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Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Smokey Briggs


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 Act .

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 too.

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:

Our View

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 City.

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 building.

"We will never know what was going on in his mind," seems to be the general conclusion.

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 evil.

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.

Your View

Sheriff Jarvis should be on Bush's FBI list

Dear Editor:
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 change.

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 Director.


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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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