Mock draft draws measly audience

The lottery re-enactment was meant to promote discussion about the issues facing draft-age Americans.

Tyrus A. Thompson was called up to the red-and-white-striped podium to find out his draft number. He gave his birth date, June 11, to Uncle Sam, and learned that his number was 206.

“We have a winner,” Uncle Sam said, and Thompson received his military greetings and induction notice from the Selective Service System, the governmental body that would conduct a draft lottery if Congress voted it in.

Thompson was part of a mock re-enactment of a draft lottery Tuesday morning in Coffman Union’s Great Hall. As a part of “Peace and War in the Heartland,” the re-enactment was meant to promote discussion about the issues facing America’s draft-age youth.

Frank Kroncke, one of the event’s organizers, was drafted for the military during the Vietnam War and resisted with friends by stealing draft records.

They were known as the “Minnesota 8,” and all but one served federal prison time in 1970 for “sabotage of the national defense.”

Like the draft in the 1960s, “Your life was determined by a spinning cage and what came out of it,” Kroncke said. “We want to get students thinking for a moment, ‘What would happen to my life? It would be over.’ “

Emily Muelken, a first-year architecture student, was also called up for the mock draft.

“It’s a little emotional,” she said. “It makes you think about what you would do if you had to go.”

If drafted tomorrow, citizens would have three choices: being trained in the military, a five-year prison sentence or exile to another country.

In addition to immediately terminating their jobs and education, draftees would need to set up a final will and testament before their service takes effect.

Muelken said if she were actually drafted, she would go to Canada.

“I couldn’t serve,” she said. “I just couldn’t serve, especially in this war.”

Thompson said he would resist the draft at all costs, “even if it means spending time in jail.”

Most men remember filling out a draft card when they turned 18, so they would be eligible for scholarships and financial aid.

Thompson said he chose not to fill out a card, foregoing the option for financial aid. He said it’s the main reason that he isn’t going to school.

According to the Selective Service System, 93 percent of males ages 18 to 25 have registered for the draft. The database contains 13.5 million names and addresses.

Maj. Mark Weber of the University’s ROTC program said he couldn’t say whether it was likely that a draft would happen.

He said the official word of the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense is that “there is no draft.”

Weber said, in his opinion, members of the armed services “appreciate the all-volunteer service,” Weber said.

“So far, we’re able to do what needs to be done with an all-volunteer force,” he said. “Someone who doesn’t volunteer doesn’t want to be there. We want to be surrounded by people who want to be there.”

Kroncke said he was disappointed, however, at the student turnout at the event, which reached about 10. He said he couldn’t understand why there weren’t more students, since the event had publicity and had experienced large turnouts at smaller schools.

Muelken said she wishes more people were involved.

“Our generation is pretty apathetic,” she said. “They’re too involved in iPods and YouTube to care.”

Wes Davey, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War who also attended the mock draft, retired as a master sergeant of the Army Reserve at the end of 2005.

“The apathy among students is overwhelming,” Davey said. “If there really was a draft and they were given 90 days, don’t you think they’d be speaking out and raising hell? There were maybe 10 students in there at a campus that has 50,000 kids. Is that not pathetic?”