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Houston Breakthrough 1979-06
Page 5
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Houston Breakthrough 1979-06 - Page 5. June 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. April 17, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/912/show/893.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(June 1979). Houston Breakthrough 1979-06 - Page 5. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/912/show/893

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough 1979-06 - Page 5, June 1979, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed April 17, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/912/show/893.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough 1979-06
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date June 1979
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 24 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 5
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_551e.jpg
Transcript COMMENTARIES by Nikki van hiqhiowER Bill Narum Never Give a Woman a Gun I have always been somewhat amused by the reaction of some men to the idea of women in the military, particularly women in combat. In fact, this could be the issue that could block any resumption of draft registration. Perhaps I could better understand the resistance if women were safe and protected in civilian life. However, there is not a single little girl in our society that does not grow up with the awareness that she is not really safe on the streets, that women are perceived as easy victims of all crime, and that they are the primary targets of rape. As more and more data come out on sexual and domestic crimes, we are also becoming sadly cognizant of the fact that the home is not a particularly safe place for women either. So, why all this fuss about women in combat? When one gives the matter much serious thought, it seems quite logical that women, above all, should be trained in combat techniques, first for a lifestyle that demands self-defense, and second, for national defense. After all, life for women in peacetime, will, in many cases, keep them well trained for wartime. I suggest that those who feel so strongly about women not serving in combat should start by saving them from their combat roles in civilian life for which they are currently untrained. Once that is taken care of, then we should deal with the issue of women in military combat. Another reason all this flap about women in the military amuses me is that it totally ignores women's past and present contributions to our national defense. During the Senate debate on the extension of the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, when Senator William L. Scott of Virginia proposed a substitute amendment which would exempt women from military combat duty, even Barry Goldwater had to speak out against the inconsistencies involved in the effort. He stated during the debate, "As the Senator knows, I have always resisted women going into combat. However, today we are training women in the U.S. Military Academy, and in the Merchant Marine." Senator Goldwater also quoted the following public testimony made by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "When I was Commanding General of the Seventh Air Force in Vietnam I presented over 200 Purple Hearts. We do not give Purple Hearts except to people wounded in combat. These were women serving as nurses in hospitals, serving as nurses in ambulances, and so forth, which the North Vietnamese bombed. So, before you talk about preventing women from going into combat we have to have a new definition of it." Many women have been killed or injured in combat during all wars in which we have engaged, and yet this fact gets totally ignored in the debates over women's role in the military. Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell III, commander of the Fifth Army recently stated, "I don't think we, as a body politic, are prepared to see women come home in body bags or as multiple amputees." In a sense, he is right. Although it has happened we, as a society, don't seem to be willing to hear about it or face up to the fact that it has already happened. Since there is no demand for women to prove their "manhood," there is just no glory to be gained from sacrifices. Is it really worse to see women in body bags or as multiple amputees than men? If the answer to that is yes, does that imply that we place greater value on women's lives than men's lives? It would be hard to convince most women of that, particulary the ones who have been the victims of male violence. So if greater value of women is not behind this debate, what is? Could it be the desire to keep women separated, disadvantaged in other areas of life, and keep their image weak—so men can be strong? Energy Crisis: Fuel for a New Era? No single issue since the Viet Nam War has brought into question the viability of our government and economic institutions as has the issue of energy. Yet I sense that what we have so far seen is only the tip of a gigantic iceberg. The implications of the energy issue are so vast that we can only speculate on its potential for change in our society from what we know today. On this issue, unlike that of Viet Nam, it is not only the young who are being most immediately and directly affected. It is, as usual, the poor, the elderly and those on fixed incomes who are being hardest hit by rising energy costs. Low income families, many of whom spend half their budgets on energy bills during the heating season, are also forced to use relatively large amounts of energy because they often live in substandard housing, which is inefficient to heat and therefore especially costly. Most of us who fall into the vast middle class have already had to do some conscious reallocation of our spending priorities and, in some cases, modifications in our lifestyle, to adjust to rising costs and shortages. The problems related to energy will leave no one out. As shortages continue, the debate over allocation of resources will draw in rich and poor alike. The struggle for access is going to be intense, for it is tantamount to the struggle for existence itself. Just as no one will be able to escape the impact of shortages, nor will anyone be able to escape the impact of pollution. The reliance on money-making energy sources has drawn us in the direction of high polluting energy sources. "Un- meterable" sources have received scant attention from the energy industry. Water and air pollution and the radioactive pollutants from a nuclear energy plant accident cannot be confined to the ghettos. We cannot put freeways around it or over it, or build fences high enough to keep it out of our bodies. Acceptance is rapidly spreading in this country that the energy matter has made us vulnerable as a nation-vulnerable to exploitation from the outside, vulnerable to exploitation and turmoil on the inside. We're beginning to understand the tradeoffs that have been made for the right to gluttonous usage of energy. At this point, all alternatives look pretty grim. Disillusionment and fear are growing that our future is badly out of control. People do not know whom to believe anymore, or if anyone really knows what they are doing on the energy matter. Cynicism is the order of the day. A recent Associated Press-NBC poll indicated that 68 percent of the public still believes that the oil shortage is a hoax. Many consumers anticipate that as soon as prices get high enough, perhaps to $1.50 per gallon, the shortage will at least temporarily disappear while the oil companies reap their windfall profits. Regular reports of investigations, indictments and convictions of oil company executives tend to confirm the worst suspicions of the complicity of the oil companies in the present shortages of fuel. The nuclear energy issue has brought a new and painful awareness of the limitations of science to solve our problems. Science, the religion of the last few decades, may not know what it is doing. Some scientists vigorously resist this demotion to humanity. They insist that they still have the answers, that there is absolutely no health risk from low levels of radiation, and that Three Mile Island only proved that the system works. However, hundreds of other distinguished physicians and scientists cite nuclear power plants as an "unprecedented threat to public health." Although there are still believers, it is becoming increasingly evident to the public that we can no longer place our health, safety and future in the hope that some scientific cavalry will come riding over the hill to save us at just the right moment. David Rosen- baum, a consultant to the General Accounting Office and a former professor of theoretical physics at Boston Univer sity commented, "The public has been deluded into thinking that if all the scientists just buckle down, they can figure it all out. That's just not true when you have a modern, complicated technology. You just can't calculate everything." Probably the biggest toll in loss of credibility brought on by the energy issue has been the federal government. A recent congressional report put out by the Office of Technology Assessment stated that neither the federal government nor the energy industry is regarded by the public as a reliable source of information about energy. I'm afraid it is far worse than the report suggests. There is a serious question of whether our present leaders, given the structure within which they are operating, are capable of establishing an energy policy at all. So far, they have been collectively incapable of defining the "public interest." The immediate nature of the energy issue has not allowed them to avoid the difficulties of long-range, far-reaching policy decisions, as they are usually able to do, through reducing them to a series of non-threatening, incremental decisions. The big stakes are high in this matter. Everybody is into the act. Big money is involved in all the alternatives. These are uncomfortable times for politicians, and so no policy is being made. Recessions, depressions, wars—these are not unlikely outcomes of the present energy situation. So far, the government and those economic institutions associated with energy have not given us much reason to hope for a secure future for our country. Perhaps this issue simply outstrips their capabilities for problem-solving. Let's hope that their impotence and weakness will draw out our strengths and creativity. Maybe our present leaders are only capable of functioning in a wasteful environment. Now may be the time for us all to rethink our lives, as well as our ideas of acceptable qualities of leadership. Maybe while we are sitting in gas lines we can use the time to ask ourselves if our technology has really taken us in the direction we would like to go, if it is enhancing our humanity or undermining it, if we should be less willing to turn over our futures to scientists, corporations, and big government, and finally, if they were so smart, and really knew what was best for us, why we are sitting in these gas lines, sweating, breathing carbon monoxide fumes and fighting off rising blood pressure. Dr. Nikki Van Hightower is the executive director of the Houston Area Women's Center. HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH JUNE 1979