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September 22, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-22

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 22, 1999

E £irbiganr aig

Episode III: Relativism? A Jedi craves not these things

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

HEATHER KAMINS
Editor in Chief
JEFFREY KOSSEFF
DAVID WALLACE
Editorial Page Editors

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

Rijt to bear arms?
Second Amendment must be reinterpreted

ELveryone will have an opinion about
this column. Share it.
What if I told you that an absolute
moral law existed? I'm not saying that
one thing or another is absolutely right or
wrong. Again, I'm
not talking about
abortion or lying or
any one human
behavior. I'm saying
that absolutely
everyone knows
Right from Wrong.
Yep, you know Right !
from Wrong and you "'
know that you're
supposed to do the
right thing. This may
sound a lot like reli- Mike
gion, but you know Lopez
what? This has .
absolutely nothing
to do with religion.
The absolute moral
law is grounded in our own evolution.
Before you proclaim my Godlessness,
let me say that I myself believe in the
existence of the Almighty. I have a
Christian world wiew. Even though my
faith is strong, I emphasize that what I
say has no bearing on God or religion.
Science can neither confirm nor deny
Faith. Regardless of the first cause of any
natural phenomenon, science can only
describe hoxw it de elops within the
world.
Do you haxe a conscience? A con-
science is that feeling inside you that tells
you to do the moral, or right, thing.
Where did it come from? The popular
answer is parents, teachers, books,
movies, TV, and "society." Even if that is
true, from where did society get morali-

ty? Well. I'd say that morality came from
our common evolutionary ancestry. Then
how come every society has a different
morality? They are not really that differ-
ent. The differences between cultures'
moralities are like differences in skin
color. Look under the surface and we're
all the same.
The core message of every moral
teaching is the same. What is this core
message? Read on.
What is the purpose of life? The pur-
pose of life is to survive. Not for an indi-
vidual to survive, but for an entire gene
pool to survive. Why do amoebas divide?
The genes are programmed to do so. What
else does life do? In a universe where
everything moves towards disorder, life
moves towards order. You have to agree
with this. From the very beginning, the
mechanisms of life have made order out
of chaos. Life turns gases, liquids, miner-
als and vitamins into thinking beings.
Deep down in our genes, we have a
tendency towards order and a will to sur-
vive. What is morality:? Is it not a way to
order the world so that everyone sur-
vives? That is the core message.
Let us assume that there is an absolute
moral law that transcends cultural lines.
What would happen if everyone in the
world followed this law?
Everyone would exist in perfect order
and everyone would surN ive. There would
be no such thing as famine, murder, ex il
or sin. Everyone would be good. We
would not only be totally moral, but
everyone would be happy to choose the
high road.
Just imagine if everyone followed all
the traffic laws. At first, you might think,
"Oh no, I can't speed." This is silly
though because if you took the absolute

moral law to heart you wouldn't want To
speed. You see, follow ing the absolute
moral law means that the world no longer
needs laws. Why are external laws needed
if everyone always does what is right?
Could you imagine every person in the
world having an inner voice telling him or
her Right from Wrong all the time? I can
imagine it because the whole world does
have that voice.
The only problem with us right now is
that a lot of people don't listen to it and
the voice is not entirely uniform through-
out all cultures. As evolving beings, we
haven't quite consciously hit upon the
absolute moral law that has slowly been
written into our genes since the beginning
of life itself. In this perfect world, we will
have hit upon it.
Life is constantly mowing towards
greater order. If we are constantly evolv-
ing, then we must be evolving towards
this perfect world. If we are evolving
towards this perfect world, then there
must be an absolute moral law. We may
not know it consciously, but it does exist
If the law exists and we are evolving
towards its adoption, then we are all
called to seek and find the law and
embrace it. Thankfully, this also means
that despite the actions of certain philo-
sophical groups, humanity as a whole
will continue to search for the absolute
moral law and slowly adopt it. That is
what evolution says. That also happens to
be what most major religions say.
What do you think? Does it sound log-
ical? Is it hogwash? I want to know what
you think. In the future, I'll be relying
heavily on your comments, arguments
and suggestions to shape future topics.
- Mike Loper can be reached over
e-mail at manatlargera iunich.edu.
TENTATIVELY SPEAKING

'A well-regulated Militia, being necessary
to the security of a free State, the right of the
people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be
infringed."
T he Michigan Daily's editorials reflect the
opinions of the paper as a whole, not
those of individual editors or editorial staffers.
The content and position of each editorial is
determined by the Daily's editorial board and
express a cohesive set of opinions guided by
108 years of previous editorials.
Some of the Daily's stances are quite spe-
cific - the Daily will always be pro-choice
and pro-student. Other stances are less specif-
ic. One of these stances has been in favor of
gun control. Under normal circumstances, the
Daily's position would be fleshed out over
time, but tragic events in the last few months
demand that the Daily take a harder and more
direct position on gun con-
trol.T '
Our decision is that no
amount of gun control will S N amoun1
ever be sufficient - the
Second Amendment must be "
reinterpreted. Individual citi- Te
zens should not be allowed to
bear arms. This is both a just r i
and necessary interpretation
of the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment: a o < si
modern interpretation. h i d
In just five months the £
nation has experienced high- T is
profile massacres in
Littleton, Colb., Conyers,wekiram
Ga., Atlanta and Fort Worth,
Texas. These tragedies may f
have drawn attention to the
problem of gun control, but
they are only a small part of a great national
tragedy. People have become so accustomed
to gun violence that it takes a Columbine-scale
event to garner notice. Guns lead to the tragi-
cally senseless - and preventable - destruc-
tion of human life.
The purpose of the Second Amendment
lies in maintaining a "well-regulated" armed
civilian body, not private gun ownership. No
gun control law brought before the Supreme
Court or other federal courts ever has been
overturned on Second Amendment grounds.
Preserving Liberty
To a certain degree, gun lobbyists are cor-
rect in suggesting the Second Amendment is
fundamental to preserving liberty. The drafters
of the Constitution realized the necessity to
provide citizens with a way to protect them-
selves from an oppressive government.
Thomas Jefferson said "...when a long train of
abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably
the same object evinces a design to reduce
them under absolute Despotism is their right,
is their duty, to throw off such Government."
When the constitution was ratified, each
state had its own militia - a compulsory
military force. Ordinary citizens served as
part-time soldiers, protecting a young
nation from potentially threatening outside
forces and from internal rebellions.
Member requirements included training and
supplying their own firearms. The federal
government soon established a permanent,
professional military arm, but many of the
Anti-Federalists feared a standing army

could be used as a tool of oppression. State
militias were viewed as a counterbalance to
the federal army.
Gun lobbyists such as the National Rifle
Association often omit the crucial beginning
of the Second Amendment: "a well-regulated
militia." Times have changed. The Second
Amencment has not grown obsolete. but the

time.
The right to protect oneself
Gun-rights activists argue individuals have
a right to protect themselves and their families
with firearms. This position can be addressed
with both statistics and common sense:
According to a study in the New England
Journal of Medicine, a gun kept in the home is
43 times more likely to kill a family member
or a friend than an intruder. But in a country
where criminals often have more guns than
law enforcement officials, people feel as if
they have the right to adequately defend them-
selves.
The potential of self defense does not grant
individuals the right to own guns. Everyone
has the right to defend themselves. But this
does not imply they have the specific right to
confront an attacker with a firearm. And even
if it was a right, that right
s sshould certainly not be val-
ued more than the right of
ef "u F psntr the thousands of people who
are victims of gun violence
every year to live. Firearms
Nsare by no means the only
e bway an individual can
f ha/f .defend themselves.
Hunting, Shooting and
h sGun Culture
a g nOne of the distinguishing
K characteristics of American
FE culture is the prominence of
> d n the firearm. There are an
ihtip betwee estimated 192 million pri-
egulatiOnl ad vately owned firearms in the
es' reikably United States, 65 million of
which are handguns.
denta de <hHunting and target
shooting are popular sports,
attracting many responsible gun owners.
But the safety of the majority should not be
compromised by a pastime. The government
should not allow guns simply to preserve
hunting.
The irrational nature of the gun culture
sometimes exposes itself in the attitudes dis-
played openly by pro-gun extremists. "You
can take my gun when you pry my dead fin-
gers off the trigger" is a popular phrase among
gun rights hard-liners. Hearing or reading this,
it is difficult to believe values like "responsi-
bility" and "tradition" are as important to the
pro-gun movement as it claims. For some, the
paranoia and violence lying at the heart of the
gun culture clearly take prominence over these
values.
Destroying an industry
An entire industry operates alongside the
gun culture. Firearms provide a livelihood for
many Americans. Obviously, the government
must provide a safety net for those whose
businesses would be closed as a result of a
reinterpretation of the Second Amendment. In
the face of this, it can not be forgotten that the
death of the gun industry would also benefit
consumers in the form or reduced health-care
costs. In 1995, the Journal of the American
Medical Association estimated that the cost of
direct health care expenditure for firearm-
related injuries in the United States was $4 bil-
lion.
A "radical" position?
In the United States, anyone advocating a

ban on the private ownership of firearms is
bound to be denounced by many as a "radi-
cal." Such characterizations, while taken seri-
ously in this country, are laughable in other
advanced nations. These countries have all
reaped the benefits of strict gun control poli-
cies or blanket prohibition on private gun own-
ershin in the form of saved lives.

THOMAS KULJURGIS

Reader disagrees
with abortion
editorial
TO THE DAILY:
The Daily's editorial "Wait for What?"
(9 20 99) was absolutely reprehensible
and illogical. You claim to be a supporter
of "choice" but do not beliee a woman
should be informed as to all the alterna-
tixes to ha ing an abortion.
The onlx "choice" you believe in is
abortion, that is plain and clear. What is
so terrible about ha ing a waiting period
so the woman can actually weigh all the
consequences of her decision? You may
call it just some "legal surgical proce-
dlure." but it's sue as hell not like going to
the hospital to hae an operation. this
procedure is an unnatural ripping out of
the fetus from its mothers womb. Thats
reality.
Additionall, you can use all the nega-
tixe words you like to describe pro-lifers
and call us anti-choice acti ists. but in
reality we are in faxor of more "choices.,
such as adoption, than are the pro-abor-
tion side.
And the pro-choice side is just that:
pro-abortion and forget about eerything
else. It's ironic that the editorial ends with
the words "... we will soon find there will
be no choice left."
If the pro-abortionists hae their way,
as soon as an unwanted pregnancy occurs,
the only "choice" acceptable to the soci-
ety and goxernment would be to hae an
abortion. Sounds a little like a marxist-
style goxernment. such as China, doesn't
it? Hmm ...
ANDREW SHIRVELL
LSA SOPHOMORE
STUDENTS FOR LIFE
VICE PRESIDENT
WCBN welcomes
requests from
listeners
TO THE DAILY:
It is obious from Mike Kegler's letter
about WCBN that he does not listen
much to 88.3 FM. WXe play quality local
music of many different types eery day,
and there are two hip hop specialty shows
on Saturday nights (Chill Will's Prop
Shop and Black Vibes Boogie Nights), as
well as Luke Forrest's 734-LIVE, an
excellent freeform showx with an enpha-
sis on underground and local hip hop.
And last year Bacardi and Rose delivered
slapstick comedy between their hip hop
sets.
Since each freeform DJ has complete
freedom to play music of any genre or
time period, there is a huge diversity of
sound. Last summer's schedule is still on
the web at wnn wcbn o'g and gives a hint
at the variety we bring to the airwafes.
If you don't like one D, the one after

WERE PEACE KPV S? V~MA~I
THERE. TO IKKP?" . .
EASA
z~ r
EAT1<
. ,..c~s ocxa., .IA . . J) '
a"- A~~9

band on my next radio shovx.

Abortion debate
MIKE WONG
RWONrases many
WCBN DJ important issues,
conflicts

Sanz should ask
women what they
want, not tell them
TO THE DAILY:
I would like to comment on Branden
Sanz's column, "Ann Arbor: A hotbed
for Conversation and Assault"
(9/17/99). While I am happy that he
helped out those women in Village
Corner, I am a bit concerned about the
advice he gives to women. He cautions
them to "bring a friend" when they
walk at night. Based on the article, it's
pretty clear he means a male friend.
This advice is at the least impractical
and borders on problematic. While men
should offer to walk a woman home at
night, women are autonomous adults
who can't and don't want to always
have a male chaperone by their side.
The feminist movement has worked
very hard to teach people that violence
against women is never the woman's
fault - even if she is walking alone at
night. Women know that they should
act prudently; after all, they've been
dealing with issues like violence
against women their entire lives. So
rather than end his column with advice
for women, I think Sanz should end
with some advice for men.
That is, instead of telling women
what Sanz thinks they should do, ask
them what they want men to do. Maybe
your female friend wants you to walk
her home at night or act as her body-
guard. Maybe she would rather you

To THE DAILY: z
The DaiN's editorial "Nait for
What?" (9 20 99i on abortion waiting
periods was enhghtening, but I wish to
,clear up several misunderstandings First
of all, d like to thank the Daily for aptly
renaming the "pro-Fife" movement
"Anti-choice;" I must sat, works quite
well, although it begs the question: while
we're renaming movements, what shall
we dub "pro-choicers?" I doubt they
would be very ford of the term "anti.
life," but they have forced me to it - - peo-
ple in glass houses.
A statistical interlude: the editorial
cites a poll saying, "more than 80 percent
of Americans beliexe abortion should be
legal rn some or all cases." The key word
- "some."
Does the fact that many Americans
assent to abortion in some cases (often of
rape or risk to the mother's life) imply
that most are pro-choice? A Mar. 4
CNN Time poll indicated that only 46
percent of Americans consider them-
selves pro-choice and only 38 percent
support the legality of abortion under all
circumstances.
I agree witn the editorial that efforts
such as the 24-hour waiting periods for
an abortion are extraneous and in'conve-
nient.
The essence of the abortion debate is
housed in the Supreme Court, and the
hope is that they might re-examine Roe i
fode. Perhaps, given this failing hope.
we should focus on th.e origin of abortion
- teenagers having sex - but I'm afraid
this is no simple problem to tackle. and
birth control is no solution.
In conclusion, I anticipate a singular
objection to much of what I've said here.
I am clearly not, nor have I ever been, a
woman. Isn't it hypocritical for me to
speak about a reality I'll never have to
face?
But the fact is I have faced the reality

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