Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
By Smokey Briggs
Tuesday, June 5, 2001
Slim on cholesterol
I was down at the auction barn and saw my friend Slim the other day.
He was on the wrong end of a set of post-hole diggers; drenched in sweat,
and looking like a sack of bones somebody shrunk leather over and then dressed
up in Levi's.
"Just the fellow I was hoping to see," he said through lips clenched around
"No way, Slim. Hard work would probably kill me," I told him. "I've partnered
up with a set of post-hole diggers before and did not enjoy it one bit."
"Nah, I don't want you to dig. I want to buy you lunch. I've got a business
proposition for you."
I've never turned down free lunch, despite Granny's wisdom that there
is no such thing.
Granny was right.
Slim and I were both doing our best to get all around a couple of cheeseburgers
when he started in.
"You're a lawyer right?" he accused.
"Not really. Yeah, I've got my ticket, but I'm trying to go straight,"
I told him.
"Well, I want you to file one of those class action law suits for me."
"Out of my league," I said around a french fry.
"Nah, this'll be easy. I want you to sue the beef industry and every fast
food restaurant in the nation for killing folks. Ought to a pretty good fee
when it's over."
"That will be easy?" I asked.
"Sure, just go copy all the lawsuits that were filed against the tobacco
companies and change beef for cigarette, hamburger for tobacco, fat for nicotine
_ you get the idea," he said.
"Just what are we suing for," I asked.
"To save folks lives of course. And to compensate the victims," he said
without a smile. "And because I just cannot stand to watch one more soul
eat him or herself into an early grave. Not to mention the terrible cost
to society from fat-related deaths," he added with a self-righteous air while
he dabbed at the grease on his chin with a napkin.
"I'm not so sure your comparing apples with oranges old friend," I said.
"Sure I am. You just haven't been reading that paper of yours. Just the
other day there was an article that said more than 500,000 people die every
year from heart disease. That is the same number that supposedly die from
Slim paused and sipped at his coke.
"And the government has declared that a goodly percentage of those folks
can be saved by just doing a little exercise and mostly cutting the fat and
cholesterol out of their diet _ and you know where most of that fat and cholesterol
"Bingo. And fast food in general. Heck, you'd be better off smoking a
pack of Camels rather than stuffing that nasty thing in your mouth," he said
with a smile.
"And I sure would like to see the legions of the over-weight-but-self-righteous
that get so worked up over tobacco paying sin taxes on burgers and fries,
and having law suits filed against Burger Works `R Us, and having burger
eating outlawed in public places. That would be downright fun."
"What about you Slim," I asked. "You eat a hamburger about every day.
Doesn't all that cholesteral and fat worry you?"
"Nah. I work too hard to get fat, and shoot, I smoke. I've already picked
I stared at what was left of my lunch for a minute, wondering if I could
calculate just how many minutes or hours more I might live if I ate a salad
with no dressing instead.
Finally I signaled to the waitress.
"Yes honey?" she asked.
"Could I get a piece of pecan pie please," I said with a smile.
They served big slices of pie. If I worked at it, it would take me 15
minutes to eat the whole slice. Surely one piece of pie would not take more
than 15 minutes off my life span.
The pie was good.
I think it was an even trade.
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:
The gun show loophole - misleading on purpose
The anti-gun crowd got what it asked for with the Brady Bill _ mandatory
background checks on firearms sold by gun dealers.
Practically the next day, Handgun Control Inc. (HCI) and its brethren
gun banners took up the cry of the "gun show loophole."
The national press took up the battle cry like the good foot soldier of
the left that it is, and for several years it has been the regular fare of
the six o'clock news.
It is a good rallying cry.
It sounds sinister.
It implies that there is a special loophole in the laws that gives hardened
murders a "get out of jail free" card to buy a machine gun so long as he
does it at a gun show and not at an establishment like Smokey's Guns where
Uncle Bob and Aunt Edna shop for deer rifles and shotguns.
Like all of the gun banners' propaganda slogans, it misnames and misleads.
The truth, it seems, is not strong enough to advance their cause.
The gun show loophole is nothing more than the right of a private citizen
to buy or sell a firearm to or from another private citizen.
Gun shows are gatherings of people who want to buy and sell firearms.
The "loophole" is that so far, Big Brother does not require private citizens
who buy or sell an occasional firearm to wade through the swamp of red tape
currently required of licensed firearms dealers.
Of course, the private seller or buyer cannot afford to wade through that
swamp, nor to learn how to negotiate the legal hurdles involved.
So what "closing the gun show loophole" really means is outlawing the
sale or purchase of a firearm between two private citizens at a "gun show."
"Prohibiting the private sale of firearms," would be a more truthful name.
And what is a gun show?
Current legislation sponsored by Democrat Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed,
and supported by HCI, defines a gun show as any event where 50 or more firearms
But that does not prohibit Uncle Bob from selling me his deer rifle, right?
This law will just prevent nasty little guys who are actually dealing but
somehow slipping through the federal dealer laws, right? So what is the problem?
The problem is twofold: 1) such legislation infringes on the basic freedoms
of private citizens, 2) and it does so without any legitimate purpose or
reasonable hope of accomplishing anything.
Will this stop criminals from obtaining firearms? No. Not in anyone's
It is a fantasy to think that criminals actually buy guns at market prices
at gun shows. Criminals buy guns on the black market from other criminals.
So what we end up with is one more misnamed, government intrusion into
our personal lives in the name of safety that will not accomplish anything
except to make firearms ownership more onerous for law-abiding citizens.
If this legislation passes, the new battle cry for the gun banners will
be something like, "The Black Market Garage Sale Loophole." That loophole
will be the one where Uncle Bob sells a criminal his deer rifle.
The criminal will be you.
President thanks and praise all volunteers
As the President of the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
I am compelled to answer Ms. Ornelas's letter printed in the May 29th
edition of the Pecos Enterprise. The points noted are very nearly verbatim
(word for word) with recent telephone conversations, I have had and
I feel may be the opinion of persons other then Mrs. Ornelas, even
though she signed the letter. I understand her anger in the loss of
her job at the Chamber Office but we cannot allow this to destroy our
Chamber. There are always two sides to every story.
By being the leader of the Chamber Board of Directors, I must remain impartial
but feel I must speak out on the issues cited in Mrs. Ornelas's letter.
Since taking office in January, I have aware of dissatisfaction among
some of the members and have tried to address the problem from several directions,
each time asking for co-operation from the Board and Chamber members. I have
received comments, both pro and con about the management of the Chamber and
its Executive Director and am compiling this information so as to find direction
for a more smooth and successful management of the Chamber. Nothing can be
done without the Board of Directors following the by-laws of the organization.
When I was asked to consider the position of President, I gave it a great
deal of thought before accepting. I have always taken my responsibilities
very seriously and am doing it now. It would be easy for me to throw up my
hands and quit when a problem arises because I do not live in the City or
the County, but I do have a very sincere interest in the future of Pecos.
I have spent the last 25 years doing community and civic work in Pecos even
though I live in Mentone. These problems do not occur overnight and have
to be dealt with correctly.
It is only supposition that more Lion's Club business is handled at the
Chamber than there is Chamber business, can we prove this? Each of us that
have any interest in the community are involved with other organizations
and groups and give a part of our time to them. If the Chamber is being neglected
then changes need to be made to correct this.
As for many individuals and businesses not being a part of the Chamber
because of the present Executive Director, then they are the persons that
should step forward to see that changes are made if needed for the betterment
of Pecos. If we all felt the same way, nothing would get done. My thanks
and praise go to all the volunteers that take time from their busy schedules
to work to improve the image of Pecos. At this moment we have a very strong
working relationship with the City, County and Chamber and I thank the officials
for all they have done also.
I pledge to you, the community that I will look at this situation from
every angle and with the backing of the Board of Directors will make the
decisions necessary to avoid any further conflict and will endeavor to make
the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Bureau an entity we can
all be proud of.
President Pecos Chamber of Commerce and CVB
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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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