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October 22, 1996



By Peggy McCracken

What you want to find

is one keystroke away

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When I read last week's column, I realized I left something out about
searching the Internet. I led you up to the point where you access a
file, but failed to tell you that most browsers have a "find" option on
the tool bar that lets you search just in that file for your topic.

Testing this out on Netscape, I first accessed a search engine to see
if our website ever made it onto their indexes. The very first one I
tried was "Excite," and the Pecos Enterprise was the second listing. I
clicked on that and came up with my latest "advertising" page.

Farther down the page, I found a link to our index page, which has a
search engine on it. I entered a name, which took me to an Archives
file. Then I clicked on "find," and entered the name again. The first
occurrence appeared immediately, highlighted in blue. A dialogue box
asked if I wanted to continue or cancel. I clicked on "Next" and learned
there were no more occurrences of that name in that particular file.

Because we have a search engine on the Archives Menu page, you could
easily find any subject in any local or area story that we published
June 28 or later.

I am wondering how much of a market there may be for back issues of the
Enterprise. We could convert our microfilmed pages to
digital files and make all of them available, way back to the turn of
the century. Wouldn't it be fun to look up all the stories about
yourself? Or your enemy?

Quite frequently I get a call from someone wanting copies of stories we
have run in the past. Most are lawyers or insurance investigators
working on a court case, and they need to know everything they can learn
about a particular accident or criminal violation. Because I keep much
of my court stories stored on disk, often I can locate them in a hurry.
But when I don't have them, we have to turn through the daily papers
looking for the story they want. And if it's been more than two years,
we don't even have copies of the paper - just microfilm. And no
microfilm printer.

In such cases, I long to have everything on computer with a fast search
engine to sniff out exactly the stories they want.

Computers can store more information than you would ever use. But the
beauty of it is, it doesn't take up much space. And if you do need it,
the information is just a few keystrokes away.

"Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment."
Proverbs 12:19, NIV.

Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and editor whose column appears
each Tuesday.


Successful Brady bill

should be expanded

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There is no simple cure for the epidemic of gun violence in America. But
a mandatory waiting period for handgun purchases - allowing time for a
background check on prospective buyers - is proving to be a very useful
tool in keeping firearms out of the wrong hands.

In the last two years, since enactment of the Brady law requiring
background checks in all states, 102,822 criminals and other banned
purchasers were prevented from buying handguns, according to a study by
the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence.
The study's release was timed to coincide with an appearance by Sarah
Brady, the center's chairwoman, at the Democratic National Convention.
Her husband, former White House Press Secretary James Brady, was
permanently disabled by gunman John Hinckley in the 1981 assassination
attempt on Ronald Reagan.

The Brady background check is aimed at preventing handgun purchases by
felons, people with a history of mental illness or those covered by
court-issued restraining orders. President Clinton has sensibly proposed
expanding the measure to include anyone convicted of domestic abuse.

In California, which has long had a 15-day waiting period for all
firearm purchases, Attorney General Dan Lungren says the requirement
blocked the retail sale of more than 4,000 handguns, rifles and shotguns
last year - including, astoundingly, 35 sought by convicted murderers.
This occurred at a time when gun purchases were plummeting in the state
after a sharp spike caused by the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

No one knows how many lives may have been saved in the last two years by
blocking the sale of firearms to tens of thousands of felons and
mentally unstable people.

Suffice it to say that police chiefs and other law enforcement experts
across the country overwhelmingly support the Brady law as a means to
curb gun violence, even if its benefits can't be quantified precisely.

To counter the problem of stolen weapons falling into the hands of
criminals who have been turned down for retail sales, Assemblyman
Richard Katz has introduced a bill making it a felony in California to
illegally carry a concealed firearm that is stolen. The measure, which
has passed the Assembly, deserves passage as a sensible complement to
the Brady law.

Copley News Service
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
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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