New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 30, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
4 A ■ Herald-Zeitung H Sunday, April 30, 1995
■ To talk with Managing Editor Doug Loveday kbout the Opinion bage, call 625-9144,
0xt. 21' ■ ■ Opinion
B To submit letters and guest columns electronically by way of < online services or Internet, or to J simply contact staff members, the Herald-Zeitung's address is ' HZeitungOAOL.com.
0 U O T A B L E
“One of the obligations of the writer is to say or sing all that he or she can, to deal with as much of the world as possible... in
— Denise Levertov, poet/writer, 1973Bombing is proof evil still exists
Texas Legislature ready to shoot down helmet repeal; what’s next?
Helmets are required head gear for Texas motorcyclists, but a bill has recently passed the state senate that would make helmets optional for riders over the age of 21.
Unfortunately for the supporters of the legislation, the bill appears to be dead in this session, meaning bikers will have to continue to strap on the helmets— not a pleasant thing to do in the middle of a Texas summer.
Helmets are restrictive, uncomfortable and reduce the rider’s field of vision, making mishaps more likely, they argue.
To others, it’s strictly a matter of choice. Many riders don’t want to the wear the helmets, and they don’t think the government or anyone else should be telling them what to do.
Those in favor of helmet laws support that position for the obvious reasons — helmets are the only thing standing between a rider and a head injury if an accident or mishap should occur.
They argue that the medical costs associated with motorcycle-related trauma is passed on to the general public, and therefore the public has every right to demand riders wear helmets.
Most Texans seem to agree. A recent Texas Poll found that 83 percent of the population supports a stale law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets, while 73 percent even want a law requiring bicyclists to wear protective head gear ^
The logical question is “What’s next?”
While those pushing for stricter safety-related laws seem genuinely concerned, they may not realize their causing some real pain by stepping on our rights as free, functioning people.
A mountain of legislation would have to be written to try and safeguard the public from every possible danger oui there in the world, and sometimes it seems like our leaders are trying to build that mountain.
lf, as is argued, the public has a right to demand helmets be worn because of medical costs, will not legislation be passed some day outlawing fast food chains that serve meals high in fat content?
Millions of Americans are not eating healthy diets, and the result is many are dying of heart attacks, or they're undergoing terribly expensive surgery to repair damaged hearts and arteries. I hoses costs are passed on, UK).
You get the point.
When it comes to matters of national crisis, the government should utilize its power for the gtKxi of society.
When its a question about whether someone should wear a helmet while bicycling around the neighborhood, government should stay out.
Allow us a little room for common sense and parental guidance. Americans have gotten by for more than 2<X) years without that kind of meddling.
(Today's editorial was written by Manayin% Editor IJoux Loveday)
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Editor and Publisher ...................................................David Sullens
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President Clinton accurately condemned those who killed innocent men, women and children in the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building as “evil cowards.” In doing so, he invoked a word—evil—that has suffered in recent years from lack of use.
When Ronald Reagan applied the word to the Soviet Union—
’’evil empire,” he called it— sophisticated commentators were shocked that a word they regarded as crude was employed by a national leader. But what other explanation satisfactorily describes such a despicable act or soul-destroying government that causes men and women to sob in grief and others to declare their lives drained of meaning and joy?
Great writers have grappled with the concept of evil—Shakespeare’s “the evil that men do lives after them; the good is often interred with their bones”— and popular culture explains it with such notions as, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts and minds of men?” and such movie symbols as Darth Vader.
Acknowledging the existence of evil—not just evil people but evil itself—is a prerequisite to under
standing and controlling it. Denying that evil exists, and that it is a proper metaphor for the worst kind of behavior, ensures that evil will prosper.
The dictionary is of some help. It defines evil as “morally reprehensible; sinful, wicked; arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct” This presumes a standard of good conduct against which evil may be measured. It also indicates that evil begins in a heart and works outward and is not created by one’s circumstances or environment. Such a notion contradicts most modem teaching and philosophy.
Evil is as old (older, really) as the second chapter of Genesis where God instructs Adam, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” If evil existed at the time of Creation, this suggests that evil and its author came before. Is this what New York Times columnist Bob Herbert was getting at when he wrote of the Oklahoma City tragedy: “From what universe beyond the one that most of us inhabit does this kind of evil arise?"
Will this horror teach us anything, or will we allow the shock to subside and eventually be able to look back on it with detached and emotionless hindsight?
Those who would do such evil things show the capacity of humanity uncontrolled by the restraining influences of an inner power and a culture that ; believes evil must not only be resisted but opposed. While we have always had with us those who would kill the innocent, rarely have we thrown a party and • celebrated the killers and the profit potential of their , acts. Even now there must be lawyers jockeying for , the position of defense counsel and thinking about exclusive rights to books and movies. The O J. Simpson trial has shown us how easily we can forget about the innocent dead and focus instead on the side issues and non-issues as we pay homage to the cult of celebrity.
Once God defined die norms of our society, but we decided we could do a better job. To speak of evil requires a knowledge of its opposite, good, and good's • Author. Otherwise, evil is simply a label we apply to actions a majority likes the least at a given moment. , This floating "standard” is not permanent, but for the moment only, and it can be changed or shaded when public opinion requires something new.
A nation that rejects a universal standard eventually experiences an Oklahoma City tragedy. If hate groups , are proliferating, if evil seems ever more the norm and not the exception, perhaps it is time to re-examine the old values and seek the One who defines good.
In 1993, more than $18 million in new construction was begun in New Braunfels. In 1994, that figure skyrocketed to $30.8 million. With new businesses moving to town and their employees moving with them, New Braunfels is in the midst of a real growth spurt.
With the larger tax base that accompanies the new commercial and residential properties come some of the headaches of larger cities. We want to find out how you feel about the growth now being experienced by all of us.
Fill out the coupon (right), drop it by our office at 707 Landa St., New Braunfels, TX 78130 or fax survey to (210) 625-1224. Copied forms
Deadline for this survey is Saturday, May 6,1995.
Do you believe growth Ie good for Now Braunfels?
Yes or No (circle one) Comments/Explanations_
Name _ Address. Phone#. City_
Telescope to offer glimpse back in time
FORT DAVIS, Texas (AP) — The spiraling galaxies and radiant stars that gleam down on Mt. Locke’s 6,800-foot summit from seemingly infinite distances won’t appear as far away before very long.
Scientists already privy to the amazing celestial vistas accessible from the West Texas peak that hosts McDonald Observatory are awaiting a ■ mammoth telescope that will be IO times stronger than the largest currently available here.
“Astronomers are chomping al the bit to use this telescope,” said Larry Ramsey, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn Stale University.
Simply put, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope under construction at the observatory will allow astronomers to probe deeper into space, collect fresh data on existing objects and possibly even uncover entirely new phenomena.
“We’ll he able to study objects that were previously too faint to work on," said observatory director Frank N. Bash.
For scientists, this new power may ultimately supply the means lo answer some fundamental questions about the origins of our universe, added Ramsey.
Today In History
By The Associated Press
Today is Sunday, April 30, the 120th day of 1995 There arc 245 days left in tile year.<
Today's Highlight in History:
Fifty years ago, on April 30, 1945, as Russian troops approached his Berlin bunker, Adolf Hitler committed suicide along with his wife of one day, Eva Braun. One week later, Germany surrendered unconditionally, ending Hitler’s Third Reich.
On this date:
In 1789, George Washington took office in New York as the first president of the United States.
In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France.
In 1812, Louisiana became the 18th
“You can think of a telescope as a time machine. The further you look in distance ... you’re actually looking back in time,” said Ramsey. “By looking at large distances, we’ll be able to see how the universe was I billion, 2 billion, 3 billion years ago or more.”
The quest for new celestial discoveries will begin in July 19%, when the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, or HET, becomes operational at the observatory, which is located in the Davis Mountains some 170 miles southeast of El Paso.
The following year will be dedicated primarily to fine tuning.
Astronomers from the five universities developing the HET, which include Penn State and the University of Texas, should be able to conduct all-out research in 1997.
"Then it will become mine,” said observatory superintendent Mark Adams, who already oversees four telescopes.
Those existing instruments range in size from 0.7 meters to 2.7 meters. (The sizes refer to the diameter of the telescope’s primary mirror, which collects the light from the image being
state of the Union.
In 1900, Hawaii was organized as a U.S. territory.
In 1900, engineer John Luther “Casey” Jones of the Illinois Central Railroad was killed in a wreck near Vaughan, Miss., after slaying at the controls in an effort to save the passengers.
In 1939, the New York World’s Fair, billed as a look at “the world of tomorrow,” officially opened.
In 1945, “Arthur Godfrey Time" made its debut on the CBS radio network.
In 1947, President Truman signed a measure officially changing the name of Boulder Dam to Hoover Dam.
In 1948, the Organization of American Stales held its first meeting, in Bogota, Colombia.
In 1970, 25 years ago, President Nixon announced the U.S. was send-
At 11 meters, the HET will have the largest astronomical mirror in the world.
Yet, because it won’t use the entire mirror surface at one time, it technically can’t be called the world’s largest telescope.
That distinction belongs to Hawaii’s Keck Telescope, which has a 10-meter mirror surface that can be used entirely at one time.
The HET does have exceptional qualities of its own, however, including the incorporation of new designs intended to cut costs on what would otherwise be an extremely expensive project.
The telescope — named after its two principal benefactors, former Texas Ll. Gov. William P. Hobby and Robert E. Eberly of Pennsylvania — won’t turn to track its moving subjects as most existing telescopes do to compensate for the rotation of the Earth, which can quickly take a star out of range.
Instead, the hexagonal mirror, actually composed of 91 smaller hexagons, will remain stationary in the bottom of the telescope dome.
A tracking device mounted high above the mirror array will track the
ing troops into Cambodia, an action that sparked widespread protest.
In 1973, President Nixon announced the resignations of his aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, along with Attorney General Richard G. Kleindienst and White House counsel John Dean.
In 1975, 20 years ago, the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon fell to Communist forces as President Duong Van Minh announced an unconditional surrender.
In 1991, an estimated 125,000 people died as a cyclone struck the South Asian country of Bangladesh.
Ten years ago: President Reagan set out on a trip to Europe and an economic summit which was already overshadowed by his planned visit to a German military cemetery where Nazi SS troops were buried.
light of the target object as it moves across the surface of the mirror, taking readings as it goes.
This design, which is unique among optical telescopes, spared the HET's developers the cost of constructing a mechanism to move the entire instrument, as was the case with McDonald’s 2.7-meter telescope, said Bash.
Besides Texas, which owns more than 50 percent of the HET, and Penn State, the developers include Stanford and two German universities.
Using several mirrors was another cost cutting-measure.
“The only affordable way to make a mirror this size is to make it in pieces,” said Bash.
So far, the money-conscious designs seem likely to ensure the project will come in at the expected price of roughly $13.5 million, said Bash. By comparison, the Keck telescope cost about $100 million, he said.
“That’s something I’m proud of,” Bash said. “It’s really hard to estimate the costs and keep the project on schedule when you’re building something that nobody has ever built before.”
Despite the enthusiasm, project officials still admit candidly there is a downside to the efforts to save money.
The Survey says...
Bombing doesn’t cast fear locally
Four readers responded to last week’s survey question “Do you feel safe in New Braunfels following the Oklahoma City bombing?"
Each of the four respondents said they still feel safe in our community despite the terroristic act in Oklahoma.
More than IOO people were killed and 400 more injured in a car bombing at a federal building in Oklahoma City.
One of the respondents said:
• Problems bring out the best in mankind—weakness if we let someone else take care of it. We need back bone, not federal intrusion.