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Tuesday, December 21, 1999

Smokey Briggs


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 are forgivable.

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 their children.

There are worse things than loosing a sporting contest - starting with sacrificing your code of conduct and morals in a no-holds-barred effort to win.

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 at:

Our View

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 effectiveness.

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 values.

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, and sacrifice.

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 sense.

Al Gore should know better.

The voters who will sit in judgment of him on election day should as well.

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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