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September 06, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-06

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4A -The Michigan Daily -Thursday, September 6, 2001

OP/ED

4 420 MAYNARD STREET
'U ANN ARBOR, Ml 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
,UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

GEOFFREY GAGNON
Editor in Chief
MICHAEL GRASS
NICHOLAS WOOMER
Editorial Page Editors

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.

NOTABLE . P SOE 60%
QUOTABLE Es&EIC JL
It took 16 years ~
before the General A
Assembly came to its ...
senses and repealed the
odious pronouncement.
Now the U.N. again finds
itself heading down a
path that leads to
trouble."
-Yesterday's Los Angeles Times staff
editorial regarding the United Nation's 1975 7
assertion that Zionism is a form of racism. F\
This years U.N. conference on racism has
drafted a proiposal that mimics the ZSssl 1
l age ofthe 1975 declaration.
The marijuana murders
JOSH WICKERHAM THIS D WORLD

n Monday night,
Grover Crosslin
was shot dead by an FBI
agent on his Vandalia,
Mich. property. Crosslin
had been charged with
growing marijuana, felony
possession of a firearm and
maintaining a drug house.
He was also the owner of Rainbow Farm, a
campground that had become the home of
peaceful gatherings and fundraisers for mari-
juana decriminalization initiatives and hemp-
related causes. By all accounts, he was a kind
man, whom friends describe as having "a heart
of gold."
So what caused an otherwise peaceful man
to take matters into his own hands and find
himself in a four-day standoff with the feds that
left four buildings on his property burned and
he-and a good friend dead?
A number of incidents may have driven
Crosslin to act as he did. According to his attor-
ney, after being charged with marijuana viola-
tions, he was upset that his foster son had been
taken away. Added to this, court rulings had
prevented Crosslin from holding his annual fes-
tivals at Rainbow Farm because of alleged drug
use. Crosslin, a staunch Libertarian, also
believed that he had the right to do what he
wanted on his own property, given it does not
harm others. But his decision to use marijuana
was not a choice he could legally make.
So, last Friday, knowing that his property
would soon be seized and he would lose every-
thing under civil property forfeiture laws,
Crosslin skipped out on his $150,000 bail hear-
ing and began torching his property. Authori-
ties also allege that shots were fired at a local

news helicopter that same day, as well as an
unmarked police plane on Saturday. Both crafts
landed without incident. Four days later,
Crosslin was dead, with his friend falling the
day after.
In my mind, Crosslin's actions in resisting
drug forfeiture laws were entirely justified on
the simple grounds that property seizure
amounts to institutionalized stealing. In theory,
forfeiture laws are the government's attempt to
reclaim monies earned through illegal activi-
ties, though the system is easily abused. And
the list of abuses is extensive.
In his book, "A License to Steal," Leonard
Levy chronicles the abuse of this law, including
a case in Michigan when a man was caught
with his pants down being serviced by a prosti-
tute. He jointly owned the car with his wife,
though the wife's insistence that the state had
no right to take the car because she had no
knowledge or involvement with the prostitute
held no legal water.
Such practices have a long history, though
laws allowing the seizure of property because
of charges stemming from illegal drug trade in
the U.S. were only instituted by Congress in
1978. In 1984 real property (like houses, land,
computers, etc.) was included in all forfeiture
laws on any applicable charge. It doesn't mat-
ter if a person is found guilty or not, charges
alone can justify the permanent seizure of
property. This unjust state of affairs becomes.
even more loathsome when we throw marijua-
na laws into the mix. Already our prisons are
filled with people who smoke a harmless plant
for a variety of medical and personal reasons.
Now there is yet another martyr from the
ranks.
Crosslin is on par with Califomia medical
marijuana activist Peter McWilliams, who last

year diedchoking on his own vomit because he
was denied the marijuana that helped him keep
his potent cocktail of AIDS and cancer drugs
down. It's tragic that Crosslin, in the face of
losing everything for something he believed in,
felt no other choice but to go out in a blaze of
glory.
With the Supreme Court's recent deci-
sion to deny any medical or personal legiti-
macy to cannabis, the only opportunity is to
take matters into our own hands. The only
ray of sunshine for Michigan in this long,
unnecessary War on Drugs is the Personal
Responsibility Amendment, a new citizen-
led initiative in the signature-collecting
stage. By signing this initiative, registered
voters can give Michigan the right to vote
on property seizure, the right to grow indus-
trial hemp, the decriminalization of medical
marijuana and the personal use of cannabis.
If passed, the initiative would end property
forfeiture madness by pooling any resources
from the non-cannabis-related-sale of seized
property into drug education and treatment
instead of law enforcement.
Before the tragic'outcome of this standoff,
Crosslin's father said, "This is about property
rights ... It's enough to cause a war."
It looks like it already has. Michigan has a
new martyr in the Draconian War on Drugs. It
is up to us, Michigan, to show the world that
we will not tolerate another death in the war to
eradicate this plant. Had the Personal Responsi- 4
bility Amendment been in place, this tragic
death would have been avoided.
Visit wvw.prayes.com for more informa-
tion.
Josh Wickerham can be reached
via e-mailatjwickerh@umich.edu.

VIEWPOINT
Being active will be only way to make a difference

OKAY FOR OVERKILL IN OKLA.?
Over six years after the fact, Oklahoma
County's District Attomey Wes Lane is serious-
ly considering charging Terry Nichols with 160
counts of murder for his involvement in the
Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma
City. Nichols, who is already facing a life sen-
tence for conspiracy to commit murder and
involuntary manslaughter, will face the death
penalty if these state murder trials are filed.
Lane has been considering filing state mur-
der charges against Nichols since the federal
lawsuit against him cleared him from any first
degree murder charges. The fact that Lane wish-
es to bring these charges against Nichols raises
more than a few interesting questions.
Along with general issues regarding the
morality of the death penalty or the nature of the
criminal justice system's treatment of suspected
criminals comes a much more case-specific
problem: The haste with which Timothy
McVeigh was killed.
It's clear at this point that McVeigh was not
alone in his actions. Further investigations have
shown not only a shoddy job of evidence collect-
ing by federal agents, but also some blatant
attempts at hiding evidence regarding the case.
McVeigh was a political scapegoat who could
conveniently afford both the Clinton and the.
Bush adminis tions with some sense of popu-
larized closure in this case.
It's hard to defend a man like Timothy
McVeigh, but it's easy to see the holes in the
logic tat led to his desth. The U.S. govermment,
seeking a quick and easy method of closing the
case, succeeded only in silencing a crucial wit-
ness in this on-going investigation.
-Manish Raiji
U.S. SHOULDN'T HAVE PULLED
OUT OF U.N. CONFERENCE
This week, the World Conference Against
Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia,
and Related Intolerance, is proceeding in Dur-
ban, South Africa. The United States and Israel
have removed their delegation in protest of lan-
guage in the conference's final declarations that
condemns Israel.

The language found offensive by Israel are
references to its illegal settlements and occupation
of Palestinian land as a "new kind of apartheid, a
crime against humanity." International observers
and every legitimate international human rights
organization document Israel's treatment of non-
Jews as second-class citizens and condemn their
occupation, which has resulted in the current nat-
ural uprising. Referring to Zionism as racism, and
downgrading the uniqueness of the Jewish Holo-
caust have been condemned by Yasser Arafat and
removed from the declaration draft. As a Semitic
person myself, I am disgusted by Israel's loose
accusations that language attacking its racist poli-
cies is "anti-Semitic." It is not the presence of
European Jews that is being called into question
but specific, unquestionable discrininatory prac-
tices of the Israeli state.
Rather than pulling our delegation, further
isolating us, the U.S. should work with the rest
of the world in condemning Israel. Furthermore,
we should work to condemn all forms of racism
in this world. By deciding to be ignorant towards
and even supporting, Israel's racist policies, the
U.S. is one-upping our mistakes in delaying
action against the terrible genocide against the
Jews in World War II. The U.N. conference is
the perfect setting to follow the calls of countless
human rights organizations in condemning
Israel.
Fadi Kiblawi
WHERE'S HIDEKI'S SIGN
Where did the missing sandwich board cam-
paign sign of former Michigan Student Assem-
bly Hideki Tsutsumi end up? The latest sighting
was before late last month from a second floor
window on Packard near Thompson Street.
Tsutsumi, a native of Japan, had talked
about a bid for the U.S. presidency in the years
to come. Before he embarks on that quest, he
better retrieve his famed sign that catapulted
him to the top of student government.
-Michael Grass
In Passing views are those ofindividual
members of the Daily's editorial board, but do
not necessarily represent the opinion of
The Michigan Daily.

By CHRIS MILLER
Last week, the tiny nation of East
Timor had its first ever-democratic elec-
tions. Voter turnout there, a former colony
of Portugal and Indonesia, was calculated
at 92 percent. That number stands in sharp
contrast to elections in our own country,
where a year ago 51.2 percent of our
nation's citizens came out to the polls to
cast a vote for George W. Bush, Al Gore,
Ralph Nader, and a host of other candi-
dates.
Why, in a nation with one of the oldest
working democracies and a rich history of
activism, do so few people choose to vote?
Experts cite a myriad of reasons: unappeal-
ing candidates, disgust with a system often
viewed as corrupt, and the thought that one
individual cannot make a difference.
While at times the first two might be cor.-
rect, the third excuse is dead wrong. And
the issues that lay at the heart of such com-
plaints are reasons to become involved,
rather than remain apathetic. Let me tell
you why.
It is perfectly okay to be outraged at the
behavior or policies of an elected official or
candidate; in fact, it's good. However, don't
leave it at that - take action. This past
summer, one member of Michigan's con-
gregational delegation announced he was

reconsidering his support of campaign
finance legislation. Like many who care
about the state of our government, I was
angered at that possibility. However, rather
than leave it at that, I voiced my opinion. I
called up his office to express my disap-
pointment, and urged friends of mine who
care about campaign finance reform to do
the same. It is perfectly okay to be angry at
the policies and behavior of elected official
sand candidates. However, if that's the
case, take action. Vote in the next election.
And if you can, donate your time or money
to the opposition.
Similarly, if you find something or
someone in politics that resonates with you
and your beliefs, don't be afraid to lend your
support. Last year, for example, many voters
who were finding themselves more and
more jaded with the system found new
encouragement in the campaigns of people
like Ralph Nader and Harry Browne. More
locally, supporters and detractors of school
vouchers lined up on both sides of the issue
to wage a hard fought battle over the direc-
tion of Michigan schools.
Never underestimate the influence of
what you as a student can offer. In 1964,
young college-aged conservatives worked
diligently at the grass roots level to get
Barry Goldwater the Republican nomina-
tion for President. Their efforts launched

the modern conservative movement and set
the stage for Ronald Reagan in 1980. Four
years later, college students flooded New
Hampshire to aid Eugene McCarthy in that
state's upcoming primary. McCarthy's stun-
ning showing resulting from their work pro-
pelled LBJ out of the race for reelection.
Here on campus, there are countless
organizations students can involve them-
selves with if they want to make a differ-
ence.Whether you are looking for
community service, to stay involved with
your religion, or do environmental work,
there is something on the University cam-
pus for you.
For all the money that flows into cam-
paign coffers and the expense accounts of
lobbyists, two things remain nonnegotiable
in American politics: your vote and your
involvement. Ultimately, each elected offi-
cial remains accountable to his or her con-
stituents - politicians who lose sight of
this are left without a job. So next time you
find yourself disappointed, or excited, by
your elected representative, mark on your
calendar when the next election is. And tell
your friends.
Chris Miller, an LSA junior, is chairman
of Voice Your Vote, a non-partisan
Michigan Student Assembly commission
aimed at encosraging political
involvement and civic activism.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Anti-N.Y chalngs
may hide anti-Semitic
feelings on campus
TO THE DAILY:
Ordinarily the first day of classes and the
sound of throngs of students chatting it up on
the Diag gives me a happy, welcoming feel-
ing. As I walked across the center of campus
today, however, I was greeted with a particu-
larly unpleasant chalking that rubbed me in a
very uncomfortable way. It was probably a
joke - but perhaps it wasn't. "Please, New
Yorkers Go Home," it read.
Most students walked by it and laughed,
or ignored it. ButI was stunned.
There is a very subtle difference between
an anti-out-stater or an anti-New-Yorker sen-
timent and outright anti-Semitism. Some of
my friends who I discussed the matter with
dismissed my concerns as overly sensitive,
while some were incredibly offended by the
anonymous chalkings.
It made me recall a story.
A friend of mine in a freshman year soci-
ology class was participating in an in-class
discussion about group identities. Each
member of the small group had a card with

an identity on it like "football player,"
"GSI" or "business student." If the card read
"football player," then they might say things
like "tall," "broad shoulders," "hits hard"
and "throws far," - and then the group
would have to guess who it was. In this par-
ticular group, the attributes on the card were
things "tight black pants," "Kate Spade
purse," and "sport utility vehicle." A girl in
the group then raised her hand and said "Is
it a Jew ?" The group leader flipped over the
card, and it read "sorority girl."
My point is that, while there have been
scares in past years about swastikas drawn
in bathroom stalls and racial epithets left on
dorm-room doors, the more subtle forms of
stereotyping and discrimination are far
more dangerous, because they are socially
okay. 1, for one, make Kate Spade purse
jokes all the time. Who hasn't seen a Lexus
SUV drive by with New York plates and.
snickered to the person next to them?
But when we see a swastika on a bath-
room stall, we automatically cry foul. It
offends our sense of right and wrong, and
evokes images of the disastrous effects of
hatred and intolerance. What is more dan-
gerous are symbols that mean the same
thing, but since they are more subtle, they
don't set off the same types of moral alarms

that extremist symbols do.
The subtleties of language are, however,
more complex - and they deserve to be paid
attention to.
MICHAEL SIMON
LSA ijnior

I

THE BOONDOCKS . R McGRU-ER

WHAT'S THE WORD, HUEY? kap
DOING SOME INTERNET
RESEARCH.

tANG IT, THERE HAS TO E AN t ARE YOU SRE ITS NOT JUST
XPLANATION AS To WHY ALL BLACK THE RAMPANT DRUG USE?
TV AND FILM IS SO BAD, SOME
COMMON THREAD, SOMETHING THAT ID YOU SEE " F E
POiNTs TO A CONSPIRACY TAK" ON'T TN t
4*!STRONG

--,'7-1

4

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