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August 11, 1983 - Image 6

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1983-08-11

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OPINION
Page 6 The Michigan Daily Thursday, August 11, 1983

The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCIII, No. 34-S
93 Years aoEditorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by students of
The University of Michigan
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board
60 Seconds
CBS NEWS commentator Andy Rooney has
%.. gained national attention for his witty, sarcastic
observations of life on the television program "60
Minutes." Following in his footsteps, Rooney's
distant cousin, Skip Rooney, is also pursuing a career
in humorous commentating. Skip visited Ann Arbor
recently and was kind enough to share some of his
worldly observations with The Daily. The following is
"A Few Minutes With Skip Rooney":
" 'Ja ever wonder if Bo Schembechler coulda
made it as a dancer on Broadway?
" And speaking of Broadway, ever wonder
what woulda happened if Elizabeth Taylor
starred in "Annie?" I guess they woulda called
it "Fanny."
' Or how about Woody Allen? Ever notice how
the little shmuck gets all the good-looking
leading ladies?
" Speaking of things difficult to understand,
ever try to figure out just exactly what William
F. Buckley is trying to say in his columns or on
his TV show?
" But back in Ann Arbor, ever wonder what
Shakey Jake does on his days off?
" Or what that C.E. Krell fella eats for break-
fast and puts in his coffee?
" Did ya ever wonder how come Trini Lopez
doesn't tour anymore?
* Ever wonder what it would be like to go to a
football game at Michigan Stadium with less
than 10,000 people there? Or how about going to
a basketball game at Crisler Arena with more
than 10,000 people there?
" Ever wonder what it would be like to run
over several of Ann Arbor's biggest and
meanest bar bouncers with a Mack truck?
" Or how about what it would be like to be
stuck in an elevator with President Harold
Shapiro, Billy Frye, and Mayor Lou Belcher?
" I wonder what Don Canham would look like
if he were bald.
" And speaking of influential people, what
ever happened to Howard Witt?'
" Ever wonder why my cousin Andy whines

.5\E (OVERNMENT AND TR'CTTDRAT V) T L To Stop
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Ailing Society nleeds cure'

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By James Boyd
Because of the great frequency
with which rape is commited in
the United States - one every
two-and-a-half minutes - our
society is becoming anesthetized
to the tragedy. One segment of
our society has been justifiably
enraged, however, by two recent
rapes. The first occurred in New
Bedford, Massachusetts last
March and distinguished itself in
that the rape occured while 15
men watched and cheered it on.
The more recent example oc-
curred in St. Louis at the end of
July. A 13-year-old girl was raped
for 40 minutes by two males - as
witnesses looked on. Nothing was
done to help the girl until an 11-
year-old boy rode his bicycle to
find help. Upon arrival of the
police the witnesses simply scat-
tered. In both cases no effort was
made to aid the victims.
In response to these recent acts
of violence, the state of Min-
nesota this past week created a
provision in its statutes that goes
beyond the appropriate province
of the law. The provision, in ef-
fect, makes it illegal to be
anything but a Good Samaritan
- it provides up to a $100 fine for
people who fail to aid a victim in
an emergency. The state of Min-
nesota has surpassed its right
and duty to interpret the moral
values of society in a way that
could prove dangerous. In effect
the state is trying to make up for
a lack of human compassion that
pervades our society, especially
as it relates to rape. Moral
deficiencies and emotional
deficiencies are two very dif-
ferent things. Emotion cannot be
legislated.
In its basic sense the law must
fill the role of being that which
compensates for human
weakness, not that which can ob-
scure a basic human failing. Law
is a binding custom or practice of
a community, those practices

possessing the sanction of God's
will, of Man's innate morality, or
of a natural justice given by
reason. Our nation's law is
merely an interpretation of these
laws, be they based on religious
or philosophical values. Contrary
to what the state of Minnesota
believes, the law is unable to
make up for the emotional flaws
of a community, for emotion
responds to no known laws.
Although individual actions
within a society may be affected
by the law, human feeling must
necessarily remain untouched.
What is needed is not a law
making the resultant actions of
compassion mandatory, but
rather a serious study and an at-
tempt to correct the psychology
of a society that allows acts of
such brutality. This aspect of our
society is indeed suffering from a
great sickness. A study conduc-
ted by Neil Malamuth of UCLA
and Edward Donnerstein of the.
University of Wisconsin, for
example, revealed that only a
third of the thousands of men
they surveyed felt there was no
possibility that they could be
sexually violent toward women.
This suggests that two-thirds of
the male population possess a
mentality that is unclear about
whether or not they could com-
mit or allowa rape to occur.
A preponderance of the males
in the U.S. today have a tremen-
dous amount of aggressive
feeling toward females. In many
cases women are viewed as being
the enemy - something less than
human. Even the institution of
marriage - in which many
males feel that sex is their right
rather than an act of love - has
been infected with a mentality of
conquest. Moreover, many of our
country's lawmakers oppose ef-
forts to make wife rape a crime.
Speaking to the Senate Judiciary
Committee, Senator Jeremiah
Denton (R-Ala.) said, "damn it,
when you get married, you kind
of expect you're going to get a lit-

tle sex." The audacious
statements of one of our coun-
try's lawmakers exemplify a
society that is strongly pervaded
by unhealthy attitudes toward
sexuality.
Linda Close, the division
manager of public safety and
litigation in the Minnesota Attor-
ney General's Office said of the
statute, "it creates a duty to help
somebody if a person is exposed
to 'grave physical harm'." It
creates a duty to one's country,
but will that duty be listened to?
Most probably not. The risk of a
$100 fine would hardly make
anyone run for help. The cruel
decadent heart that can cheer on
a rape would hardly be affected
by a meager monetary penalty.
But what of the meek who remain
silent out of fear; will not this law
at least propel them to take the
correct action? Of course not, for
which is the greater fear, that of
a mob or that of a slap on the
wrist?
How is it that an 11-year-old
recognized the terror and im-
plications of the St. Louis rape
while adults remained unaffec-
ted? Our society is teaching itself
to ignore rape. It is squelching
the innate feeling of sympathy
that should be elicited when one
observes an act of stunning
violence. The power of the mob
has grown very strong.
The onlookers were unable to
grasp the imbalance between the
animalistic "pleasure" of the
assailants and the permanent
emotional scarring inflicted upon
the victim. A society should not
only be taught to grasp this
imbalance but should call on its
nature to feel the imbalance.
The law can prove dangerous in
this case in that it provides an ex-
cuse for a sick society to put off
the facing of a grave problem. A
new way of thinking must be
found, not supports to prop up the
old way.
Boyd is a Daily Arts Editor.

I
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Skip Rooney

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