Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Tuesday, October 2, 2001
By Smokey Briggs
Arming pilots is a good move,
banning knives is just stupid
So far, our response to air travel security after September 11 makes me
want to cry.
Most of the measures being debated illustrate how weak, delusional and
completely divorced from reality we have become as a people.
Except for the suggestions to arm pilots and reintroduce sky marshals,
I have yet to hear of one measure that might have prevented what happened
on September 11. Not one.
Yet, we are happily submitting to anything in the name of security without
thought as to whether the new measure will have any useful affect.
I doubt we have the courage to arm the pilots. That would require moral
fortitude that we have not demonstrated as a people in half a century.
Sky Marshals? Maybe we will actually put one on every plane but I doubt
it. Even if we do that leaves the odds at about four to one if September
11 is any indication. Pretty crummy odds for John Wayne, much less a mere
Banning knives and other "cutting instruments" on planes? Give me a break.
Of all the pathetic, whining responses, this is the worst. It was not a knife
that pacified the people on those airplanes. It was the threat of a bomb,
and the mindset that 99.9 percent of airline hijackings end with most of
the passengers walking away.
We have preached for years that the best reaction to violence is to be
passive and hope for the best.
That mindset is gone now, or at least I hope it is.
When someone threatens you there is only one rational assumption _ that
they mean to kill you and it is up to you to prevent them from doing so.
By banning knives all we have done is guarantee to any future terrorist
that the passengers are even less prepared to deal with a threat than passengers
were on September 11. These jerks took advantage of the ultimate gun-free
zone to kill 6,000 Americans with a knife and the threat of a bomb.
Our response? Ban knives. Brilliant.
Increased airport security? Secure all you want. You cannot prevent another
September 11 with security measures.
Have you noticed that nobody has mentioned how any of the security measures
being discussed and implemented would have prevented the September 11 attacks?
That is because none of these measures would have prevented anything.
The hijackers were ticketed passengers who claimed they had a bomb. You can
get on a plane and pull the same stunt tomorrow.
Anyone who thinks future hijackers will not be able to get a weapon or
two on board as well needs to enroll in Reality 101.
Will our new security measures be better than the FBI's? The CIA's? No,
and each of these relatively small government agencies has had numerous security
What makes us think we can do better in the commercial travel industry?
There are only two ways to prevent terrorist airline hijackings. The first
is preemptive strikes on terrorists before they can act. The second is the
threat that the pilots, maybe a sky marshal, and the passengers are going
to assume the worst and decide to go down fighting rather than be used as
a suicide bomb.
I want my knife back.
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:
Commissioners got it right with tax cut
The County Commissioners got it right last week when they okayed a 25
percent cut in property taxes.
Every year taxes go up _ sales taxes, gasoline taxes, income taxes, luxury
taxes, tobacco and alcohol taxes, state income taxes, personal property taxes,
license plate fees, road and bridge taxes… We do not hear about a
tax being lowered or going away all that often.
It is easy to argue for higher taxes. Politicians can point to the supposed
exact place the money will be spent and it is always for a worthy cause.
The usual tax hike is almost always only a few pennies. Who cannot afford
a couple of pennies? Right?
If you argue against a tax hike you are branded a heartless miser that
does not care about the hungry and the children.
It took political guts for the commissioners to send the forecasted surplus
back to Reeves County residents.
The truth is that taxation does not create real wealth. Taxes are a drag
on commerce _ a necessary drag to the point needed to maintain an efficient
infrastructure _ but that is all. We passed that point of taxation a long
As we are beginning to learn, after a century of penny tax hikes, even
pennies add up.
This year Pecos property owners will see their property taxes fall. The
effect will not be apparent.
There will be no immediate tangible effect that we can measure.
But we can be sure that it is a step in the right direction _ a step down
a path that leads toward economic prosperity _ rather than another step down
the path into the economy-choking thicket of tax-supported government bureaucracy.
PHS has lost it's school spirit
We say the third time is the charm. We also say three strikes and you're
1st strike: A school official changes the grade of a
student at Pecos High School, causing two qualified teachers to be let go,
or quit, for standing up for what they believe is right. The student passes
without making the grade.
Lesson learned: Why study? I'll just get mom or dad to go up and get my
grades changed. I don't need to study.
2nd strike: Several school officials dropped the ball
when they let a student who was caught with drugs back on the team. Mom and
Dad threatened a lawsuit so our officials gave in. Then a second student
was let back on a different team for the same crime. I guess this was only
fair _ we don't want a lawsuit against us for that too!
Lesson learned: We can do anything we want to and not get punished.
3rd strike: What school officials were in charge of
the Homecoming Bonfire? They dropped the ball too! Isn't this homecoming
affair for school spirit? Everyone that was there was ready for anything
to happen, but nothing did. The band didn't get to play the school song.
The cheerleaders didn't get to cheer for our teams. No school spirit at all.
And what a great chance we lost to not only show school spirit, but also
the American spirit. What if the band had played our National Anthem? What
if we had prayed for our Nation, our President, and all the victims of September
11, 2001? What if we had said a prayer for coach Bubba Williams? Do you think
it would have created school spirit, American spirit? We will never know.
Lesson learned: Oh, who cares.
Class of `78
Eagles-Loboes prayer is reason for hope
Friday September the 28th was a great day for Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD, the Town of Pecos City, Monahans, and the Nation. Yes, it is true
that the Eagles won the contest in one of the most exciting games I
have ever had the fortune to watch. But that is not the reason for my
pride. Yes, both teams played with dignity, pride and valor. But that is
not the hallmark of the day that I will forever remember.
Much has been said about the human condition since September 11, 2001.
The moments and days following the tragic events of that day have been called
our "defining moment". A Sunday morning news program even opined that September
the 11th is defining a generation. The reporter interviewed a
group of 20 somethings that had been living a life of hedonistic humanism.
They had been pursuing the "American Dream". After the 11th they
said they were forever changed and now realized that relationships and life
were more important than material things. One young Wall Streeter said that
he had been living with his fiancé for seven years and decided that
it was time to make a commitment. What a knot-head! But this is not what
gives me hope.
Surely I am not the only one who noticed. Surely there were many who "mounted
up as on the wings of Eagles" and wept with great Joy. Following the obligatory
and "politically correct" moment of silence and the playing of the National
Anthem there was an act of defiance and unfettered purity. It was an unbelievable
moment of honesty and integrity given to those with the wisdom to see and
the heart to feel. It was a gift from God to let us know that He is still
in control. The gift was given to us through the young men on the field as
if God was saying "the laws of this Nation that was built upon My foundation
cannot keep Me from My people."
The Eagles met the Loboes at the center of the field of honor. Both teams
removed their helmets, embraced and shook hands. They then spontaneously
dropped to their knees and prayed. Young men of faith, of diverse denominations,
maybe some who had not made a commitment to Christ, maybe some who will never
know the Joy of a personal relationship with Christ, all joined together
to say this is what we want to do and it is the right thing to do.
They say Church attendance is up significantly since September the 11
th. They say that people are searching for answers, direction and meaning
in their lives. Some say God has removed his covering from this Nation. Jesus
said "deny Me before man and I will deny you before My Father." There is
a group of young men that have proclaimed before us that there is hope. Oh
that I would have such faith and courage. Thank you Loboes and Eagles.
What is man that You are mindful of him, and the Son of Man that You visit
Him? Psalm 8:4
Where we go from here
By PAUL BECKNER
Over the past few days, America has mourned the senseless loss of lives
in New York and Washington, D.C. Now we must begin to brace for the
future and prepare against any new threats to our liberties. Terrorists
may have attacked our buildings and destroyed our property, but they
cannot extinguish the ingenuity and spirit that built our nation. As
a nation, we face two important challenges. First, we must secure our
people against further attacks and terrorist threats. Second, we must
rebuild and strengthen our economy, unleashing the entrepreneurship
and creativity that generated the prosperity we enjoy today.
President Bush is already moving forward with plans to ensure Americans
are safe in their communities. These efforts will inevitably command significant
taxpayer resources. Indeed, Congress has already appropriated $40 billion
in new spending to fund anti-terrorist and rebuilding efforts.
But we must also work quickly to shore up our economy to counteract terrorist
attempts to thwart our economic growth. The assault on the World Trade Center
was also an attack on the economic freedoms of every American. The economy
faced challenges before September 11, 2001 and the pro-growth policies that
made good sense then are now an economic imperative.
Our economy is stronger than that of any other nation. We produce more
than 20 percent of the world's economic output, providing goods and services
for people around the globe. Foreign markets are critical to many American
businesses and we must ensure that their doors remain open. Terrorist attempts
to disrupt the world economy cannot stand.
Here at home, we must invigorate the creative abilities of the entrepreneurs
and innovators who have fueled our economy. Now more than ever policymakers
should take steps to simplify the tax code, free up needed capital and spur
new economic growth. This could be accomplished by simply making President
Bush's tax cut permanent and eliminating the capital gains tax.
At the same time, unnecessary regulations that stifle economic activity
must be re-examined. As the stock sell-off since the attack attests, the
terrorist assault may be on of the greatest single economic disturbances
in generations. We should not compound this uncertainty with regulations
that thwart productivity and add an element of regulatory risk to investment
In light of the recent terrorist attacks, U.S. energy policy takes on
an ethical dimension. Our unwillingness to meet more of our energy needs
at home may have helped strengthen our enemies abroad. No one denies that
fuel and energy markets must be global to function at their current level.
However, our ever-increasing dependence on foreign sources of energy has
afforded some foreign governments undue influence over the U.S. economy.
Furthermore, given current technology, the fears of environmental devastation
in sensitive areas of the country are largely exaggerated or imagined. However,
the threat of further terror and violence against our fellow citizens is
decidedly real. We must find ways to meet our own energy needs to protect
our nation and our personal freedom.
Finally, our government needs to be prudent in it's spending. A war against
terrorism is a costly endeavor that will take an increasing share of the
government's resources. Fiscal discipline will be required to ensure that
wasteful government programs do not detract from our focus. Spending priorities
should be established and traditional pork barrel politics should halt. Revisiting
domestic spending priorities is now an economic necessity.
Ultimately, the strength of our country relies on the strength of our
economy. A thriving economy is an important component of America's security.
As we move to eradicate terrorism we cannot forget what made our country
strong in the first place.
Paul Beckner is President of Citizens for a Sound Economy, a grassroots
organization that educates and motivates its more than 300,000 members. He
can be reached at 1250 H Street NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005.
Return to top
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
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
We support Newspapers in Education
Copyright 2001 by Pecos Enterprise