Page 4 Pharos-Tribune, Logansport, Indiana, Tuesday, March 15, 1988 Opinion The free exchange of ideas is the greatest protection of liberty. Heroin: It should not be legal Led by Representative Charles Wrangle (D., N. Y.), Congress continues to resist making heroin legal to use to ease the pain of the terminally ill. Some physicians, especially cancer specialists, might prescribe heroin to make a cancer patient's last months easier, letting him or her have a relatively clear mind instead of being too doped up to recognize family and friends or to enjoy incidents of affection and love as death approaches. Legalizing heroin for the terminally ill is, Mr. Wrangle argues, step one in legalizing all drugs. Some doctors and law enforcement officials also oppose the Compassion Pain Relief Act, sponsored in Congress by Representative Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) and Senator Daniel Inouye (D., Hawaii). They argue that other equally effective narcotics are available and that heroin in hospital and other pharmacies could escape into the streets. British doctors prescribe heroin for those of the terminally for whom they feel it indicated because of its effectiveness and relatively harmless side effects. Addiction is of no concern for or to a patient only months from death. The effectiveness of any powerful analgesic as a pain reliever varies from patient to patient, depending on circumstances and each patient's condition. How side effects affect a patient varies, too. As to any increase in illegal distribution, the amount of heroin which might be prescribed for terminal patients is too small to affect the quantity already available on the street. Both arguments in opposition to the bill are weak rationally, though with strong emotional appeal, Gut legislating is common in Congress, though that doesn't excuse it. The Waxman-Inouye bill is even less a threat than legislation to legalize marijuana smoking to ease the nausea of cancer patients undergoing chemo- or radiation therapy or to permit those few victims of glaucoma to see who can't otherwise be helped. Should drugs be "legalized?" No. Should it be legal to prescribe that drug most appropriate for treating a specific patient? Yes. Law to permit this should pass. Public Forum Opposes editorial I'm all for a well armed and trained police force who should be given bullet-proof vests. But your article did not tell the truth and added a piece on plastic guns which is just sad. 1. Cop killer bullets are not for sale to the public in the United States because of work done by the NRA and the manufacturers of ammunition in our country. Bullet-proof vests cannot stop all types of bullets which are used in hunting rifles, but how often is a hunting rifle used in a robbery? I think I could safely say not very often. 2. There are not any plastic guns for sale in the United States. A gun called the Glock 17 is only a gun with a plastic handle. The rest is made of steel. It is detected at airport metal detectors. The only true statements made by the writer of that article were: 1. Without bullets, guns are useless. 2. Ban the so-called plastic gun because it is a gun. My truth to that is an armed citizen can only be killed if they let it happen. Robin L. Buckman Rt.l Winamac Editor's Note: The letter is in response to a recent Pharos-Tribune editorial. Public Forum Policy AJ ETTERS intended for publication should be addressed to Public Forum, 517 E. Broadway, Logansport, Ind., 46947. Each letter must be signed and must include the writer's address and a telephone number where the author can be reached. The Pharos-Tribune reserves the right to edit letters for clarity, spelling errors and libelous statements and to limit the number of letters from an individual author. "Thank-you" letters are not accepted for publication. Public Forum letters must be limited to 400 words or less. Riding tie crest... Legislators' Addresses INDIANA HOUSE THOMAS WEATHERWAX - (District 24) Statehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, phone 1-800-382-9841 (toll free); 3012 Woodland Dr., Logansport, 46947; phone 1-219-753-3060. CLAIRE LEUCK - (District 25) Statehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, phone 1-800-382-9842 (toll free); Rt. 1, Box 203, Fowler, 47944. G.EDWARD COOK-(District 17) Statehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, phone 1-800-382-9841 (toll free); 622 Rex St., Plymouth, 46563. WALTERROORDA— (District 16) Statehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, phone 1-800-382-9841 (toll free); 40815thSt. S.E. DeMotte. RAYMOND MUSSELMAN — (District 23) Statehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, phone 1-800-382-9841 (toll free); Rt. 3, Box 103, Peru 46970. RICHARD REGNIER - (District 29) Statehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, phone 1-800-382-9842 (toll free) and 1-317-675-4928; 322 Columbia Ave., Tipton, 46072. JAMES L. DAVIS - (District 28) St alehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46202; phone 1-800-382-9842 (toll free); Rt. 4, Box 188, Frankfort, 46041, phone 1-317-659-3812. Jeffrey Hart Vietnam : Hollywood's got it all wrong udging by the Vietnam movies that are being produced in Hollywood — and by their critical reception — there seems to be a hard movieworld consensus that the war was meaningless, absurd, and immoral. We had three big Vietnam movies in the last couple of years. The biggest of all was Oliver Stone's "Platoon." This effort received four Academy Awards and earned around $100 million at the box office. The critics for the most part adored it. There then followed John Irvin's "Hamburger Hill" and Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket," both of which were commercial and critical successes. "Platoon," the earliest, demonstrates the technique all employ, with variations in style and nuance. "Platoon" is set in 1967on theCambodian border. All scenes are in effect close-ups. We have endless footage of American soldiers being blown up by a seemingly invincible enemy. The soldiers are sloppy, demoralized, pot-smoking. For them, fragging, that is murdering an officer, is no big deal. The close-up technique, which puts the slaughter and mayhem in the foreground, carries the message of meaninglessness. What, after all, is all of this about? Nothing, the movie implicitly says. Now it is not news that people get killed in wars. The same close-up technique could be applied to the Normandy beach-head or to Iowa Jima. Nowhere in' 'Platoon'' or in either of the other movies is there any hint that the U.S. had clear war aims in Vietnam. Under the terms of the SEATO treaty, which was ratified by the Senate and thus had the force of U.S. law, we came to the aid of an ally which was being over-run by local and North Vietnamese communist forces. The South Vietnamese did not desire to be conquered, any more than France did in 1940. So the war was far from "meaningless." Oliver Stone also cheats grossly, as anyone who knows anything about the course of the war must instantly recognize. His communist forces seem invincible, unlike the actual communist forces in Vietnam — which never won a significant engagement with our troops. Indeed, communist losses throughout were appalling. Their big offensive in 1975 succeeded only because all U.S. combat forces had been withdrawn by then. Oliver Stone also fakes his social history. In 1967, the U.S. forces were not smoking dope and behaving with general indiscipline. The drug and discipline problem arose four or five years later, when U.S. troops were withdrawn to supporting roles and had little to do except spend their money. That is a disease that afflicts all inactive armies, and was not peculiar to Vietnam. Why all this fakery? It is much to the point that Oliver Stone's previous movie was a propaganda job called "Salvador." In this the communist guerrillas are the good guys, the U.S. and government forces the black hats. Nothing much is mentioned, of course, about the Duarte government being democratically elected in internationally supervised elections. As Stone remarked in accepting his Oscar for "Platoon," he made the movie to try to make sure that we didn't repeat our Vietnam "mistake." He didn't mention Central America, but, then, he didn't have to. The other movies are in the same vein, with Stanley Kubrick adding his own special note of weirdness and insanity, as if the atmosphere of "The Shining" had been transferred to Vietnam. "The Hanoi Hilton," directed by Lionel Chetwynd, bombed critically and commercially. It's about the American prisoners who were tortured and otherwise brutally treated at the infamous Hoa IJD prison camp in Hanoi. The scenes of torture and so on do make for some monotony, though the substance of the movie is much more responsible in a historical sense than the efforts of Stone and the others. Just these conditions prevailed, as Admiral Stockdale's book amply demonstrates, even as Jane Fonda-type celebrities were assuring the men that they were being well treated. Stanley Kauf mann of the New Republic could not contain his rage, calling this movie "filth." I suppose the reflections are just tew painful, now that South Vietnam has become a branch of the Hoa Lo Prison. It's much more comfortable to think that the war was "meaningless,'' when precisely to prevent that from happening was the meaning of our effort there, and it would be more to the point to say that the political culture of Holly wood is "filth." Hart writes his column for King Features Syndicate. James J. Kilpatrick A worrisome win for the press ASHINGTON - In 281 B.C., as Plutarch tells the tale, King Pyrrhus of Epirus set out to conquer the Romans. He had 25,000 infantry, 3,000 horses and 20 elephants. In 279 the opposing forces met at Asculum. Pyrrhus won, but at terrible cost. An aide complimented him on the victory. "One more such victory," said the weary monarch, "and we are lost." It is a long way from the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome to the pornographic pages of Hustler magazine. Make the leap. We of the press won a victory, so to speak, in the U.S. Supreme Court a few days ago. Under the repulsive aegis of Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler, we won a victory over the Rev. Jerry Falwell of Lynchburg, Va. One more such victory and we may be lost. The facts of the case are well known. In its issue of November 1983, Hustler carried on its inside front cover what appeared to be a full-color ad for Campari liqueur. The company had been running a series of ads in which prominent people recalled "the first time" they had tasted Campari, Hustler's version was a parody, and a vicious parody at that. The mock advertisement purported to quote Falwell on the first time he had sexual intercourse. This was "during a drunken incestuous rendezvous with his mother in an outhouse." At the bottom of the ad, in the tiny type known as Surgeon General Light, appeared a notice: "Fiction: Ad and Personality Parody." Falwell sued on three grounds — invasion of privacy, malicious and willful libel, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The presiding judge dismissed the count on privacy; the trial jury strangely concluded that Falwell had not been libeled because the parody "could not reasonably be understood as describing actual facts or actual events." But the jury then awarded Falwell $200,000 in damages for the emotional distress he had suffered. Last week the high court overturned the judgment. In a unanimous opinion written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the court held that public figures may not recover damages for the distress that results from "speech that is patently offensive and is intended to inflict emotional injury." Rehnquist reasoned that the sort of robust political debate encouraged by the First Amendment is bound to produce speech that is critical of public figures. Inevitably, such speech "will not always be reasoned or moderate." It may be motivated by hatred or ill-will. It may be "slashing and one-sided." Since the dawn of the Republic, political cartoonists have attacked with drawings "beyond the bounds of good taste and conventional manners." Falwell had argued that Hustler's parody went beyond.the political cartoons of Thomas Nast a century ago. The fake Campari ad hit a new depth of "outrageousness." Rehnquist was not impressed. There must be some principled standard for determining what speech is beyond constitutional protection, "but we are quite sure that the pejorative description 'outrageous' does not supply one." If judgments could be awarded for "outrageous" speech, jurors would be free to impose liability on the basis of their own tastes or views. In any event, said the court, "the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern" must be protected. Public figures retain a right, to sue for libel based upon false statements of fact made with reckless disregard for truth. They cannot recover for "a caricature such as the ad parody involved here." Very well. It was a victory for freedom of the press. If the court had upheld the verdict in Falweli's favor, a floodgate might have opened for lawsuits based on "emotional distress.'' Cartoonists and editorial writers would have been rendered impotent, and much of the remaining vigor of our press would have drained away. So we rejoice. • All the same, the decision is worrisome. Hustler's degrading parody had nothing to do with "ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern." It was miles removed from "the sort of robust political debate encouraged by the First Amendment." This was not "political and social discourse." This was a brutal, savage personal attack. Those of us in the press, whose stock in (rade often is to hurt the feelings of public figures, ought to remember King Pyrrhus. One more such victory, and the people who gave us the First Amendment may rise in irresistible wrath and take it away. Falwell was grievously wronged. Our precious right of a free press should not obscure that undeniable fact. Kilpatrick is a syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C. Today In History Associated Press Today is Tuesday, March 15, the 75th day of 1988. There are 291 days left in the year. This is "Buzzard Day" in Hinckley, Ohio. HISTORY HIGHLIGHT: On the Ides of March, 44 B.C., Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of nobles that included Brutus and Cassius. ON THIS DATE: In 1493, Christopher Columbus returned to Spain following his first voyage to the New World. In 1767, the seventh President of the United States, Andrew Johnson, was born in Waxhaw, South Carolina. In 1875, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, John McCloskey, was named the first American cardinal, by Pope Pius IX.
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