Daily’s coverage of terrorist event shameful

To the Daily:
I was disappointed by The Michigan Daily’s coverage of Tuesday’s terrorism lecture (A fury over `ex-terrorists’, 01/31/07). I wanted to read what the ex-terrorists had to say, but the Daily wrote almost exclusively about the protesters and hecklers. Surely there was more to the event than that. The Daily should be ashamed of its poor coverage.

Kyle Hofmann

No reason for exclusion from public events

To the Daily:
We were among the undergraduate and graduate students not allowed into Rackham Auditorium Tuesday night for the “ex-terrorist” event. The police never gave us a clear reason why we were not allowed into the auditorium. We asked them point-blank, and they shut the doors on us. It took a lot of banging on the doors to get them to even acknowledge our presence. We understand that they were just doing their job, but we are entitled to a valid explanation of why a public event was closed off to the public. We were unaware that the event was closed, because there was no previous notification from the Young Americans for Freedom or the police who were barricading the doors.

This was a public event. Everyone had the right to be there regardless of his or her view on the issue at hand. Why were we denied the right to enter the auditorium? This is not a matter of religion or supporting/denying the views and validity of the speakers. This is a question of our civil liberties.

We waited outside in the cold until the end of the event with supporters from both sides of the issue. There were University alumni, Ann Arbor residents and graduate students (who technically had every right to be in the building until 9 p.m. and were blatantly denied that right, even when they presented valid MCards).

We can’t address the topic of the debate because we’ll never know what went on in Rackham Auditorium. That’s exactly our point – we’ll never know.

Pooja Desai and Natasha Smolcic
Desai is an LSA junior and Smolcic is an LSA sophomore.

Protest of ex-terrorists only hinders progress

To the Daily:
As I walked into Rackham Auditorium to listen to the speakers sponsored by the Young Americans for Freedom Tuesday night, I was greeted by a group of students passing around flyers to stage a walkout. The walkout was in protest of the lecture by three former terrorists. I did not plan on walking out and was dismayed by the number of students who left in the middle of the speech.

While I understand that the walkout was an act of protest, it is our responsibility as students at this university to engage in debate, not walk out when somebody states an opinion that we disagree with. There is a lot of talk about being ready to debate the issues that seem to be constantly dividing campus: gay rights, the Arab-Israeli conflict and affirmative action. But talk is cheap.

The challenge is to support our beliefs and opinions not by walking out because our organizations tell us to but by speaking up and questioning the opposition. But whenever one side is ready, the other side is unwilling to stay around long enough for a productive dialogue to begin. By understanding the opposition, we can become stronger in our own convictions.

At the end of the night, only the supporters were left in the room. The opportunity for debate was lost once again.

Julia Kraft
LSA senior

Bush causes cancer

To the Daily:
I wasn’t at Sunday’s Sept. 11 truth event. However, I am both a cancer survivor and a mature person who has watched the Bush/Cheney team commit crimes and blunders that have demonstrably undermined our national prosperity and security. I was interested to learn that the Young Americans for Freedom, who took the time to lampoon the event, chanted the phrase “Bush causes cancer,” as if to spell out a silly, illogical equation.

What they hadn’t thought through or wished to ignore is the fact that since November 2000 the Bush administration has systematically loosened corporate pollution restrictions to the point that certain parts of the nation – Michigan in particular – are once again dangerously saturated with toxic waste, and Lake Erie is partially dead (again). Yes, children, in an indirect but very real way, Bush does cause cancer.

Theodore Grenier
University staff

Forbidden fruit effect of pot increases its use

To the Daily:
I would like to commend Jared Goldberg’s outstanding column (The war on common sense, 01/23/07). I especially noted the quote from former Commissioner of Narcotics Harry Anslinger: “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

That quote was from 1937.

If anything, marijuana prohibition has been very successful in promoting the use of marijuana. The U.S. government estimates that at least 95 million Americans have used marijuana. It also estimates that nearly half of all high school students will use marijuana before they graduate.

The allure of the forbidden fruit is too powerful, especially for children.

Kirk Muse
Mesa, Ariz.

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