THE SALINA JOURNAL OP-ED SATURDAY, MAY 30, 1998 C3 T CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Time to bring God out of the closet Listen to children who have made a 'deal with the devil' I n what has become a recurring national nightmare, more young students have died at the hands of an angry classmate on school grounds. ; How many does that make ; now? ; Who is to blame? Everyone ' has a theory. Some say it is the fault of , guns in the hands of kids. Get rid of guns and | the killing will * 1 stop. But just ' last week some 'other young people killed a classmate by ; hanging her ! from a tree and '. then bashing ; her head in "with a rock. In another recent ' episode, stu- ' dents were apprehended while making plans to bomb T CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Bean futures: An investment alternative! RON BOWELL For The Salinajournal their school. There has to be more to it than guns. Some people blame parents. But, in the Oregon case, the young killer's parents had taken most of the steps prescribed by our society. They provided a good, stable home and had the kid in therapy. What else could they have done? Some are blaming the schools. They say that if schools had done a better job of diagnosis and had not expelled the young man, all this might never have happened. How long will it be before someone says that educators should have done more to bolster his self-esteem? One wonders what we will put onto our teachers' plates next. Some are blaming the media (MTV, movies, television, etc.). But while there is legitimate cause for concern about the influence of violent entertainment, it could be said that lots of people watch the same stuff and never go off the deep end. Social problems are often like a complex puzzle. Success comes only when we put together the right combination of pieces. That's why it is sad, even negligent, that the most important piece of the puzzle has been ignored in the quest for a solution to these tragedies. Just after last week's events in Oregon, one of the major net' works assembled a panel of "experts" to discuss the incident on a morning news show. There was a media critic, an educator, a psychiatrist and a politician. They were all pointing the finger at someone else as they did their dance around the subject of responsibility. And, of course, they all needed more money. But there was one discipline noticeably absent from .this televised discussion about murder and mayhem. There was no theologian, pastor or priest. Why is that? Why has no one inquired as to the gods this young shooter served? Why does no one seem to care what God thinks? I will tell you why: bedause the major network news organizations have no use for the things of God. They get their impressions of religion from watching movies like "The Exorcist," "The Apostle" or "Elmer Gantry." When it comes to social problems like murder, drugs, AIDS, teen-age pregnancy, etc., the presumption seems to be that if we can not educate it away, psychoanalyze it away, or legislate it away — then there is no solution. How arrogant of us to leave God out of the equation. In this post-Christian society, a generation of youngsters sanitized of any official public reference to God is coming of age and it isn't a pretty picture. Less than 20 years ago we were handing out Bibles in school. Now we are handing out condoms. Since 1960 we have watched as one court decision after another has cheapened life and stifled the free public exercise of religion. In the process, the very same courts have opened the floodgates of pornography, permissiveness and violence. Now the chickens have come home to roost. It is time to pray. It is time we brought God out of the closet and back into the public arena. It's time we gave God a place at the table in our public discussions. It's time we stopped treating God as the only taboo s'ubject in our public schools. It's time we stopped marginalizing God with our personal and private religions. Many of these young shooters have talked about "making a deal with the devil." Maybe we should listen to them. Perhaps they are speaking more than just idle words. It could well be they know more about their own motivations than either the agnostic media or the unbelieving public are willing to accept. They may also be supplying us with the missing piece of the puzzle. • Ron Bowell is an Abilene pastor and a member of the Salina Journal Board of Contributing Editors. At least, if this market goes into the tank, you will still have something to play with A s the Dow Jones industrial average flirts with 10,000 points, investors continue to seek double-digit returns and further avenues toward improved diversity in their portfolios. Performance and yield throughout much of the '90s has been less a function of P/E ratios, and more related to a tremendous abundance of available, investable cash. Invariably, most experts are pointing to an unprecedented shift in assets being transferred from the estates of Depression Era Babies to the Baby Boomers of my generation. Climbing into the picture just under the Big Boys' radar screen, a new breed of investment vehicle is emerging as a possible secondary investment alternative. Theoretically not as safe as Treasury bills or bonds, people from all across the nation are beginning to recognize its value and are taking the plunge. These creatures of commerce are as diverse and as unique as one might find in joint ventures, and could render new balance to anyone's life. Can you guess what they are? They're not real estate investment trusts, nor pork bellies, nor mutual funds. Nope, the answer is Beanie Babies. That's right, $5 Beanie Babies. Beanie Babies are bean-filled bundles of delight (available locally at several retail T LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL TOM WILBUR For The Salina Journal stores) and their popularity nationwide would be hard to surpass, as younger investors look for warmer, fuzzier investments than the feel of a stock certificate. With names like Spot and Steg Goldie and Ally, more than 100 varieties of these bean-filled bags are showing great promise and excellent potential. Several of the original Beanies are trading as high as $1,000 each. Not a bad return on an original $5 investment. Arguably, it could be a fad. But I'd offer this retort — don't discount the value of a quality product delivered at a reasonable price, in restricted quantities. Once they've made so many of a particular Beanie, they "retire" it. In essence, this means no more will be made, and it becomes a collector's item. As evidence of the potential force with which Beaniedom derives its energy, I'd point out that few households are without one. At least, few households with children. Even the Internet knows no champion as great as the Beanie Babies web site www.ty.com, a heavily visited place. I'm going to amaze you with the following statistic — as most of you are aware, many Internet home pages have a built-in counter to keep track of the number of times the page is accessed (also known as "hits"). In the relatively short period of time that Beanie Babies have been in existence, their web site counter has registered more than 1.5 billion hits! I am not making this up. Incredulously, I subtracted last Monday's counter from Tuesday's, and found that more than a million people are dialing in each day. Admittedly, most Internet visitors are younger people. But even the most sophisticated corporations recognize the purchasing influence power of children. And others might be somewhat impressed by the value of: a return on investment in the hundreds of percent. - •' - j« This past week, after a busy day at worK,' K found the following message scrawled qjr-a legal pad, and stuck under my pillow as.-1 retired for the evening: Dad, I would really like a Princess Diana beanie, and I found one for only $85.1 love you. •-", '•• Love, Brooke From that perspective, it sounds like a gpOd deal to me. •'•* Of course, if you're a real fuddy duddy, you could invest in he Beanie Babies world-wide marketing firm, Cyrk Inc., (CYRK) currently selling at about $11.25/share on the NASDAg. Its price, quite conveniently, is also postjjd prominently each day right in the center of we ty.com Web page. »5* «< It is amazing to me that a stock price wqHf(f*| be quoted on a Web page of this type, given-thei demographics. But, once again, we must revfiP* it the power of influence. ^ Personally, I think a quick trip to Carroll's ' Hallmark downtown with my daughter is a lot more fun than getting all caught up in all that stock business. At least we'll have something tangible to hold onto if the Big Boys and the-j Big Board with the Big Investments take the Big Dive. So let go of a few beans, and plunge into Beanie Babies. Hmmm ... I wonder if the world is ready for Beanie Babies options? • Tom Wilbur is a Salina banker and a member of the Salina Journal Board of Contributing Editors. A pleasure to see good news in the newspaper I would like to compliment the Salina Journal's news department for three fine articles printed in the last few days. The first one was a picture of the Emmanuel Christian School football players kneeling on the turf praying for one of the injured players of their opponents ("First Class," May 24). What a beautiful act of true sportsmanship. We see so little of that in the sports world today. The article on the school and its first graduating class was a very inspirational story of a very fine school and the students who get a Christian education. The second photo and news story were about a good friend, Jim Trepoy ("Honoring the Fallen," May 25). Jim exemplifies everything that is good about America. He loves his God, his family and his country. To find a more dedicated American you could search the whole country over. Jim served his country in three wars and did so with great distinction. I personally am proud to call this gentleman my friend and I respect what he stands for. The third story was in the paper on May 26 with several articles and pictures about some of the Memorial Day activities in Salina, in Kansas and in our country. Thank you for these three heartwarming stories. I hope to read more like these in the future in the Salina Journal. — BOB HANSMANN Salina Stranger did a good deed. Every day the paper is full of violence, gangs, murder, drugs, etc., and the positive gets left out. Saturday I went to the mall here in Salina. While walking up to the mall, I saw a boy lying on the pavement and a man running to his attention. The boy's ankle had been run over by his brother's car. This guy took over. He settled the boy down, took off his shoe before swelling set in and had his wife call 911. He kneeled down and held the boy's leg up until EMTs came. He kept the boy calm and also kept his brother calm, who was frantic because he was driving. .The man stayed there until the ambulance drove away. People like that make the world a better place to live and thankful people still care. I didn't get the man's name, but thank you for caring. — J. JONES Manhattan Uplifting news What good news on your front page article "First Class"! It was uplifting to see one football team pray for another injured player. Following several tragic school shootings, this gives us new hope. My pastor referred to this as "One in Christ." Thanks for sharing. — JO LARSEN Mankato Let us know :' Letters to the Salina ^ Journal are welcome but, like everything else in the newspaper, they are subject to being edited for space, style and taste. All letters must be signed. Please include a daytime telephone number for confirmation. When sending e-mail, please use plain text, not attachments. The e-mail address is: email@example.com Reg- Sole' Sofas, Chairs & Recliners Nattuzi Navy Leather Loveseat ..... $1 ,859 Leather Ottoman ............................ $700 Lane Tan Capretto Sofa .................. $995 Armless Decorator Chair .......... . ..... $599 Navy & Tan Wing Chair ................ $465 Plaid Broyhill Loveseats (your choice) ............................. $919 Lane Tan Rocking-Reclining Loveseat ................................. $1,260 Lane Bomber Leather Recliner ......... $849 Glider Rockers ............................... $289 $499 $849 $449 $199 "MasterCard! 90 Days Interest Free Open Sunday 1:00-5:00 Weekdays 9:00-5:30 Saturday 9:00-5:00 1930 SOUTH NINTH "SAUNA, KS Cash & Carru Only u-Haul u-Savc i-Lose Table & 4 Chairs with Leaf (Floor Sample) Reg. $609 Sale $399 ft/o Delivery At This Price "Read your newspaper every day. 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