The President shall be
Commander-in-Chief of the Army and
Navy of the United States ..." The
Constitution does not say the president
will be some kind of co-commander
alon with Congress. The Constitution

because he thinks they should be home
earlier than the president's plan. Now
Congress wants to prevent President
Clinton from deploying U.S. forces in
Haiti.
Whether Clinton's policies in So-
malia and Haiti are correct is a matter of
foreign policy. The important question
is whether Congress should interfere
with military operations ordered by the
commander in chief.
The recent events in Somalia illus-
trate the dangers of congressional med-
dling. Immediately after the firefight
that killed 13 U.S. soldiers, members of

Suppose in its declaration of war
against Germany that Congress told
President Roosevelt he couldn't lose
more than 5,000 men or Congress
would revoke its sipport. You can
bet Hitler-would have sent his U-
boats after every transport ship they
could find, looking for the magic
5,000th man.
Command by committee always
will fail because command results
from decisive action rather than dis-
cussion. The convention that drafted
the Constitution in 1787 understood
this dilemma; a few were holdovers

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