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8

Monday, July 23, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, July 23, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
E-MAILALICIAATALIMAIRKO@UMICH.EDU.

FOOTBALL
Saban talks Michigan,
Cowboys Classic

OF TUBALL
'M' snags six standouts for 2013

DYLAN CINTI I V OINT
How not why

By STEPHEN J. NESBITT
Daily Sports Editor
The countdown to the 2012
'Cowboys Classic' season opener
between Michigan and Alabama
in Arlington, Texas is slowly tick-
ing down, but the discussion is
already ramping up.
With fall practices just around
the corner, football is about to
take the main stage once again.
At the SEC Media Days in
Hoover, Ala., Alabama coach Nick
Saban acknowledged that the sea-
son opener will be a stiff test for
the reigning national champion
Crimson Tide.
"I think playing a great oppo-
nent like Michigan the first game
of the season really enhances your
players' sort of work ethic and
preparation in the off-season,"
Saban said, "because they know
they're going to play a top-notch
team right off the bat, and that's
very challenging. That's kind of
been the reasoning behind it, and
it's worked out well for us.

"But we know that Michigan is
going to have an outstanding team
and it will be a very challenging
game for us this year." .
Saban and Alabama are no
stranger to facing another ranked
team at a neutral site during non-
conference play in September.
In 2007, the Crimson Tide faced
Florida State in Jacksonville;
in 2008, they faced Clemson in
Atlanta; in 2009, they faced Vir-
ginia Tech in Atlanta. Alabama
also just completed a home-and-
home series with Penn State.
"We've had a lot of national
exposure that has really enhanced
the development of our program,
especially in the early years, by
playingneutral-site games against
very good national competition,"
Saban said.
"Now having the opportunity
to go play Michigan in Dallas,
and we're going to come back to
Atlanta and play Virginia Tech
and West Virginia in the next two
years. These are the kind of games
we look for national exposure."

By GREG GARNO her senior season and recorded a
Daily Sports Writer record-breaking .667 on-base per-
centage. The middle infielder also
Michigan softball coach Carol set records in hits (54), home runs
Hutchins will have to decide how (14), stolen bases (49), RBIs (38) and
to replace the reigning Big Ten runs scored (67). Lawrence also led
Player of the Year, a four-year her team to a regional champion-
starter in the outfield and a defen- ship in 2011 and was named the
sive catalyst in the infield. 2011 Gwinnet County Player of the
Her incoming freshman class Year for her efforts.
will provide an easy solution. Romero also brings another
Although the Wolverines have powerful bat after hitting a school
not formally announced their new- record-breaking 25 home runs
est additions, six players have com- and batting .556 during her senior
mitted to play for Michigan for the season while leading her team
2013 season. Incoming freshmen with 54 RBIs and 38 runs scored.
Sierra Lawrence, Sierra Romero, The product of Vista Murrieta in
Olivia Richvalsky, Kelsey Susalla, California garnered All-American
Alice Fitzpatrict and Lauren Con- honors after her junior year and
nell compose a larger-than-usual was named the 2011 Southwestern
freshman class that could see play- Player of the Year.
ing time immediately. Richvalsky led the South Lyon
Lawrence and Romero - the East Cougars to one of their best
two Sierras - will not only provide records by leading the team offen-
a handful of puns about the moun- sively. The Division 2 All-State
tain range, but will strengthen a selection in Michigan batted .477
depleted infield. The duo signed with 33 RBI, 33 runs and 28 sto-
with the Wolverines during the len bases. The centerfielder and
early signing period in Nov. 2011, slap-hitter looks to replace for-
and are the only two players to be mer centerfielder Bree Evans both
given scholarships. offensively and defensively.
Lawrence, a product of Greater Susalla, who was a pitcher in
Atlanta Christian, hit .568 during high school, will enter as a posi-

tion player for the Wolverines after
batting .620 on the year. The two-
time All-State selection went 18-4
with 134 strikeouts in 126 innings
of work to total a 1.44 ERA.
Both Susalla and Rich-
valsky were members of the
Michigan High School Softball
Coaches Association All-Star game
on Wednesday.
Fitzpatrick, who hails from
Union Grove, Wisc., passed up a
scholarship offer to pitch at the
University of Illinois-Chicago to
walk on as a Wolverine. Fitzpatrick
carried a 0.92 ERA while going
12-1, including two perfect games
and a no-hitter, during-her junior
year. The All-State selection led her
team to a state championship her
junior year and the sectional finals
her senior year while accumulating
a 16-4 record during her last year.
The West Lafayette, Ind. native,
Connell, is able to play any posi-
tion on the field. Duringher junior
campaign, she switched to third
base after playing catcher for a
year. Connell, who hit .429 with 31
RBIs and 18 stolen bases duringher
junior campaign, hit only .324 her
senior year, but tallied eight home
runs.

Giuseppe Verdi's
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July 24, 20128
Hill Auditorium
Blue Lake International Choir
Alumni Choir and Youth Symphony
Mon, July 23 Wed, July 25
Blue Lake International Blue Lake International
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Jazz Orchestra

In his book "Columbine", a
masterfully crafted narrative
of the massacre and its after-
math, journalist Dave Cullen
recounts the media firestorm
that unfolded in the minutes
and hours after Eric Harris and
Dylan Klebold opened fire on
their classmates.
Cullen was among the horde
of journalists who converged
in Littleton, Colo. to cover the
story. But for a while no story
existed - at least not one that
made a whole lot of sense. There
was only gunfire, mass hysteria
and wild speculation about a
massive force ofshooters behind
Columbine's sealed walls.
"It was the panic and frus-
tration of not knowing," Cullen
writes, "the mounting terror
of horror withheld, just out of
view."
Why was this happening?
That question prompted a
stream of wildly extrapolative
stories hintingat ahuge conspir-
acy and propagating the (false)
notion that Harris and Klebold
were "outcasis" and "loners."
Citizens of Littleton were in
shock. They needed answers.
They needed a "why." And that's
what stories of the Trench Coat
Mafia provided. Never mind
that the "why" was false. It gave
people the comfort of being able
to point the finger.
Journalists have a responsi-
bility to narrativize tragedy. To
fill in the whos, whats and whys
of a scene. But sometimes there
are stories where no "why"
exists. Columbine was one such
story. The shooting in Colorado
on Friday is another. These are
the stories of senseless killings.
In these cases, narrativizing
is tricky business. And when
done poorly, it's dangerous.
Unfortunately, sloppy narra-
tivizing abounds.
It was on CNN, as Cullen
points out, that Columbine wit-
nesses described the Trench
Coat Mafia as "Goths, gays
(and) outcasts."
That isn't journalism; it's
fear-mongering. It's the kind
of journalism that makes you
question if everyone wearing a
long coat is packing heat. Or if
all victims of bullying will seek
bloody revenge.
I can't tell you how many
headlines I've seen in thempast
few days about the so-called
"'Dark Knight Rises' Shooting."
Most of these articles confine
discussion of "Rises" to the sur-
face. It was where the shooting
happened, thus it makes for a
convenient title. I guess I see the

logic there. And I'm not going to
take pot-shots at lazy titling.
But what are reprehensible
are pieces that turn to "Rises"
for a motive.
In a silly little piece of tragedy
porn published by the Associ-
ated Press, the anonymous writ-
er attempts to draw parallels
between, amongdother things,
the plot of "Rises" and the Colo-
rado shooting.
The article features a bullet-
point list of similarities between
"Batman" narratives and that
of the Colorado killer, includ-
ing the assertion that the movie
"features at least two scenes
where unsuspecting people are
attacked in a public venue."
In its petty and insensitive
way, the piece searches for
motive. Why'd he do it? Was he
tryingcto be the Joker? Or.Bane?
I'm not saying these weren't
the first thoughts that popped
into my head when I heard
about the shooting. It's only
natural.Someone opens fire
at a movie and you look to the
movie for answers.
But it becomes dangerous
when that kind of thinking
infects our news.
At this stage in the story,
we shouldn't be searching for
motive. Is it really that impor-
tant why the killer did what
he did? I think I know at least
one reason why: attention. And
that's exactly what he's getting
- from pieces about his musical
preferences to discussion of his
dating site profile.
Such discussions need to end.
We need to turn away from
the nonsensical person who
did this and focus, on the big-
ger question at hand: how did
someone like that get his hands
on a gun? How did he walk into
a store and walk out wielding an
instrument of death?
And knowing that, how could
Colorado Gov. John Hickenloop-
er sit in front of a camera and
claim the shooting had nothing
to do with a lack of gun control?
It has everything to do with
gun control. And that's the
most important conversation
right now.
In reporting Friday's shoot-
ing, the media owes the victims
and their families the kind of
coverage that will actively pre-
vent such senseless carnage in
the future.
Let's hope they're not too
busy tracking down the killer's
Twitter feed.
Dylan Cinti is a LSA senior
and the Daily's magazine editor.

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Continued gridlock

Even though the Democratic
and Republican National Conven-
tions are over a month away, there's

little doubt that
the 2012 gen-
eral election is
already under-
way. Pundits are
constantly talk-
ing about the
latest polls, elec-
toral math and
the faults of each
campaign.
Yet in the

MICHAEL
SPAETH

midst of the breathless media cov-
erage of the daily back-and-forth of
the presidential campaign, political
commentators aren't emphasizing
one very important detail: no matter
who wins the presidential election,
the gridlock that's currently pre-
venting pretty much anything from
getting done in Washington will
continue - or even worsen - unless
one party gains control of the White
House and large majorities in both
houses of Congress.
The Republicans in the 112th
Congress are commonly blamed for
Congress' inability to get any mean-
ingful legislation passed. In an
opinion piece for the Washington
Post, congressional scholars Thom-
as Mann and Norman Ornstein
observed, "When one party moves
this far from the mainstream, it
makes it nearly impossible for the
political system to deal construc-
tively with the country's chal-
lenges." This statement deserves
some consideration because, a#
NPR noted in April, Mann and
Ornstein "have been in Washing-
ton for more than 40 years - and
they're renowned for their careful-
ly nonpartisan positions." Ornstein
also told NPR that since President
Obama was inaugurated, "when we
did get action, half the political pro-
cess viewed it as illegitimate, tried
to undermine its implementation
and moved to repeal it."
For example, Congress holds

many symbolic votes, which are a only if we're being extremely idealis-
blatant waste of time and money. tic - does anyone believe for a min-
Their time - along with taxpayers' ute that the Tea Party Republicans
dollars - should be spent on actually are suddenly going to relent and start
finding solutions to our country's cooperating with President Obama?
problems. Shortly after the Supreme I'm skeptical.
Court ruled that the Affordable Care
Act was constitutional,. the Repub-
lican-controlled House voted to
repeal the law, despite the fact that The 2012
the Democrat-controlled Senate def-
initely wouldn't repeal the law and eW
that President Obama would veto the earth-shatterin
repeal if it actuallypassedbothhous-
es of Congress. It was the 33rd time
the House tried to repeal all or parts
of President Obama's health care law.
CBS News reportedthatlthese efforts While nobody knows exactly
have "taken up at least 80 hours on how the 2012 elections will turn
the House floor" and have cost tax- out, early estimates indicate that
payers "a little under $50 million" there won't be any seismic shifts in
total. No wonder Congress' approval power in Washington. Using an elec-
ratings are at historic lows. tion forecasting model, Prof. Alan
But don't expect these kinds of Abramowitz of Emory University
tactics to end if Democrats lose con- concluded in March, "It would be
trol of either the White House or surprising if Republicans did not
the Senate. After nearly four years hold onto their majority in the House
of relentless Republican obstruc- in 2012 and gain at least a few Sen-
tion, I highly doubt the Democrats ate seats." Democrats will fight hard
are going to conclude that it's time to prevent Republicans from gain-
to let the Republicans do whatever ing control of the Senate, implicitly
they want now that they control a arguing that a divided government is
majority of the governing bodies in better than a Republican-dominated
Washington. Democrats will instead government. Also, with a Republican
do everything in their power to block Party that's increasingly influenced
Republican legislation from becom- by the extremism of the Tea Party,
inglaw. As long as Democrats control the Democrats' concerns have some
the White House, the Senate or the legitimacy. However, if the past two
House, the gridlock will continue. years are any indication of how the
It's even more unlikely that the next few years will proceed, a divid-
gridlock will end if President Obama ed government isn't much better.
wins a second term, yetthe president In short, unless the Republicans
remains hopeful. In June, he told win control of all three governing
donors in Minneapolis, "My hope bodies in Washington, don't expect
and my expectation is that after the 2012 to be an earth-shattering elec-
election, now that it turns out the tion. I'm still optimistic about our
goal of beating Obama doesn't make country's future, butit's going to take
much sense because I'm not run- some time before we can make any
ning again, that we can start getting real progress.
some cooperation again" on issues
like deficit reduction. But while this
might conceivably be true for estab- Michael Spaeth can be reached
lishment Republicans like House at micspa@umich.edu.
Speaker John Boehner - and that's

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