Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Tuesday, June 12, 2001
By Smokey Briggs
And at wide receiver for the Cowboys,
number 80, Smokey Briggs...
Well, this will be one of my last columns. I'll be bidding goodbye to
Pecos late in July, about the time the Dallas Cowboys' training camp opens.
You see, I've always had a dream. A dream of being a wide receiver in
the National Football League and making millions of dollars.
Snicker all you want, but you'll see. The government is running interference
on this one for me.
You see, I've always had great hands. I can catch anything Bret Farve
or Troy Aikman can throw. (I'm sure of it).
The only thing that has prevented me from being Troy's favorite deep man
is my disability.
You see, I was born short and slow. My legs are several inches shorter
than average. My best 40-yard dash times sound like decent quarter mile racecar
times. As a nose guard in high school other teams feared me because I was
too slow to fall for a screen pass. I was still next to the intended receiver
when the rest of the defensive lineman were about to sack the quarterback.
But now there is hope for guys like me.
Last week the Supreme Court handed down the Casey Martin decision and
told the PGA Tour that it must set the rules for tournament play so that
it accommodates the disabled in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities
I don't see why the same logic should not apply to the NFL.
Jerry Rice move over _ Smokey "The Hands" Briggs is moving in.
The way I figure it, all I need is a 25-yard head start on the defensive
back. So, everybody can line up, and then, when the defense is set, I get
to take my 25 yards.
Just like Martin, I've got some of the tools needed for the job, but the
Good Lord left out one or two. That is just not fair.
Now there will be no more discrimination against the leg-length-challenged
and a great injustice will be righted.
The NFL is a private organization, you say? What right have I to force
it to accommodate my pegs? You do not want to watch me in the Super Bowl.
I'll destroy the integrity of the game?
Nonsense. The Supreme Court can answer those questions. They already have.
Of course, this is neither the beginning nor the end of all of this. The
beginning was U. S. v. Darby in 1941 where the Supreme Court upheld the Fair
Labor Standards Act of 1938. That was the law that created a mandatory 40-hour
workweek. We all liked that idea.
The Court found that Congress had the authority to pass such a law via
the power of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, the legal root of all
power granted to Congress by the people.
If you have ever read the Commerce Clause, you know what a ridiculous
stretch the reasoning in Darby is.
But not as ridiculous as what followed in the coming decades.
Of course, we all cheered most of these decisions. We liked the results
and the methods be damned. We cheered federally mandated civil rights despite
the fact that justifying such law via the Commerce Clause is a joke.
And, like The Civil Rights Acts, and the Fair Labor Standards Act, we
are mostly cheering the decision that forces the PGA to let Martin ride around
in a cart.
Hey, he is the underdog. It makes us feel warm and fuzzy.
Who cares if it flaunts the Constitution? It feels good so good for us.
I bet making a couple of million a year as a Dallas Cowboy will feel good
See you at the stadium.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the
Pecos Enterprise. He can be e-mailed at:
McVeigh -- the question we ought to ask
"Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it." _ George Santayana
When the lemming-like cheering over Timothy McVeigh's execution dies down,
we need to take a step back, and take a long look at McVeigh and Oklahoma
Despite months of hand wringing in the national media no one has dealt
with the tough question Timothy McVeigh left us with in the death chamber.
We have been saturated with pundits pondering McVeigh's reasoning in killing
168 people when he detonated a bomb outside of the Oklahoma City federal
"We will never know what was going on in his mind," seems to be the general
But in fact, we do know. We just do not want to deal with the answer.
We do not want to believe that McVeigh actually believed in what he did.
We want someone to tell us that he was clinically insane, or had a troubled
childhood, or hated his father, and that this was the root of all of his
Because if he was not insane, then we have to deal with his stated motives
_ war against a federal government that had become so tyrannical that violent
revolution was the only recourse.
We cannot write McVeigh off as insane simply because he did it. There
are circumstances where a sane person could justify such an act in war, just
as we justified the fire bombing of Dresden, and nuclear holocaust in Japan
during World War II.
We cannot argue about whether a government can become so tyrannical
as to provoke revolution _ only when a government has reached that point.
We know this from our own experience as a nation forged in revolution.
Once you arrive at that conclusion, as McVeigh said he did, then the
rest of his actions are rational.
At that point, you have reached the point of being at war and civilian
casualties in war are an accepted consequence of military action.
Do many people believe, like McVeigh did, that the federal government
has reached such a level of tyranny?
But there can be no arguing that the federal government intrudes into
our daily lives far more than the founders of our noble republic intended,
and that personal freedom has suffered from this intrusion.
There has been no indication at this point that this trend has abated
or may abate in the future.
The ugly question we have to deal with, is whether or not there is some
small kernel of truth in McVeigh's insane belief that our government has
become a tyrant.
We must deal with this, because McVeigh is probably not the only person
in the United States capable of risking death and killing others, in the
name of this cause.
If current trends continue, we will one day convince more people that
the federal government has assumed the role of tyrant. On that day we may
face another Oklahoma City.
We cannot avoid this question simply in fear that it will lend the slightest
shred of anything other than evil to McVeigh.
Rather we should embrace it, to head off similar evils in the future.
Sheriff Jarvis should be on Bush's FBI list
In the wake of government raids one amuck, i.e. Waco, Randy Weaver,
etc., I believe someone needs to give credit where credit is due.
Sheriff Phil Jarvis of Idaho successfully ended the recent highly publicized
siege in Sand Point, Idaho without anyone getting killed or injured. Sheriff
Jarvis exercised patience and restraint when he talked the five armed McGuckin
children into leaving their home with no blood shed.
It's so refreshing to see a government siege with no casualties, for a
Since President Bush is actively looking for someone to head up the FBI,
why not consider Sheriff Jarvis?
The FBI might learn something from this valiant law enforcement officer.
He's certainly worth considering putting on the Bush's short list for FBI
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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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