Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 18, 1997)
. r- ■ - •
Our .... !
VIEW , I *
Tearing up Vine would
make campus safer
It’s good ASUN and the city have finally
put their feet down and said students walk
ing on campus should not get hit by cars.
It’s even better that the city’s Antelope
Valley plan is roaring along, and a new six
lane boulevard could direct traffic north
and south around campus, instead of right
out AaUN President Curt Kuwe noticed
that the plan would take 15 to 20 years to
complete, and said he would fight for more
immediate action. A new crosswalk or stop
light, perhaps. A few lower speed limits.
Maybe some flashing warning lights.
Yet there’s a problem here bigger than a
few crosswalks or speed bumps.
It’s simply too convenient for motorists
to tool around campus when throngs of
students madly dash across busy 14th and
Vine streets to get to their classes.
Vine Street between 14th and 16th streets
- where two serious vehicle/pedestrian .
accidents occurred last year - should not be
so accessible to motorists during the day.
In fact, we don’t think it should be
accessible to motorists at all.
Based on accident statistics, the univer
sity would be a much safer place if the city
plowed up the pavement on Vine Street, 14*
to 16* Street, and replaced it with a student
friendly pedestrian mall or greenspace.
In addition to the pedestrian accidents,
six vehicle accidents also occurred in the
tiny, two-block'^tt^ AM the roadway
contributes to traffic on 14* street, where
three pedestrians were struck by cars and
10 vehicle accidents occurred.
But if a few hospitalized students can’t
convince you to give up the right to drive a
ton of gas-guzzling metal anywhere, con
sider the following:
■ mat strip ot roadway is ugly.
Every inch of concrete could be
surrendered to the university land
scape crew lauded nationwide for
their work transforming the UNL
campuses in the past two decades.
■ That strip of roadway is unneces
sary. Every building that borders it
can be accessed by another roadway.
This narrow section of Vine Street
serves only as a temptation, screaming to
motorists “drive another block into the
heart of campus and endanger the lives of
a few hard-working students.”
After these small sections of Vine
Street were filled in, it would be much
more inconvenient to drive a car into the
heart of a pedestrian campus.
So much more inconvenient that maybe
motorists would stop two blocks to the east
and not send another student to the hospital.
When so many students are injured by
cars on campus, it’s time for radical changes.
Waiting means the university and the
city continue to gamble with students’ lives.
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of
the Fall 1997 Daily Nebraskan. They do
not necessarily reflect the views of the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, its
employees, its student body or the
University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
A column is solely the opinion of its author.
The Board of Regents serves as publisher
of the Daily Nebraskan; policy is set by
the Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. The
UNL Publications Board, established by
the regents, supervises the production
of the paper. According to policy set by
the regents, responsibility for the editorial
content of the newspaper lies solely in
the hands of its student employees.
t. t >, f i 3 i»-; f f
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief
letters to the editor and guest columns,
but does not guarantee their publication.
The Daily Nebraskan retains the right to
edit or reject any material submitted.
Submitted material becomes property of
the Daily Nebraskan and cannot be
returned. Anonymous submissions will
not be published. Those who submit
letters must identify themselves by name,
year in school, major and/or group
affiliation, If any.
Submit material to: Daily Nebraskan, 34
Nebraska Union, 1400 R St. Lincoln,
NE. 68588-0448. E-mail:
' 14 9 c 1 -r w r v 1 1 v
Sex offenders already served time
We released these people. They
stood before a parole board, were
judged and released.... They got out
fair and square.”
CLIFF HICKS is a junior
English major as well as a
Daily Nebraskan colum
Megan’s Law is wrong.
jSor those of you unfamiliar with
thej|gfCTation known as Megan’s
Law, it is a series of laws designed to
notify the community when people
convicted of sexual crimes are
released from prison. It was named
after 7-year-old Megan Kanka, who
was lured into a neighbor’s house,
raped and strangled to death by a
repeat sex-offender who was on
The brutality of all of this has
clouded the issue for a lot of people.
It was a 7-year-old, they think.
She was raped, they think.
We let this man out of prison and
he committed another crime, they
Any death is significant, but
nothing gets the public as riled up as
the death of a child. Look at the
JonBenet Ramsey case.
When Megan’s Law was intro
duced, it was intended to make sure
that criminals such as these were
unable to hide in the folds of society.
People would know where they
were, wno tney were, lhe idea was
that these people would not have the
luxury of committing this crime
As these offenders were released
from prison, they were required to
notify not only the authorities, but
any local relevant institution as well
as neighbors. What this meant for
one man was that he was to notify 82
public and private educational insti
tutions and all residencies in a one
Think about this. You’ve been
released from prison.
Maybe you’ve been rehabilitated,
maybe you haven’t.
Either way, you have to let every
one know about your crime. People
will camp out outside your house.
They will shout and yell and protest.
Don’t bother getting a phone— it
won’t stop ringing.
Don’t bother getting a-car - it1
might, like one offender’s, be fire
Don’t get comfortable - you
won’t have the chance.
We, as a society, like to think that
criminals are bad people. They are -
I’m not going to argue that. The
problem is that we released these
people. They stood before a parole
board, were judged and released.
This isn’t like they’re sneaking over
the wall before their time is done -
they got out fair and square.
And we keep on punishing them.
We said they’re rehabilitated and
still we don’t care.
In one case, two men broke into
the house of a registered sex offend
er in the middle of the night and pro
ceeded to beat the living daylights of
the man they found asleep on the
couch - who turned out to be a
These types of things are not iso
There have been arguments that
sex offenders are more likely to
commit crimes after being released
from prison, but there are no facts to
prove this. People have cited figures
aa mgn as y\j pciccm iui ielapses
into this kind of behavior, but the
National Institute of Justice, the only
figure reporters have been able to *
find, reports a 52 percent rate. Other
studies have reported this figure at
around 20 percent, less than the
recidivism of drunken drivers.
What it comes down to is that
people treat children with another
standard. Murderers aren’t even sub
jected to this kind of treatment when
This is an issue about fear and
paranoia. Rationality was thrown out
the window the minute the public
found out Megan’s murderer had
committed crimes like this before.
Since then, people who have
notified the authorities and locals as
per Megan’s Law have only found
themselves fired from jobs, attacked
and assailed by the public, picketed
and firebombed - even driven out of
Some newspapers have taken it
upon themselves to print lists of
these people up, not only making the
public aware, bufshoving it down
This is the new Western-style
justice. This is posses and justice by
mob. What makes it new is, now the
address of the would-be lynched is
on some state’s Web site. Others
offer CD-ROMs of registered sex
We’ve watched this drama unfold
dozens of times, and still we haven’t
Put a crowd of people together
and they are dangerous, not because
they are united, but because they are
People have the right to assem
ble, but the police are often brought
in to control groups. In this case,
though, the police necessarily aren’t
always on the side of right. Neither
is the media.
If we let these people out of jail,
they are supposed to be rehabilitat
ed. If they are committing new
crimes, then we shouldn’t have let
them out in the first place.
Our parole system isn’t as effec
tive as we’d like to think if we’re let
ting habitual criminals out onto the
This is a problem that needs to
be dealt with by authorities, not the
We don’t need to turn this matter 1
over to the groups of people who see
the words “child molester” and lose
We don’t need to turn it over to
the kind of people who would break
into a house and beat someone
senseless for a crime they’ve already
paid for, to the kind of people who
would firebomb a car, who would
fire them from a job, who would
treat these people in the lowest, most
degrading way possible, for a crime ;
for which they have already served
We let them out. We said they
were better, that they were safe >
amongst the rest of us. We can’t hunt
those who are rehabilitated just in
case we missed one who isn’t.
The line is “innocent until
proven guilty,” and while we proved
these people guilty of one crime,
that was then; this is now.
Now they are free because we
Start treating them as such.
Powered by Open ONI