Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Saturday, May 13, 2000

March should help
cause of gun control

Bullet The issue: The Million Mom March in Washington, D.C., and dozens of other communities is an attempt to show support for stronger gun controls.

Bullet Our view: The movement is putting pressure on politicians to show support for controls.

THE Million Mom March tomorrow is really a series of rallies on Mother's Day in more than 70 communities. The main rally, of course, will be held in Washington, where more than 100,000 people are expected on the National Mall.

The point is to advance the cause of gun control in the wake of a series of mass killings in schools and other facilities across the nation -- including Honolulu's Xerox shootings.

But gun control is still highly controversial. As if to prove it, a rival pro-gun rally also will be held Sunday on the grounds of the Washington Monument by a group called Second Amendment Sisters.

The attempt to offset the Million Mom March is obviously contrived and probably won't be entirely successful. We expect that the Million Mom March organizers will succeed in dramatizing the desire of many people, especially but not exclusively mothers, for more effective gun control laws.

Although Sunday's event will keep political figures off-stage and emphasize its grassroots origins, the movement is already affecting the presidential campaign. Gov. George W. Bush pledged to distribute free trigger locks for handguns in his home state of Texas. Vice President Al Gore is promoting a plan for a photo ID requirement to buy handguns. President Clinton announced grants to develop "smart gun" technology.

Bush was embarrassed recently when a high official of the National Rifle Association was taped saying that a Bush White House would mean a presidency "where we work out of their office." The Republican contender quickly responded that as president he would not let any organization dictate his policies. But it will be difficult for Bush, who as governor has if anything been pro-gun, to erase that identification with the NRA. He is trying to appeal to women, who tend to favor stronger gun controls.

Three-fourths of women surveyed in a new Gallup poll said they support more strict gun controls, compared with about half of the men questioned.

This is an issue that should favor Gore. Clinton has been a persistent advocate of gun control legislation, although he has been thwarted by the conservative Congress, and Gore has pledged to continue the struggle for tougher laws.

Donna Dees-Thomases, leader of the Million Mom March, said the movement will transform itself after the rally into a political organization that will endorse and oppose candidates.

That could inject some much-needed energy into the gun-control movement. It will need all it can muster to defeat the pro-gun forces.

Upgrading of medals
for Asian Americans

Bullet The issue: The Medal of Honor will be awarded to 19 members of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Bullet Our view: The awards are a belated upgrading of medals previously granted to these heroes.

THERE has been no lack of honors for the Japanese-American soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II, many of whom were from Hawaii. Fighting valiantly and sustaining heavy casualties in Italy, France and Germany, they were the most decorated units in the Army for their size and length of service.

More than half a century later, those honors have been increased with the decision to award the Medal of Honor, America's highest award for valor, to 19 members of those units who had previously received Distinguished Service Crosses. Of the 19, only six, including Sen. Daniel Inouye, are still living.

The awards followed the passage of a law in 1996 sponsored by Inouye's Senate colleague, Daniel Akaka, aimed at correcting possible omissions in awarding the Medal of Honor to Asian and Pacific Island Americans.

A similar review had previously resulted in the awarding of the Medal of Honor to seven black Americans.

Japanese-Americans, whose loyalty was suspect, had to struggle to obtain permission to bear arms for the United States in World War II. But when they went into combat they proved their valor.

There was suspicion that prejudice was responsible for the earlier denial of Medal of Honor awards to Asians and other members of racial minorities.

A thorough review of personnel records initiated by the 1996 legislation has resulted in the upgrades of the medals of 21 Asian Americans. They will be recognized at a ceremony at the White House on June 21.

The awards come too late to be received by the soldiers who have died in the intervening years, but their families and their communities appreciate them nonetheless. Hawaii salutes these heroes.

Published by Liberty Newspapers Limited Partnership

Rupert E. Phillips, CEO

John M. Flanagan, Editor & Publisher

David Shapiro, Managing Editor

Diane Yukihiro Chang, Senior Editor & Editorial Page Editor

Frank Bridgewater & Michael Rovner, Assistant Managing Editors

A.A. Smyser, Contributing Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin