John Leo

Runner-up in the category of worst prose about animals came in a letter from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The group wrote to the warden of the Indiana penitentiary where Timothy McVeigh awaits execution, asking that the final meals of the Oklahoma City bomber be vegetarian. "Mr. McVeigh should not be allowed to take even one more life," the letter said. "Feeding inmates bean burritos rather than baby-back ribs might just break the cycle of violence. ... Non-violence begins in the kitchen." The belief that eating meat causes anger and violence is a standard notion on the cultural left. (On the other hand, Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian.)

Identity politics on the college campuses have reached their logical conclusion: separate graduation ceremonies for each identity group. Homosexuals hold their own graduations at 18 or more colleges. At the University of California at Los Angeles, the Lavender Graduation will be on June 16. Each new grad will wear a rainbow tassel. The commencement speaker hasn't been picked yet, but in the past, Ellen DeGeneres' mother spoke.

The Raza graduation for Latinos will be at 7 p.m. June 17, just after the separate graduations for Filipinos, Asian Pacific Islanders, African-Americans and Iranians. American Indians, who after all were here earlier than other groups, graduate earlier too, on June 15.

Possibly to deflect criticism that the university is foolishly collaborating in the balkanization of the student body, administrators officially refer to these events as "celebrations." But they function as graduations, and that's what students call them.

Finally, we have entered the golden age of free zones. Many stadiums have alcohol-free zones, or small areas where obnoxious drunks are not supposed to bother you. A public library of Gaithersburg, Md., has a no-noise zone or quiet room, possibly indicating that the rest of the library is now a noise zone. We have violence-free, sex-free and even ferret-free zones. Two cities in new Zealand declared themselves GE-free -- no genetically engineered foods.

The entire Unitarian Universalist Association is a nuclear-free zone, and you simply cannot bring a nuclear bomb into Arcata, Calif., which is a nuclear weapons-free zone. Many cities have named themselves hate-free zones. Montana is a hate-free state, and Montanans are urged to declare themselves individual hate-free zones.

Like some other campuses, New Mexico State University has a few free-speech zones for demonstrations and leafleting. Some brazen students have been attempting to speak freely outside these designated areas. This is a very good sign, since so many campuses seem to be turning into huge First Amendment-free zones. Now if they just could be convinced to become PC-free zones instead.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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