New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung from New Braunfels, Texas on January 25, 1998 · Page 5
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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung from New Braunfels, Texas · Page 5

New Braunfels, Texas
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 25, 1998
Page 5
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Herald-Zeituna n Sundav. January 25.1998 fl 6A STREET TALK: Should someone go to jail for wearing an offensive t-shirt? "No, because off freedom of speech. Something offensive isn't necessarily obscene. So should they go to jail for an obscene t-shirt? That's an issue that needs to be addressed." —June Torkelson of New Braunfels "No, they shouldn't go to jail, but they should not be allowed to wear an offensive t- shirt." —Maggie Foster of Liberty, Mo., a winter resident of New Braunfels "We as parents have the responsibility to uphold the morality of our children. My daughter likes Marilyn Manson, but I would never left her wear a t-shirt like that out in public. But no, (he) shouldn't go to jail." —Carmela Cessna of New Braunfels "No, 1 don't think so. Wearing clothes is self expression. If someone has a problem with the clothes, they should ask you to remove it or leave their company, or turn it inside out." —Tamara Grier of Marion "No one should go to jail for wearing an offensive t- shirt. It's his right to be able to wear it." —Abel Villalobos of New Braunfels A mother's words Olga Schroeder submitted a statement to the Herald-Zeitung concerning the recent arrest of her son John Schroeder for wearing an allegedly obscene t-shirt. Here is her statement: • It is undoubtedly true that all Americans do not agree what constitutes good taste. However, I believe that all Americans recognize that the right of freedom of expression is the cornerstone of a free and democratic society. • I find it unfortunate that this incident has placed my son in the glare of media exposure, nonetheless, it is with full faith in the fundamental fairness of our justice system that I state I believe my son's position will be validated by the court. • Furthermore, as Gandhi wrote, "The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires changes of the heart." And Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (and/or women) to stand by and clo nothing." • Finally, I want to thank the community of New Braunfels and all others who have shown support for my son and our fight to vindicate his First Amendment rights. —Olga Schroeder Obscene From page 1A tions that can result in a disorderly conduct charge, a Class C misdemeanor. If convicted, Schroeder could face a fine up to $500. Olga Schroeder described her son as "publicity shy" and said the recent siege of media coverage had been difficult. However, she maintained her son was not guilty of a criminal act. "We have nothing to apologize for," Schroeder said. "My son has not committed a crime." In Miller vs. California, the Supreme Court provides a specific three-prong test for obscenity: community standards, specific nature of the material and the material taken as a whole. Boyer said he believed the case would hinge on the specific nature of the material — whether the shirt depicted sexual conduct or a sexual act in a patently offensive way. Under the Texas Penal Code section 48322, displaying obscene material and recklessly displaying it constitutes an offense. Amber Liddell, a member of the ACLU San Antonio Chapter, will represent Schroeder. No evidence or facts will be presented Tuesday, according to Boyer. Schroeder simply will appear before, municipal judge. David. Perkins to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. • Diana Philip, ACLU regional director, called Schroeder's arrest "criminalizing youth." "What disturbs me about this case is that this kid actually got arrested in contrast to other individuals in Texas who receive Class C misdemeanor tickets and sent on their merry way," Philip said. Boyer said the case differed from a similar one in July, when 17-year-old David Gonzalez was arrested at Wal-Mart. Gonzalez was charged with disorderly conduct because his T-shirt depicted a nude woman, an upside-down crucifix and a profane slogan about Jesus Christ. Boyer said since the police did not take Gonzalez's shirt or get names of offended parties, prosecutors could not build a strong case. But the Schroeder case was much different, because police had custody of the T-shirt and names of complainants, he said. Letters to the Editor Who is this man? Singer's reputation often obscures truth From staff reports Who is Marilyn Manson? Just ask any high school or college student, or tune into 99.5 KISS, a San Antonio rock station that plays Manson's music. Said to derived his name from a movie star and a serial killer, the controversy of Marilyn Manson, a.k.a. Brian Warner, hit close to home recently. New Braunfels High School student John Schroeder was arrested on Jan. 15 for obscene display for wearing a Manson t-shirt into H-E-B. Manson's music —and act — is controversial, but that's what is helping him sell records, according to a San Antonio deejay. "He's misunderstood," said "Slats" of 99.5 KISS- FM in San Antonio. Rumors that Manson's show includes animal sacrifices and rape could not be true, Slats said. Otherwise Manson would not be allowed to continue his act — he would be in jail, the deejay comments Manson played at the Live Oak Civic Center in Universal City in January 1997, but was banned from Ozzfest in San Antonio in May 1997 because of a controversial show beforehand in New Jersey, radio personnel said. "He was supposed to appear here, but did not," said Slats, adding that Manson's show was canceled. "It's a very raucous rock show ... but no one gets hurt, no one gets injured, no one dies; everyone just goes home tired." Slats compared Manson's show to KISS — not the radio station, but a controversial band in the 1970s that performed blood spitting and fire breathing at many of its concerts. sv'i vJhe longevity of Manson's career might be in question, not because of the nature of his music but of the quality, according to some. "We've got to hear what the next album sounds like to see if he's (Manson) got any staying power," said Slats. KISS usually plays Manson's music in the evening, he said. According to a Manson website, Warner was born to a working-class family in Canton, Ohio, and discovered escapism through the rock music of KISS, Alice Cooper and others. Manson calls for kids to be their own gods and reject Christianity, although he maintains he doesn't worship the devil. At a February concert in Lubbock, Manson tore up a Bible and had the crowd spit on him. Manson has been known to expose himself on stage and reportedly was arrested twice on charges of indecent exposure. Teen's arrest makes sense Police action example of good working government By CHARLES MOTZIV Special to the Herald-Zeitung Our predominantly Christian community has always held conservative, yet tolerant, views toward individual ideals and behavior. This broad-minded conservatism has attracted "good quality" growth and helped maintain the quality of life which our residents enjoy. Our city's ordinances are a reflection of the views of the majority of it's citizens. While we are not a perfect community, the quality of life we enjoy is a direct result of the city council listening to and acting on the will of it's citizens. We do not have the same crime rate (per capita) or nature of criminal activities as our neighbors (San Antonio, Seguin and San Marcos). This is due, in part, to the proactive, common sense approach The Schroeder boy's recent arrest for disorderly conduct in violating the city's obscenity ordinance is not a violation of his rights to deviant, or unacceptable, behavior as defined by our elected officials, law enforcement and the citizenry. The Schroeder boy's recent arrest for disorderly conduct in violating the city's obscenity ordinance is not a violation of his rights, as has been implied by the San Antonio news media and other Auslanders, but is an example of good, working government in action. The will of the majority has been heard, enforced and das leben schon continues. 6 T-shirt case' is nauseating Supreme Court puts limits on free speech By DONALD SPENRATH Special to the Herald-Zeitung If this were a weekly column, it might well be titled "Getting It Off My Chest" or "I Can't Bite My Tongue Any Longer"! So, here goes! "The r New : B'raUrifels : ¥-Sh'ift } I;n "crisis" i's bhe'b'f tHe'rn'6's'f ; ''"'' "' nauseating I have experienced in 3+ years as a Comal County resident. I will grant young man Schroeder that the offensive F- word on his apparel is my very favorite expletive. Nonetheless, it is not the term I use to greet those who are strangers ... who might later become friends. And, I've NO USE for most rock groups! I believe it was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who wrote in a decision that the right of free speech (expression) did not cover yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater. Yet, today many of our young folk feel that freedom of expression Olga Schroeder should not even allow her son to OWN such a piece of apparel much less wear it in public in her accompaniment. "g'ua'ra'h tee's 'them the God-given right to expose themselves and defecate in the middle of the street. Olga Schroeder should not even allow her son to OWN such a piece of apparel much less wear it in public in her accompaniment. She should be taken out and have the back of her lap whipped with a wet rope! And she further has the unmitigated gall to invoke the Klan in her son's name. Everyone here knows that the KKK busted out on their membership driver here in New Braunfels because they were far too liberal for us! What's the big deal? Dear Editor: I strongly believe, that the laws in our country have to be better explained to its citizens and should be punishable for all and not just for some. All this excitement about that young man, who wore the T- Shirt in H-E-B is in my opinion going a little too far. How a four letter word can make such a big story not only here in town, but all over the country. When that is such a bad word, why are the people who sold the T-shirt not arrested? Why are people allowed to make these garments? To me it makes absolutely no sense, to arrest a young man for wearing a garment he had bought honestly in a store. When this garment is not allowed to be worn, than the store should have never sold this T-shirt to a minor, what he was, when buying it. I am slightly irritated with our laws here, there are not many movies in which the dialogue is, what I would call clean, and young children are allowed to watch them. We are having many good laws in our country, but nobody follows them. It depends who breaks them to be convicted. Why did the ladies not approach the young men and ask him to please to turn the shirt over? Why did they have to call the security officers? Now please correct me when I am wrong, but I always believed, that an off-duty policeman only was allowed to arrest somebody, or interfere, when a crime was committed, which in this case wasn't done. I am a retired teacher and know, that the wearing of these garments isn't allowed in school, but I have never heard that it wasn't allowed in town. Why do we allow young women to run around in dresses and skirts which hardly cover their behind or in blouses which show half their breasts? People would tell me that is the fashion. Which still doesn't make me like this clothing better. Why are our movies allowed to be so full of dirty language? 1 have heard young children using these words and when I asked them if they knew what they said: "Stop it," was their answer. I told them only grownups are allowed to use these words, because I wasn't sure what language was used at their home. Come to think about it, the people are the ones who decide if a word is a good one or bad one. While in England, working in a hospital, I had just delivered a little boy, when the door opened and one of my colleagues was telling me: "The proud father is waiting." "Just a moment, as soon as 1 have cleaned up the bloody mess," was my answer. The new mother exploded laughing, while my colleague came into the room and closed the door in a hurry. "What did you say? Don't repeat it, that is a very bad word and don't use it ever again." I looked at the patient and she said, "Yes." I couldn't believe my ears. 1 had to ask: "What would you call this?" It sounds okay, but it is a bad word," was the new mother's answer. Many years have passed since that day, and every time I hear Prince Charles using this word I have to smile and I am sure, that by now, bloody is no longer a bad word in England, only for me where ever I am. The charges should be dropped and no fine paid. Lieselotte Mourn New Braunfels Police act like dictators Dear Editor: Once again the New Braunfels Police Department have promoted themselves to the level of dictators. If the arrest of an individual found wearing "questionable" phrases on his t-shirt doesn't make you nervous, it should. I do not understand why this person had to be arrested and sent to jail. It is obvious that the local police are trying to make an example out of this young man; to send a message to the rest of the community that the police will not tolerate such acts. What would be the harm in asking the young man to please remove his shirt while in the store? The article even stated that he was wearing another shirt underneath the one described as offensive. I understand that H-E-B has a right to control the environment of its store; so why wasn't this situation handled by a member of H-EB's staff? There are many things that can be considered offensive that occur inside of grocery stores. Coughing onto produce is one thing I find offensive, yet I do not contact the police when this occurs. Breast feeding a child in the store is another that I find offensive, but instead of complaining 1 look the other way. The police within this city (for the most part) appear to me to be on a power trip. They need to spend more time with the Comal County Sheriff's Deputies. The Sheriffs department seems to understand how to handle things in a more reasonable way, instead of going off on a young man for his appearance. Luke Bwgamy New Braunfels P.S. Since when does a child being arrested not concern the parents? Obviously, Detective Villarreal doesn't feel the mother should be involved. Isn't there any real crime in the city? Dear Editor: After living in New Braunfels for two years and then moving away, I hold very fond memories of the town and the people there. I always tell the people here in Graham, Texas, what a wonderful place it was to live and anyone who has the chance to visit should take advantage and go. I still believe those things, yet after a recent turn of events at the HE-B (where I often shopped) I was amazed that crime, violence and vandalism has all but disappeared. Everyone who has heard the news here in North Texas believes that it must have if the law enforcement officers have nothing better to do than to arrest a young man for bad taste. Last time I checked there were no laws against bad taste. It also astounds me that the town has become a place void of any constitutional rights. Freedom of speech, a basic right given to us by our forefathers. It was something the founders of your great town fought and gave their lives for, and while we have laws to protect us, it seems that some of those same laws, while made with good intentions, are taking away our basic rights to express who we are. The young man offered to take off his shirt if he was offending anyone, yet he was never given the chance. It would appear that if this young man so chose, he too could sue for the infringement of his rights. I would hope though that he would be happy with a public apology, although it would probably still take a lawyer to get that. In the officer's defense, I'm sure he started with good intentions but as the media covered, somewhere it become personal. I'm sorry for him. I'm sure he never expected to become the center of attention in our state's news. On another note, talk show host Oprah Winfrey is going on trial in North Texas for expressing her basic belief and opinion. It's really a shame when we are no longer allowed to voice our opinions (something we are all entitled to) without fear of being arrested or sued. I am so embarrassed for the place I used to call my home and obviously I got out in time before I too was arrested for voicing my opinions. Before we know it, Christians will no longer be able to publicly worship for fear of offending an atheist's rights. It's becoming a sad place we live in. I'm sure (from experience) that there will be those who will defend the officer's actions. That's fine. There are two sides to every story. But what we must agree on is this, we all have the right to voice our opinions, wear what we choose (bad taste or not), and live where ever we like without the fear of persecution. Just think. You could be next! Matylou Graham. Jivuj.

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