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January 13, 2011 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-01-13

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4A - Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Thursday, January13, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

WJ E JICd14*ian &I46 J
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
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Ann Arbor, MI 48109




Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Prioritizing public safety
What can be done to prevent future tragedies
T he shooting in Tucson, Ariz. on Jan. 8 that left six
dead and Representative Gabrielle Giffords in criti-
cal condition has many wondering what could have
been done to prevent the tragedy. Arizona's gun laws per-
mit even an individual with a history of mental instabil-
ity to legally purchase a weapon, and there was no security
personnel surrounding Giffords at the event. The incident
has also led many to question the effect of violent political
discourse. None of these factors change the fact that the
alleged attacker is a disturbed person, but they're impor-
tant to consider when contemplating public safety at politi-
cal events.

We would have walked here from San Diego.'
- Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke said about his new job at a press conference at
Schembechler Hall on Wednesday.
Captain of the President of the Michigan Head
Titantic United States Football Coach
1912 2008 2011
Repea needs morethan appeal


No permit is required in Arizona to
carry a concealed weapon, and weapons
can be brought into many public places.
Jared Loughner, the shooter, had a history
of drug use and mentally unstable behav-
ior, which contributed to his inability to
join the military and his expulsion from
community college. Under Arizona's laws,
Loughner had no problem legally purchas-
ing an assault weapon. At Giffords' event,
there was no security, and her constituents
were able to wait in a line in order to speak
with her face-to-face.
Arizona's gun laws are among the weak-
est in the country. While background
checks for gun purchases can reveal prior
offenses, they do nothing to assess the
mental health of the buyer. The state of
Arizona needs to seriously evaluate what
kinds of weapons gun sellers are supplying
and whose hands they are putting them
into. The website for Loughner's alleged
weapon - GLOCK "Safe Action Pistols"
a'fdvertise' hatthe gun n ebts 'e4uit- '
ments of police, special units, security
services and the military." The fact that
a civilianinArizona is able to asnotonly
purchase such a weapon, but also carry it
in public is alarming. The sale of assault
weapons to civilians and the sale of any

gun to someone who is mentally unstable,
needs to be reconsidered.
The lack of protection for Giffords at
the event is somewhat shocking. It's trou-
bling that an armed individual was able
to approach the congresswoman so easily.
While bodyguards and extensive police
presence at political events is both expen-
sive and unnecessary, some safety mea-
sures should be put into place. something
as simple as a security checkpoint where
people are screened and patted down
could have completely derailed Loughner's
In the aftermath of the Tuscan mas-
sacre, many media figures and politicians
have been questioning the effect of violent
political rhetoric. While directly linking
this type of discussion to the actions of an
individual is absurd, there is some validity
to the argument that political discourse
has become too extreme. In our culture of
24-hour news coverage, conflict is omni-
present RdtIppnents are constantly
demonized. The spirit of debate and com-
petition is what makes democracy func-
,tion, but thereia certainly,:o efor a little
civility. Politicians and talking heads need
to carefully consider their words and the
message they're sending.

fter President Barack Obama's straints. The story of the DADT repeal to changingthe policy.
State of the Union address last legislation is full of lessons about how Finally, as in any legislative debate,
anuary, a friend of mine tweet- our political system functions and the opposition took all defensive mea-
ed, "End Don't Ask shows how difficult it can be to pass sures available to stall or block. the
Don't Tell now. Not even the most promising legislation. repeal. Dissenting leaders within the
in a few months, The first institutional factor that military urged voters to lobby their
not soon. Do it contributed to the lengthy timeline elected officials for upholdingthe ban,
now." If only it were of the bill was Obama's campaign. It's and Congressional Republicans stated
that simple. true that the president campaigned they were unconvinced that a repeal
in December, the on a platform of repealing the policy. had full military backing.Although the
president finally However, whenever any candidate House passed a repeal measure rela-
signed the repeal runs for office, that individual must tively easilyin May, Republican filibus-
of "don't ask, don't build a coalition of diverse voting tersblocked the bill in the Senate, once
tell" - the ban on JEREMY blocks in order to win the election. in September and onceinearly Decen-
homosexual men once candidates are in office, they ber. Bythetimeofthefinalvotethough,
and women serving LEVY must prioritize certain parts of their the Senate gained enough Republican
openly in the mili- electoral platform, inevitably alien- support for the bill's passage.
tary - into law. For ating certain groups who voted for
supporters of the them. It's clear that when the presi-
repeal, the elongated process leading dent came into office, the stimulus bill
up.t it was painstakingly slow. The and health are-reform aere his bigv rnsitufiof.l
president campaigned on a platform gest priorities. Perhaps.at the expense= 11 itutiona .
of ending DADT, he had Democrat of the DADT repeal, the abovepolicies
. p jpritie , both houses or sp gg required jtasopf political cap " arr-lers prev ni
and a majority of Americans supported ital in order to pass.
changing the policy. Despite these fac-, Next, obtaining military support major reform.
tors, the repeal wasn't passed until the for the repeal was itself a convoluted
lame-duck session concluded the presi- process. The Pentagon must approve
dent's second year in office. What's the DADT repeal before it can be
more, for supporters of the. repeal, implemented, meaning that it would My point is that there are always
this is a no-brainer issue. The old pol- have been pointless for the president institutional barriers that prevent
icy was discrimination, end of story. It to pass a bill without first seeking passing major reforms, regardless of
becomes tempting to ask - what took military support. In early 2009, the what those reforms are. As my Pub-
so long? president began meeting with top lic Policy Prof. John Ciorciari puts it,
And while I do support the DADT Pentagon officials - who were simul- there are lots of ways for policy actors
repeal, I'd like to challenge fellowsup- taneously managing the wars in Iraq to play offense, and lots of ways to play
porters to understand why it took so and Afghanistan - to begin garnering defense, and those actors will clash at
long to pass. It's too easy to just say such support. The pentagon leader- every juncture in the process. This was
that the president lacked the boldness ship did come to approve the measure, true for DADT and will continue to be
to take a strong stance or that it was as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates true for major legislation in the future.
all because of those stubborn Repub- and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman LGBTQ activists can criticize the pres-
licans. The answer lies largely in the of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Con- ident all they want for not-taking swift- :
fact that our political system was gress in February. The Pentagon also er action, but everyone has something
intentionally designed to be complex released a study on Nov 30 that said to learn from observing how the repeal
and slow moving. Officials face politi- repealing the ban posed little risk to did getpassed.
cal checks and constraints at every military operations. Regardless, there
level of discourse, and it would simply is still strong resistance within the - Jeremy Levy can be reached
be foolish forthem to ignore such con- military, especially the Marine Corps, at jeremlev@umich.edu.

Aida Ali, Will Butler, Eaghan Davis, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, .
Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga,
Teddy Papes, Roger Sauerhaft, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner
The right man to lead us

Hiring Brady Hoke to coach the Michigan
football team wasn't the sexy choice, but it was
definitely the right choice. Just watch his intro-
ductory press conference, and try telling me you
wouldn't love to play for this guy.
Sure, I dreamed- about Jim Harbaugh com-
ing home and rescuing Michigan from medioc-
rity, and when that fell apart, I relished the idea
of Les Miles bringing his winning ways back to
Ann Arbor. I was one of many. I even saw a poll
that showed fans preferred Miles over the lesser-
known Hoke by a margin of approximately 80
percent to 14 percent. Then Miles was out, and
I had to figure out if our new coach's first name
was Brady or Grady.
I was stunned and left wondering if the
Michigan job wasn't all it was cracked up to
be. Perhaps the incredibly poor treatment of
former coach Rich Rodriguez tainted the job's
appeal in the eyes of elite coaches. A friend's
Facebook status even said "Michigan Football:
1879-2010. Rest in Peace."
After the announcement, I read up on Brady
Hoke and wasn't too enthralled by his creden-
tials. Nobody had ever heard of him, and he
sported a sub-.500 record in non-automatic qual-
ifying conferences. But raise your hand if you
think Ohio State messed up when it hired Divi-
sion I-AA coach Jim Tressel. Tell me how former
Iowa State coach Gene Chizik did in his first two
years at Auburn. They've done alright. So why
not Hoke?
We're getting someone who can really coach
defense. His stellar work as Michigan's defen-
sive line coach between 1995 and 2002 produced
the nation's stingiest run defense and a Nation-
al Championship in 1997. Wolverine offensive
guard Steve Hutchinson called Hoke the best
coach he ever played for - no small feat when
you've played for current President of the Cleve-
land Browns, Mike Holmgren. Fellow Michigan
greats Charles Woodson, Tom Brady, Mike Hart,
Desmond Howard, Braylon Edwards and Jon
Jansen - who all know a little bit about football-
also gave stellar reviews of Hoke.
Yesterday I saw what all the former players
raved about. In the press conference introducing
him as the new head coach, Hoke sounded gruff

and mean but loving of his players at the same
time. He talked tough and bluntly in a boom-
ing voice about growing up in Ohio, hating Ohio
State and his unmatched love for Michigan foot-
ball. He emphasized toughness and defense and
stated multiple times he would have walked here
from San Diego for this opportunity to coach the
Wolverines. Michigan Athletic Director Dave
Brandon even noted that Hoke accepted the job
before asking about salary - something Brandon
recalled onlyBo Schembechler doing before.
The Bo comparisons are unavoidable, espe-
cially if you hear Hoke talk. Just YouTube the
press conference and watch him defiantly stare
down the crowd when asked if the job lost its lus-
ter. It's Bo reincarnated. This guy's legit - and he
can definitely coach. He's also led two success-
ful transitions as a coach and his losing record
is more a product of what he inherited than an
indictment on his performance. His teams all
improved dramatically with him at the helm.
With Hoke, I see total sincerity and nothing
contrived. If you hear him talk just once, you
know you can trust him, and you see his com-
passion toward people. Recruiting, as he said, is
a "people business," and given his qualities and
the enormous resources of Michigan, this should
be a real strength for the program in the coming
years. And although he's aware of the difficult
situation ahead of him with regard to this year's
recruiting class, among other things, he views
the challenges as "fun" and part of football.
Oh, and for the record, Hoke was sure to men-
tion where sophomore quarterback Denard Rob-
inson fit in: "When you have talented players, it's
your job to mold them into what's best for your
football team." In other words, even though he
deplores the spread offense, he recognizes the
need to adapt his system a bit when given a talent
as special as Robinson.
We have every reason to support Hoke as our
new head coach, and we need to give him the
chance we never afforded Rodriguez to be suc-
cessful. Hopefully we've learned our lesson, and
thankfully, we have the perfect man ready to lead
us. Go Blue.
Roger Sauerhaft is an LSA senior.


Science Savvy: Nick Clift discusses the technology of
cars and the shift toward electric vehicles.
Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium


A Hoke-y hire

I would like to preface this by saying that any assertions
by a fan before a coach has held his first practice, let alone
his firstgame, is going to be problematic. I understand there
are probably things about new head coach Brady 'Hoke I
don't know that will make him a successful coach who can
beat Michigan State and Ohio State more frequently than
the previous coach - which means one time.
Having said all of that, I think this was a pure panic hire
that was the result of a botched succession plan put in place
by Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon. The time to
fire coaches is not in January - it's at the very latest Dec 1. It
is incredibly unfair to expect a coach to put together a decent
recruiting class in17 days, especially one who is coming from
the West Coast - where it's unlikely his recruits would fol-
low. Everyone knew former head coach Rich Rodriguez was
gone in December, and the onlythingthe lame-duck period
did was to put coach Hoke under the gun now. At best, the
next class of athletes will be a rag-tag group of Michigan
fans and players who failed to attach themselves to another
school beforehand.
But that is just one class, and had Brandon pulled a Har-
baugh or Miles out of his hat, it likely wouldn't have made
much of a difference. Instead, he got a coach whose record
is woefully unimpressive. in his eight years as a head coach,
Hoke has compiled a losing record of 47-50. This is not the
worst thing in the world, as it's incredibly hard to compile
a winning record at schools like Ball State where it's the
team's job to lose games to teams like Missouri, Boston Col-
lege and Michigan. However, it's the lack of consistency and
team buildingthat worries me more than anything else.

The sterling mark on Hoke's record was the miraculous 0
2008 season when he coached Ball State to a 12-0 regular
season record, which was marred by a loss in the Mid Amer-
ican Conference championship game and a loss to Tulsa in
the bowl game. This is impressive, no qualifications needed.
But the problem I see is that in the following year, this team
went 2-10 with wins against Eastern and Western Michigan
and losses to schools like New Hampshire and Temple - not
exactly powerhouses. It seems that Hoke didn't leave his
team in good shape.
This makes me think that maybe the coach had less to
do with it than three once in a generation players in Nate
Davis, MiQuale Lewis and Sean Baker who all clicked at
the same time. Lewis ran for over 1,700 yards, Davis was a
consummate leader who is currently in the NFL and Baker
had 94 tackles and six interceptions. Once again, I have all
the respect in the world for Hoke's coaching and recruiting
these players, but his unimpressive record - 35-46 in other
years - isvery concerning.
I want to be wrong about this. I want coach Hoke to be
mentioned in the same sentence as coaches like Lloyd Carr,
Bo Schembechler, FieldingYost and Fritz Crisler.I want him
to beat OSU coach Jim Tressel out of his sweater vest and
return Michigan to the glory days. Unfortunately, I don't
think this is going to happen. I think we are in for another
three or four years of mediocrity and losses in big games. But
I would really appreciate it if coach Hoke makes me sound
like a foolwith a win on Oct. 22 and Nov. 26, 2011.
Asa Smith is an LSA junior.

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