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Mailbag: Oct. 12

UAPD selective in defining criminality


This letter is in response to the theft of Arizona Daily Wildcat newspapers.

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The University of Arizona Police Department report, as quoted in the Wildcat, claims, ""While rude and juvenile, the taking of all items offered at no charge was not criminal in nature."" (""Student Media estimates $8,500 loss in massive theft of Daily Wildcat,"" Oct. 9, 2009.) If indeed it is not criminal, then in theory we should not concern ourselves with the lost revenue that the Wildcat incurred.


However, I find the UAPD argument suspect, because it has lately behaved in a choosy manner with regard to the acts that it deems ""criminal."" Stealing 10,000 copies of a student newspaper is not criminal in the eyes of the UAPD, but writing harmless protests in erasable sidewalk chalk constitutes an arrest. Is this the image that the UAPD seeks to portray?


I find it also suspect that Phi Kappa Psi should be entailed in this matter, in large part due to a Police Beat article that involved the drugging of a female student at a Phi Kappa Psi party.

Should it be the case that the fraternity wanted to cover up the accusation, stealing Wildcat newspapers has done little to accomplish that goal. The Daily Wildcat is available online. Perhaps there are reasons why Phi Kappa Psi President Keith Peters, instead of candidly asserting the fraternity's innocence, claimed that the fraternity was ""not supposed to talk to the media.""


If the UAPD feels reluctant to justify newspaper theft as criminal, then would it maintain its stance if this theft was to cover up sexual assault?



— Kevin L. Keys

Linguistics senior 




Taking 10,000 newspapers more than just theft


I may not be a journalism major, but I agree that the Arizona Daily Wildcat slants stories at times. However, if you want pure news without any slant or bias, then you have to go directly to an event and actually witness it for yourself.


For example, turn on Fox News or CNN and try to guess which way they lean.


Now to the meat of this: The newspapers being stolen is an absolutely ridiculous situation because it is a suppression of free speech and a theft, plain and simple.


Common sense dictates that it is illegal to steal 10,000 copies of a college newspaper, and then there's the fact that the newspaper itself comes with the phrase: ""A single copy of the Daily Wildcat is free from newsstands. Unauthorized removal of multiple copies will be considered theft and may be prosecuted.""


These people almost certainly didn't mean to financially harm the Wildcat; however, that's what they have done, as well as suppress the right to free speech. They tried to deprive this campus of its dose of the daily news, simply because they were most likely embarrassed of their own stupid actions of the night before. Now they will have this unthinking act on their records too, and whenever it comes out who it was — and it will — they will be ripped apart in the Wildcat (by reporters and in letters to the editor) as well as in local, state and perhaps national papers and news sources. I hope they get what they deserve.



— Jeremy Lerner

Aerospace engineering sophomore




Government shouldn't determine policy based on ‘morality'


I am very concerned about pre-physiology freshman Zach M. Weinstein's Tuesday mailbag letter because I fear that many people share his opinions on marijuana policy (""‘Medical Marijuana' an ironic cliche"").


Even if it were true that marijuana cigarettes contain more carcinogens than their tobacco counterparts (a 2006 UCLA School of Medicine study found that they do not), there are many ways other than smoking the herb to ingest it, such as preparing it with food, which can prevent many of the harms usually associated with marijuana smoking.


More troubling is the assertion that marijuana legalization would be ""immoral."" According to a 2005 Gallup poll, support for legalization has steadily increased threefold in the last 40 years. But even if this were not the case, it should not be the government's job to decide for its citizens what is and is not a moral activity.


Many Arizonans feel that alcohol use is immoral, yet it would clearly be a violation of individual civil liberties for the government to outlaw drinking. Nor is it the government's job to decide for the people what is or is not healthy, unless opponents to marijuana legalization also think that the government should outlaw Big Macs.


In short, I find that many of the arguments for marijuana prohibition are based upon government-mandated and government-decided ""morality,"" or upon the unfair and undemocratic principle that personal health is not up to the individual but up to the State.



— Zac Finger

Art senior


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