10 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 2, 1998
Guns are part of
Taking a gamble
The Washington Post
JONESBORO, Ark. - Freeman
Brewer, a farmer who has owned guns
most of his sixty-odd years, is per-
plexed by news reports all but blaming
last week's schoolyard killings here on
the fact that the two young shooters had
access to family guns.
This is a state where 300,000 hunting
licenses are issued and a region where
guns seem as commonplace as cell
phones. "It's not like what they're say-
ing, said Brewer, standing by a pickup
truck outside a local convenience store.
"I raised two boys and taught them how
to hunt and handle and respect a gun.
We've got deer and turkey, and we've
got hunting laws to be obeyed."
This part of the country - which
includes states such as Arkansas,
Oklahoma and Texas - has an attitude
toward guns that is seldom seen, and
even more rarely understood, in urban
and more heavily populated areas. This
is not a place where guns are normally
associated with the incomprehensible
violence that struck here a week ago. It
is a place where guns are seen as point
of pride, fellowship, fun and tradition.
Last week, 13-year-old Mitchell
Johnson and 11-year-old Andrew
Golden - both raised around guns -
opened fire on their schoolmates at
Westside Middle School, killing four
girls and a teacher. They used seven
handguns and three high-powered hunt-
ing rifles, mostly stolen from Golden's
grandfather, an avid hunter.
The tragedy focused attention once
again on U.S. attitudes toward guns and
their effect on the young. Conversations
with people here, however, provided a
reminder that those attitudes can differ
radically depending on where people live
and what tradition they spring from.
Westside Middle School sits on the
fringe of Jonesboro, on a rolling, rural
road far from the crowded streets of
Washington or New York. It is sur-
rounded by brick ramblers and trailer
homes on wide swaths of land separat-
ed by acres of pastures and creeks. No
liquor is served here - Craighead
County is dry.
Guns, parents here say, are neither a
novelty nor something evil. It is not
uncommon to see youngsters wearing
camouflage T-shirts given to them by
their daddies for hunting, guns sold in
pawn shops and signs in restaurants
windows politely asking patrons to
leave their guns in their cars.
Residents say that even those unset-
tling photographs of young "Drew"
Golden - barely past toddler age and
holding a rifle - are not an uncommon
sort of thing for those growing up in a
culture where guns are a way of life.
Los Angeles Times
Canadian auto worker and casino auditor John Ware makes his point yesterday in Windsor, Canada during a ratifica-
tion meeting for a tentative agreement between the Casino WIndsor and CAW local 444. The agreement, reached
Tuesday night, was rejected by the members and pickets were established around the gambling facility.
Court to rle on embryo suit
WASHINGTON - Stepping up th
debate over Social Security's future
House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.
proposed yesterday that federal budge
surpluses should be divided among al
American workers and deposited directl
into new, personal retirement accounts,.
The average worker might receive
total of $3,500 or $4,000 over the r
decade as a share of the federal govern
ment's emerging surplus, Gingrich pre
dicted in testimony before the Hous
Ways and Means Committee. The "Socia
Security Plus" account is the Republica
political response to President Clinton
call to "Save Social Security First."
Clinton has urged Congress to hold o
to the surpluses - rather than cut taxe
or increase spending - until it deci
what to do about the future of SoA
Security. He wants a year of debate fol
lowed by a White House conference yi
December and a bipartisan deal next yea
The Gingrich proposal, by contras
would spread the projected budget str
pluses among workers, who would b
free to invest their accounts as they sav
fit for their own retirement.
The system could be a publicly fund
ed version of private 401(k) retiremer
plans, with workers selecting frol
limited menu of investment choices
Republican sources said.
The new accounts would be separpt
from the current Social Security prc
gram, a pay-as-you-go system in whic
today's workers support today
retirees. "So even if a person makes
terrible investment or the stock marke
goes into a dive, that person will alway
have Social Security to fall back on
Gingrich told the committee. I
Continued from Page IA
not been shown to have done much
damage to Jones.
The judge noted that Jones never
filed a grievance, sought counseling or
missed a day of work. Instead, Wright
found that the evidence supported the
Clinton team's defense that Jones
received every merit raise she was due
t over the next two years and produced
no firm proof that Clinton ever ordered
any retribution against her.
"While the Court will certainly agree
that (Jones's) allegations describe offen-
sive conduct, the Court ... has found that
the Governor's alleged conduct does not
constitute sexual assault," Wright wrote.
"Rather, the conduct as alleged by
(Jones) describes a mere sexual proposi-
tion or encounter, albeit an odious one,
that was relatively brief in duration, did
not involve any coercion or threats of
reprisal, and was abandoned as soon as
(Jones) made clear that the advance was
Wright was unpersuaded by reams of
documents submitted by the Jones team
in recent weeks alleging a pattern of
extramarital sexual encounters by
Clinton, dismissing the significance of
it in a single paragraph.
"Whether other women may have
been subjected to workplace harassment,
and whether such evidence has allegedly
been suppressed, does not change the fact
that (Jones) has failed to demonstrate that
she has a case worthy of submitting to a
jury," the judge ruled.
Robert Bennett, Clinton's chief attor-
ney, praised Wright for "her courage to
make the right decision .... She is right
on the law, she is right on the facts and
the opinion speaks for itself."
At the White House and in Clinton's
traveling party in Africa, officials main-
tained a consciously subdued tone, in
part out of concern for appearing to
gloat and in part out of recognition of
the great toll the Jones case has
wrought on his presidency.
The Washington Post
ALBANY, N.Y. - Soon after they were married, Maureen
and Steven Kass failed to conceive naturally and began trying
to make babies the high-tech way. Technology failed, however,
and so did their marriage. What remains of their union and their
dreams for children are five frozen embryos - described as
"21st century difficulties" by a judge on the New York State
Court of Appeals.
The seven-judge panel heard arguments Tuesday in a poten-
tially precedent-setting dispute over the fate of the embryos. The
case is part of minefield of legal and ethical dilemmas created by
breakthroughs in artificial reproduction, a branch of medicine
racing far ahead of attempts by legislatures and courts to regulate
or even understand the consequences of science that is altering
some of the most private and emotion-laden of human choices.
Maureen Kass, a 40-year-old secretary from Long Island,
N.Y., regards the embryos, which have been frozen since her
marriage collapsed in 1993, as her last best chance at being a
"She had them with the man she loved, her husband, and he
was healthy. She didn't want to go out and take sperm from an
anonymous donor. She didn't feel that adoption with donor eggs
was a viable alternative, because it is a non-genetic child. She
wants her own children," said her lawyer, Vincent. Stempel.
Steven Kass, a 37-year-old engineer, demands that the
embryos be destroyed because he does not want to raise chil-
dren with his ex-wife and because the mere existence of the
embryos is "paralyzing" his relationships with other women.
"I don't want to have children raised with Maureen. It is
going to create a very strained, dysfunctional family situation,"
Kass said Tuesday outside the courtroom. "It is difficult to get
on with another marriage, knowing that you have something
still hanging around, lingering from a past marriage."
The legal status of frozen embryos has not been defined. The
embryos exist, according to scholars of reproductive technology,
in a kind of legal limbo, far less protected by the law than a fetus
and yet, to a vague degree, more protected than mere property.
"What makes this very confusing is that we are asking the
courts to decide what is the status of the embryo in and of
itself," says R. Alta Charo, associate professor of law and med-
ical ethics at the University of Wisconsin.
The five frozen embryos in question - scientifically called
pre-zygotes - remain stored in liquid nitrogen in a Long
Island, hospital. No larger than a grain of sand, they each con-
sist of four to six cells.
Besides raising questions about the degree to which these
frozen specks may or may not represent human life, the Kass
case is pushing New York's highest court, and may end up tak-
ing the U.S. Supreme Court, into a legal no-man's land. So far,
there is no guiding precedent from federal courts. Tennessee
had a similar case three years ago, ruling for a man's right not
to procreate. But a ruling by the New York court, generally
regarded as one of the most important and influential state pan-
els, is likely to resonate in courts around the country.
I T I
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