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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 22, 1973)
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"Noble rhetoric alone cannot save this nation."
During his short remarks to the antiwar rally at the
State Capitol Saturday, former Nebraska Gov. Frank
Morrison offered the above version of the adage that
even President Nixon and his fellow followers of the
Puritan ethic could be expected to believe: "Actions
speak louder than words."
In reviewing the noble words of Nixon's inaugural
speech, perhaps it would be well to keep in mind that
past contrasts between rhetoric and reality.
The President again told his nation that "we stand
on the threshold of a new era of peace in the wojrd."
According to military sources quoted in a United
Press International dispatch from Saigon, 371 human
beings died Saturday on the battlefields of Southeast
Asia while America stood on the threshold of peace.
And it has been during a time of "imminent peace"
that President Nixon had unleashed one of the most
massive bombing assults in the history of warfare.
Nixon also spoke of last year's diplomatic
achievements: "Because of America's bold initiatives,
1972 will long be remembered as the year of the
greatest progress since World War II toward a lasting
peace in the world." Obviously, significant
possibilities of international readjustment are
presented by the facts that an American president has
walked in the Forbidden City and slept in the
Kremlin. But America's "bold initiatives" of 1972
also included the carpet bombing of targets either in
or tragically near the civilian centers of North
President Nixon submitted what may be
interpretted as an explanation of that concept of an
honorable peace which he has found so elusive during
the last four years. "Let us build a structure of peace
in the world in which the weak are as safe as the
.hioh oarh rpsnf?r:ts the riant of the other
to live by a different system-in which those who '
would influence others will do so by the strength of
their ideas, not by the force of their arms." Despite
this attractive description of a new world order, many
in America and around the world have not forgotten
that one of the expressed purposes of the mining of
North Vietnam's ports and of the recent heavy
bombing of the North was to presuade the other side
to enter into "serious negotiations." In his actions
Nixon has seldom been one to rely upon the strength
of his ideas as a primary persuasive force. ....
Paradoxically, the President himself identified
what has been the most serious flaw in his
Administration. He said, "Let each of us reach out
for that one precious quality government cannot
provide-a new level of respect for the rights and
feelings of one another and for the individual human
dignity which is the cherished birthright of every
American." Perhaps it is true that government cannot
be the provider of a national respectability; at least it
has not served in that role during recent years.
Americans have reached out for that "precious
quality." But it continues to escape their grasp
because the Nixon administration is unable or
unwilling to encourage a national atmosphere in
which "a new level of respect" can grow and flourish.
This semester the Daily Nebraskan's columnists
will include Bob Russell, John Vihstadt and Arthur
Hoppe. Editorial opinions expressed in the Daily
Nebraskan are those of the writer and do not
necessarily represent the views of the staff.
Stopping the pusher,
ftfrdy. Beam iiwhr majoring in journal ism. 'Me ,$ f Daily
Krasjfen copy editor. Jl'"'" -'
by Randy Beam
No sooner had the Nebraska Legislature been gaveled into
sessson than came word from Bellwood State Sen. Loran
Schmit that he had a plan which would wipe drug traffic from
Nebraska's countenance forever.
In Nelson Rockefeller fashion (in fact, Schmit's
announcement followed by only days, an identical Rockefeller
proposal), Schmit unveiled intentions to, among other things,
ask life jail sentences for all drug pushers, with no parole.
In 1971, the Unicameral completely overhauled Nebraska's
drug laws. The end product was a statute which had been
sponsored by the State Crime Commision. Its designers
included experts from all 50 states and the federal
Now, not two years, hence, Schmit insists on tampering
with the law.
His solution-life sentences-is an audaciously simple
solution to a very complex problem. In addition, his proposal
carries the marks of bandwagon popularism which
occassionally pressures bad legislation into law.
Schmit is makinq several false assumptions about his
proposal's anticipated effect on drug traffic.
-The image of the pusher, garbed in a long trench coat
with an upturned collar, tempting children from a dark street
corner is a myth. People encounter drugs through friends, not
nameless pushers. Even most heroin addicts first try that drug
with friends who have used it but have not yet become
addicts, the Washington Post reported in a recent study.
-The assumption that harsher penalties will dry up drug
supplies to negligible proportions is false. Heroin addicts will
continue to be heroin addicts even if Schmit's bill is passed.
And where there's a buck to be made, someone will be willing
to take the risk, no matter how great. Schmit's proposal would
only drive up drug prices. Will that halt the crime that law
enforcement officials say runs rampant in the nation's cities
because of drugs?
The most bothersome reprecussfon of Schmit's proposal is
the handcuffs it would put on the courts. Shouldn't a judge or
jury have the discretion to decide how great a menace to
society a defendant is? Instead of limiting them, Schmit
should offer the courts the widest possible latitude for
The most disgusting aspect of his and Rockefeller's
solution, and, in fact the most disgusting aspect of the solution
that so often is seized upon is the assumption that all it takes
is a new law to stop a social problem.
IlSuft LAW-MAKERS RAP
"Tiie Sa$ra 0 Ttaose Immortal MSiX of JUSTICE,
Wtxo Always cmie V$ With a Tcrfecl Solution lo any
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Solution to grass poshing
is NOT 64l TP put the
CRIMINALS IN THE CLINK
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" I JOKER WHO
monday, january 22, 1973
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