Watching the World
◆ Many authorities in the United States are asking for stricter gun-control laws as a result of the shooting of prominent officials and the high murder rate in recent years. It is of interest to note that in Britain police do not carry guns, and are opposed to doing so. But British law strictly controls the sale of firearms, limiting the flow of weapons among the civilian population to a bare trickle. In all of England and Wales, with a population of about 50 million, only 29 fatal gun homicides took place in 1970. This as compared with 965 in New York city alone, which has a population of less than eight million. That is over 200 times the rate of England and Wales!
“Golden Age” for Criminals
◆ Retired deputy commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police W. H. Kelley says that today’s criminal is living in a “golden age.” He blames the unbalanced legal structure that is weighted heavily in favor of the criminal. He declared that Canada’s system of justice is not restraining crime, deterring criminals, or rehabilitating them.
“Green Revolution” No Miracle
◆ The June-July 1972 issue of Natural History challenges the idea that the “Green Revolution,” the development of high-yield grains, will solve man’s food problems. Anthropologist Marvin Harris of Columbia University writes: “There is a real risk that instead they will trigger natural and cultural disasters of a size unprecedented in human history. Contrary to what most people have been led to believe, the high-yield varieties of rice are not more productive under the usual conditions of peasant agriculture in Asia. In fact, if the new seeds are merely substituted for local varieties, an immediate and drastic decline in output per acre ensues.” Only where there is a massive input of money, irrigation, fertilizers and pesticides is there higher yield. But, he says, “70 to 90 percent of Asian farm families have no irrigation water and no cash or credit for the purchase of chemical products.” He charges that the objective of the “Green Revolution” is to “wipe out the class of small farmers and to replace them with efficient agribusinessmen who will be heavily dependent upon industrial products and world markets.”
Air Pollution a Storm Factor?
◆ The cloud burst that struck Mexico City in May, taking many lives and causing great damage, was called by the Federal District Department “the most disastrous in the last 50 years,” according to the publication El Heraldo. Of special interest was the comment of Mario Lizaola, chief of the Forecasting Office of the Meteorological Service. As quoted in Ultimas Noticias de Excelsior, he said: “Atmospheric contamination is one of the important factors that contribute to the unchaining of storms such as that of yesterday.” Man’s polluting of the atmosphere may indeed be such a factor.
Airlines Cut Accident Rate
◆ During 1971 the airline industry in the United States posted the lowest accident rate in 23 years, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. This was the third successive year in which the airlines achieved an overall accident rate reduction.
Children Need Love
◆ Australian authorities are concerned about the harm being done to children left at child-care centers while their mothers work. Dr. H. N. Merrington, president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, warned that unless something was done doctors would be treating young adults who had been irreparably damaged mentally and emotionally by the lack of maternal affection. He said: “Children should have close relationships with their mothers in their formative years. From the age of three to five years the child’s whole attitude to other people is determined by its relationship to its mother. Little children should experience the warmth and love of their mother. . . . Those who do not have this grow up insecure in their personal relationships and are not able to relate easily with people.”
Sex ‘Education’ Backfires
◆ In San Francisco, school officials thought that since sex education, including discussion of teen-age pregnancy, drugs and other ‘facts of life,’ was already being provided, then why not include homosexuality? So homosexuals were invited to address the students in ninth grade social studies classes of a junior high school. The ages of the students ranged from thirteen to fifteen. According to the San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle, the homosexuals “became so anatomically explicit in describing their sex techniques that some students were soon in imminent need of air sickness bags. Two lesbians capped their contribution by locking in an embrace.” After protests, a high school administrator “got in touch with the Gay Counseling Service and served notice that hereafter it would simply have to send a higher class of homosexuals to spread its gospel in the schools.”
A Threat to Sight
◆ Philadelphia surgeon Peter Laibson of Wills Eye Hospital warns that gonorrhea is more dangerous to the adult patient than most doctors realize. He cited the case of a woman who was referred to him after oral penicillin failed to stop the venereal disease. By the time other treatment cleared up the infection, it had penetrated the cornea of her eye.
Pope Would Like to Resign
◆ According to a report issued at Vatican City by the Associated Press, Pope Paul VI wishes he could resign as head of the Roman Catholic Church but feels he cannot. This conclusion was reached after listening to remarks the Vatican taped earlier and released at the end of May. A relative of the pope said he suffers greatly “from the bitter criticism of virtually everything he has done during his nine years of papacy. The pontiff cries often and finds comfort in any sign of affection.”
Americans Try Acupuncture
◆ In recent months at least nine operations employing acupuncture instead of conventional anesthesia have been undertaken by Americans. Two of the operations took place at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. One of the patients underwent skin-graft surgery and the only anesthetic was five needles inserted into his body. Ten minutes after surgery, the patient said, “I felt like eating a steak. Actually I had roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and peas.” He said that some time ago he had undergone an operation using conventional anesthesia, but that acupuncture was vastly superior. In another case, a man had a growth removed from a tonsil, using only acupuncture for anesthesia. He stated that previously he had a similar operation using conventional local anesthesia, but that it caused him “excruciating pain,” whereas with acupuncture there had been none.
Unity Efforts Abandoned
◆ For over ten years, nine major Protestant churches in the United States have been trying to unite. The merger would have involved about 25 million members. However, the United Presbyterian Church, which had initiated the proposal, recently voted to abandon unity efforts. Leaders of other denominations said that the action was a “very serious blow” to unity. However, a representative of the Episcopal Church admitted that it “has been clear for some time that structural union does not fit the mood of the present day.”
Church Favors Abortions
◆ Representatives of the United Presbyterian Church voted approval of ‘abortion on demand’ for women. One delegate protested that this would put the church in the position of “actually condoning murder.” But the measure was approved anyhow.
◆ Louis Cassels, United Press International religious editor, reveals that the Catholic National Clergy Council on Alcoholism is trying to bring into the open a serious problem that many Catholics prefer to ignore: alcoholic priests. The council’s studies indicate that about one out of every ten Catholic priests is an alcoholic. Priest Gavin Griffin, a former alcoholic, said that there is a conspiracy of silence among the Catholic laity to “protect” alcoholic priests. He said that even the hierarchy does not know the extent of the problem. Cassels says that although there is a similar problem among Protestant clergymen, there is no Protestant organization comparable to the Catholic Council, which is determined to bring the subject into the open.
◆ Does cigarette smoking or polluted air hurt lungs most? A group of researchers who studied the lungs of 1,831 persons who had died concluded: ‘No contest’—cigarettes were, by far, number one in causing lung damage. Of the men who had never smoked, only 10 percent showed any signs of lung disease. But of those who had smoked from one to 19 cigarettes a day, 87 percent were affected by lung disease. And of the men who smoked 20 or more cigarettes a day, 99.7 percent were found to have lung disease. Findings in the women were similar.
Shoplifting and Drugs
◆ Industry sources say that shoplifters in the United States took in excess of $5 thousand million from retail stores in 1971. In 1972, the loss is expected to exceed $6 thousand million. It is estimated that, out of every ten people who enter a store now, one is a shoplifter. In 1950 only 5 percent of the shoplifters were drug addicts. But now 40 percent are. It is obvious that drug addiction has led many to resort to stealing to support their costly habit.
Warning on ‘Legal’ Drugs
◆ Problems associated with illegal drug use get most of the headlines. However, Dr. Ivan Borda of the University of Western Ontario stresses that perhaps 5 percent of all hospital patients are those who are suffering from adverse reactions to prescribed and patented drugs. Some studies estimate that 10 to 30 percent of all patients already in hospitals have one or more adverse drug reactions during their stay.
Church of Scotland’s Woes
◆ The Glasgow Herald reports that the Church of Scotland, which has experienced declines in church membership, is now seeing the same decline in the number of young people attending Sunday school and Bible class. Also, there were 1,388 fewer Sunday-school teachers as compared to the previous year. Three children’s magazines put out by the church are ceasing publication due to a lack of interest. The Herald noted that 40 percent of the members of the Church of Scotland never attended Communion last year.
Not Ready for Long Trips
◆ Man was judged not ready for long space trips by the National Academy of Sciences—National Research Council. This study, undertaken at the request of the United States space administration, revealed that the “long-term effects on man of isolation, confinement, and sensory restriction, in conjunction with other stresses, are too poorly understood.” More study was also called for regarding another potential hazard in deep space: high-energy heavy cosmic ray particles that could cause adverse effects “particularly on non-dividing cells in the central nervous system.”
State of the Arts
◆ The arts, including poetry, music and painting, are in terrible shape, and the outlook for any improvement is dismal, says a famous author, Robert Graves. Many ordinary people who see what passes for art in paintings, music and poetry would agree. In regard to music, Graves stated: “It seems to be agreed among the leading musicians of my acquaintance that never in the past century has there been so poor a crop of original composers.”