The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, November 12, 1993, Page 5, Image 5

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    Valued children value others
Four kids in Florida may face
the death penalty if prosecu
tors there have their way. Can
you say “electric chair,” boys and
These four kids, ages 13 to 16, are
charged with the murder and attempt
ed murder of two British tourists at a
highway rest stop. Maybe a good old
fashioned electrocution will show the
world how much we value the for
eign tourist dollar ... as opposed to
how much we value our children.
If standard of living is any indica
tor, we don’t value our children. In
the early ’90s, the Census Bureau
reported that 38 percent of the 33.6
million poor in the United States were
younger than 18 years old. The fed
eral government defined “poor” in
1990 as a yearly income of $13,359
or less for a family of four.
A single person can barely rent a
trailer and feed a wiener dog on
$13,359 a year.
That means nearly 12.8 million
kids in the United States probably
didn’t have enough to eat. They
couldn’t have new shoes or a decent
winter coat. They couldn’t get glass
es, dental care or medical attention.
Possibly as many as half a million
poor children had no homes. Some
were living in shelters with their
mothers. Some were eating out of
garbage cans and sleeping in door
The Children’s Defense Fund es
timates that every 53 minutes, a child
in the United States dies as a result of
poverty. Immunization rates against
polio for black children in the nation
fall below that of Albania and
Botswana. Infant mortality rates
among minorities in large U.S. cities
rival the overall infant mortality rates
of the Third World.
Congress didn’t hesitate to spend
more than $160 billion on failed sav
ings and loans, but they will carry on
like alley cats before they bankroll
immunization and prenatal care.
Health care won’t prevent teen
agers from committing violent crimes.
Congress didn’t hesitate to spend
more than $160 billion on failed
savings and loans, but they will
carry on like alley cats before they
bankroll immunization and
prenatal care.
but it will be a step toward placing
value on all children. As it is, a gen
eration of poor children has been ex
cluded from mainstream society.
Television gives them an opportuni
ty to see what they can’t have. They
see expensive cars, CD players, $200
running shoes, mountain bikes and
bottled water. They see that Ameri
cans value money and stuff.
If a poor child wants to be valued,
society is telling that child to get
money and stuff. One way is to learn
to read, go to school, go to more
schools, and maybe, get a job. An
other way is to get a gun and take
someone else’s money and stuff.
Getting a gun appears to be easier
than learning to read, which may have
something to do with the condition
of some of our schools. The disparity
between public schools is ridiculous.
Children in affluent school districts
have computers, weight rooms, lan
guage labs and college prep courses.
Children in East St. Louis and South
Chicago go to schools that may or
may not have plumbing on a given
Equity in public education and a
national commitment to increase lit
eracy won’t ensure the safety of for
eign tourists in Florida, but it will
create more opportunities for chil
dren to use school instead of guns to
get what they want.
Poverty is a progenitor of the vio
lence committed by our children, but
it’s not the only one. Both rich and
poor children are abused, emotional
ly and sexually. Divorce knows no
economics, and it’s so common we’ve
almost forgotten how it traumatizes
children. In this atmosphere of insta
bility, kids are expected to make de
cisions about their futures while they
are still in junior high.
They are responding to these pres
sures and uncertainties with alcohol
and drug abuse, teen pregnancy and
Marion Wright Edelman, presi
dent of the Children’s Defense Fund,
says it takes more than two parents to
raise children. Two diseased parents
can damage children as much, or
more, than the street, as an affluent
Omaha family recently demonstrat
ed. A 16-year-old boy stabbed his
mother to death after enduring years
of her hysterical abuse, yet the fami
ly appeared to be so “normal.”
It’s “normal” in the United States
for a child to run away from home
every 26 seconds. Edelman says it
takes communities to raise children.
Children need communities that
insist on equality in education. They
need community centers where non
competitive, after-school activities
are available. They need competent
counselors who will intervene when
a family home is a private holocaust.
This year, we will spend $241 bil
lion on the military, and half our
children that graduate from high
school won’t be able to read a job
If we continue to do nothing, “Ses
ame Street” may become a hit on
death row.
McAdams is a sophomore nesvs-editorial
major and a Daily Nebraskan columnist.
Years of soil-searching pay off
Iknow something you uon t
I have solved one of life’s great
est mysteries: What makes boys tick.
Oh, many were the slumber par
ties that my friends and I sat around,
asking each other over and over:
What makes boys do the wacky things
they do?
Most of the time we pierced each
other’s cars and played M.A.S.H. —
“You are going to be a Supreme Court
justice who lives in a shack in Reno,
Nev., and you are going to marry
Corey Feldman.”
But by midnight, we’d be lying in
our sleeping bags asking the most
worldly among us — usually some
one who had “gone with” half of the
fourth grade class — about boys.
What do they think? Do they
think? Do they think about me?
But 1 wonder no more, thank you
very much. Now I know. And know
ing’s half the battle.
The answer to our adolescent que
ry? Dirt.
That’s right — dirt. And I learned
it from Sassy magazine.
Now I’m no die-hard Sassy fan,
but I did purchase the December is
sue last night. See, I was stuck in the
union with no cash and a thirst beg
ging to be quenched by some over
priced soft drink.
Stay with me, this is all about to
seem dangerously relevant.
So anyway, I booked down to the
University Bookstore where they will
let me have anything I want if 1 just
show them my student ID, with one
small hitch. There’s a $2 minimum
for charge purchases. I can’t JUST
buy a pop.
Last week when I was in the same
situation, thirsty and broke, I bought
$2 worth of Lemonhcads and Nccco
Wafers, which made me kind of sick.
Hence, I decided last night to avoid
the candy section.
1 ended up in Periodical Alley,
For a pregnant moment, I lingered
over the magazine. Should I
venture deeper? After all, it was a
boy thing, and I’m not a boy. There
might be some Boy Patrol that
monitors all magazine readers.
that little tunnel in the bookstore
where they sell magazines.
And then I spotted it. Sassy — but
wait, there’s more — in a cellophane
bag that virtually screamed, “Buy me
Rainbow, buy me now!”
Actually, it said, “FREE DIRT
MAGAZINE — It’s a boy thing.”
I’m a big sucker for free stuff. I’ll
buy something I don’t want or need
if I have a double coupon or there’s a
two-for-onc special.
“If I buy a can of Spam I get a free
box of Triscuits? Set me up!”
I’m shameless at Big Red Wel
come. Highlighters, drink bottles, key
chains, all free, all mine! Mine, mine,
mine ...
Not only was free stuff involved,
there was also that teaser. It’s a boy
thing. A boy thing?
Needless to say, I succumbed to
temptation and walked out of the
bookstore with a bottle of artificial
flavors and two magazines.
Little did I know that I also car
ried with me the secrets of manhood.
I didn’t even have to probe deeper
than the cover to answer my age-old
question, nay, no further than the
title: dirt — fuel for young men.
I’ve always suspected that dirt fu
els young men, but before last night 1
had no proof.
Now I can settle that debate I’ve
been having with my friend who in
sists young men arc fueled by greasy,
grimy gopher guts.
I’m still not sure how dirt fuels
young men. They probably eat it, but
I doir t know. They might snort it or
just roll around in it real good.
For a pregnant moment, 1 lingered
over the magazine. Should 1 venture
deeper? After all, it was a boy thing,
and I’m not a boy. There might be
some Boy Patrol that monitors all
magazine readers.
“Put that back, you lousy girl. Why
don’t you just read Sassy like the rest
of your kind?”
i read on.
Apparently, young men arc also
fueled by articles about penile en
hancement, video game technology
and whatever happened to Mr. T.
He’s a cartoon superhero now, duh!
After tasting the forbidden fruit,
I’m here to tell you that dirt — fuel
for young men isn’t much different
from Sassy.
They both have that “we’re not
your parents’ teen ‘zinc” attitude and
an alarming tendency to abandon cap
ital letters.
They both use the word dork a lot.
Both magazines refer to their writ
ers and editors by their first names
and include inside jokes that the read
er might not get.
However, dirt — fuel for young
men has a habit of just not making
sense sometimes and printing odd
facts out of context — like the name
of the American Banjo Fraternity’s
quarterly newsletter: Five Stringer.
Confusing, but charming. Must be
a boy thing.
Rowell It a junior newt-editorial, adver
tising and Kngtlsh major and a Dally Nebras
kan columnist.
Are You Late?
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Omaha, NE 68117
(402) 734-7500
foil free (800) 877-6337
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For ticket information call 472-3111
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