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Opinion The Salina Journal Saturday, April 6,1985 Page 4; T1 i>®to© T 1 1 he Journal Founded In 1871 FRED VANDEGRIFT, President and Publisher HARRIS RAYL, Editor KAY BERENSON, Executive Editor SCOTT SEIRER, News Editor LARRY MATHEWS, Assistant News Editor LORI BRACK, Weekend Editor JIM HAAG, Night Editor Death by mpb This week Christians around the world commemorated that day 'nearly two thousand years ago when , the mob screamed "Let him be crucified." Echoes of that mob cry could be heard in the debates in the Kansas Legislature as the lawmakers voted to reinstate the death penalty. Unlike Pontius Pilate those centuries ago, Gov. Carlin ignored the .,mob and vetoed the death penalty bill — as he has on three previous occasions. The veto was seasonally appropriate to Holy Week. It was also the morally right choice. Capital punishment is, or should be, repugnant to a civilized state. The execution of those convicted of criminal acts can never be a civif lized act, whether it is done by lethal injection, by electrocution, by hanging, by drawing and quartering or by boiling in oil. Whether the mob is standing at the prison gates cheering, gathered in a courtyard watching the guillotine fall, or standing on a hill watch- ing the nails being driven in, it is the same mob. The mob always seeks blood. The mob doesn't care whether the guillotine falls on the guilty or on the most convenient scapegoat. In the aftermath of a particularly brutal murder or other crime, even the most civilized person may be overcome by rage and vengeance. The emotion is understandable. But the distinction between a civilized and a primitive society is the extent to which such emotions are subjugated to reason". Capital punishment cannot be rationally justified. It does not deter would-be criminals from criminal acts. It does not bring restitution to the victims. It does create an enormous possibility for error, for the execution of the innocent, particularly innocent members of unpopular minority groups. The Legislature is scheduled to vote on an override of the governor's veto next, week. Lawmakers would do well to ponder the story of that long-ago execution on a hill near Jerusalem before they vote. Aid to welfare The poor deserve more than the state's leftovers. The Kansas Legislature took a step toward taking better care of the state's poorest citizens recently when House and Senate committees determined budget needs for the state Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. In past years, the budget for welfare programs, such as Aid For Dependent Children and General Assistance, has been determined by how much was left over in the budget after other state needs had been met. This year House and Senate committees began the budget process by determining how much a low-income family or individual would need to pay for food, shelter and other basics. Rep. Ed Rolfs of Junction City, chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee that studied the SRS budget for six weeks, this year broke with past practice. He refused to compare the state's figures with federal poverty guidelines. Instead his committee developed a minimal budget for a Kansas family of three and based recommended increases on those figures. The recommended increase is 6 to 7.5 percent, far more than the 0 to 3 percent increases given for the past four years. Even that increase won't meet the minimal budget needs determined by the subcommittee. But it is a step in the right direction. It is also a step toward acknowledging that poverty does exist in Kansas and that the state has a responsibility to act charitably toward the poor. Letters to the Editor Reasons to be proud My husband and I spent the past weekend visiting in your area and community. We were on the campus of KTI then and have visited it before because we have two young people attending school. We were amazed at the technical facilities and computer laboratory. Someone had to have an insight into the future to utilize the facilities of an abandoned Air Force base for the purpose of a high-tech school. We were very impressed with the teaching and learning going on here. To think that one can earn an associate's Degree in computer processing, computer Engineering and many other technical fields at'KTI is a real plus for Salina. :,,We also read the editorial in your paper supporting the value of keeping KTI in Salina rather than merging it with a Kansas university. That is commendable on your part. • 'It is a great advantage to your area to be ^trble to offer these kinds of technical opportunities to your young people at affordable costs. "If as a taxpayer you have never visited the KTI campus, you should make a point of "checking it out." You will be pleasantly surprised at the professionalism and number of studies offered. • , Just one suggestion to the powers that be: /KTI has no placement service, and that is a -shame for the graduating students who •.Have so much to offer. ! : ;." We also attended your beautiful Christ • Cathedral. You have much to be proud of in Salina. - MR. and MRS. H.R. BECKER ; Saginaw, Mich. .Where was Journal? . For those of you who are unaware, this .past weekend there was a fine event staged ;at the Salina Bicentennial Center. It was ;the Outlaw Showdown Hotrod Truck and ;Tractor Pull. • The main attraction was a huge car- crushing monster truck known as Bigfoot, the same big truck you see in Ford Motor Co. television commercials. There were also about 20 trucks and tractors entered in the truck and tractor pull, many from the surrounding areas in Kansas. There was also a drawing for two all-terrain vehicles donated by a Salina motorcycle dealer. Two other Salina businesses furnished equipment to maintain the track for competition. A fourth Salina business furnished cars for Bigfoot to crush. My son and I attended this fine event, plus about 4,400 other Salina and area people. Unfortunately, the bad weather in western and northern Kansas kept many more from attending. I would like to thank the Salina Bicentennial Center, area businesses and event promoters for staging this most enjoyable event. My concern is the lack of coverage by our local newspaper. Unfortunately it did not see fit to cover this fine event. At a time when Salinans are told they need to support the events of the Salina Bicentennial Center, you would think our local newspaper could make room for an article covering something positive happening in Salina. Come on Salina Journal, the Bicentennial Center needs your support too! - RICHARD MOBLEY 902 E. Republic Equal time, please It's really disgusting to see yet another article favoring Salina Central High School. In your article on the Hays Invitational it sounds as if South High was barely there. While Central's boys did outscore South's boys, you failed to mention that South's girls outscored Central's girls. You mention boys from Central who took fourth and fifth place, but don't even bother mentioning several South girls who took third place and a relay team that took first. Our kids work just as hard and we parents are very proud of them. How about equal time for South? - MRS. JUDY SANCHEZ 2024 Mission Road Oltt. Ntwi America Syndicate, IMS Ivory-towered judges need to know real world WASHINGTON - Most of the comment on the Supreme Court's recent decision in the Garner case dealt with the consequences of the decision. Would the police be seriously hampered by the severe limitations the high court placed on the use of deadly force? Lost in the discussion was 'a larger and more important issue of constitutional law. The case arose one night in October 1974, when police in Memphis, Tenn., were called to the scene of a burglary in progress. Officer Elton Hymon heard a door slam and saw someone running from the house. He called out "Police, halt!" but the person started to jump a fence and flee. Hymon fired once. The bullet struck 15-year-old Edward Garner in the back of the head. He died on the operating table at a nearby hospital. Subsequently Garner's father brought a civil action in U.S. District Court under Title 42, Section 1983, of the U.S. Code. This is the post-Civil War statute that permits suit against persons acting under the color of law who violate the civil rights of others. The 6th Circuit upheld Garner's right to sue the city of Memphis, but ruled that the plaintiff could not recover against Officer Hymon; the police officer had acted in good-faith reliance upon Tennessee law permitting the use of deadly force in the arrest of a fleeing felon. So much for the facts of the case. On March 27, in an opinion by Justice Byron White, the high court basically affirmed the 6th Circuit. The whole case turned upon an interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, James Kilpatrick UNIVERSAL PRESS which protects us against "unreasonable" searches and seizures. Six members of the court found the use of deadly force to be unreasonable — that is, unconstitutional — unless an officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm to the officer or to others. Most big police departments already follow such a policy, and the opinion probably will' have no calamitous consequences. But the three dissenters, speaking through Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, made a point that merits a pause for thought. At the time the Fourth Amendment was written into the Constitution in 1791, Officer Hymon's conduct would have been absolutely permissible. The common law of the period is too clear for disputation. Fidelity to old rules of constitutional construc- ' tion, said Justice O'Connor, "requires us to impose a heavy burden on those who claim that practices accepted when the Fourth Amendment was adopted are now constitutionally impermissible." Justice White, speaking for the majority, dismissed this protest with a lordly wave of his hand: "Because of sweeping change in i the legal and technological context, reliance on the common-law rule in this case would be a mistaken literalism that ignores the purposes of a historical inquiry." Mistaken literalism! Some of us were reared in the doctrine that the intention and the understanding of the framers of a constitutional amendment provide the very pole star of construction. Only when "historical inquiry" is uncertain may judges impose their own notions of what "sweeping change" requires. I don't want to defend a bang-bang approach to law enforcement, but the dissenters had the better of the argument in the Garner case. The nighttime arrest of a fleeing burglar is a nerve-tingling experience beyond the imagination of ivory-towered judges. Is the man armed? Has he just .committed rape or murder in the course of burglary? (An average of 280,000 such crimes are committed by burglars every year.) Is the escaping suspect a pathetic little 15-year-old boy or a career criminal with a record of violent crimes? O'Connor is right in protesting the majority's creation of "a constitutional right to unimpeded flight." The majority's action raises a ludicrous prospect: A police officer, making a snap judgment, shoots at a suspect and only wings him. The suspect is convicted of burglary and given a light sentence. It transpires that he was not armed. Released from prison after a few months, the convicted burglar then sues under Section 1983 and wins a $100,000 judgment for violatipn of his civil rights. If the law says that, as Mr. Bumble remarked, the law is a ass, a idiot. Spring brings uncomfortable clothing reminder It's time to change clothes, I guess. I can feel it coming. This morning, out of habit, I put on a light topcoat when I left the house. I've been wearing a coat for six months. It turned out to be a mistake because I could have walked around at lunch in my shirt sleeves. People were sitting on steps, on walls and on park benches all over town eating their lunches out of paper bags. Women were sitting with their heads tilted back, taking the sun, supporting themselves on their arms, which were angled back like chair legs. I like the warmer weather at first but I hate the idea of switching from winter to .summer clothing. I can never remember what I have to wear or whether I sent it to the cleaners when I put it away last fall. Another thing I hate when I change from winter to spring or summer clothes or from summer to winter clothes, is that I always feel fatter. The clothes don't seem to fit me as well as they did when I finished with them and pushed them to the back of the closet last season. Toward the back of my closet I have one bag of clothes hanging with three suits, several shirts and two pairs of odd slacks in it. They are all size 42. I must have packed them too tightly because they seem compressed and somewhat smaller. They are no longer big enough for me. Either that or stores are putting the size 42 label in smaller clothes now. Spring is a constant reminder to me that Andy Rooney CHICAGO TRIBUNE-NEW YORK NEWS either my clothes or my body is the wrong shape. There are other unpleasant aspects to the change, too. I put a jacket on and remember that two buttons are off the sleeve. It's worse going from winter to summer because an overcoat covers a lot of mistakes if your clothes don't fit. When I first go out without a coat on, I feel naked. If I was rich, I'd throw away all my clothes every season. Right now I'd pack up all my winter pants and jackets, put them in a box and give them to some needy person. If I did that, I can just hear someone in my family saying, "Who'd take them?" The style of women's clothes changes more in summer than men's. Men are better dressed for winter weather but women are more comfortably dressed in summer. It's ridiculous for a man who works in an office to come to work in the heat of July or August wearing a coat and necktie. At the same time, the women in the office are wearing a little underwear, a paper thin cotton dress and a pair of sandals. It's maybe five pieces of clothing and we've all seen women wear only four, including two shoes. There is no reason in the world except habit, tradition and the urge to conform that men should not wear light dresses in the summer, too. I do not personally have the strength of character or the determination to try and establish the trend by being the first man to wea r a summer dress without stockings but .1 wish someone would. Sometimes a light, loose-fitting dress looks awfully good to me as a piece of wearing apparel on hot summer days. I know what the summer will be like though. It won't happen. Instead of a dress, I'll be wearing the same old wool socks I wear in winter, the same weight cotton underwear, the same shirt and a suit that may be a lighter color but is not very much lighter in weight. Thirty years ago they made men's wash and wear suits that were genuinely cooler and lighter. They had no padding in the shoulders or in front around the chest. They don't make them anymore. The big laugh in a man's wardrobe is the summer tie. What is a summer tie? It's a winter tie except the cloth is white, pink and yellow or aquamarine instead of dark red, blue and green. A summer tie is not one degree cooler around a man's neck than a winter tie. I remember the days when all summer meant to me was short pants and bare feet. The only uncomfortable piece of clothing I wore all summer was a wet bathing suit. Doonesbury I THINK I MAY BB UHYTHB IN BI6 TROUBLE, LMIGFACF? CURJIS. I JUST j"^°| ' AGREEDTOIWRK •4-6 HB CUT YOU IN?' WRONG, OOMMDRB. I THINK H5$ PLANNING ON SOMB- THIN3 SHADY.. HE. DIPNT EXACTLY COME OUTANP SAY IT, BUT I'VE GOTA QUEASY FEBL- IN6 H& BRINGING IN.. BOOTLEG RECORDS! r AND YOU OWTUVE WITH THAT? wiininru. VAUHAltNOUT OFROYALTI5S?