Five stories that have North Texas talking: Boy Scout decision leads to spin-offs, Fort Hood suspect could put injured soldiers on the stand, Texans don’t feel the call of civic duty and more.
It hasn’t even been two weeks since delegates for the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America voted to allow openly gay members. But don’t be surprised if you see an influx of kids sporting slightly different neckerchiefs and alternative merit badges.
Some parents and community leaders are so upset with the Scouts vote that there’s been a surge in enrollment in alternative outdoor programs, like the Bible-based Royal Ambassadors.
On the other side of the coin, some families resent the fact that gay Scout leaders still aren’t allowed, so they’ve hustled instead to join organizations with different policies. Navigators USA, which allows gay leaders, has more than doubled its membership since July, and organizers expect dozens of new chapters to spring up over the summer. [New York Times]
- Fort Hood Suspect To Question Victims In Court: Three dozen soldiers were injured and 13 killed when a gunman opened fire at Fort Hood in November of 2009. Now some survivors may have to face their attacker on the witness stand. A military judge has granted Maj. Nidal Hasan's request to represent himself at his upcoming murder trial. Retired Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford says he’s angry and upset Hasan will be allowed to question wounded soldiers, but he refuses to be intimidated. Lunsford was shot seven times and lost most of the sight in his left eye. "I was there. I saw what this man did,” Lunsford says. “I'm living proof of what he did, but I survived. I'm not going to show any fear." [AP via NPR]
- From Battlefields To Break Rooms: A technology that helped us identify planes in WWII is now helping amputees make a cup of coffee. Radio frequency identification, or RFID, is in the barcodes we use at the store and helps us track UPS packages, but experts have converted it into a useful technology for people with prosthetic hands. They just swipe RFID programmed chips across a wristband which moves their hand to a certain position and locks it in place. KERA’s B.J. Austin got to see the technology in action; learn more about what it means for North Texans here.
- Surge In Testosterone: A University of Texas researcher says men are racing to the pharmacy to fill testosterone prescriptions, and that could have unintended consequences. A study tracking 11 million men through a large insurance provider found that since 2001, the number of older and middle aged men prescribed the hormone has tripled. The study also found that a significant number of these men have no evidence of a deficiency. UT’s Dr. Jacques Baillargeon told the New York Times that giving healthy men a hormone long-term is concerning, because there’s still question about whether taking testosterone increases risk of heart disease and prostate cancer.
- Not So Civic-Minded: New research shows many Texans can’t be bothered to vote, call their congressman or muster up the courage to trust their neighbors. A civic health index put together by the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas and the National Conference on Citizenship revealed some dubious rankings for the Lone Star state. According to the Dallas Morning News, in 2010, the state ranked dead last among the states and the District of Columbia in voter turnout, 49th in the percentage of citizens who have contacted public officials, 47th in how many trust most of their neighbors and 43rd for number of people who donate to charity.