Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 12, 1998)
Amnesty Internationals report on U.S. prisons a publicity stunt
A.L. Forkner is a junior
news-editorial major and a
Daily Nebraskan colum
Amnesty International, defender of
the weak and oppressed, has taken its
fight to the big time.
Instead of protesting violations of
small countries, the human rights orga
nization has decided to pick on some
one their own size. %
The target; The United States of
That’s right. Land of the free.
Home of the brave. Home sweet home.
Human rights abusers.
Last Tuesday, Amnesty
International released a 150-page
report detailing alleged human rights
violations in America s penal system.
Just what qualms do the good folk
at A.I. have with our country?
Well, to make part of a (painfully)
long report short, they feel that prisons
Hmm, prisons are bad... How do I
say this? <■
Duh, that’s the point
Apparently, Amnesty International
They want the U.S. to make prisons
Mind you, they didn’t say how the
U.S. is expected to do that Amnesty’s
report was long on accusations and
short on suggestions
Therefore, I’ll offer up my two
cents. I’d offer more, but I don’t make
that much working here.
(Editor’s note: He’s not kidding.)
First of all, we need to eliminate the
varying levels of security that exist
After all, why should the murderers
and terrorists in maximum security feel
inferior to the work-release prisoners?
Think about it Combining them
makes perfect sense. It would boost the
egos of die really evil inmates. Plus, it
would increase the deterrent factor for
white-collar criminals, like embezzlers
and tax cheats.
Besides, serial killers need good
investment advice just like everyone
It’s a win-win situation.
Second, Amnesty complains about
leg irons, belly chains and handcuffs
being used to restrain prisoners.
Well, we wouldn’t have to chain
’em up if they’d stay put It’s that whole
escape thing that makes handcuffs nec
I have an alternative to handcuffs,
but Amnesty International probably
doesn’t approve of duct tape.
Amnesty International would
rather we let convicts run around like 6
year-olds in a restaurant, I guess.
I did hear a rumor that Amnesty’s
research and development branch is
working on a humane way of regroup
ing lost convicts.
Apparently it involves the phrase,
“Here bad guy, bad guy, bad guy.
C ’mere bad guy, bad guy, bad guy.
Dear God, it’s Mr. Rogers, Texas
Lastly, Amnesty opposes the condi
tions in women’s prisons.
* See, while it’s bad for men to wear
handcuffs, it’s super, double-dog bad
for women to wear them. (Do you
know how hard it was to keep that
I find that a bit hypocritical coming
from the group that condemns the U.S.
for not ratifying the Convention on the
Eradication of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women.
Apparently, discrimination against
women is bad, but discrimination for
them is OK.
Isn’t that still discrimination?
Finally, Amnesty International calls
for a halt to non-lethal methods of cap
No, that wasn’t a typo. They’re
protesting non-lethal methods.
I guess Amnesty International
wants us to shoot criminals first,
then peaceably arrest them.
Why not? Texas has been
doing it that way for years.
But Amnesty has a particular
warm spot in its heart for pepper ,
The report states that more
than 60 people (61 ? 63? 6*)? It
doesn’t say) have died this decade from
Folks, I’ve been pepper-sprayed,
twice. It hurts like hell.
(On a side note, I did it to myself
both times. Accidentally, of course. I
am not a stalker, just very clumsy.)
To experience pepper spray at
home, go into the kitchen. Now turn on
the stove, full blast Put your face 2
inches from the burner and throw a
handful of cayenne pepper into the fire.
That’s what pepper spray feels like.
Granted, I’ve never been clubbed or
shot (yet) but I bet it hurts a lot worse
and lasts longer than
However; in the long run, it doesn’t
really matter what Amnesty thinks or
See, Amnesty International has
started down the same road that all too
many organizations have taken.
They’re bowing to the almighty
power of publicity. Let’s face it, there
are tons of countries in this world that
make U.S. prisons look like double
coupon day at Disney World
Countries like Bosnia, Somalia and
But who does A.I. choose to
protest? The United States.
Forget all about ethnic cleansing,
genocide and political persecution.
That’s not near as important as get
ting into every newspaper and on every
newscast in this country.
It’s-all a Howard Stem-sized public
ity stunt Nothing more, nothing less.
It’s sad, really, watching a group
that I used to respect stoop to the lowest
The Great God Publicity.
International, you’ve gotten my 25
inches of publicity.
Don’t spend it all in one place.
what gun- 4
shots can do
say Liquid Jj
Tide won’t 1
People should use common sense, logic to determine meaning of the Bible
TASHA KUXHAUSEN is a
major and a Daily Nebr
I want to start by saying that I do
believe in God. I’m also a member
of a church in my hometown. Still, I
question the specifics of the Bible
and the relevance of many Bible sto
ries to the 20th century.
• Unfortunately, there are many
people today who believe that the
; Bible is the literal “Word of God.”
| Just as we have adapted the
S Constitution to modem times, we
must do the same with the Bible.
| “The Living Bible” has about 42
authors combined in the Old
; Testament and the New Testament. I
counted at least 11 books of the
' Bible that have unknown authors.
Other denominations of the
Christian religion may have fewer or
My Bible showed that the first
book, Genesis, was written in 1420
or 1220 B.C. by Moses. That’s
almost 4,000 years ago! Keep in
mind that the printing process wasn’t
invented until the A.D. 1450s.
So, when all the books of the
Bible were written, the only method
of copying text was by hand.
Copying text as in-depth and lengthy
as die Bible has got to leave room
for many human errors.
How can we be for sure that all
the words written in the Bibles we
have today are accurate? The fact is
that we can’t prove the accuracy of
With at least 11 unknown
authors, many of the Bible’s books
could have been written by anyone,
whether they knew the true “Word of
God” or pretended to.
Not only were there many
authors, but the Bible has been trans
lated into so many languages that the
original meaning may have been dis
torted in the process. The Bible was
written originally in Hebrew. Later,
it was translated into Greek,
Aramaic, Latin, English and almost
any other language imaginable.
The many language translations,
as well as copying of text by hand
for hundreds of years, allows for
important information to be left out
or added in.
I think that religion is a good
thing, as long as the Bible isn’t
always taken literally. People need to
use reason, logic and knowledge
when discerning the meaning of the
Bible. We need to think about
whether the stories in the text are
Jim Gordon, pastor of the East
Lincoln Christian Church, says it’s
always difficult to know what por
tions of the Bible to interpret literal
ly or figuratively.
“Try to crawl under the skin of
the original writers and understand
the historical background and cul
ture of their time.” Gordon said.
“Take the Bible’s principles and
apply them to modern circum
In the book, “What Your Minister
is Afraid to Tell You About the
Bible,” author Terry Cain lists some
examples of contradictions and irrel
evant ideas. According to Cain, die
Bible mentions that it is really Better
if people don't marry (T Corinthians
7:1, 8,26-27). But the text also says
that we should marry (1 Corinthians
7:2,9). So, which is it? This is a big
Cain also lists that a woman can
have long hair, but a man can’t (1
Corinthians 11:1-16). This is a state
ment that seems to be irrelevant to
our time because many men grow
their hair longer than some women.
This also could be a contradiction. It
can’t be proven what Jesus looked
like, but in every picture I have ever
seen of him, he had long hair.
The Bible also was written in a
time when women were just begin
ning to be seen as nothing other than
a man’s property. Therefore, deroga
tory statements referring to women
are not relevant to us, now that
women are seen as equal to men.
For instance, women were fre
quently sold into slavery by their
husbands to settle a debt (Matthew
18:25). Obviously, this reference is
Times change, as should our
application of the Bible’s message to
our daily lives.
There are also many contradic
tions as to whether God is vengeful
or forgiving. In the story of Sodom
and Gomorrah, twd cpflcrt©;1
visit a man named Lot in the city of
Lot invited the men into his
home for a feast (Genesis 19:2-3).
Other Sodomites came to his home
to tell Lot that he must surrender the
men so that the city members could
rape them (Genesis 19:4-5).
Lot refuses, and instead offered
his virgin daughters to the hands of
angry Sodomites (Genesis 19:6-8).
Lot and his family were spared when
God destroyed the evil cities of
Sodom and Gomorrah with a rain of
fire and flaming tar from heaven
So in conclusion, God destroyed
all of the sinners of Sodom and
Gomorrah except Lot. Tell me if I’m
wrong, but isn’t it sinful of Lot to try
to give his daughters to rapists?
Where is the line drawn for sin
ners and non-sinners? It seems like a
very selective judgment process.
But in the New Testament, Jesus
advocates forgiveness and loving of
“Don’t you believe that I am in
the Father and the Father is in me?
The words I say are not my own but
are from my father who lives in me.
And he does his work through me,”
Jesus forgave sinners, so why do
some stories portray God as not so
v It is up to you to decide for your
self how to interpret the meaning of
the Bible. And like my grandpa
always says, “Believe nothing you
hear and only half of what you see.”
With the knowledge of the 20th
century and the use of common
sense, it is hard to believe that any
one would believe the entire Bible to
be the literal Word of God.
It is easy to regurgitate exactly
what we are taught but more difficult
to question the reasoning behind the
Powered by Open ONI