New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 27, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
pTo talk with Managing Editor Micah Boyd about the Opinion page, call 625-9144, Ext. 220.
■ ■ Opinion
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QUOTABLE“It is up to the true poet to use his pen, his chisel or his pencil to give us pictures of our nobler selves.”John Rollin Ridge newspaper editor, 1857
EDITORIALDoing the right
thingReopening hazing investigation proper action to take
Comal Independent School District officials decided last week to reopen the investigation into the alleged hazing incidents at Canyon High School.
A special investigator has been hired to find out exactly what occured.
The trustees should be applauded for having the courage to reexamine an issue that they had determined closed.
Hazing is not an issue that will simply go away. Parents and students need to be assured that the truth is uncovered — and if the acts are as heinous as alleged, strict and proper punishment will be taken.
The district, while showing proper dilligence
ip deciding to delve more deeply into tile mat-
have avoided the need for another, investigation by not closing the first so quickly.
The residents of this community, especially those with children in school, deserve to know that students are safe and will not be exposed to threatening situations.
Hopefully this new investigation will prove to be the final chapter in this tragic saga.
(Today s editorial was written by Herald-Zeitung Managing Editor Micah Boyd.)
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The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung welcomes letters on any public issue. The editor reserves the right to correct spelling, style, punctuation and known factual errors. Letters should be kept to 200 words.
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Letters to the Editor c/o the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung P O. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1328 Fax: (210)625-1224
Right to express opinion not just for ruling class
Editor and Publisher, Ext 201 ..................................... Doug Toney
Managing Editor, Ext 220...............................................Micah Boyd
Classified Advertising Manager, Ext 214...............Karen Reininger
Business Manager, Ext 202...................................... Mary Lee Hall
Circulation Director, Ext 228...................................Carol Ann Avery
Pressroom Foreman, Ext 205.........................................Billy Parnell
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If you’ve been reading the letters to the editor these past two weeks or so, you’ve seen the fur fly.
A reader expressed what was, to some other readers, a very unpopular perspective on the recent tragic death of three teen-agers in a car-train accident.
She criticized the driver, the driver’s family, the way the newspaper covered the tragedy and the way the high school dealt with the aftermath of die accident She accused the school, and the newspaper through its coverage, of treating the young man who drove the car as a hero.
Her words were sharp, blunt and many believe, as does this columnist, unnecessarily harsh.
A plethora of responses followed. Many criticized her harshness yet offered forgiveness to her.
Still, many of the letters were not only as mean spirited as the original letter, but were actually more so. Some threatened physical violence. One letter urged other people to join in physical retaliation against the writer of the original letter.
Those portions were edited out. Those comments crossed a line — not a line of insensitivity, but a line that separates criticism and encouraging people to commit violence against a person simply because of an opinion.
Is anyone struck by the irony of these letter writers’ point of view?
What these letter writers were actually saying was — She has no right to say we are wrong in what we did, oat I have a right to say she is wrong and I even have a right to urge people to hurt her for saying what she said.
Some of the letter writers were young and grief stricken. Some latitude should be given. One would hope that they will be taught that opposing points of view should be considered, pondered and then either debated, ignored or refuted, but the voice should not be attacked, censored or intimidated from offering an opinion.
It is upon this point that we should be concerned.
If New Braunfels High School Interim Principal Karen Simpson’s letter this past Sunday is any indication of the perspective these students will receive, then they might not learn to appreciate the need for tolerance and
Her letter said that the decision to print the letter that was critical of the school during such an emotional time was “at best insensitive, at worst unethical, and in either case, irresponsible.” She continued, “Shame on you (the Herald-Zeitung editor) for cloaking yourself in the First Amendment. This community has suffered enormous pain. Your actions have added to it.” A problem does exist, but not with the newspaper printing an unpopular or “insensitive” point of view.
The problem is that many people in roles of leadership do not feel an obligation to tolerate anyone else’s differing point of view.
The First Amendment is for everyone, not just the ruling class.
When persons in authority believe the right to express a differing point of view should be curtailed and a newspaper is irresponsible if it publishes a view critical of the “official” opinion, the public should be concerned.
That’s why free speech, a free press and the freedom to worship needed to be written into law, rather than left to the discretion of succeeding generations of administrators and other government officials. The founding patriots of this country experienced and understood the tyranny of an intol
erant administration of government.
The people of this community and throughout this country have proven time and time again that they can competently run their own lives. All we need is as unencumbered as possible access to information and ideas. The more we citizens know, the better decisions we can make and the better we can assess the actions of our administrators and officials in schools and government.
Maybe that’s why some officials don’t want us to have more information or consider other points of view. Officials in schools and other government agencies all are obliged to explain their actions and provide us with information so we can reach our own, independent conclusions. Many officials understand this, but apparently some do not.
One need not agree or like what’s being said, but one must respect the right of all voices to be heard. No shame whatsoever comes from allowing a diversity of opinions to be shared. Shame only comes when someone tries to squelch the rights of others to be heard.
(Doug Toney is Publisher and Editor of the Herald-Zeitung.)
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What do cynics know about selflessness?
It is everywhere true thai no good deed goes unpunished. But, in Washington, cynicism now runs so deep that on the relatively few occasions when we see a selfless act, it never goes unanalyzed u ll ess the proper ulterior motives are assigned The verdict of quite a few commentators and others among the opinionated classes is that Bob Dole’s $300,000 loan to House Speaker Newt Gingrich so that he can pay a fine assessed by the House Ethics Committee is not what it appears Since Dole has been recei Jy hired hy a law finn whose clients include members of the tobacco industry, some surmise he is shilling for big tobacu vhich is trying to win favors in the mitU of the worst publicity and greatest legal vulnerability it has ever experienced.
Others say Dole is trying to position his wife to run for President in three years and gening the speaker on his side wiil help. Still others speculate that Do>e is trying to buy some intlu-
Today in History
The Associated Press
Today is Sunday, April 27, the 117th day of 1997. There are 248 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On April 27, 1805, a force led by U >. Marines captured the city of Dema, on the shores of Tripoli.
On this date:
In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippines
In 1822, the 18th president of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, was bom in Point Pleasant, Ohio.
In 1865, the steamer Sultana exploded on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Term , killing more than 1,400 Union prisoners of war.
In 1932, American poet Hart Crane drowned after jumping from a steamer while en route to New York. He was 32.
In 1937, the nation’s first Social Security checks were distributed.
In 1947, it was “Babe Ruth Day" at Yankee Stadium as baseball fans across the country honored
ence for himself following his loss in the 1996 campaign and that lending the speaker money will ingratiate him with fellow Republicans who might still be lamenting his lackluster campaign performance.
There is one other option that no one seems to be considering. Dole thought helping a fellow Republican in trouble would be the right and decent thing to do.
To those of Dole’s generation, this is perfectly normal. It is honorable. No medals arc expected. It is the equivalent of doing one’s duty, something the men and women of Dole’s generation did with some regularity, but whicii those who followed seem to
do less frequently, if at all. When they do, they issue a press release, expecting public praise and a spot on Time magazine’s list of Most Influential People.
Selflessness in the age of press agents and large egos is difficult to recognize because it is so rarely seen And when it is seen, it is often slandered lest it catch on and indict those who prefer the placement of themselves in front of others. Sure, Dole has the money to lend Gingrich, but if he lacked the will, what difference would it make?
There is a reason why it is more blessed to give than to receive. The receiver eventually spends his gift. For the giver, the dividends keep returning in the form of uncounted blessings. He also becomes an example for others to go and do likewise.
Dole and Gingrich now have a new relationship that anscends politics. Out of that reb onship will come things unrelat* I to policy and power.
The poet Longfellow sensed what benefits come from such selflessness, not only to the players, but to the wider populace;
"Whene’er a noble deed is wrought, Whene’er is spoken a noble thought. Our hearts in glad surprise,
To higher levels rise.”
I saw Bob and Elizabeth Dole in church last Sunday. The lesson was from Philippians 4, which contains these verses: “Let your gentleness be evident to all... whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable ... think about such things (and)... put it into practice.” That’s what Dole did when he agreed to lend (imgnch $300,(XX) to pay his tine. He put nobleness into practice. That the act caused so much of a ruckus in some quarters says something import nt about the state of our nation.
(Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist f
the ailing star.
In 1967, Expo ’67 was officially opened in Montreal by C anadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.
In 1973, during the Watergate scandal, acting FBI Director L Patrick Gray resigned
In 1978, convicted Watergate defendant John D. Ehrlichman was released from an Arizona prison after serving 18 months.
In 1982, the trial of John W. Hinckley Jr., who had shot four people, including President Reagan, began in Washington. The trial ended with Hinckley’s acquittal by reason of insanity.
Ten years ago: The Justice Department barred Austrian President Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States, saying he aided in the deportation and execution of thousands of Jews and others as a German Army officer during World War ll.
Five years ago: The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was proclaimed in Belgrade by the Republic of Serbia and its lone ally, Montenegro.
Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics won entry into the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
One year ago: Tens of thousands of refugees streamed home to southern Lebanon after a U.S.-brokered cease-fire silenced the guns in the 16-day Israel-Hezbollah war.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Jack Klugman is 75. Civil rights activist C oretta Scott King is 70. Actress Anouk Aimec is 65. Announcer Casey Kasem is 65. CBS News correspondent Phil Jones is 60. Actress Judy Came is 58. Opera singer Judith Blegen is 56. Rhythm-and-blues singer Cuba Gooding is 53. Singer Ann Peebles is 50. Rock singer Kale Pierson (The B-52s) is 49. Rock musician Ace Frehley (Kiss) is 46. Pop singer Sheena Easton is 38 Actor James Le Gros is 35. Singer Mica Paris is 28.
Thought for Today: “It is in the 30s that we want friends In the 40s we know they won’t save us any more than love did.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald, American author (1896-1940).