Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
By Smokey Briggs
Tuesday, September 12, 2000
Handgun Violence Prevention Act didn't prevent any handgun violence
The fabled Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, better known simply as
the Brady Bill, has failed to live up to its name.
Apparently, it has not prevented any handgun violence. I am both shocked
I was sure that once both background checks and a waiting period were
imposed on handgun purchases from firearms dealers, murder rates would
plummet since criminals would not be able to get a gun to further their
According to a recent study published by the Journal of the American
Medical Association (JAMA), this has not come to pass.
The study, by Jens Ludwig and Phillip Cook, is titled, "Homicide and
Suicide Rates Associated with Implementation of the Brady Handgun Violence
Act," was published in volume 284, No. 5 of the Journal. (It is available
on-line at the JAMA homepage http://jama.ama-assn.org ).
In short, Ludwig and Cook compared homicide and suicide rates nationwide
from four years before Brady (1994) to four years after the law was passed.
They then compared the 18 states that already had waiting periods and
background checks, against the 32 states that did not have a five-day waiting
period and/or did not require a background check before the Brady Bill.
Their research reveals that the 32 states where the Brady Bill created
a waiting period and background checks did not experience the drop in homicides
the Brady law was supposed to create.
The only statistical difference they could find between these two groups
of states was a six percent decline in "gun suicides" among people age
55 or older in the 32 states where waiting periods were a new thing.
This was offset by a national trend in all states of fewer suicides
overall and an increase in "non-gun" suicides.
Millions and millions of dollars spent. Who knows how many government
jobs created that will hang on the federal payroll until Gabriel blows
Thousands upon thousands of lawful firearm buyers run through a mill
of government paperwork, and what did we accomplish?
Well, maybe something.
No one is likely to acknowledge that some people probably died because
of the Brady Bill. Some people may not have been able to get a gun in time
to save their life.
No one has asked how many women have died since 1994 waiving a restraining
order in their attacker's face while they waited for their "cooling off"
period to be up so they could pick up their newly purchased hand gun _
the only realistic defense most women have against men who intend to hurt
If you do not think this is a realistic scenario you need to read the
most recent statistics regarding violence on women in the United States.
Of course, common sense would have brought us to the same conclusion
eight years earlier and with a savings of several billion dollars.
Common sense dictates that criminals will always be able to procure
The only people laws like Brady affect are law-abiding citizens who
are not out gunning each other down in the streets.
Of course, the gun control weenies living on planet Notreality point
to the study and say, "The problem is the law was not strong enough."
This is always the cry of the gun control loon when gun control laws
fail to do what they are supposed to do, which is prevent violent crime.
And they will be uttering this cry into eternity. Either as they are
herded into concentration camps by the dictator that history assures us
is in America's future, either near, or distant _ or as they are clubbed
over the head by some thug for their watch, car or wallet.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the
Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:
Local taxes are going in the wrong direction
Pecos property taxes are heading in the wrong direction.
The Hospital Board and the School Board voted to raise taxes this year.
The City seems to be moving in that direction as well.
If Pecos is going to prosper in the future, taxes need to be cut, not
The argument for higher taxes is always the same: "We will have to cut
services or raise taxes." This year, the answer should have been a cut
Taxes are not a stimulant to economic growth. Taxes stifle growth.
Taxes take money out of the free market and put it in the hands of government.
By default, this is money that cannot be used to build an economy. Anyone
who believes that government jobs equal a good economy needs to take a
long look at the experiment the now defunct U.S.S.R. ran during this last
This is money that cannot be reinvested in a business or used to make
payroll. On the other end of the same equation it is money that every business
and home owner must come up with out of the operating margin.
While taxes are never a good thing, taxes are a necessary evil. Taxes
are necessary to provide for a common defense and general infrastructure
_ roads, sewer, police, etc....
The question is, and has always been, "How much tax is too much?"
This is not an easy question to answer, but any tax should be viewed
as a necessary evil that will stifle the local economy to some degree.
Our local economy cannot take much more stifling. There seem to be more
stores with boarded up windows than not in Pecos.
The last thing any business or homeowner needs in our area is a higher
You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip and raising taxes during economic
bad times is the equivalent and demonstrates short sightedness on the part
of your taxing entities.
It is during hard economic times that people can least afford higher
taxes. This is when taxes need to be lower to attract new businesses and
keep old businesses healthy.
Cutting services is unpopular in the short-term but raising taxes is
a long-term death sentence that will deter any possible industry from coming
to Pecos, and will drive existing businesses one step closer to bankruptcy.
Taxes need to be cut, and the people of Pecos need to accept any cuts
in services as a necessary sacrifice that will give Pecos the opportunity
for a future.
Leaders can teach youths morals, citizenship, etc.
We have been fortunate in establishing our Technical Training Center
to help our citizens with their continuing education. This is especially
true for our older youth. It gives them the opportunity to start on their
college level courses while still in high school and gives them the opportunity
to continue their post high school education without having to leave town.
Now we must think of our younger kids. Those from first grade to sophomore
levels in school. I realize that we have Little League baseball, soccer
and now even PeeWee football programs. These are great; however. I would
like to advocate scouting as another way to teach our youth morals, citizenship,
pride and leadership.
There is a drive in progress to recruit more boys and girls into scouting.
I challenge our parents to encourage their children to join scouting. Nevertheless,
even more, I challenge our townspeople to become involved and act as scout
leaders. This can be something that our senior citizens, church and civic
groups can do... sponsor a scout pack or a scout troop or become a scout
leader. We can get the kids, but we need more leaders.
Jay Spence is our scout executive. If you or your group is interesting
in helping scouting, please call Jay 447-4738.
Citizen needs ideas to beautify Pecos
The Rotary Club is participating with the Pecos Beautification Committee
in an attempt to help clean up Pecos and make it a more attractive place
Two major problems we have in Pecos is how to eliminate beer bottles
and plastic sacks that litter the roadsides. I am asking for suggestions
to see if there are ways to reduce or eliminate these eyesores. Aluminum
cans are picked up to be recycled, and we really don't have a big problem
with cans since they can be recylced. Bottles are apparently non recycable
and few people are interest in picking them up. I would like to hear form
the citizens of Pecos if they have ideas how we might better control this
problem and make our town more attractive.
Please send ideas via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>,
or mail comments to me at Box 392, Pecos, Texas, 79772.
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Peggy McCracken, Webmaster
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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