Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Tuesday, December 21, 1999
By Smokey Briggs
Arm the referees
Did I miss something?
Apparently I did.
At some point the American people sacrificed all standards when it comes
to the athletes they cheer for, and I don't remember when it happened.
Today, as long as a man can perform on the field, all other transgressions
The criminal acts of professional and collegiate athletes are regular
fare on the sports page - and we're not talking about relatively minor
transgressions of drunkenness, drug abuse and general debauchery either.
No, we're talking about rape, murder and assault, on, and off the field.
Last week, one professional football player was carted back to North
Carolina to face a murder charge.
On the same weekend, another "pro" assaulted a referee - knocked him
flat and then stood over him until teammates shoved him away.
Referees in the NBA have been similarly assaulted.
The stories surrounding these transgressions are filled with talk of
fines and suspensions.
Fine and suspensions?
These guys don't need to be fined. They need to be tossed from the game.
Pete Rose was never even accused of anything this heinous.
Fans who cheer for these criminals/athletes are in essence condoning
their conduct, and sending a dangerous "only results count" message to
There are worse things than loosing a sporting contest - starting with
sacrificing your code of conduct and morals in a no-holds-barred effort
As for the referees...
I suggest new hiring criteria, training and tools.
If we aren't going to protect them from the criminals on the field and
court, then they need to take a different approach.
Some hand-to-hand combat training, a few lead-filled oak clubs, and
a team approach to refereeing could stop this problem in its tracks.
This approach has been a hallmark of Western Civilization and culture
throughout history - decent men banding together to combat the bullies,
criminals and tyrants of their world.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the Editor and Publisher of the
Pecos Enterprise whose column appears each Tuesday. He can be e-mailed
Homosexuals don't belong in the military
Open homosexuals do not belong in the military - unless you believe that
the first priority of our military is social reform rather than combat
Al Gore, if elected president, plans to do away with our current president's
"don't ask, don't tell" policy.
That much is good.
But he plans to replace it with a simple "homosexuality is okay" policy.
That part is bad.
It's not bad because homosexuals are not physically or mentally capable
of carrying out the basic duties of soldiers and sailors.
It's bad because it is contrary to good order and morale and undermines
the effectiveness of any unit.
For the Al Gore's of the world, this shouldn't happen - people shouldn't
be like that. Maybe he's right. But we are.
The truth of the matter is that it takes more than technical or physical
ability to create effective combat units. Many very technically-proficient,
well-equipped armies have lost wars. (The French manage to do it every
30 years or so).
There is an intangible ingredient that goes into effective units.
It is an ingredient made up of teamwork, honor, pride and trust - to
name but a few.
In an effective team there is an equal sharing of the hardships and
dangers, from the team leader to the lowest rank.
When the possibility of sexual relations enters into the equation, the
team in compromised - even if no impropriety takes place.
From then own there will be a suspicion that Joe gets special treatment
because Jim thinks Joe is cute.
The day that happens, the team is broken. And without that team spirit,
you do not have an effective combat unit.
In the final analysis, it isn't armies or divisions or regiments that
fight battles - it is small groups of men forged into teams. Men who count
on one another, and who trust that they will have their share of dangerous
assignments, but only their share.
Men that are fairly certain that their squad leader doesn't show favoritism
to their buddy because he thinks he is cute. Men that are certain that
the guy next to him isn't preoccupied with protecting his lover rather
than delivering accurate fire on the enemy.
Along the same lines there is one other strike against homosexuals being
allowed in the military.
It is the simple fact that one key element of any effective units' group
personality is a kind of cult of masculinity - a cult that exalts masculine
This can be good or bad, depending on your viewpoint, but either way,
history holds that it is true.
This cult holds high such virtues as strength, skill with arms, toughness,
Inherent in this cult of masculinity is heterosexuality. Again, whether
it is good or bad, the two cannot be divided.
To allow open homosexuals into the unit is to belittle the cult of belief
that the rest of the unit shares.
And this cult of belief plays no small part in forging a combat ready
team of men.
To ignore this is to ignore the teachings of history and plain common
Al Gore should know better.
The voters who will sit in judgment of him on election day should as
Otherwise, we may end up with a military forged in social utopia that
couldn't fight its way out of a wet paper bag.
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Peggy McCracken, Webmaster
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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