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March 06, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-06

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 6, 2000

1IE £ibiguu Dilg

Armed to the teeth, cops can do as much bad as good

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily./etters@umich.edu
Edited and managed by
students at tie
University of Michigan

MIKE SPAHN
Editor in Chief
EMILY ACHENBAUM
Editorial Page Editor

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

B eing tough on crime has long been a
stalwart of successful politics. Of
course, this makes sense: No one really likes
crime, and siding with criminals seems a
reasonable faux pas. The messy interplay
between politics
and law enforce-
ment has driven
campaigning all
over the country t
for decades. The
ill-conceived "war'
on drugs" and the
proliferation of
death penalty
statutes are only
two examples of,
the somewhat *=
unproductive, Jack
knee-jerk reac- SChiliaCi
tions that this
nexus has created. Slam it to
The '90s, unlike the Left
the decades that
preceded it,
proved to be the time when the concept of
getting tough went from campaign rhetoric
to useful policies with statistics to back up
their value.
Crime rates plunged throughout the '90s,
especially in large urban areas. New police
institutions like New York City Mayor
Rudolph Giuliani's Street Crimes Unit are in
large part responsible for this drop. In many
ways, the new tactics reflected the fact that
Americans were fed up with our nation's
high crime rates.
But sometimes this new emphasis on
fighting crime has squeezed at the same time
it has soothed. The aftermath of the Amadou

Diallo shooting in New York illustrated in
fine detail the problems that can come with
the promise of lower crime.
The NYPD (no, not the pizza place on
Williams St.) has, in many ways, become
disenfranchised from the communities it
serves. The hardball tactics embraced by the
department, while successful at reducing
crime, have managed to cast a pall over the
department, making it seem more like an
enemy than a friend to many. This is proba-
bly a natural response to some of the tactics
employed - being stopped and frisked will
hardly win cops any friends, but in many
ways it seems worthwhile in the name of
cleaning up the streets.
Three thousand miles away, Los Angeles
police have been facing their own pariah sta-
tus. While indeed a different case than New
York, cops in L.A. have been unsuccessfully
battling back images of racism and brutality
throughout the past decade.
The trend often adopted by anti-crime
crusaders is that of zero tolerance to crime.
As a no-holds-barred effort to reduce crime
at all cost, the ends of lower crime rates are
held to justify the means. But the net result
is more than just safer streets - it is popular
alienation from the police and its tactics.
The results include a public that is fearful of
the officers in their neighborhood should
they come under suspicion unjustly. While
Giuliani's police have made New York one
of the safest cities in the country, they have
also created an annual bill of $25 million for
settlements of police brutality lawsuits.
Even in the quaint little town of Ann
Arbor, the police have had to deal with a
declining public image, albeit on a much
smaller scale. After the increased numbers

of raids on student parties that began a year
and a half ago, many students began to view
cops as a nuisance whose policies reflected
more public relations scam than actual con-
cern for student safety. In the aftermath of
the tragic death of Courtney Cantor, it
seemed the AAPD saw a quick fix in step-
ping up issuance of Minor in Possession
citations.
The narrow-mindedness of many anti-
crime reformers has promoted this antipathy.
While many view hardball tactics as the only
means to cleaner streets, there is evidence to
the contrary. San Diego, whose homicide rate
has plunged faster than New York's according
to The New York Times, has used community
policing to fuel the drop in crime.
Rather than focusing exclusively on the
kinds of tactics that do indeed cut crime but
at the same time alienate people, police lead-
ers need to consider programs that help them
bridge the gap between themselves and the
community. Being a hard-ass is all fine and
good, but if you're helping people at the cost
of frightening them, you've probably taken
things a step too far.
A greater focus on community policing
and a stronger connection between police
and neighborhood leaders would help curb
the problems. The police - in Ann Arbor
and across the country - need to make
themselves seen not as a group that harasses
potential criminals but as a force of people
dedicated to improving life for citizens.
Given the quickly dropping crime rates of
recent years, now is a better time than any
for many police departments in the nation to
make this sort of long-overdue adjustment.
- Jack Schillaci can be reached via
e-mail atjschilla@umich.edu.

4
I

1

SCC, Michigamua must settle differences

O ne month ago today, the Students
of Color Coalition launched this
year's most dramatic student activism
campaign when they surprised the Uni-
versity community with the takeover of
the Union tower, the meeting room of
the now notorious secret society
Michigamua.
Yetoneamonth later, sounds of
drumbeats and speeches still emanate
from the tower - the SCC members
haven't budged. A resolution is long
overdue, and barbecues on University
President Lee Bollinger's front lawn
will not get the SCC there. But the
month-long occupation is a shared
responsibility and reflects poorly on all
three parties involved: Michigamua,
the SCC and the University administra-
tion.
The stalemate is apparent: Michiga-
mua wants hold onto their name and
claim on the tower; the SCC wants
them to forfeit both. While Michiga-
mua has expressed a desire to discuss
these issues and SCC has recently

begun preliminar talks, neither side
shows any side of caving. Some SCC
members sacrificed spring break and
even enrollment this semester in order
to stay in the tower, making their hold
on the room seem infinite, but an end
to the drama is needed. Publicity
shouldnot be confused with progress,
and the SCC needs to bargain - as
does Michigamua. The administration
has acted meekly b not removing
either the SCC or Michigamua from
the tower. Bollinger's e-mail to the
University community and formation
of a group to study space allocation
barely qualifies as action. The SCC is
angry at the administration's apparent
indifference, but they have not had suc-
cess in dealing with the administration,
a problem both sides need to address.
Michigamua, the SCC and the
administration need to stop posting pas-
sive-aggressive statements. They need
to put aside their differences, meet
immediately, and not leave the meeting
until a resolution can be achieved.

0

THOMAS KULJURGIS

TENTATIVELY SPEAKING

DAVVY, 1W I Vm Kt 's SAoaT
MWH3EN 'iU A3-KT l-o$CAOCL?

w
VItrivr

Increase the peace

Stricter gun control
The fatal shooting of Kayla Rolland
at a Mt. Morris Township elemen-
tary school last week answered a cou-
ple questions. Could school violence
get an worse after Columbine High
School? Could it et any worse than
Conyers, Georgia? The death of one
six-year-old by the gunshot of another
six-year-old answered those questions
- it could. But Kayla Rolland's death
also posed a new question - what
now? The answer should be a vehement
effort to impose stricter gun control
laws, as well as a complete reexamina-
tion of the meaning of the Second
amendment in the future.
After most high profile shootings, a
call for increased gun control follows.
Anti-restriction advocates counter by
arguing that danger can be avoided not
by new laws, but through enforcement
of existing ones. In this most recent
case, gun control opponents will likely
point out that the six-year-old responsi-
ble for the shooting found the gun in
his house, left unprotected by his
uncle's friend, who obtained the gun
illegally. This does not mean that anti-
gun control forces are correct in their
rhetoric. The point is no longer who is
right or who is wrong, but that some-
thing must be done. Another child is
dead and it is past time to be proactive.
While an effort to enforce existing laws
must be made, new laws can only help
to curb gun violence.
There are a number of good laws
being considered on a state and national
level right now that should be passed.
Last Thursday, the state House of Repre-
sentatives postponed a vote on two gun
control bills. One would require gun
dealers to include trigger locks with each
sale of a firearmb. This is the type of new
legislation that can be used to combat
gun violence. In fact, three local chain
stores -- Gander Mountain, Sports

legislation is needed
Authority and Dick's Sporting Goods -
have already agreed to voluntarily offer
free trigger locks to gun buyers. A tri g-
ger lock on the gun used to shoot Kayla
Rolland could have prevented her death.
The other bill the state House is
considering is legislation to hold a gun
owner responsible if his gun is used by
a minor to commit a crime. A 1998 sur-
vey showed that 43 percent of U.S.
households with children have guns,
and of those, 28 percent keep guns hid-
den, but not locked. Considering this
level of negligence, a bill holding gun
owners responsible for the use of their
firearms could help. On the national
level, President Bill Clinton is urging
legislation to require background
checks on anyone buying a weapon at a
gun show. Passage of these bills would
be a step in the right direction.
While increased gun control legisla-
tion will help to curb gun violence, the
country needs to reevaluate the funda-
mentals upon which it rationalizes pri-
vate gun ownership. The current
interpretation of the Second Amend-
ment, originally drafted to secure pro-
tection against the government, has
become outdated. While the Second
Amendment is still valid, current gun
ownership is doing more harm than
good. The country will be truly safe
only when guns are banned completely.
The six-year-old responsible for
shooting Kayla Rolland will not be
prosecuted, nor should he be. Too
young to realize the consequence of his
actions or have a clear distinction
between right and wrong, the fault for
Rolland's death falls solely upon the
shooter's family and a culture that con-
tinues to allow easy access to guns. It
is possible that gun locks would not
help and that background checks would
prove equally unsuccessful. But it is
time to find out.

Faculty asks 'U' to
disassociate itself
from Michigamua
TO THE DAILY:
As members of the University's academ-
ic community, we object to the University's
support of the Michigamua Society, a closed
organization long engaged in the appropria-
tion and misrepresentation of Native Ameri-
can objects, imagery and practices.
Granted exclusive use of a privileged
space in the Michigan Union, the Michiga-
mua Society links the University to practices
demeaning to Native Americans and their
histories. The Society's meeting space decor,
songs, graphics, hazing and pseudo-Indian
names utilize stereotypical images of Native
American people and cultures to promote
Michigamua's identity.
These images and actions have been inte-
gral to the Society's history as an all-male
(until 1999) and predominantly white orga-
nization representing itself as being the best
of Michigan student leadership.
The Michigamua Society has long been
aware of the Native American community's
objection to these practices. It signed an
agreement with University officials in 1989
to cease these activities and free itself of all
objects associated with them, an accord
which it has violated despite minor changes.
In recognition of the principle that uni-
versity support for any organization debas-
ing another culture is objectionable, we ask
that the University dissociate itself from the
demeaning practices and privileged position
of this group.
FERNANDO CORONIL
ANTHROPOLOGY AND HISTORY DEPTS.
- This letter was also signed by a total of
94faculty members from the following LSA
departments: Anthropology, American Cul-
ture, Women's Studies, Psychology, Residen-
tial College, History, English, Romance
Languages, Classical Studies, Sociology,
Near Eastern Studies and Economics.
Sen. Rogers
insulted students
TO THE DAILY:
I'd like someone to tell me when I cut
class to get tickets to see the Backstreet
Boys. Our lovely State Sen. Mike Rogers
was quoted in the Feb. 25th Daily saying "If
a student can cut class and wait in line
overnight to buy tickets to see the Backstreet
Boys, they can certainly go to the Secretary
of State's office and change their voter regis-
-tration."
No, he did not suggest that we are inter-
ested in anything better than the Backstreet
Boys. He doesn't respect us that much. Nor
does he seem to think that any of us work
our butts off at this school. Apparently we
all are getting these grades just by paying
our ridiculously huge tuition.
Oh, and he doesn't seem to see past
time being the only issue keeping us from

eR 1,.'C - ORE AY GUNSBALK -J7-)
KILLWCA AS GlJofl,. -

After reading Sen. Rogers' ignorant and
demeaning quote, I decided to look up his
homepage. One of his proud updates was
titled "End Hash Bash." He doesn't mention
why we should deter people from smoking
marijuana, just that he thinks the state
should decide what communities do, not the
communities themselves. Here's to big gov-
ernment! There seems to be an overall lack
of thought in all of his statements.
Check out his homepage at
http://www gop.senate.state.mi. us/senatori
rogers, and register to vote. Let's vote this
jerk out of office.
DEBRA KAY
UNIVERSITY ALUMNUS
SCC's actions are
'hypocritical and
irrelevant'
TO THE DAILY:
I fail to see why people in the University
community are willing to lend their support
to the SCC, whose methods and arguments
have been incredibly hypocritical and irrele-
vant, respectively, thus far:
The SCC want objects of cultural impor-
tance removed from what they perceive to be
a sacrilegious setting. Do they petition for
removal and work with the system? No, they
instead resort to breaking and entering and
overt thievery. And people are supporting
this behavior for what reason?
The SCC want equal representation and
freedom of speech. So they decide that
completely cancelling University President
Lee Bollinger's speech at the Alumni Cen-
ter by forcefully overtaking the podium and
harassing him verbally are the best ways to
secure their own goals. What? Did every-
body miss something here? They not only
demonstrated how completely base and
infantile they are by interrupting an unre-
lated speech of Bollinger's, they also essen-
tially negated his right to speak
(interruptions, haggling, name-calling) at
the same time.
The SCC want Michigamua kicked out
of the Union tower, among many other
things, because they find the group offen-
sive. Are people seriously supporting this
completely untenable argument? "Equal
representation" happens to do things like

campus, people would chop me up for
spare parts. Yet the SCC is doing ... the
same thing?
The SCC argue that their claims of
racism are legitimately based because
Michigamua's traditions offend Native
American culture and the words "racism"
and "genocide" have been used as support. 0
Do the SCC fail to realize how vastly out of
context they are? Where exactly does
Michigamua promote or celebrate past
genocide or racism? Hmm? Oh, maybe in
their special charter, line 67, "Avidly hate
Native Americans." Or maybe all those "Up
with Eminent Domain" posters I see around
campus. Yeah right.
Next thing you know, the SCC will be
protesting against the entire racist state of
Idaho, because you know those bastards are
growing "redskin" potatoes!
DAVID RICHTER
LSA SENIOR
Campus groups
have little influence
TO THE DAILY:
I would like to thank the Daily for
putting their newspaper online every morn-
ing. It's very well done and helps me keep
up to date on campus news. I especially
like hearing about the latest whacky
protests. The acronyms may change, but
their means and intentions are pretty much
the same (SOLE, SCC, BAMN, BORE,
RANT, etc.)
Does anyone think occupying a Uni-
versity administrator's office will end
sweatshop labor around the globe? How
about protesting some small group
because they are "secret" and may be say-
ing some things (in private) which may
offend some people. My roommates and I
were pretty "secret" (no one came by to
monitor the discussions we had) and I'm
sure that some of our conversations would
have offended someone. However, our
house was never occupied by an acronym
(what a shame!).
I used to find MSA especially assuming.
I'm sure foreign countries and large organi-
zations really care when they are con-
demned by a student government. A five
hour debate about furniture organization
has to be riveting.

Lt Sknow next time
Cabs should announce future rate hikes

tudents who regularly use Ann
Arbor's taxi cab services could be in
for a surprise come May 1, depending
on how the Ann Arbor City Council
votes tonight. Inflation, higher gas
prices and a high employee turnover,
among other factors, have caused local
taxi companies to request a rate
increase from the City Council - and
approval of the increase is likely.
Currently, it costs $1.50 to get into a
cab and an additional $1.50 per mile
driven. Under the rate hike proposal it
would cost $1.75 to get into a cab and
$1.75 for each mile driven. The
increase would raise the price of a typi-
cal three-mile ride from $6.00 to $7.00.
On Jan. 27, Ann Arbor's Taxicab
Board recommended the rate hike and

prices they pay? Maybe, but more like-
ly, they Just didn't know a rate hike was
being discussed. The reason is that taxi
services are not required to publicly
announce any fare increases before they
go into effect, whereas the Ann Arbor
Transportation Authority which runs the
city's busses, is legally bound to do so.
The $1 increase in the cost of a typi-
cal cab ride may not seem like much,
especially if it will allow the city's cab
services to continue operating. But the
people who rely on taxis should still
have been informed of the potential rate
hike so that they could have a real
voice in the matter. Regular taxi pas-
sengers who have opinions about the
increase should attend the City Council
meeting tonight. In the future, the same
lawsu that wniiir the A ATA to host faire

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