New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, October 12, 2000, Page 6

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

October 12, 2000

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Issue date: Thursday, October 12, 2000

Pages available: 28

Previous edition: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 12, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Page 6A — Herald-Zeitung — Thursday, October 12, 2000Opinions Forum Letters I New B&a&nfels Herald-Zeitung New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890. The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958. Doug Toney, Editor and Publisher Margaret Edmonson, Managing Editor Michael Cary, News Editor www.herald-zeitung.com (830) 625-9144 Other Views By the Associated Press Berliner Zeitung, Berlin, Germany, on Yeltsin and Clinton: Everything is going wrong in Russia. Nothing works. Nationally important structures are burning and strategically important submarines are sinking. Soldiers of the proud Red Army are going hungry. In the United States, on the other hand, everything is going right. The economy is booming, the people are prosperous, the state doesn’t know what to do with all its money. Former President Boris Yeltsin must have gone green with envy when he heard that his counterpart Bill Clinton not only has more money and more success but is also lucky with the ladies. You can’t quite picture that with Yeltsin, who nevertheless sees himself as a successful fellow. That’s why Yeltsin wants to knock the Washington womanizer’s success as a man. In his memoirs Yeltsin reveals that apparently it was not natural erotic attraction which made Monica Lewinsky fall at Clinton’s feet, but rather a low-down plot by the U.S. Republicans. Sex by order, which, says Yeltsin, is morally wrong, and therefore something that he never did in the Kremlin. When it comes to morals, we discover, Russia is still superior. Le Figaro, Paris, on charges that principality of Monaco is easy on money laundering: Monaco is a turntable for dirty money. What everyone knew without ever saying it out loud, two very official reports of the French public administration are stressing today. Black on white, in quite undiplomatic terms: the Principality is a ’state vulnerable to money laundering,’ where judicial authorities show ’some ill-will about answering demands for international collaboration.’ And eventually, it comes down to promised threats. If Monte Carlo does not clean up at home, the French government will take measures that should frighten any billionaire looking for a fiscal paradise.... Many signs were hinting at this call to order. First, on June 21 this year, the publication of a report that dubbed Monaco ’a marginal state,’ banks like washing machines for their business. ... Monaco banking is under control of the Bank of France.... Our government, current European Union president, wants to be at the forefront of international combat of dubious capital. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Thursday, Oct. 12, the 286th day of 2000. There are 80 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Oct. 12, 1492 (Old Style calendar; Oct. 21 New Style), Christopher Columbus arrived with his expedition in the present-day Bahamas. On this date: In 1870, Gen. Robert E. Lee died in Lexington, Va., at age 63. In 1915, English nurse Edith Cavel I was executed by the Germans in occupied Belgium during World War I. In 1933, bank robber John Dillinger escaped from a jail in Allen County, Ohio, with the help of his gang, who killed the sheriff. In 1942, during World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt delivered one of his so-called “fireside chats” in which he recommended the drafting of 18- and 19-year-old men. In 1942, Attorney General Francis Biddle announced that Italian nationals in the United States would no longer be considered enemy aliens. In 1960, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev disrupted a UN. General Assembly session -by pounding his desk with a shoe during a dispute. In 1964, the Soviet Union launched a Voskhod space capsule with a three-man crew on the first manned mission involving more than one crew member. In 1968, the summer Games of the 19th Olympiad officially opened in Mexico City. In 1997, singer John Denver was killed in the crash of his privately built aircraft in Monterey Bay, Calif.; he was 53. iteftcteiit>aninted awd made of piggin i actually invented iramietai I. nan tecteatie ttte game •ftr'icu.tDoJ ^- ok„'iOu geT-the YteirdKiaon tDurteam! noviayjeli taKettedog! 21 sn The answer to crime in our society “The purpose of a pistol is to kill a man. I do not intend to kill a man. Therefore, I have no need of a handgun.’’ Joseph Lewis Robins (2-16-1862,1-27-1913) Firearm-related crime has reached cataclysmic proportions. Each year there are 24.000 handgun-related deaths in the United States. I Past and present attempts directed at the control of firearms have been and will continue to be dismal failures. I can tell you unequivocably that the Brady Bill will be a failure. If we ate to rid our nation of firearm-related crime, we must stop expending our energies trying to control the number of guns. We must concentrate on and control the “shooters.” There are an estimated 66 million unregistered handguns in the United States. (Ann Landers, ibid.) Some people believe registration of these guns will reduce the number of handgun deaths. Registration of firearms will not control the use of guns to commit crimes. We register our automobiles every year, yet every year we kill approximately 55.000 people with our registered automobiles. The American dead in the Vietnam War was circa 58,000. Registration of automobiles has done nothing to eliminate, or even reduce, the number of highway deaths. Registration of guns is not the answer. Removal of handguns from the citizenry will reduce the number of crimes and the number of suicides with handguns, but registration will not. The right to possess firearms/handguns probably will never be removed from the citizenry. To date, the National Rifle Association has blocked all attempts to eliminate the ownership of guns by private citizens. I believe the NR A’s position on assault rifles, machine guns and automatic pistols is wrong. No one, other than police and the armed forces, has any need for an assault rifle. Although the NRA is opposed to eliminating firearms, I believe they can support the elimination of the' “shooter.” As bleak as the situation appears and as bleak as the future seems, we should not dis-pair. We can overcome if we but will. We have become a nation, a society if you please, that has lost the will to govern. We have lost the will to punish the guilty. Both the will to govern and the will to punish the James Robins guilty are necessary it we are to decrease or rid our nation of gun-related crimes. Instilling the desire and willingness into our people will be a Herculean task, but it must be done if our goal is to be obtained. A firearm-related, crime-free society must be our first priority. Scoffers will tell you that such a society is a pipe dream; that it is not attainable. I say, “Not so,” and I say, “It is attainable.” As an example of what I am talking about, I cite for you the early 1930s decision to rid the country of the outlaws and gangsters of that time. The FBI had a mandate — “Rid the nation of the notorious outlaws of our time.” The mandate became a priority with the FBI and lawmen throughout the nation. Was it effective? I say it was. How many of these famous outlaws died of natural causes? John Dillinger? “Pretty Boy” Floyd? “Baby Face” Nelson? “Machine Gun” Kelly? Clyde Barrow? Bonnie Parker? The answer is none. How many died at the hands of' lawmen? All. Each and every one. When an objective becomes first priority and the will to persist prevails, anything humanly possible can be accomplished. How can we rescue our society from the lawless and establish a gun-related, crime-free society? First, we must make the death penalty mandatory upon conviction of committing a crime with a firearm. A trial should begin within 90 days of arrest, and sentence should be carried out 45 days after conviction. Opponents of capital punishment contend that the death penalty does not deter crime. How do they know? We have not tried it. The death penalty law is on the books but is rarely carried out and then only after 15 years-plus of appeals and retrials. Sheila Bellush, the Quad Mom, was murdered on Nov. 7, 1997. In July 2000, the last two of the four men involved in her murder were sentenced to life in prison. Most likely the next 20 years will be one appeal after anoth- ■ er. Under the proposed plan, both men would have been executed April 15, 1998. A side • effect would have been seen on the court’s j{ docket and on the availablity of prosecuting ><: and defending attorneys.    > Second , we must conduct the trial in the • ' community of the crime. Third , we must administer the punishment in the community of the crime. Fourth, everyone — even juveniles, will be tried as adults. Fifth, no appeals.    r« Sixth , we must have the will to govern. Seventh, we must have the will to punish the guilty.    j In recent years, probably since the 1950s, criminologists and sociologists have sold out-society a bill of goods. They have contended that severe punishment is no deterrent to crime; e.g., the death penalty doesn’t stop fJ murders and kidnappings. Maybe not, but it, ? stops murderers and kidnappers. It surely, surely does.    .    < I would ask sociologists and criminologists one question - has crime decreased since coddling of criminals has been instituted and followed? Has it? If not, why not try another approach? Why not try: 1. Speedy trials in the community where ,. the crime was committed;    c 2. Mandatory death sentences upon con- • viction;    • 3. Rapid execution of sentence; and 4. Execution of the sentence in the com- . munity of the crime? If this program is practiced the following is guaranteed: A. Elimination of the crime prone individ-1 uals; B. Reduction of the need for more prison /•; and prison beds; and C. Reduction of “bad seed” from the gene • pool. The Spanish have a proverb that says: No se aventure, no cruza la mar. Roughly translated it means, “If you never set sail, you'll , never cross the sea.”    g We must persist until we prevail. To do less is to fail.    ^ (James Robins is a New Braunfels resident.)Extend statute of limitations to allow time for DNA evidence DNA testing is the newest weapon in the state's arsenal of crime-fighting techniques. Prosecutors and police may use DNA testing to exonerate the wrongly convicted and to convict those who have eluded law enforcement for years. DNA testing is the fingerprinting of the new millennium. A century ago, the technique of matching a fingerprint to crime-scene evidence revolutionized crime solving. At the beginning of a new century, DNA profiling is extending the investigative capabilities of law officers, who can use the process to identify suspects and obtain convictions. Although much of the focus, 6n DNA testing has been in the area of post-conviction testing, genetic evidence also Jeff Wentworth may be used to solve cases involving sexual assault. The conviction of sexual offenders safeguards others from being assaulted while providing closure to their victims. When offenders are convicted, their victims may begin to regain a sense of control over their lives, something many victims feel they lost when they were sexually assaulted. To take advantage of the new technology, some states are examining .their laws which currently limit the time in which cases involving a sexual assault may be prosecuted. Nevada is the only state that currently allows for an indefinite statute of limitations in sexual-assault cases. Current Texas law provides for a five-year statute of limitations for the offense of sexual assault. Although five years seems like a long time, often law enforcement officials have identified a suspect but have not been able to develop sufficient evidence to take the case before a grand jury within this time frame. Because DNA evidence allows prosecutors to develop leads many years after a crime has been committed, a longer limitation period is needed. During the 1999 legislative session, I filed Senate Bill 1275 which would have extended the statute of limitations for sexual assault from five to 15 years. The extended period would allow police and prosecutors the opportunity to use DNA evidence to solve previously unsolved crimes. To address the issue of sexual assaults of juveniles, the bill provided that the 15-year limitations period began on the victim’s eighteenth birthday. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice where it passed by unanimous vote. Unfortunately, the vote was not taken until early May. There was not enough time for the bill to be heard on the Senate floor and to go through the committee process in the House of Representatives and on to the full House by the designated deadlines. Senate Bill 1275 failed to pass, in part, because time ran out. I feel strongly about this issue, and I plan to refile the bill during the 77th Legislative Session which begins Jan. 9, 2001. Because the session will be a busy one with redistricting and water at , the top of every member's agenda, I plan' to file the bill extending the sexual-assault statute of limitations on the first 1 day to file bills, November 13. I hope that current media focus on ‘J DNA testing and its use both to convict* criminals and exonerate innocent individuals will bring the legislative support that will be needed to pass the bill. With’ its passage, prosecutors will be able to use DNA testing and other scientific methods to their fullest advantage to solve sexual-assault cases. (Jeff Wentworth represents District 25 I in the Texas Senate.) ;

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