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April 04, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-04-04

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 4, 2000


E S it1gu &ziIg

Thoughts on Columbine and Americas youth

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

Editor in Chief
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.

Alternative fuels must not be forgotten

« ife is like a ride on thefreeway, dodg-
eing bullets whileyou're trying to find
your way."
- The Qffspring
I'm not really a big basketball fan, but
when I do watch basketball, I root for the
Sacramento Kings. I
lived in Sacramento
for six years as a kid
and was there when
the Kings first moved
into Arco Arena (the.
old one.) I suffered
through losing season'
after losing season for
years, so I guess it's>
pretty understandable >
why I'm excited about '
the Kings' recent turn- 2 a
around. Branden
Recently, I came Sant
across a story that,
Chris Webber had ...
paid for a Michigan m e
fan who survived the
Columbine tragedy to
watch the Kings battle the Philadelphia 76ers
in Sacramento. Apparently, C-Webb got the
young man a seat behind the Kings bench dur-
ing the game and later introduced him to
members of the media. This, along with the
recent elementary-school shooting in Mt.
Morris, got me thinking about the Columbine
incident, and the rash of school shootings that
have plagued America over the last few years,
and basically served to piss me off anew.
Why do these things happen? Or, more to
the point, why have they suddenly started
happening? Well, I think the answer to this is
fourfold. The first point is that this is not real-
ly a new phenomenon, just an extension of an
old one. What do I mean? Well, ever since the

idea of "school" began (i.e. placing young
people together in an learning environment)
there have been "haves" and "have-nots."
Every school in America has, to some extent
or another, its cliques - cool kids, jocks, hip-
pies, stoners, preppies, geeks, nerds and other
For these undesirables, life can be hell.
Being a kid is tough, and for some reason or
another, some kids just don't handle it as well
as others. The difference between now and 30
years ago is that, back in the '60's and '70's,
when these kids snapped, they just killed
themselves. Now, they are taking other people
with them. But why? Well, we only have our-
selves to blame.
The pop culture of young people in Ameri-
ca today is one of rawness and aggression
unprecedented in modern history. Television
and movies are more violent and sexually
explicit than ever; music that glamorizes gang
violence, pornography, suicide and murder is
not only acceptable - it has become main-
stream; there is now an "extreme" sport for
everything, from skiing to surfing, to mountain
biking. Sports heroes are no longer clean-cut,
all-American guys but rather tattoo-clad, trash-
talking bad boys. So it really any wonder the
lonely, the hopeless, the dejected are now.
deciding to go out with a bang rather than
going softly into that goodnight? Not really.
Second, parenting skills have hit an all-
time low in America. I understand that folks
have to earn a living, but if you're so wrapped
up with your job you can't take the time to
notice your kids have built a goddamn bomb
factory in your garage, you probably should
have been chemically sterilized at puberty.
Third, the media. At all of these school
shootings, I've seen cameras flying about in
the aftermath, trying to record the drama,
pain and suffering, attempting to imprint the
event into our collective psyche. But what

Since the end of the Gulf War, America
has been riding a tidal wave of cheap
oil. We have seen SUV's take over the
road and we have watched environmental-
ly conscious vehicles like GM's electric
EV1 fail to make an impact. But after a
short decrease in oil production and the
obvious recent rise in gasoline costs that
followed, the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries has announced
increased oil exports to combat higher
prices at the pump.
This decision was not made in a vacu-
um or out of goodwill toward gas guzzling
motorists. After months of pressure to
increase production, OPEC began pump-
ing out more oil to appease the United
States and prevent alternative fuel sources
from gaining ground in the energy market.
Despite bolstering the economy by keep-
ing transportation costs at manageable
levels, this oil increase comes as a detri-
ment to environmental efforts and alterna-
tive fuel research.
The long-term effects of oil depen-
dence are beginning to show. Global
warming, oil spills, pollution and acid rain
are serious threats that cannot overshadow
the short-term economic gain of oil
dependence. Automakers are poised to
usher in a new era of alternative energy
sources, such as the Honda Insight hybrid
diesel/electric vehicle which reaches
upwards of 60 miles per gallon or hydro-
gen fuel cells. Such fuel cells could be on
the market within five years. Hydrogen
does not pollute the air with harmful gases
when combusted, but leaves only water. It
can be made using solar power, an alterna-
tive energy source that was put on the
back (gas) burner after the first OPEC oil

embargo was lifted in the 70's.
OPEC has learned from its mistakes.
With so many alternative fuel sources
becoming poised to replace oil, keeping
gas cheap and plentiful is the only way to
keep oil markets viable. Fuel cell stocks
had even seen major surges recently, as
investors became weary of oil futures.
These alternative fuels could be pushed
back again unless the government, indus-
try and citizens make concerted efforts to
look beyond America's dependence on oil.
Right now, conservative lawmakers,
headed by Senate Majority Leader Trent
Lott, are pushing for a 4.3-cent rollback in
the federal gas tax. While reducing the
price of gas will boost the economy by
quieting citizens, promoting summer trav-
el and lowering transportation expenses,
the truth is that oil is a non-renewable
resource with extremely detrimental
effects on the environment. We cannot
remain blindly dependent on it.
What we need is a renewed effort to
break the dependence' on oil. We need to
support alternative fuel research and deny
our votes to government officials who are
slopping at the big oil soft money trough.
George W Bush is in support of the gas
tax rollback, calling it the "Gore tax"
because Gore cast the final vote to estab-
lish the tax in 1993. Citizens must educate
themselves about alternative fuels and
make efforts to conserve and reserve. We
must leave the environment intact. This
can be done without detriment to the
economy if we make efforts to research
alternative fuels now. OPEC is yanking
motorists by the chain. Alternative fuels
are the long-ignored path to a sustainable

does that really accomplish? Basically, other
kids who are toying around with the idea of
offing themselves see how a nobody can
become a somebody simply by squeezing a
trigger. The media turns these young killers
into heroes among their disenfranchised
brethren, but nobody ever bothers to state
what fucking cowards they are. That's right
- cowards. Being a kid is tough, but it's
how kids deal with the adversity that turns
them into the men and women they will be
- if they ever make it that far.
Last, political correctness. Yes, I see some
of you shaking your heads, wondering how
political correctness could possibly be respon-
sible for any of this. Well, gentle reader, let me
explain. The "kinder, gentler" society we are
becoming (in theory, anyway - see above)
promotes the idea that nothing is anyone's
fault. Blame the gun manufacturers, blame the
video games, blame music, blame television.
Just, whatever you do, don't blame the perpe-
trator. Don't say: "This person was wrong. He
was fucked-up. He was evil."
Some of you are going to graduate in a
few weeks and start families of your own,
maybe even in the near future. Just please be
careful. I know some people who say they
would never bring a child into this world, and
while I respect their opinions, I can't agree.
Some people say it's harder to raise a child
than ever before, but I don't believe that
either. I think our concept of what raising a
child actually is just differs greatly from what
it used to be. And that, to me, is the sad thing.
Nothing exists in a vacuum. Kids can't raise
themselves - only parents can. If you
choose to take on that burden, understand the
joy that can come out of it, but please recog
nize what an awesome responsibility it really
is. The future of America depends on it.
-Branden Sanz can be reached v'
e-mail at hamrhead@umich.edu



Military should investigate anthrax vaccine

Release of student
information clarified
This letter is to clarify two important
aspects of the Magistrate's ruling on the
release of student information (reported in
the Michigan Daily on March 31, 2000).
First, with respect to the small number of
application files of enrolled students that
have been requested, the University will be
removing all information that could identify
a student, such as name, address, Social
Security number or other identifying infor-
mation. Second the University will be send-
ing a notice in advance to all the' students
whose names and telephone numbers have
been requested. If the student objects to our
releasing their information, we will not
release it. The notice will tell students how
to inform us if they do not wish their infor-
mation released.
Menus overwhelm
Stockwell residents
I am a resident of the fourth floor of
Stockwell Hall. My fellow hallmates and I
are sick and tired of the Pizza House menus
we keep receiving in theamiddle ofthe day.
The past two days we have come home to
these menus sticking out from underneath
our doors and we know that the Pizza House
fairy has visited us once again. We love
Pizza House, don't get me wrong. However,
we already have at least three menus each.
Most of us have the entire menu memorized
or at least know our favorites.
One would think that by the number of
orders received from our floor, that Pizza
House would realize that us hungry girls are
not the ones to whom they need to advertise.

4u 1 I4.

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IL ast Thursday, Air Force Major Sonnie
Bates was discharged from the mili-
tary for refusing the controversial anthrax
vaccine. He was one of the highest-rank-
ing officials in the military to decline the
unproven and unsafe vaccine. By letting
Bates go, the Department of Defense has
wasted an opportunity to seriously reeval-
uate its decision to vaccinate all military
personal against the biological agent. It
must stop these forced vaccinations and
instead work to find better way to safe-
guard our military.
Anthrax is an extremely deadly bacteri-
um used in biological warfare. Infection
can be treated after exposure to the biolog-
ical agent, but only if treatment is given
before symptoms appear. Once illness sets
in, the patient will almost certainly die.
Accordingly, the Defense Department has
looked for more preventative measures,
such as vaccines, to treat infection.
While it is generally a good idea to
protect our troops against biological
weapons, the way in which the military
has implemented its anthrax vaccination
program is not. In 1998, Defense Secre-
tary William Cohen ordered the military's
entire 2.4 million active. and reserve uni-
formed personnel to take vaccine. Anyone
who refused the inoculation was subject to
possible court marshal and dishonorable
discharge from the military. Approximate-
ly 200-300 people have refused the inocu-
lation so far. Several of them are currently
facing disciplinary action.
The main reason people should not be
forced to take the vaccine is its negative
side effects. It has been blamed for caus-
ing fevers, muscle pains and dizziness for
those who take it. Of the 400,000 people
already vaccinated, there have been 620
adverse reactions to the shot, some of
which required hospitalization. While the
Food and Drug Administration and the

Department of Defense maintain that it is
safe, these statistics provide ample justifi-
cation for giving people the right to refuse
inoculation. '
But even these figures do not tell the
full story. A congressional report recently
stated that side effects are underreported
because of an "institutional culture that is
hostile, even resistant, to reports." This
lack of reporting is indicative of an
agency that refuses accountability for its
actions. Not only is the Department of
Defense unwilling to believe that its vac-
cine is unsafe, but it won't even examine
the possibility seriously.
The vaccine should not be forcibly
administered until the military proves its
effectiveness. It is an extremely old vac-
cine developed to counter anthrax infec-
tion in cases where bacteria have
penetrated the skin. It was not developed
to stop infection when the biological agent
is inhaled (this would occur if anthrax was
ever used as a biological weapon). Even
the Journal of the American Medical
Association concludes that there is insuffi-
cient evidence to prove the effectiveness
of the vaccine against inhalational
anthrax. This is because there have been
strikingly few studies to determine the
vaccines effectiveness on humans.
The military must stop using its
employees as guinea pigs for this experi-
mental vaccine and end its program to
inoculate all active and reserve uniformed
soldiers. At the very least, they should
adequately test the vaccine before they
inoculate "America's Finest." While
mandatory inoculations of tried-and-true
vaccines such as those required for chil-
dren may be necessary public health ini-
tiatives, administration of unsafe and
experimental vaccines are not. Vaccines,
after all, are intended to prevent illness,
not cause it.

In my belief, most everyone knows about
Pizza House and usually considers it when
coming home from a party at 3 a.m. So Pizza
House, if you're reading, the girls of Stock-
well 4-0 have enough menus to last us a life-
time. You already have our business. Please,
please, stop wasting this paper and use it on
someone more useful. In the meantime, we'll
just eat our pizza.
Wolverines were
disqualified unfairly
I am writing this letter in reference to
the disqualification of the MSA Wolverine
candidates. I consider myself a part of the
Wolverine Party and there are a few things
that I would like the students to know
The publication of the disqualification
of these candidates led to the tarnishing of
the names of all of the candidates that ran
with the MSA Wolverine party. Although

students may think that the entire party
cheated to earn votes, this is an untrue and
unfair assessment. No MSA candidate of
this party had any knowledge of the actions
that led to the disqualification. Yet they
were held accountable for the actions of a
non-candidate that committed a violation.
This is unprecedented and extremely
unfair. The MSA candidates put their
hearts into a clean campaign and should
not have been disqualified from the elec-
tion. Students voted seven Wolverine can-
didates into nine of the available LSA seats
and elected the Kinesiology Wolverine
I spent hours campaigning with these
people and feel that they are among the
most dedicated, hard-working and honest
students I have ever encountered at the
University. Running on low sleep and
tremendous pressure, they continued their
24-hour campaigning because they
believed in their abilities to make a differ-
ence at the University. It is a shame to me
that the student body of the University will
not be represented by those eight candi-
dates they fairly elected.


Seniors. Go to a movie, don 't worry about thatfinal

've been on this campus a long time.
As an undergraduate and graduate stu-
dent, I've been through twelve semesters
of exams. And what I've learned from
them is this - that it doesn't really matter
what you got on that last exam, but that
you appreciated those last days with your
friends and took care
of your physical and
mental health. Will
that grade on your
Chem exam really
matter in 10 years?
One of the
biggest regrets I
have is that I spent_
too much time '>
stressing out over
school and not
enough time relax- Michelle
ing and enjoying the
last semester of my Bolek

when I was up really late finishing a
paper and felt tired and crabby the next
day. There were times when I declined
invitations to go out because I had too
much work to do. There were times when
I felt really stressed out and had a moun-
tain of work. But overall, my priorities
changed tremendously. Now that I'm
graduating from graduate school, I can
honestly look back at the last two years
and say that I had a fantastic experience.
It's hard to take care of yourself in col-
lege, though. There is so much pressure to
do well coming from your parents, your
friends, yourself. A lot of us based a sig-
nificant part of our worth on being A stu-
dents in high school and expect the same
in college. Going to school here is a
tremendous pressure in itself, especially if
you are planning to go on to a competitive
graduate school. Grades matter - I'm not
trying to say that they don't - but they

distanced from my friends and family, I
started to take care of myself and rebuild
those relationships. I came to the conclu-
sion that the number on the scale and the
grades on my report card had nothing to
do with my worth as a person. I also made
a decision to never again sacrifice build-
ing a strong friendship for an academic
achievement. You learn much more out-
side of the classroom that you ever will
inside one.
It took a long time for me to put
myself and my priorities first. Some peo-
ple think I'm crazy when I tell them that I
went to graduate school for a Maste's
degree that will probably not earn me any
more money than I could get with my BS.
But I don't care about that. I care that I
will love my job. I will get the job I want
with those B's on my report card. The
couple of C's I got as an undergrad didn't
finish me off either.

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