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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 7, 1975)
f riday, november 7, 1975
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Trend-setter pays for sins
By Arthur Hoppe .
My Uncle Gotham is in terrible trouble. As you might
expect, the dramatic news really united the whole family.
They couldn't be more delighted.
"The wages of sin," said Aunt Duluth, nodding con
tentedly over he' knitting needles.
"It couldnt happen to a more deserving guy," agreed
Cousin Geveland, rubbing his hands.
"Now maybe people will pay more attention to me,"
said Sister LA., the teeny-bopper, dabbing on another layer'
of green eye shadow.
It's hard to say why the family is so down on Uncle
Gotham. I think maybe they're jealous.
Uncle Gotham was always the biggest and brightest
member of the family. The trouble was that he never
minded being the first to say so.
He lived big, taking in a new show every first night,
drinking champagne out of slippers and dancing around in
his top hat and white tie singing songs he had made up
about how wonderful he was.
He never had much use for the rest of the family. His
only friends were London, Rome and Paris. I guess he
thought we were pretty provincial.
Worse yet, he set himself up as the arbiter of our taste
and fashion. A real trend-setter. When he started wearing
wide ties and wide lapels, before we could think about it,
we were wearing wide ties and wide lapels. If he said a mag
azine or a play was good, we went out to buy it or see it.
If he said it was bad, it folded. Just like that. You can see
why we resented him.
But when his creditors start dunning him, who does he
turn to? Grandpa Jerry, the head of the family.
"Jerry, old boy," he says nonchalantly, "kindly slip
me a little of the ready to tide me over till next June."
"You are an irresponsible wastrel with a hole in your
fiscal pocket," says Grandpa Jerry. "You must learn thrift
and self-reliance. I won't give you a nickel until you put
your affairs in order, if then."
"You mean you'll only give me a loan if I don't need
it?" says Uncle Gotham, stunned. "But think what will
happen to the family's credit rating if I go bankrupt!"
"I'm sure well get along without you very well," says
Grandpa Jerry. "You will make an excellent bad example
for the others."
"I'd like to help you out, Gotham," whispered Grandma
During the first week of this semester, a letter appeared
in this column asking for people to take the time to
correspond with an inmate of the Nebraska Penal
Complex -an inmate who sought help in bridging the "gap"
between himself and society, a man who wants very much
the forgiveness and acceptance of those persons (society)
whom he wronged.
Most of his fellow inmates ridiculed him for "copping
out" to those who were responsible for his confinement.
They predicted zero response to his appeal, since "society
doesn't give a damn about convicts."
It's now two months later and the value of that letter
to the Daily Nebraskan can be evaluated. Not every person
who read it rushed home to write to him; not even 100
did so. But some did, and that made his letter very valuable.
From just one well-used postage stamp, a man's life has
taken on a new meaning, a new depth and a new direction.
He knows that with an honest effort he can overcome the
stigma of being a convict , and again be a man.
The task before him will be quite difficult: it's going to
require a lot of effort to rid some people of their biases
ana prejudices against him, since these things are very much
1 part of them and somewhat justified by the high
recidivism rate of offenders.
At. the same time, he's fully aware that there are some
who will never accept him ss just a man. To them, hell,
Washington, who's very generous with the family money.
"But if I did , the others would skin me alive."
And I'm sure they would. You could see the way they
relished poor Uncle Gotham's plight as he slouched off in
utter defeat. I can understand, that. But one thing still
Like I say, Uncle Gotham's always been a real trend
setter. (Copyright Chronidc Publishing Co. 1975)
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always be a convict; someone too different to be a part of
He has paid, paid dearly, for his infraction against the
laws of society. He asks now for a chance to become a
useful part of the community. Will he get it?
Yes, because as a result of that letter to the Daily
Nebraskan he has found a friend. A friend, who in every
respect, meets the standards of this position. C. Raymond
Beran described this person perfectly when he asked, "What
is a friend?" and then answered, "Someone with whom you
can be yourself."
Harry B. Harrison
could have done
One of the wisest moves made this year by UNL
student government was the temporary disband
ment of the Associated Student Ko-op (ASK).
Plagued by lack of organization and good
management since its inception, ASK now should
be allowed to fade away permanently.
One of the biggest problems with ASK has
always been that it was not really a co-op. Its
members-card holders-put money into the effort,
but no work was asked of them.
If future efforts are made to provide students
discounts at local businesses, the project should be
dearly defined as a business venture. Its managers
'should be hired, and paid, accordingly.
A truly cooperative effort, on the other hand,
would demand more than just money of its partici
pants. ASUN's Book Exchange is an example of
a quite functional-if transitory-cooperative, run
by students and stocked by students.
That the book exchange continues to work
proves our point. If the exchange could be expand
ed into a year-round project, it might provide a
model for other student co-ops.
Three cheers for Omaha Police Chief Richard
Andersen, who so far is scrupulously avoiding
comparisons of his division's new Emergency
Reaction Team (ERT) with the Special Weapons
and Tactics Units (SWATs) popularized by one of
the most mindlessly violent shows on television.
Members of the new team would be called into
action to deal with such incidents as the Elza Can
shootout of 1974, in which one police officer was
killed and several others wounded.
Such incidents do not often arise. The ERT
should not be looked at, especially by its members
or by other police officers, as an offensive weapon.
. Let us hope the Omaha Police have not given that
city a SWAT in ERT's clothing. The team can be
an asset only if well-used.
Lincoln this year has enjoyed one of the most
beautiful autumn seasons in this writer's 16-year
experience of Nebraska weather.
The golden part of the year is almost over, and
we hope Daily Nebraskan readers have stopped
now and then, if only for a few minutes, to enjoy
the contrasts of white clouds and brilliantly blue
skies, of still-green grass , and red trees, of warm
days and brisk nights.
The gray approach of winter is no less beautiful
in its own way. Its brief, scattered night rains will
stick the leaves to the sidewalks, then moulder
them to produce that peculiarly autumn aroma
which is a prelude to the smells of Christmas
baking and freshly cut evergreen.
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The Daily Nebraskan welcomes letters to the
editor and guest opinions. Choices of material
published will be based on timeliness tod originality.
Letters rnust be. accompanied by the writers name,
but may be published under a pen name if requested.
C-;-- rt-i . .1 i j w. i j m
nonerasable paper. They should be accompanied by
the author's name, class standing and major, or
occupation. All material submitted to these pages is
subject to editing and condensation, and cannot be
tshsraed to the writer.
the word unheard
Individual rights diminishing
By Del Gustafson
It is refreshing to discover that not all feminists come
out of the Bella Abzug mold; sone, luce Germaine Greer,
Greer, rather than wasting everyone's afternoon bemoan.
ing the fact that the human race is sometimes referred to as
h"e it inevitably wiO be a protracted conflict, the
final victory of the social scientist will be a total one; for
when the state has conquered human nature itself, there
can be no revolt.
It is comforting that Msv Greer will be on the right side
mankind, launched an attack upon the bureeonin oseudn. n that battle; but it is a oitv that her sneakina encasement
scientific mentality that elevates, above every other tenet was P for y vy subordination of the rights of the
of traditional morality, the imperative that mankind ought dividual to the welfare of 'the group that she so
to be preserved; and therefore concluding that the state has eloquently decried in her talk.
KftLfnSL1!;? bilth 'T01 for g00d of And when she denounced the tyrannous control of the
The clrfi SneS of , , , , CoUcctivU over the mdividuTas .XTtcarbaiism I
ine coniuci arising over the exercise of societal control suppose all the fee-monaers in the crowd dutifully nodded
um. d sPh5. of individual theTemotv heads conClS Xllt. obringing
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