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May 09, 1981 - Image 8

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1981-05-09

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I

Opinion
Page 8 Saturday, May 9, 1981 The Michigan Daily

-. ---

The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCI, No 4S
Ninety Years of Editorial Freedom
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
The plain truth
A MERICAN SOCIETY cannot afford the
luxury of sacred cows.
Recent allegations about the mysterious
death of Navy airman Paul Trerice illustrate, if
true, the inherent danger of placing some in-
stitutions of government beyond the public eye,
subject to no review or censure save their own.
Inquiries during the 1970's revealed the FBI
and CIA as less than sacrosanct; surely our
American military establishment should be
open to a scrutiny no less rigorous when the
situation demands it.
Trerice, a Michigan native assigned to the
USS Ranger, died April 14 while confined to the
ship's prison facilities. He had been sentenced
to 30 days for falling asleep while on duty and
leaving the Ranger without permission. While
his death was officially attributed to cardiac
arrest and heatstroke, reports soon surfaced
accusing the Ranger's correctional officers of
brutal and inhumane treatment of Trerice-in-
cluding imposition of a bread-and-water diet,
and the alleged handcuffing of the airman
following his heart seizure on deck.
Revelation of the inconsistencies over the in-
cident appears to have pierced a self-enforced
Navy code of silence: In the last week alone,
some 50 complaints were sent to Sen. Carl
Levin (D-Mich.) from sailors charging cruel
punishment-including overt physical
abuse-employed on several Navy ships in ad-
dition to the Ranger.
No less disturbing than the allegations them-
selves is the tendency of many Americans in
such matters to simply sniff and look the other
way. There exists an entrenched attitude in this
country that says matters regarding our armed
forces lie quite beyond civilian criticism: It's
none of our business, say many-the military
takes care of its own. Such apologist reasoning
dictates that even were accusations of
wrongdoing in the armed services to prove
largely true, the exposure accorded them would
still remain detrimental, even unpatriotic.
Such reasoning seems a failure of logic as
well as of morality. Surely an openhanded in-
vestigation of alleged mistreatment could only
serve to regenerate the morale of enlisted men
and women who might otherwise find them-
selves with no one to believe in or even listen to
their problems. A frightened army is never an
effective army.
We urge a thorough, civilian-based in-
vestigation of the current accusations of Navy
brutality, regardless of the "embarrassing"
revelations which might come to light. A
society which purports to worship honesty and
truth among its noblest virtues should not be
afraid to practice what it preaches. The family
of Paul Trerice deserves no less.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Condoning murder?
To the Daily: murder of two innocent students, sies and other groups. There is
I was sickened to read the let- and the firebombing of a dor- justification for the actions of1
ter from Mr. Mutakabbir printed mitory? Ku Klux Klan'in the Ameri(
in the May 7 Daily, in which he The existence of racial South. Likewise, there is
states that after seeing "daily prejudices does not justify in- justification for the killing of t
overt and covert racist acts", he discriminate killings of humans white students here att
"can understand the way Leo, that happen to belong to a racial University of Michigan:
Kelley Jr. allegedly reacted the group you feel is oppressive. dividuals of any group that
way he did! !" How can anyone There is no justification for the done killing someone j
who is evidently opposed to racial genocide practiced by the because they belong to anot
racism, condone the senseless Nazis in WWII against Jews, gyp> race are no better than the Na
the Ku Klux Klan, or any c
mon murderer.
The support for such an ac
classifies Mr. Mutakabbir a
racist and a misanthrope. ME
people, blacks, whites, Ar
Jews, and others, have been s
jected to racial prejudice. F
tunately, only a sick few beli
that this justifies genocide. I,
appalled that an individual co
support such an act; and th
newspaper would allow itself
become a disseminator of h
mail such as the letter fromI
Mutakabbir.
-Pat Anderson
May 7,1981
{ A political
prison bill
To the Daily:
The passing of the bill call
for the construction of a v
network , of "correctioi
- facilities" in this state
politically motivated. The m(
"facilities" under the control
the Department of Correctio
the more votes the D.O.C.A
control (through their e
< < ployees). Consequently, whoeN
is in control of the departm
, can call the shots in state-w
-No. You may be needy ... but vou're elections.
Meanwhile, the media is be
tnt/ ~ live Twt:!flooded with propoganda con
ning thewinability to control t
thousands of prisoners housed
"the world's largest wall
prison." we are told that it is 1
big and unwieldy, that therea
not enough guards (or "corr
tional specialists") to prope
control the masses within. A
result, stabbings and murdi

4

sno
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ing
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ed
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are increasing. Rape, robbery,
extortion, use of drugs, and sun-
dry other criminal activities are
on the rise. However, there is
nothing said about the inept, in-
competent, and ineffective per-
sonnel, much less the inability of
the hierarchy in Lansing whose
motives are politicaltrather than
geared to rehabilitation. It's all
about penology rather than
correcting. As a consequence,
"correctional facilities" are
breeding grounds for further
atrocities against society
(the sleeping giant) at a tremen-
dous drain of dollars. This type of
crime does pay off.
The passing of the bill was a
criminal act!
-Ted Sullivan
April 26

'6

I

lmid~w~sc~s AO Ur VEN MORtE EsAuL i4 rHMI EMMEitEdi!

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