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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 12, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Page 6A HERALDZEITUNG Thursday October 12 2000 OPINIONS FORUM LETTERS NEW HERALDZEITUNG New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852 New Braunfels Hcraldwas 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 Gary News Editor 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 doesnt 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 cant quite picture that with Yeltsin who nevertheless sees himself as a suc cessful fellow Thats why Yeltsin wants to knock the Washington wom anizers success as a man In his memoirs Yeltsin reveals that apparently it was not natural erotic attraction which made Monica Lewinsky fall at Clintons feet but rather a lowdown plot by the Republicans Sex by order which says Yeltsin is morally wrong arid 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 undiplomat ic terms the Principality is a state vulnerable to money where judicial authorities show some illwill about answering demands for international 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 were hinting at this call to order First on June 21 this year mrpubMcation of a report that dubbed Monaco a marginal banks like washing machines for their Monaco banking is under control of the Bank of Our gov ernment current European Union president wants to be at the fore front 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 Todays Highlight in History On Oct Old Style cal endar Oct 21 New Christopher Columbus arrived with his expedition in the present day Bahamas On this date In 1870 Gen Robert E Lee died in Lexington at age 63 In 1915 English nurse Edith Cavell was executed by the Germans in occupied Belgium dur ing 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 deliv ered one of his socalled fireside chats in which he recommended the drafting of 18and 19yearold men In 1942 Attorney General Francis Biddle announced that Italian nationals in the United States would no longer be consid ered enemy aliens In 1960 Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev disrupted a General Assembly session by pounding his desk with a shoe dur ing a dispute In 1964 the Soviet Union launched a Voskhod space capsule with a threeman 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 he was 53 lactudiiYiiwented 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 Joseph Lewis Robins Firearmrelated crime has reached cata clysmic proportions Each year there are handgunrelated deaths in the United States 1 Past and present attempts directed at the control of firearms have been and will con tinue 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 There are an estimated 66 million unregis tered handguns in the United States Ann Landers Some people believe registra tion 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 people with our registered automo biles The American dead in the Vietnam War was circa Registration of auto mobiles 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 regis tration will not The right to possess 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 NRAs posi tion on assault rifles machine guns and auto matic 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 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 gunrelated 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 firearmrelated crimefree 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 and I say It is 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 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 gunrelated 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 yearsplus 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 anothN er Under the proposed plan both men would have been executed April A side effect would have been seen on the courts docket and on the availablity of 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 v Fourth everyone even juveniles will be tried as adults Fifth no appeals Sixth we must have the will to govern Seventh we must have the will to punish the guilty In recent years probably since the criminologists and sociologists have sold our society a bill of goods They have contended that severe punishment is no deterrent to crime the death penalty doesnt stop v murders and kidnappings Maybe not but it j 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 2 Mandatory death sentences upon viction i 3 Rapid execution of sentence and 4 Execution of the sentence in the com r munity of the crime If this program is practiced the following is guaranteed A Elimination of the crime prone individ uals B Reduction of the need for more prison and prison beds and C Reduction of bad seed from the pool The Spanish have a proverb that says se aventura no cruza la mar Roughly trans1 lated it means If you never set sail youll never cross the n We must persist until we prevail To do less is to fail James Robins is a New Braunfels resi Extend statute of limitations to allow time for DNA evidence DNA testing is the newest weapon in the states arsenal of crimefighting tech niques Prosecutors and police may use DNA testing to exonerate the wrongly convict ed and to convict those who have eluded law enforcement for years DNA testing is the fingerprinting of the new millenni um A century ago the technique of match ing a fingerprint to crimescene evidence revolutionized crime solving At the beginning of a new century DNA pro filing is extending the investigative capa bilities of law officers who can use the process to identify suspects and obtain convictions Although much of the focus on DNA testing has been in the area of postconr viction 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 technolo gy 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 sexualassault 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 15year limitations period began on the victims 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 com mittee 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 members agenda I plan to file the bill extending the sexual assault statute of limitations on the first day to file bills November 13 I hope that current media focus on DNA testing and its use both to convict criminals and exonerate innocent indi viduals will bring the legislative that will be needed to pass the bill its passage prosecutors will be able to use DNA testing and other scientific methods to their fullest advantage to solve sexualassault cases JeffWentworth represents District 25 in the Texas
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