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February 20, 2013     Hays Free Press
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Hays Free Press February 20, 2013 THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "Some of them have started thinking about the consequences and all the little things where they couM get caught" -Jolene Richlen, Lehman forensics teacher Page 3A er, can spare an N'ehemiah Griego was angry. He got angrier, and angrier, and then he got a gun. Or two. On Jan. 19, a day when firearms ad- vocates staged "Guns Across America" events, the 15-year-old Albuquerque boy shot dead all five members of his family. Horrific, yes. But one thing: It could have been worse. Reportedly the teen contemplated shooting up a nearby Wal-Mart. Something happened. Maybe his girlfriend convinced him to confess. Maybe a kind word outside his family's church did it. It has a skate park, and in the hours after the shootings it provid- ed hospitably familiar faces including a friendly security guard who spoke to the teen. Whatever the reason, he took au- thorities to his home, showed them the bodies, then showed them the murder weapons- owned by his parents - including a fully loaded .223-caliber semiautomatic. In the weeks since the Sandy Hook horrors, Americans haven't been able to agree about much. Wait. That's not true. Some conservatives and gun lovers have turned veritably evangelical about mental health. The same people who would look the other way at the dime's being saved when services are cut from mental health services now say, "This is where we should be looking for answers, not blaming guns." It's time for progressives, who have always urged more proactive approach- es to crime prevention, to take them up on.that ....... Let's say that when he was in middle school Nehemiah Griego had been in a program aimed at helping rein in ado- lescent anger, one that showed good success in helping at-risk teens, and he was one of those. Would it have been worth it? More than we could ever imagine. Well, some good people have been imagining this across our land, and get- ting good results. And people ought to start listening, particularly policy mak- ers who make budget decisions. Consider one player in Austin, the Council for At-RiskYouth - CARY. It works to get to angry kids just like Ne- hemiah Griego. It has a program called ART - Aggression Replacement Training - at five middle schools for disciplinary referrals, most commonly for bullying. After a two-semester program that involves service projects, parental involvement and a lot of anger man- agement, it has shown pretty dramatic improvement in students' grades, at- tendance and discipline. A study found that 60 percent of middle-school bullies are destined to have criminal convictions by age 24. CARY didn't invent any magic it plies. Others know what works. Intervention does. What CARY does have is support from a city-Austin - and a county -Travis County- both pitching in $200,000 a piece annually. CARY estimates that ART costs $750 per student. It cites a study estimating it costs Texas $125,000 a year to incarcer- ate a juvenile. These advocates for at-risk students are calling on the Texas Legislature to set aside one percent of the $20 billion the state spends on juvenile and crimi- nal justice and to replicate programs in schools that help young people manage their anger. Mental health? CARY has found that 20 percent of these children have emo- tional disabilities. School accountabil- ity? (Nothing seems to stir lawmakers like "school accountability.") These are our most likely dropouts, most likely classroom disruptions - oh, yes, and most likely killers. Amid the discussions about gun control and whatever else society might do to avoid more Sandy Hooks, more Auroras; more Nehemiah Griegos, CARY executive director Adrian Moore wrote Presiderrt Barack Obama urging a new look at intervention programs aimed at juvenile delinquency and anger man- agement. "Too much of our direction fixates on capacity-building to 'help strengthen the juvenile justice system,' while not adequately addressing prevention and early intervention programs," he wrote. No truer words could be spoken. With all the verbiage sprayed in the air about preventing deeds like those in New- town, Aurora and Albuque1:que, surely we can agree on something like this, and find a few pennies to do it better. Longtime Texas newspaperman lohn Young lives in Colorado. jyoungcolumn@gmail.com "wonder ifWayne LaPierre of the Na- tional Rifle Association ever reads the .newspapers, watches any television, or listens to the radio. I guess he must not listen closely, or else he is so blinded by weapons manufacturers that he can- not understand that guns don't always stop bad guys. LaPierre says there should be trained school officers in schools. Really? La Pierre is not comprehending what has recently happened in our nation in the last couple of week. Good guys with guns were not able to stop some of the violence, used some bad judgment in using the weapons, or actually used the weapons to do harm. The most glaring example of good guys being killed by a weapon happened right here in Texas. A veteran known for being an accurate sniper in the military was killed at a firing range- by another veteran. Does that sound like we should have veterans in schools armed with weapons? The airwaves last week were filled with a police standoffin California. A former police officer, who had been fired by the Los Angeles police years ago, went on a shooting spree, having written a manifesto. He killed civilians and police officers and wounded many others. LETTERS According to news reports, hundreds of rounds of ammunition had been used before the fugitive took his own life after setting on fire ~e building he was in. Leading up to that confrontation, there was a manhunt. Again, we saw trained police personnel firing their weapons at the wrong people. Two ve- hicles that the police thought contained the fugitive were fired upon, wounding one person. Trained personnel making a judgment that proved to be wrong. It happens. The last example happened in a Delaware court house. The assailant barged in, opened fire and two people before being killed by the police officers on duty. The police stopped further bloodshed, but not before the gunman shot two people. My examples are not indictments of police officers or military personnel, nor am I saying that everyone in those professions would do the same. I am pointing out that it is ludicrous to think having an armed person in every school is the answer to mass killing. All of these people were trained and have experi- ence. But having all of that did not keep two former military personnel who were armed and two policemen who were armed from dying. Having experience did not keep police officers firing at the wrong people. So, do we really want a teacher in the classroom who has taken only a course in weapon safety to actu- ally carry a weapon into the classroom? When military and police experts have problems, can we really say a teacher can do as well? There must be better ways to stop all the incidents. The more we do to reduce violence, the more humane we are. I believe in Second Amendment rights. But even the Supreme Court has ruled that there can be limitations. All rights have limitations. Everyone having total and complete freedom means having no freedom at all. That is especially true when it comes to gun ownership. Mr. LaPierre needs to learn that. jdlinden@satx.rr.com joins legal AFttorney General Greg Abbott on eb. 13 announced Texas had oined 10 other states in a legal challenge to a federal law, the Dodd- Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The preamble to the 848-page law states its purpose: "To promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and trans- parency in the financial system, to end 'too big to fall,' to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial ser- vices practices, and for other purposes." Abbott, however, said the law "is bad for banks, harmful to businesses and worse for consumers who want to borrow money. It gives too much power to the federal government - and puts taxpayer dollars at risk. Under this law, unelected federal bureaucrats can uni- laterally liquidate financial institutions in which the state invests taxpayer dol- lars. The State of Texas could be denied basic due process rights and taxpayers' dollars could recklessly be put at risk," Abbott said. Over the last few months, The Associ- ated Press and other national media entities have noted that Abbott, on behalf of the state, has sued the Obama administration more than two dozen times since ]anuary 2009. Complaints in the many federal lawsuits to which Tex- as has been party vary widely, includ- ing such topics as health care reform, offshore drilling, voter identification, redistricting, air-quality regulations and school prayer. SURVEY SPELLS OUT NEEDS Members of the 83rd Texas Legisla- ture, in crafting a state budget for fiscal years 2014-2015, will know what's on the minds of people with disabilities. On Feb. 13, the governor's office post- ed funding priorities as expressed in a survey of 1,131 citizens who responded to a survey conducted in the third quarter of 2012 by the Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities. Respondents ranked issues and gave open-ended input on any issue im- portant to them. Some of the highest- CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS ranking issues expressed in the survey include: Access to efficient and quality healthcare (expressed by 90.1 percent of respondents); Access to affordable healthcare (89.9 percent); Ensure that emergency notification and warnings are provided in multiple formats, including formats that are ac- cessible to people who are blind, deaf, hard-of-hearing, or use American Sign Language (65.7 percent); Increased employment opportuni- ties for people with disabilities (85.6 percent); Accessible evacuation transporta- tion (84.9 percent); Adequate, efficient Special Educa- tion programs, services and procedures (84.7 percent). Also: Emergency planning processes that include people with disabilities (84.2 percent); Ensure appropriate (educational) accommodations are available during testing (83.2 percent); Education of employers about dis- ability rights law related to employment (62.3 percent); Accessible post-disaster housing (82.2 percent); Integrate people with disabilities in the planning process for emergencies at the State and local level (82.0 percent); More resources and support for family caregivers, including respite services (80.0 percent); and Strengthening existing anti-bullying laws in schools related to students with disabilities (79.1 percent). DNA DATABASE IS CREDITED Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, on Feb. 14 recognized the CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) database for achieve- ments. The CODIS section of the DPS Crime Laboratory Service received a unit cita- tion for recent accomplishments. Nota- bly, in November, CODIS registered the 10,000th cold hit, ranking fourth among the states in the number of hits, the DPS reported, and explained that "cold hits" are unexpected matches between DNA of known criminal offenders with biological evidence from crime scenes. Since 1998, the DPS CODIS Lab has helped solve more than 640 homicides, 3,300 sexual assaults, 4,200 burglaries, 550 robberies and hundreds of other crimes in Texas and other states, Mc: Craw said. FREIGHT PANEL IS FORMED For 10 consecutive years, the Texas Transportation Commission reported earlier this month, Texas has been ranked as the leading exporter in the nation with more than $251 billion in goods reaching consumers worldwide. Recognizing the role freight plays in Texas, the commission recently established a Freight Advisory Commit- tee. The panel of experts is to serve as a forum for agency transportation deci- sions affecting freight mobility. VETERAN GIVEN STATE BURIAL Highly decorated former U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, author of the book "American Sniper," was buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin on Feb. 12. Kyle, 38, and fellow veteran Chad Littlefield, 35, died of gunshot wounds suffered at a shooting range in north Texas on Feb. 2. A suspect is in custody. Thousands of citizens turned out to pay their respects along the 200-mile route of the funeral procession that began in Kyle's home city of Midlothian and ended at the state cemetery. Ed Sterling works for the Texas Press Association and follows the Legislature for the association. edsterling@texaspress.com COMMENTS FROM THE WEBSITE The Chief deserves all our re- spect and gratitude for years of dedicated service. His service was seldom at convenient times, many a time it was all night or most of it. And drawing safe and effective service out of the mishmash of volunteers for many years was an additional expectation you don't understand unless you lived it, at structure fires and prairie fires and ugly wreck scenes. Things have changed with a paid staff, making things easier in some ways and more difficult in others. And working with the ESD is a challenge, but not because they don't know the work, but because they are charged with protecting the myriad interests of the taxpay- ers. Nobody's role in this setup is easy... - John Reilly on "Kyle Fire Chief calls its quits" Council went into executive ses- sion to discuss essentially "noth- ing" about a couple of legal cases over water. And while in there, the city attorney discussed his goals, direction and ideas for his depart- ment. Why on earth are goals, di- rection and ideas for a department considered under "attorney-client" privilege? LOL Must be some ter- rible secret here/Geez. The good citizens of Ky/e get to hear other department heads talk about the goals, direction and ideas for their departments. Looks like this guy's department is something akin to the C/A! Makes you wonder if Goal No. I is some kind of coup d'etat .... - Lila Knight on "Access denied: City manager left out of execu- tive session" MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Publisher Cyndy Slovak-Barton NEWSROOM Editor Cyndy Slovak-Barton csb@haysfreepress.com Spo~sRepo~er MosesLeoslll Features & Education Editor Kim Hilsenbeck kim@haysfreepress.com Staff Repo~er AndySevilla Community Columnists Sandra Grizzle Pauline Tom Columnists Bartee Haile Clint Younts Will Durst John Young Danny Tyree Proofreaders Jane Kirkham OFFICE MANAGER Connie Brewer business@haysfreepress.com ADVERTISING Tracy Mack tracy@haysfreepress.com Dioni Gomez ads@haysfreepress.com CIRCULATION/CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam paper@haysfreepress.com PRODUCTION Production Mgr. David White Assistant Designer Melinda Helt Distribution Gigi Hayes pete Sizemore Contact Us: news@haysfreepress.com business@haysfreepress.com FAX: 512-268-0262 BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 www.haysfreepress.com 113 W. Center Street Kyle, Texas 78640