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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Opinion

February 2, 1999

Smokey Briggs

Sage
Views

By Smokey Briggs

Memorial service evokes

painful, good memories

Some people don't bring small children to funerals and similar somber events.

I'm glad that some people do.

Many of us said our final good-byes to David Madril last week.

I don't pretend to have known David very well. We had worked together for less than a month before he died.  In that short period of time I new David as a cheerful, hard-working man. He was the kind of person who makes work enjoyable.

There was a memorial service on Friday. You rarely hear anyone speak ill of the dead in our society. It just isn't polite. But sometimes there does seem to be a lack of kind words.

It's been my experience that you can get an idea of who someone was as much from the comments you don't hear as those that you do. At the memorial service there was plenty to hear.

It was obvious that David touched many people during his time here in Pecos. That is one of the few things that we can do on this earth that really matters. All of our other accomplishments stop when we stop. Time will consume them like the desert consumes a summer rain.

But the people we touch keep going. There is a continuum here on earth. Christianity gives us the hope of a rebirth after death of another continuum. If there is anything more symbolic of these hopes than a small child I do not know what it is.

During David's memorial service you could hear the chattering and fussing of several small children who weren't old enough to understand the meaning of the service. In their chattering there was a reminder. A reminder of hope for mankind here on earth and beyond.

I find comfort in that hope.

And, I think David would be glad that there were small children there to help remind us of what is really important, and that there is hope.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise. He can be e-mailed at: smokey@pecos.net


Peggy McCracken

Squarely
Pegged

By Peggy McCracken

Rumor mill keeps town

buzzing with the latest

Did you know that a large "chain" bank has purchased a local bank? That a nuclear dump is under construction at the sulphur mine? That the price of oil jumped to $25 per barrel today?

I made that last one up, but the other two are genuine rumors that it was my duty to lay to rest recently. Thank God for rumors. They make a good jumping-off point to get the real news.

It is news that a group of five Security State Bank directors have a contract to purchase a big block of shares in the bank and have offered the same deal to the rest of the shareholders - up to a point. After they get enough to control the bank, they may decide that's enough.

Some of the shareholders think the price offered is too low, and they are negotiating to buy it themselves, holding out the promise of a better price per share. Whichever way it goes, local people still would control the bank, as they always have.

As to the nuclear dump, it was also based on truth. Freeport Sulphur is digging a dump at the mine northwest of Pecos, but it's not for nuclear waste. The only thing going in the state-approved landfill will be junk from the mine, which Freeport is shutting down.

Which brings up another rumor I chased. That rumor had Freeport drilling 21 new wells and hiring contract labor to replace the high-wage employees laid off last year. Fact. They drilled one new well, using a contract driller. And they are still working on shutting down the older wells that no longer produce enough to warrant their upkeep.

At least that's what their official spokesman told me. Wary as I am of official spokesmen, I print what they say. And if I can get a different story from another official spokesman, I will print that, too, and let you the reader judge where the truth lies - much like a jury does in court. I'm not saying it's true; just that this is the evidence I was able to dig up.

And digging is what it takes. Thanks to nearly 30 years of mining information, I have developed some pretty reliable sources. They know they can give me all the lowdown off the record without having to worry that it will appear in print. So they do. And it's nice. Without that kind of trust, I would never be sure whether I was getting the true picture on any subject. I learned early on that if you could get someone to tell you off the record what is really going on, you can get an official source to confirm it.

But without the rumors, I wouldn't even know to ask questions. So keep the gossip fence hot and let me know what you hear.

"Save me, O Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues." Psalm 120:2, NIV.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is the Webmaster of the Pecos Enterprise. She can be e-mailed at: news@pecos.net

Our View

Proceedings should be open to public

Monica Lewinsky's testimony in the current impeachment proceedings should be open to public scrutiny.
For that matter, the entire process should be open to public scrutiny. The impeachment of the president is an event of the greatest public interest.

There seem to be two arguments in favor closing parts of the impeachment proceedings to the public. The first is that unless the senate closes some of the proceedings the impeachment process will take to long. The second hinges on the idea that unless the senators are allowed to view evidence and debate the guilt or innocence of the president in private, their decisions may be swayed by public opinion rather than truth and duty.

Both arguments lack substance.

There has been much debate concerning the proper length of an impeachment trial. Often it seems that parties on either side of the fence are attempting to weigh the possible damage of a lengthy impeachment trial against the pursuit of justice. This is improper. As with every aspect of life, justice has its price.

The president deserves a full an impartial trial. So do his prosecutors. More importantly, so do the people of the United States. If a trial must be lengthy to be fair, and a long trial has a certain price tag, then we as a nation should accept the price and pay it.

At this point, the price tag most often waived is the cry that we need to get back to the business of running the country. It would seem, however, that the impeachment of the president would be a pretty important part of that business.

The second argument is even less persuasive.

Why should the testimony of witnesses be secluded from public view? Why should the final deliberations be cloaked in secrecy? There are no good answers to these questions. The only answer a logical person can arrive at is that the senators do not want the people that elected them to see and hear what they do.

This runs contrary to our very notion of government. Of course, in a normal civil trial the jury is allowed to deliberate in private. But this is no normal civil trial.

In a normal civil trial, there is no benefit to society by having the deliberations of the jury in open court. The jurors are not accountable to the rest of society after the verdict. The Senate, however, is no regular jury. The individual senators were elected to perform all duties of the Senate. One of their duties happens to be sitting as the jury if the president is impeached by the House.

As elected officials, senators are accountable to their constituencies for all of their actions. This is the base premise of our form of government.  To allow the Senate to hide witness testimony and final deliberations defeats the purpose.

The only foreseeable reason for such secrecy is for the protection of those senators who plan to vote contrary to the weight of the evidence. For these senators, it will be better if their constituents do not see all of the evidence. It will be easier for them to justify their actions and hide the truth.

In the world of government, information is light. Like a fungus, a lie cannot survive in this bright light. Only those interested in concealing the truth will cry foul if the curtains are drawn back so that the light can shine in.

Your View

Reader enjoys chat club created by Enterprise

I just wanted to say Thank-You for creating Pecos Gab. It was fun to talk to Joy Brown Ray and today I received an E-mail from an old classmate and I was thrilled.

Turns out she lives very close to where I live and we are going to try to get together. Her aunt gave her the address.

Thanks again to you and to Joy!

KATHRYN ROBERTS
Class of 1974

President should not occupy office anymore

I never thought I would see the day when our democratic senators would vote in lock step to keep the testimony of witnesses secret and not available to us Americans.

What has happened to the rule of law in this country? What has happened to Open government? What is going on when 100 percent of our democratic representatives are vigorously defending our president when he has committed adultery, lie to all of us, committed perjury, obstruction of justice and who knows what else?

I am very disappointed. As a result of my deep concern and sorrow, I have decided to rescind my voter's registration and never vote again. I cannot vote for anyone who defends adultery, lying perjury and obstruction of justice.

I am also upset with the Republicans for an absence of backbone in this situation.

The way to end this matter is to remove William Jefferson Clinton from office. He should not occupy the oval office for two more hours; certainly not two more years.

ROY STUBBLEFIELD
Lamar, AR 72846
 

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