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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 4, 1991)
Society becoming too intolerant
Is it tense in here, or is it just me?
I’ve been asking myself that
question a lot lately. Every
where I tum, people are overreacting
to the most trivial of matters.
Take Gang Lu, for instance. Lu, a
student at the University of Iowa, was
upset that another student had won
some silly little academic honor. So
he shot and killed three faculty
members and the student who had
been nominated for the honor. He
also shot an administrator, who died
later, and a staff member. And then,
as all good madmen do, Lu shot and
I’d call that a trifle extreme. Is an
academic honor worth the deaths of
six people? Death is serious, mass
murder even more so, but to kill over
something as trivial as an academic
honor is absolutely ludicrous. It is, to
say the least, an overreaction.
But, of course, a shooting spree
such as Lu’s is hardly a rarity. Many
people have been shot down by people
who have suffered the traumatic,
devastating, life-ending blow of being
fired. But really, is anyone’s job so
important that a dozen or so people
deserve to die when it is lost? I don’t
And wc kill ourselves for other
trivial reasons as well. People kill
each other over sports, rock concerts
and movies. And, of course, sex and
money have always been “good”
reasons to kill.
If tension were only causing a few
people to go nuts and kill people, then
there wouldn’t be much point in talk
ing about it. Murderous lunatics are
not really the type to pick up a copy of
the Daily Nebraskan, read my col
umn and come to the realization that
a husband’s snoring is not enough of
a reason to sentence him to death.
But trigger-happy psychopaths are
not the only evidence of our society’s
increasing tension. Everywhere, people
are taking bites out of each other over
the most trivial of personal “viola
For examples of deviant social
behavior, I always like to turn to Ann
Landers. Lately, many of her readers
have been having conniptions about
the silliest things.
One reader told Ann that she had
had enough of people asking what her
nationality was. She wanted Ann to
tell her something rude that she could
shoot back at those who dared to
show any interest in her. Apparently
it was far too difficult for the woman
Tension. It’s every
where. and it’s mak
ing it harder and
harder (or people to
deal with each older,
But what’s causine
to simply open her mouth and say
“Chinese.” But do people deserve to
be rebuked for simply being curious?
Another of Ann’s readers was furi
ous that people kept asking ho- whether
her two adopted children were brother
and sister. “Yes” would obviously be
too much of a strain on the vocal
cords. And “They weren’t, but they
are now” wouldn’t even be close to
being rude enough. Again, a case of
simple curiosity that someone refused
It’s getting so that no one can say
anything to anyone anymore because
everyone is so tense. Everyone has a
little list of things that really lick
them off and cause them to foam at
the mouth. The problem is that people
keep the lists to themselves but ex
pect everyone they come into contact
with to read their minds and know
what they should and shouldn’t talk
As if I didn’t have enough prob
lems making small talk already. Are
there any safe topics left? I don’t
A recent news article reported that
many students at the University of
California at Berkeley are afraid to
open their mouths for fear of being
labeled. Sounds familiar.
A couple weeks ago a group of
people at the University of Nebraska
Lincoln protested Clarence Thomas’
appointment to the Supreme Court A
man who watched the rally had the
gall to scream the vile phrase, “inno
Signed staff editorials represent
the official policy of the Fall 1991
Daily Nebraskan. Policy is set by the
Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. Its
members are: Jana Pedersen, editor;
Eric Pfanncr, editorial page editor;
Diane Brayton, managing editor;
Waller Gholson, columnist; Paul
Domcicr, copy desk chief; Brian
Shcllito, cartoonist; Jeremy Fit/pa
trick, senior reporter.
Editorials do not necessarily rc
flcct the views of the university, its
employees, the students or the nu
Board of Regents.
Editorial columns represent the
opinion of the author.
The Daily Nebraskan’s publishers
arc the regents, who established the
UNL Publications Board to super
vise the daily production of the pa
According to policy set by the re
gents, responsibility for the editorial
content of the newspaper lies solely
in the hands of its students.
GET THE ANSWERS.
UNIVERSITY HEALTH CENTER PRESENTS
DR. ROD BASLER, M.D.
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 6, 7 P.M.
NEBRASKA UNION, ROOM POSTED
Dr. Basler will speak on the medical aspects
of loss and treatment. All interested
students, faculty and staff are welcome.
There is no charge for the program.
UNL docs not discriminate in its academic, or employment programs and abides
by all federal and state regulations pertaining to same.
cent until proven guilty.” Such fair
minded thought was obviously too
much for one woman to handle, for
she shouted back, “You’re a sexist,
just like Thomas.”
Tension. It’s everywhere, and it’s
making it harder and harder for people
to deal with each other. But what’s
I have no idea. All I know is that it
exists. People have less patience with
each other than ever before. People
refuse to tolerate inconvenience or
discomfort. Therefore, we must all be
on guard against those who will snap
at the drop of a hat. If we do or say the
“wrong” thing, no matter how inno
cent, eventually we’ll encounter
someone so tense that we will wish
we had stayed in bed that day.
Teachers and administrators, be
careful about choosing who will re
ceive those awards, honors and schol
arships. Choose the wrong person,
and you’ll be gunned down by a dis
Likewise, employers are lorcea 10
be extremely careful about firing
certain employees if they don’t want
the blood of a couple dozen innocent
people on their hands.
And the rest of us are forced to be
extremely careful about what we say.
Does anyone want to be labeled a
sexist for upholding the rights of all
Americans? Does anyone want to be
chewed out for saying the wrong things
or asking the wrong questions?
Fear is slowly eating away at our
freedoms. Where there once was
kindness, there is now anger. Where
there was patience, there is impa
tience. Where there was calmness,
there is tension. So people would rather
give up their right to speak and be
have normally than to suffer the slings
and arrows—and possibly bullets—
of the irrational irritations of others.
I see only two solutions. The first
is for everyone to look out for them
selves. If someone crosses you, rip
their head off. And to avoid having
the same done to you, let your fear be
your guide. If you don’t know what
will set a person off, keep your mouth
shut. Better safe than sorry.
The other solution is for everyone
to put others first. With 5 billion people
looking out for the best interests of
every individual, wouldn’t this be a
nice world to live in?
But get real. That will never hap
Frederick is a senior news-editorial jour
nalism major and a Daily Nebraskan photog
rapher and columnist.
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Campus Recreation Center Monday - Saturday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
November 4 - 8,1991
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