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March 29, 1991 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-03-29

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Just Another Gang in L.A.

The press has recently
discovered what we with half a
e cranium already knew: that police
brutality is common, that police
officers are not all noble heroes,
that no one, at least until video
.....technology was widely available,
r: has been watching the watchers.
. After a bystander videotaped
r: several officers assaulting an
alleged traffic violator, stories of
similar cases of brutalitiy started
entering the news and being
r investigated by local
One such story caught my eye last week. It seems that,
not long ago, some L.A. cops broke into the home of
someone who they believed had phoned in a threat to the
police station. They ransacked the place and, before they
left, scrawled "LAPD" on the apartment wall, much in the
same fashion that "Rodent Control" is spraypainted on walls
around Ann Arbor. -
Rodent Control, if you don't know, is a gang.
So is the Los Angeles Police Department.
Examine the facts: Los Angeles is not a safe place to live.
The police department has been unable to stop the city's

escalating gang violence. In fact, the cops are outnumbered by
the gangs. And, in the midst of all this, the police have
become seen not as protectors, but as another force to be
feared, especially by those people who are not white.
The police are funded by city-wide taxation. That is to
say, they are funded coercively, with the understanding that,
if you do not pay up, some police officers will come to your
door and escort you to one of their jail cells. Lots of nasty
things are done to people in jail cells.
To summarize: the police are funded by money collected
from people who live on their turf... er, in their city. If they
refuse to pay, the police kidnap them and beat them up. If
they agree to pay, they are promised protection from rival
gangs, protection which is rarely delivered. Often as not,
though, the police officers will nonetheless brutalize the
There is a phrase for this sort of activity. That phrase is
"protection racket."
You've got to hand it to the cops, though. Not only is their
turf the largest in the city, but they've got most people
convinced that their protection racket is "legitimate," while
the others' are not.
When other gangs make deals with each other, people see
this as part of what gangs, by their very nature, do. But when
police corruption scandals come out, the majority are satisfied
with having a few "bad apples" get fired or demoted. The

police department's image remains pristine.
When gangs fight it out with each other, most people run
for cover and wish that all such criminals would leave the
city. But when a police team fights it out with another gang,
people run for cover and hope the cops win.
And when gangs beat people up on the street, people
want to get rid of the whole gang. But when it comes out that
cops beat people up, as just happened, a lot of people only ask
"Well, what did the guy do?" And a lot more call for
punishing only the officers who beat the man up. And a few
call for the police chief to be thrown out.
But throw out the whole gang? Why, who would protect
(And who is protecting us? That's the real question.)
Let me make clear what I am not saying. I am not saying
that every cop is a sadistic criminal, or even that a majority of
cops are sadistic criminals. Most are just average folk trying to
make some money and support their families. A few are
idealists, genuinely concerned with protecting people. The
problem is, most criminals aren't sadists, either, they're
average folk trying to make some money and support their
families, too. And a few of them are no doubt idealists as
well, as the phenomenon of the "revolutionary gangs" like
the Young Lords that proliferated 20 years ago demonstrated.
But the activity they are involved in is criminal activity.
And because criminal activity is what they do best, it is the
sadists who rise to the top - in gangs that call themselves a
"police force" as well as in gangs that do not.
L.A. is ruled by gangs, and the Los Angeles Police
Department is just another gang in L.A.

Time-tested College Traditions (cover story)
Michigan has the pumas and the 'M'. Other schools, however, have very
different traditions - involving riots, nudity, food and sports.See Page 6.
All About Eve
A recent theory that all humans share one common ancestor, known as "Eve,"
has come under intense fire from members of the scientific community,
including Michigan professor Milford Wolpoff. See Page 4.
Out to lunch
Jonathan Chait
Larry Hu
Jesse Walker
Sketchpad by F. Zinn
The Weekend List
Cover illustration featuring Princeton's bell-thieves and Nude Olympics
byAdam Levine. Painting of Eve by Hans Baldung (1510-12).

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Michael Card. Christian music with Bob Bennett
and a 14-piece orchestra. Hill Aud., 7:30.$10.
The Cocteau Twins. A famous popular band
playing heavenly music. Michigan Theater. 8 pm.h
Leon Redbone. Ragtime meets Top 40 with a
twist of comedy. The Ark.
Eve Renee. A Michigan vocalist performing with
the Paul Keller Trio. Bird of Paradise.
Sun Messengers. Reggae. Blind Pig.
Mol TriffidlCarnival of Shame/Control.
Popular local and distant groups. Club Heidelberg.
Winnebagos. Classic rock at Cross Street.
Bert Chalils. Nationally renown comedian.
Jeanne and the Dr.anu. Simple soul. Ricks.
Don Giovanni. The School of Music presents
Mozart's musical version of Don Juan, with stark
tragedy blended with high comedy. Delightful
requirement for German 442. Mendelssohn
Theater. 8 pm. $12,$9, student $5.

Posters. Posters in Russian, Belorussion, and
Ukranian which testify to the greater freedom of
expression in the Soviet Union due to glastnost will
be exhibited through April 12 in the Michigan Union
Art Lounge.
Tony Bennett. He left his heart in San Francisco,
and is an internationally respected star. Hill
Auditorium. 8:30. $100 benefit for the Ann Arbor
Summer Festival. $24.50-$18.50 general.
Maura O'Connell. Irish performer who respects
tradition with her own sound. The Ark.
Eve Renee. See Friday. Bird of Paradise.
- - - - -
Robert Penn. Blues at the Blind Pig.
George Bedard and the Kingpins. Guitar rock
and roll from an Ann Arbor favorite. Club
The Blond. A local rock band. Cross Street.
Bert Challis. See Friday. Mainstreet.
Renaissance Quartet. Jazz. Polo Club.
Jeanne and the Dreams. See Friday. Rick's.
Don Giovanni. See Friday.
Man or Aran and How the Myth was Made: A
Study of Robert Flaherty's Man of Aran. MLB2.7
pm. 764-7153.
WAVES in Multiiedla Concert. The University
of Michigan Digital Music Ensemble perform in
concert. McIntosh Theater at the School of Music.
3 pm.
John"enbourn & Bert Jansch. A journey
through the space and time of music. A favorite
blend of talent and tradition. The Ark
Don Giovanni. See Friday.
.R.c. .cc.
World War 1i Documentaries. Three of the
best documentaries commissioned by the armed
forces from a number of major Hollywood
directors. Angell Hall Auditorium A. 7 pm.

The Passion of Anna. Liv Ullmann and Max von
Sydow play tormented lovers in this psychological
study of love, hate, and violence that grows in
stature with each passing year. 7 pm. Michigan
The Passion of Anna. See Tuesday.
Creative Arts Orchestra's Inaugural Concert.
Explores the art of group improvisation from a
multi-stylistic perspective. McIntosh Theater at
the School of Music. 8 pm.

This is the first in a one-part series about spring.
The other day, it occurred to me that spring is he
seasons - winter, spring, summer and fall - they t
there. So, with good reason, we should all be deligh
I'm not sure why, but for some reason people se
granted. People pay close attention to the weather,
each morning and say "Ahh, it's fall!" rather than "I
work." In our obsession with the weather, we seem
ignoring the reigning season which delivers the mar
enjoy or suffer through.
When I was just a wee lad, the arrival of spring w
Canada geese as they passed over my neighborhood
The first wave of geese would usually sweep by in I
would hear their raucous calls when they were still n
toward a window or opening in the forest canopy, st
And as they swept by, they brought spring in their
Back then, I found that I had enough time to enj
Each activity was reserved for a different time of ye
snowball warfare, kites, catching frogs, sipping hone
crocuses bloomed each March, there was always en
child, time does not appear to pass, since the great t
as it leaves the station.
The geese no longer fly over me. These days, I i
immense indoor caverns of learning, isolated from i
call. The only seasons I know are fall term, winter t
I acknowledge the seasons by donning heavy cl
labors in school and at this newspaper, I am unable
other way because there just isn't time. Seasons ha
vaguely aware of, something artificial when contrast
my life. It's as if seasons have become irrelevant, as
clocks, appointment books and class schedules.
Our society seems to pride itself on our ability tc
swimming pools have sprung up all around us, maki
possibility. It wasn't all that long ago that people w
the hot season so that they could go to a local water
technology allows us to buy fruits and vegetables at
and watching as they ripen in nearby farms. When
means that their price is as low as it will go all year,
would be the final chance to buy apples until the sa
But it is now spring, and that's a fact that cannot
around you. We no longer risk being overturned by
thawing grounds are now strewn with treacherous n
several months, each time it rains the droplets will :
into worms upon striking the sidewalks of central c
worms beautiful the way the cover the land, creatin
devised by the armies of the world?
The birds know it's spring. Out of all the wildlif
closely mirror students in that spring makes them d
They'tr been enjoying spring for weeks, even if you
try to screen out every civilized noise. As your ears
that the birds maintain a song-filled vigilance as da
The streams are flowing again, liberated from th
Mr. Sun.
The advent of spring is being facilitated by the
hellish exile in the underworld. Persephone, as the
goddess who returns to the earth's surface each yea
flowers bloom as she passes. Watch her as she walk
The beginning of baseball season is only ten da
one time or another have waxed poetic about how
a sense of renewal and hope for the future. Actuall
one thing: the Gil Hodgepodges, one of the greates
(rotisserie) baseball, are ready to grind their oppon
no prisoners, you can rest assured.
The season for outdoor weddings and bar or bat
making caterers and florists happy and wealthy.
Enjoy it while you can. Before you know it, this
Instead, you will only be able to celebrate summer
Gil Renkerg wrote this column, not Mike Gill.

The Ark
(761 -1 451)
Friday: Leon Redbone, noted blues singer whom you
might recognize from his commercials and gigs on
the Carson show. Saturday: Maura O'Connell, Irish
singer. Sunday: John Renboum & Bert Jansch, folk
Bird of Paradise
Friday, Saturday: Eve Renee performs with the
Paul Keller Trio.
". . ." . .
The Blind Pig
Friday: Sun Messengers, reggae. Saturday:
Robert Penn sings the blues.
City Limits
We don't know what's going on, sogive 'em a cal.
.c. .R..R.
Club Heidelberg
Friday: Mol Triffid/Carnival of Shame/Control,
the latest and loudest Saturday: George Bedard
and the Kingpins, rock & roll.
Cross Street Station
Friday: Winnebagos, classic rock. Saturday: Locul
rockers The Blond.
Mainstreet Comedy Showcase
Friday, Saturday: Bert Challis, national circuit
Nectarine Ballroom
The Nec has been wiped out by a surprise Soviet
nuclear attack, and therefore has been unable to
publicize any events.
.. . .c-

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Weekend Editor-Gil Renberg
Weekend Associate Editor-Josephine Ballenger
Editorial Assistant-Erica Kohnke
Weekend Arts Editor-Tony Silber
Cartoonist-Fred Zinn
Food Consultants-Noah Finkel, Eric Lemont
Columnists-Jonathan Chait, Scott Chupack, Mike Gill,
Larry Hu, Craig Urnne.Jesse Walker
Artist-Adam Levine
Business Manager-Dionne E. Webster
Special Sections Coordinator-Nancy Sagar
Sales Manager-Lisa Greenberg
Assistant Sales Manager-Cyndi Peters
Weekend is published by The Michigan Daily almost every Friday. Copyright 1991. All rights reserved. You may not
reproduce or transmit any part of this magazine without a bloody good reason.
Items for the Weekend List must be submitted at the latest by the Friday before publication. List submissions
and lettes can be dropped off at the Daily or mailed to us at:
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

March 29, 1991


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