New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 7, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
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■ To talk with Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson about the Opinion page, call 625-9144, Ext 220.
“As men are seldom disposed to complain until they at least imagine themselves injured, so there b no btfury which they nill remember so long, or resent so deeply, as that of being threatened into silence.”
Robert Hall author
Give domestic violence victims needed help
Domestic violence is not something many people want to talk about. “It’s between them and it’s not any of our business’’ seems to be the belief of those who hesitate to take action to stop domestic violence when they know it is happening.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but it is a problem that haunts society month after month and year after year.
In 19%, 181,443 people in Texas were victims of domestic violence. Locally, New Braunfels police reported 386 incidents of domestic violence and Comal County Sheriff’s Office had 245 reports. These figures do not indicate how many times a spouse or a child was beaten and had to have law enforcement step in to stop the abuse.
New Braunfels is fortunate to have Teen Connection and the Comal County Women’s Center here to serve the victims of domestic violence. Without their help, these victims would have to suffer in silence and without hope. The womens center provides temporary emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse and for their children as well. Allowing the woman to come to a place for help and bring her children with her gives her that much more encouragement to get out of an abusive situation.
At Teen Connection, there is a safe place for teens to go when there is no end to domestic violence at home. The center stnves to improve communication between family members through programs such as recreational therapy and substance abuse counseling.
And we can do our part by being good neighbors. If you suspect someone might be the victim of domestic v iolence, lend your support.
“lf you hear fighting next door, call the police,” said Amy Thompson, children’s program coordinator at the women’s center. “Reach out to someone who may be battered.’’
Community support of these programs would go a long way toward addressing domestic violence locally. These victims are our neighbors, our friends, our relatives. With our help and the help of the Womens center and Teen Connection, domestic violence victims do not have to suffer in silence.
(Today s editorial was written by Herald-Zeitung Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson }
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Tougher laws don’t mean less drug use
AUSTIN — Another liberal victory! Yup, proved right again. It took only a little more than 20 years and God knows how many ruined lives.
Return with me now to the days of yesteryear, when things were very much as they are now, and the conservatives kept claiming to be Tuff On Crime while painting the squishy-hearted liberals as Soft On Crime. If you are not old enough to remember those long-ago days in the late ’60s, early ’70s, try 1994’s governor’s race to refresh your memory.
In those bygone times, children, the Great State of Texas had bizarrely punitive drug laws; the sentence for first-offense possession of any amount of marijuana, no matter how small, was two-years-to-life. Right, you got it. You could get life for first-offense possession of the ganja that dropped out of the end of a friend’s joint as he smoked it in your car, were it to be found there by the police months later.
Were such sentences actually given, and served? Well, yes, sort of. Lots of people got IO years for possession, and if the cops didn’t like you for some other reason, you could draw lots of hard time. Perhaps the most famous victim of our then-drug laws was Lee Otis Johnson, a student at Texas Southern University of the variety known as “militant.” Lee Otis Johnson had organized demonstrations (yes, actual, legal demonstrations!) at TSU, protesting — among other things — police conduct.
The facts in Johnson’s drug trial were uncontested; The young man had been at a party where marijuana was smoked. He took ajoint from the person sitting next to him and, with-
out taking a hit, passed it to the person on his other side. Said person was an undercover narcotics officer who then busted Johnson as a pusher; under then-Texas law, anyonje who gave a controlled substance to another, whether for profit or not, was a pusher. Lee Otis Johnson got 30 years in prison for his transgression.
The idea, said our friends who were Tuff On Crime, was prison sentences so long that no one would dare have anything to do with drugs. And did this work? Not worth a by-God, thank you. This was the era when marijuana was on every campus (yea, verily, even A&M). You couldn’t go to a Willie Nelson concert without noticing that cloud of funny blue smoke, and heaven knows what the people at rock concerts were using. The fabled Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin was full of wacky tabaccy; dope and beer were more common at social occasions than cheese and Ritz crackers; and generally speaking, Texans got just as high just as often as folks with more civilized drug laws. Given our proximity to Mexico, the source of much marijuana in those days, probably more so We just paid a heavier penalty.
Here’s a true political story from those days: Lee Otis Johnson’s manifestly unjust 30-year sentence became a rallying point for those
who wanted to change the drug laws. People drove around with bumper stickers on their cars that said, “Free* Lee Otis!” When Poor OI’ Preston Smith was running for re-election in 1970, lie made an appearance at the University of Houston, where the students had organized a demonstration and began chanting, ‘‘Free Lee Otis! Free Lee Otis!” in the midst of the governor’s speech. POP Smith was unable to finish his speech.
Great was the editorial dudgeon in every state newspaper the next day: Governor unable to continue speech, why if these kids aren’t at college to learn, etc. Next day, reporters asked Poor OI’ Preston what he thought of the Free-Lee-Otis demonstration. “Free Lee Otis?” replied the guv. “Is that whut they was sayin’? I thought they was yellin’, ’Frijoles, frijoles.’ I couldn’t understand whut they had against frijoles. I think that’s some kinda dried bean.”
It was the time of the intergenera-tional failure to communicate.
In any case, so great was the moronity of these drug laws that the Texas Legislature its very own tufT-on-crimc self changed die law. First-offense possession eventually became a misdemeanor. But in an unhappy instance of synchronicity, just as our legislature was moving to lessen drug penalties, at least on marijuana, the New York Legislature was going in the other direction.
Their then-Gov. Not-So-Poor OI’ Nelson Rockefeller got took hard with a fit of tufT-on-crime, including life sentences for users. Rockefeller actually cited Texas as a model when he proposed this folly, saying our tuff drug laws had worked so well no one down here dared to use illegal drugs.
We all waved away the billowing clouds of funny blue smoke and looked north, whomper-jawed.
It was not as though New York could communicate with Texas only by Pony Express in 1973 — die telegraph had been invented. This very episode first caused me to propose that Texas be declared die National Bad Gummint Laboratory. Any tune that someone in another state came up with a Truly Bad Idea, they could send an investigative commission to Texas — where we had already tried said bad idea, of course — to study the results and act accordingly. Sort of the reverse of Toronto.
But New York just couldn’t wait to study our results, so it went right ahead and passed those Rockefeller drug laws, and you know the rest of the story. New York has been drug-free ever since, right?
Lo and behold, nearly a quarter of a century later, comes a new Republican governor of New York, Poor OI* George Pataki, and guess what? Yup, he wants to scrap all those bad old Rockefeller drug laws with the long, fixed sentences and give judges some flexibility to order drug treatment and other alternatives. Especially for people who are a threat mostly to themselves. My, my, my. Turns out that all those yean of keeping all those non-violent people in prison was just... a huge waste of money, says Brother Pataki.
Every now and again, those conservatives do catch on, but they still haven’t given up calling liberals Soft On Crime.
(Molly Ivins is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star- Telegram.)
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Letters to the Editor
Clnl*al booths aflame!
I—a-than-wholaaom • print
My family and I went to the Comal County Fair last weekend. We were hoping to have some good, clean family-type fun. We did.
However, I was shocked to see the prizes st one of the carnival booths. It was the kind of booth where the patron throws a ring and loops a prize. The prizes were necklaces, etc with oozies dangling from them and play grenades I reported this to the fair office but was referred to the carnival office.
I do not want this kind of paraphernalia in our community. I certainly do not want it at a place like a carnival that draws a lot of young people.
We need to speak up as a community and tell these carnivals that if they want to come to our area they need to clean up their act. Save the mari
juana leaf mirrors and the oozies for the big city.
Melissa Gavlick Spring Branch
Human* Boclaty turns cans Into cash
They might not be doggie biscuits, but during October and November, aluminum cans are the preferred “treat” of adoptable animals at the Humane Society of New Braunfels Area. During this special time, the Humane Society of New Braunfels Area will recycle aluminum cans in a community-wide drive to raise needed funds.
Our local collection drive is part of “Paws to Recycle," the only nationwide aluminum can recycling program benefitting animal shelters. Throughout the past three years, shelters participating in “Paws to Recycle” have recycled more
than 3 million pounds of aluminum cam to benefit adoptable animals and non-profit groups that support their continued care.
What do aluminum cans do for dog* and CMS looking for a loving home? They help to provide critical operating funds for continued shelter operations. The Humane Society of New Braunfels Area will cam needed cash for every pound of aluminum cans its recycles. The more it recycles, the more we’U cam. We also are competing for one of Paws to Recycle’s $3,000 grand prims, and we need the support of the citizens of New Braunfels and surrounding areas to win. It’s easy — just bring your cans to 1920 Kuehler Monday through Saturday from IO a m. to 4 pin.
For more information, feel free to contect me at 629-5287.
Cheryl Krueger Humane Society of New Braunftb AreaToday in HistoryBy Tho Aaaocttead Pram
Today is Tuesday, Oct. 7, the 280th day of 1997. There are 85 days left rn the year
Today's Highlight in History:
Ob Oct 7,1777, the second Battle of Saratoga began during the American Revolution. (The British forces, under Gen. John Burgoyne, surrendered IO days later.)
Ob this date:
la 1769, the Stamp Act Congress convened in New York to draw up
colonial grievances against England In 1849, author Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore, Md., at age 40.
la 1868, Cornell University was inaugurated in Ithaca, N.Y.
la 1948, Artie Shaw and his Orchestra recorded Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust” for RCA Victor.
la 1949, the Republic of East Germany was formed.
In 1994, Marian Anderson became
the first black singer hired by the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
In I960, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy and Republican opponent Richard M. Nixon held die second of their broadcast debates.
In 1963, President Kennedy signed the documents of ratification for a nuclear test ban treaty with Britain and the Soviet Union.
In 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America adopted its film-rating system, ranging from “G” for ‘‘general” audiences to “X” for adult patrons only
In 1982, the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical "Cats,” featuring the. popular song “Memory,” opened on Broadway.
In 1989, Palestinian gunmen hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in the Medaenanean widi more than 400 people aboard.
Tea years aga: President Reagan's
advisory commission on AIDS was left seemingly in disarray as is chairman, Dr. W. Eugene Mayberry, and its vice chairman, Dr. Woodrow A. Myers Jr., resigned.