Volume 33, Number 8, August 1998


Good News from Bad

by Debra Levy

"I heard the sound of the explosion. All the glass in the office just disappeared and then all hell broke loose."
- Historian Jim Owen, survivor of the Dar el Salaam bombing attack, as quoted in Newsweek.

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It is not without irony that two years ago this very month this column, titled "True Lies," was devoted to the failure of the United States government to take increased security measures at embassies and military bases around the world. Despite studies and recommendations stating what should be done to increase security, the government said it just didn’t have the money to do so.

"So who are these bureaucrats who do the cost-benefit analysis on human lives and decide that lives lose?" I wrote. "And who are the people who cover up the story?"

Before I go further let me say that glass takes a lot of undeserved blame in natural and man-made disasters such as this one. Glass often breaks when it is hit by flying debris that has become airborne. People tend to see glass as the problem, when in reality, the flying debris is just as much so. But some disasters are of such magnitude that very little of anything survives. This was the case in Kenya and Tanzania.

While the death toll at both embassies was horrific, a number of news wire reports have credited the recent installation of "shatter-resistant window film" with saving many lives that would have otherwise been lost. It seems film had been installed in both embassies after all and has been credited with saving many lives.

But many more installations around the world are in need of film, security glazing and other security upgrades. The window film industry has provided much of the labor for the enhancement of embassies on a donated basis. Likewise, I’m aware of a number of glass manufacturers that have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in glass for similar efforts abroad. Most of them do so quietly, not wanting any publicity or praise.

But they deserve it. Because of the generosity of these groups and companies, lives are saved every day. The generosity of our industry means that the government’s "out of money" excuse is just that—an excuse. Now let’s get the locations still in need of protection protected.

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There is nothing in and for the glass industry quite like Glasstec in Dusseldorf. Even if you have been to the largest of industry trade fairs in the States, you will be amazed by the breadth of exhibits there. It is truly the premier worldwide gathering for our industry. Our Glasstec preview begins on page 32. USGlass also has a stand there and the lucky few of us who are going are looking forward to it. We plan to bring you news of what’s new and what’s big. If you, too, are attending, please stop at Hall 11C23-3.

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Space may be the final frontier, but for editors it is often the final enemy. It seems we never have enough room to print everything that we would like. In the course of developing a feature story, such as Fathers and Sons on page 66, or a special section such as the Guide to Industry Computers and Software, our editors use a number of reference books and materials from a variety of organizations. Space has kept us from running a complete resource list in the magazine. Until now.

Through a special program associated with mega-online bookstore Amazon.com, readers will now be able to order books and materials associated with particular articles directly from our website. For example, you’ll find our editor’s picks of excellent books about running a family business, touring Germany, purchasing your first computer and other information right on our web site each month on www.usglassmag.com. You’ll also find a Resource List at the end of each article as well. This new service began last month and is designed to help you get the information you need easily and quickly. We hope it will help you get the materials you need without the "information overload" that often accompanies such. I hope it proves helpful.

Finally, I wish you a good end of the summer, with hopefully only good news in it.



Copyright 1998 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.