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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 13, 1982, New Braunfels, Texas Opinions Herald-Zeitung Dave Kramer, General Manager Robert Johnson, Editor Andy RooneyBombing run memories are warm, bittersweet There's just so much sentimental baggage you can carry through life. I’m not much for reunions. Anyone who has reached the age of 60 could easily spend the rest of his days just sitting around, remembering. I’m here at this old U.S. 8th Air Force Base near Bedford, England, though, because members of the 306th Bomb Group are having a reunion and I flew with them on the first U.S. bombing raid on Nazi Germany in February 1943. It’s sentimental baggage I carry easily and with great pride. It’s been 40 years now since these men flew their four-engined B-17 Flying Fortresses out of here. They’re the kind of men Americans like to think are typical Americans, but they're better than typical. They're special. A lot of World War II Air Force men are. It was a terrible war for them, although during this reunion they’re managing to recall a lot of the good things about it. It would be too sad if they didn’t. It was terrible because so many of them were killed. One evening they'd be sitting around their huts talking, worrying, playing cards and writing letters home. The next evening, if there had been a bombing mission that day, the bed next to theirs or the one next to that — and maybe both — might be empty, it’s former occupant, their pal, dead. Perhaps he had gone down in a parachute that caught fire. “Who burned Bailey?’’ Mac Finley Kantor wrote. “Was it you?” It was a great and terrible war for me because, as a young reporter for the Army newspaper, The Stars and Stripes, I was in a strange position. I came to this base often when the bombers went out, and when they returned — if they returned — I talked to the crews about what had happened. Then I’d return to london and write my story. I often felt ashamed of myself for not being one of them. I was having the time of my life as a newspaperman and they were fighting and dying. That’s how I came to fly with them just that once to Wilhelmshaven. It made me feel better about myself. looking out at the crumbling remains of the old runways at this airfield, I’m haunted by flashes of memory. Often the bombers came back badly damaged and with crew members dead or dying. In April of 1943,1 was here w hen they came back from a raid deep in Germany and one of the pilots radioed in that he was going to have to make an emergency landing. He had only two engines left and his hydraulic system was gone. He couldn’t let the wheels down and there was something even worse. The ball turret gunner was trapped in the plastic bubble that hung beneath the belly of the bomber. Later I talked with the crewmen who survived that landing. Their friend in the ball turret had been calm, they said. They had talked to him. He knew what they had to do. He understood. The B-17 slammed down bn its belly ... and on the ball turret John L. Hess Rachel Carson's worst fears On the 20th anniversary of Silent Si'iq. the Wall Street Journal published a front-page report on the creeping death of Chesapeake Bay. The coincidence was not intentional a hen has the Wall Street Journal ever stied an editorial tear for the environment'' but it was a tribute of a sort. Bachel Carson s book is a lyric account of the ravages of pesticides, and a vision of a silent spring when no birds would sing. It did for pollution what “Uncle Tom’s Cabin did for slavery that is, it sensitized a whole generation to the problem The book also stirred up a smoke screen of abuse from industr;. and its scientific publicists, some of whom still berate her as a quack She died in 1964, too soon to see her vindication. Yet the battle continues, with much the same arguments. We dump more chemicals than ever on the environment. They are always called harmless, and when they turn out to have unfortunate side effects, we are asked to consider the benefits against the costs. But the costs are always far down the line and hard to measure, if anybody cares to measure them. A .striking example is the flap over asbestos. When the Manville Corporation filed bankruptcy proceedings, it said its solvency was threatened by damage suits from people who inhaled its products many years ago. Manville said Uncle Sam ought to share the burden, because much of the asbestos was used in war work and because the government standards allowed workers to breathe deadly amounts of it. It proposed that a fund be set up to compensate victims at a reasonable rate. Fair-.' Many editorialists thought so. They overlooked the reason why juries have been handing down punitive damages. In the files of what used to be called Johns-Manville, plaintiffs found proof that the industry knew the danger as early as the 1920s, and campaigned successfully for decades to suppress the data, and keep official safety standards weak. A 1934 memo said: “It is the policy of Johns-Manville to opose any bill that attempted to include asbestos as compensable.” As late as the 1970s, the industry was fighting OSHA’s proposed standards for allowable asbestos in the air in factories. This is noted here not as an outrageous example of corporate wickedness but as reasonably typical of the reaction of any vested interest, be it a minor bureaucrat, to any immediate threat. Every safety measure, every effort to protect the environment, may be seen as limiting somebody’s potential profit. That’s why some “conservatives” — in quotes, please — oppose all such measures. When the movie “China Syndrome” suggested that a utility might risk a disaster by covering up hazards in a nuclear reactor, George Will was outraged. Nobody could be so stupid, he declared, in a column that appeared two days b* ore the Three Mile Island breakdown. On the 20th anniversary of “Silent Spring,” last Sept. 27, the Wall Street Journal described the assault of sewage and farm chemicals on that magnificent “protein factory,” the Chesapeake Bay. Rachel Carson would have wept. The bottom grass is gone from much of the bay, now turned muddy where it once flowed clear. The authorities debate whether ifs really all that bad, and what if anything should be done about it. The Enrivonmental Protection Agency itself is now in the hands of those who see conservation as something that stands in the way of somebody making a fast buck. But nature itself is on Miss Carson’s side. It confirms her warning that we are destroying our heritage. It remains for us to respond. Washington Today Reagan's anger an effective weapon By WALTER R MEARS AP Special Correspondent WASHINGTON — In the uses of righteous wrath, Ronald Reagan bows to no one. It has helped him win elections, reprimand a balky Congress and, now, silence a heckling conservative Republican. Mishandled, public anger can be hazardous to political health. A hair-trigger temper was one of the raps against Sen. Edmund S. Muskie when he sought and lost the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination. President Reagan’s anger is displayed sparingly, which makes it more effective when it shows. Strong language doesn’t serve the politician’s purpose. In his presidential campaign, Sen. George McGovern once, with good cause, insulted a harassing woman — but in language not fit for broadcast. Facing down youthful demonstrators in Binghampton, N.Y., in 1976, then-Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller gave them the gesture they were giving him, and created a controversy about his demeanor rather than theirs. When Richard M. Nixon was president, he used to get angry a lot. The White House transcripts are full of his rage. The political adage is that you don’t get mad, you get even. Reagan has mastered the art of doing both at once. On Wednesday, a hard-line conservative Republican heckled him in a White House speech to GOP candidates. Reagan has problems with New Right Republicans, who say he’s not conservative enough. Gary R. Arnold of Santa Cruz, Calif., broke into the speech to argue that. “We have a Tylenol taxation situation here, and we have a Reagan-mortis setting into the nation’s body politic,” Arnold said. Reagan said Arnold hadn’t uttered a truthful word, then set about defending his tax and foreign policies. with their comrade trapped inside it. There are funny stories, too. t-veryone here remembers the eccentric gunner Snuffy Smith, Sgt. Maynard Smith. He was an oddball kind of guy. but he did his job well in the air. The Air Force loved to give medals and they had good reason in Snuffy Smith's case. On one occasion, Henry Stimson, then called Secretary of War, came to England, and officials, thinking this would be a good time for publicity for the Air Force and the secretary, arranged to give Snuffy Smith the Medal of Honor. The whole entourage came to this base with the secretary and a dozen generals, but the hero was nowhere to be found. It turned out he was in the kitchen washing dishes. He was on RP, being disciplined for some minor infraction of the base rules. This reunion is a bittersweet experience. I^ast evening I had a drink at a bar where there was a gathering, and a strong-looking weather-beaten man came over and quietly said he’d like to buy me a drink. He’s a Nebraska farmer now. He had been the tail gunner on the Banshee, the B-17 I flew in over Wilhelmshaven. We’d been hit that day and it was a terrifying trip, but it made a good story for me. We laughed and talked together and he paid for the drink. As we lifted our glasses in a mutual toast, I noticed that two fingers on his right hand were missing. It often happened to crewmen who stuck by their guns while their hands froze. And he was buying me a drink. Mailbag Reader concerned with suspensions To the Citizens of New Braunfels: After reading the account of the school board meeting of Tuesday evening and the remark of the school board president about not wanting to reveal the specific facts of the case, I think it might be better if the people of the New Braunfels Independent School District knew some of the facts. To begin w ith, the girls had not been drinking, which can be attested to by the city policeman who was there. The beer in the car did not belong to the girls. The young man who put the beer in the car voluntarily went before the school board and told them that the beer was his and he put it in the car, expecting to pick it up later. If the beer had belonged to the girls and they had intended to consume it later, I am sure they would have felt guilty about having it in their possession and would have tried to hide it. As it w as, the beer was in plain sight of anyone who looked in the car. All of the girls are honor students and not one of them in all the years they have been in school has had a black mark against them.. This is supposed to be a democracy, but in this case the girls were judged guilty until proven innocent. In our courts of law, a person who has committed a crime is judged innocent until proven guilty. At the board meeting, the question presumably was “How do we know the girls didn’t intend to drink the beer later in the evening?” On the other hand, how did they know the girls had any intention of drinking the beer — especially since the beer did not even belong to them? I realize something needs to be done about the alcohol and drug situation in our schools all over the country, but I think this was a very poor way to handle this situation. A few days suspension — yes. Expulsion — no. In each case, I think all the facts should be considered, and that everything is not strictly either black or white — there are various shades of gray in each situation. If these girls were expelled for what happened to them in a very unfortunate situation, what are they going to do to someone who is actually caught drinking on the school premises or is found drunk there? I wonder how many students drive their parent’s car onto the school property with a six-pack or a can of beer in the car that belongs to the parents? I am sure this has happened many times, and the student could be totally innocent of any wrongdoing. I realize rules are rules and are meant to be enforced, but rules also need to be tempered with common sense and justice. Let’s fit the punishment to the crime in all cir cumstances, and not give the same punishment to a “maybe” situation as to a positive one. I am sure that our board members and school administrators would expect a fair trial if they were picked up for an infraaction of the law. Why shouldn’t our students be given the same consideration? Name withheld upon request Groups praised for cleanup work Residents of Comal County, particularly those along the Guadalupe River, appreciated the 6th Annual Guadalupe River clean-up held October 3; coordinated by the River Recreation Association of Texas. They were assisted by the Dallas Downriver Club, Houston Canoe Club. Ixme Star Sierra Club, Texas Trails Association, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of American, and many other volunteers. More than 200 people participated and donations were received from the following: Abbot’s Sales and Rentals, Alamo Coors (San Antonio), Budweiser Dist. (New Braunfels), Camp Hueco Springs, Canyon l.ake Ice Hole, Canyon l^ake Sanitation Service, Carlton’s Sausage, City of New Braunfels, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. (San Antonio), Comal County Commissioners Court, Dean Word Company, Divine Grocery, Bob & Jean’s Grocery, Gilligan’s Island, Goynes Canoe Livery (Martindale), Gruene Area River Coalition. Gruene River Property Owners Assoc., Handy Dan’s Ice (Austin), Lone Star Dist. (New Braunfels), Mission Ice (San Antonio), Mobile Chemical Co. (Tim Huep, Temple), Oma’s Sausage Haus, Pearl Beer Dist. (New Braunfels), Reddi Ice (Austin), River and I^akes Action Council, River Crest Drive-In, River Road Camp, River Valley Camp Ground, Sac-N-Pac Stores, Schlitz Beer Dist. (New Braunfels), Seven-Up Bottling Co. (Austin), Texas Canoe Trails, White Water Sports, and Wuest’s Grocery. Breakfast was provided by the Guadalupe Valley and River Assoc., Gruene Area River Coalition, Gruene River Property Owners Assoc., Lake Dunlap Property Owners, Coalition of Rivers Environment Protectors, and Rivers and I^akes Action Council. The evening meal was furnished by the Chamber of Commerce and Jaycees. A special thanks to everyone who helped. We hope next year’s clean-up job will have continued cooperation from everyone. Norris E. Flodine, President Guadalupe Valley & River Association Arnold kept interrupting. Reagan said he had thought the candidates were supposed to be Republicans. Arnold kept interrupting. Finally, flushed with anger, he told Arnold: “Shut up.” Hardly a new line, but punchy, coming from a conservative Republican president to a very conservative Republican congressional candidate. On the eve of his election to the White House, Reagan ran into hecklers at a campaign rally in San Diego, ignored them for a while, and then said, “Aw, shut up.” His crowd cheered. Your representatives. Gov. William P. Clements Jr. State Sen. W.E. Snelson Governor s Office Texas Senate Room 200 State Capitol P.O. Box 12068 Austin. Texas 78701 Austin, Texas 78768 Sen. John Tower Sen. Lloyd Bentsen United States Senate United State Senate Room 142 Russell Bldg. Room 240 Russell Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20510 Washington, D.C. 20510 ;