Not when, but how
Police apology merits applause
It takes courage to admit ones mistakes, and it takes even more to actually apologize.
Thats why we applaud Oberlin Police Chief Michael Moorman, who issued a thoughtful apology
to three students who were subject to a harrowing search in the early morning hours last week.
This antelucan crusade to recover a stolen stop sign was grossly inappropriate. Officers should
not traipse through student dormitories without due cause. The idea of hot pursuit,
where officers enter private property in the immediate chase of an alleged offender, does not warrant
a midnight search of every room in a building for a stop sign.
While there is nothing good to say about the theft, Moorman was right to note that there were more
temperate measures police could have taken.
We also commend Dean of Students Peter Goldsmith for taking the problem and making it into an opportunity
to improve relations between the College and city police.
But Goldsmith should not stop there.
It is time the College took a close look at the Securitys approach during tense situations.
Tank has been victimized and stereotyped by Security officers on numerous occasions. Goldsmith
should take this as another opportunity to look carefully at whether Security is following the
letter and spirit of College policy.
Finally, Security should apologize for abetting police in infringing upon the sanctity of students
privacy and the reckless disregard of student rights during the search.
A new cold war?
Showing off the bells and whistles of his new national security plan, Homeland
Security Secretary Tom Ridge recently enjoined every American to be a soldier in your own
Just a minute. Havent we heard this before?
Ridge and the rest of the Security gang Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, etc have begun to
dredge up the tried-and-true rhetoric of the Cold War.
Replace the words terrorists and terrorism with communists
and communism, and todays political landscape begins to bear a striking resemblance
to the way things were about four or five decades ago.
And this is not a good thing.
For one, Americans must be on guard against oversimplifying an issue as complex as terrorism
which is, at the very least, a slippery enough term that both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict feel they can use it to describe each others tactics. But unlike communism in the
form of the Soviet Union, terrorism is not something that can be defeated in the literal
Rather, terrorism is a method that of causing grave harm to the few to produce widespread
fear in the many. And one can no more declare war on it than one could declare war on shooting,
bombing, or maiming.
This is not to suggest that the threat of terrorist attacks on our country is not real, or that
the American government should not go to great lengths to protect against them.
Rather, as responsible citizens in a society that values individual autonomy while seeking to assure
the public well-being, we must avoid being corralled into simplistic interpretations or too neatly
packaged views of the world. We must be on guard against the rise of a Neo-McCarthyism, of needlessly
hounding out those who would seek to improve this country by pointing out its shortcomings.
Those who frame the issues control the debate. For a new time of troubles, old frameworks can be
learned from, but ultimately only a new framework will suffice to address new problems.
I think we cant afford the consequences of a nation that was not seriously engaged
in thinking about the world and not pondering what the consequences of these kinds of policies
might mean, former Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry told an audience of Oberlin students
Stifling debate in the name of patriotism is not only wrong, it can be dangerous. Contrarians may,
in the end, prove more vital to protecting American security than those who blindly follow the
flock those soldiers in their own homes.
Editorials are the responsibility of the Review editorial boardthe Editors in Chief,
Managing Editor and Commentary Editorand do not necessarily reflect the view of the staff
of the Review.