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Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Opinion

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

Democracy does not
equal freedom

The longer I live the more disgusted I become with our educational system. Perhaps it is only a symptom of my advancing years. I hope so.

Judging from the words of both political parties and responses from press and public alike, it appears safe to say that we have completely lost our ability to distinguish between freedom and democracy.

Being free does not require the use of a democratic system for government and being a democracy does not impart freedom on the voters.

I understand how a third grader might not understand the difference. Freedom and voting have been closely associated in our own history and elementary history classes might not distinguish between the two.

But, any high school graduate should have no trouble understanding the difference. Judging from the news and our reactions, this is not the case.

While the Bush administration waived the flag of weapons of mass destruction as the technical reason for the invasion of Iraq, the moral justification has been the liberation of the oppressed Iraqi people.

We are bringing democracy/freedom to Iraq and so we can feel good about the whole thing even if it turns out the whole mass destruction thing was smoke.

The implication is that once the Iraqis have a democratic form of government in place they will be free.

That is hogwash.

The reason it is hogwash is that we are probably ramming democracy down the throats of the majority of people in that country. If they were free to choose the majority would probably choose a theocracy of sorts - abhorrent to our American mentality, but still the choice of a free people.

So long as American might is the driving force behind the Iraqi government rather than the will of the Iraqi people, they will not be free despite getting to vote occasionally. And, the war will not end.

While I do not really give a care about Iraq or its people, I do care about America and the implications of our inability to separate voting from freedom.

If we cannot distinguish between the two, we are liable to wind up like the Iraqis having the right to vote but no semblance of freedom to go with it.

Recent developments in the coming national elections are particularly alarming in that the State Department has invited the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to monitor our elections.

As well, according to Florida Congressman Jeff Millerís August newsletter, 13 Democrats have written a letter to Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations asking him to bring observers to America for the election to ensure an accurate vote. That is sad.

As far as I am concerned it is also treason, at least in spirit.

Most important is our reaction as a people. The day we accept foreign authority over our elections is the day we admit that we are incapable of self-government.

Of course, UN monitoring is a few steps from UN enforcement, but UN observers monitoring a United States election is a tremendous symbolic gesture.

As a people we should be embarrassed by this request.

The implication is that we are no longer capable of self-government and that we must have outside help to maintain our democracy.

If that is so, we may have a vote, but we can no longer consider ourselves free any more than Iraq.

As to those who see nothing wrong with the situation I have a word of advice. If you truly believe that a fair election cannot be had in these United States, then it is time to revolt.

It is what your forefathers would have done and the only course of action for any freedom loving man or woman.

Billy the Kid--the new investigation

For 123 years Ft. Sumner, New Mexico has been saying that Billy the Kid was killed in Pete Maxwell's room and that they buried him in their cemetery. After many years of neglect for that "grave" they picked a spot and put a headstone there, with "Pals" on it, stating that Bowdre, Billy the Kid, and O'Folliard were buried there, neatly in a row. The truth is, they really do not know whom they buried, nor where that person was really buried. TOURISM ended the years of neglect for "Billy the Kid's" grave.

First of all--Sheriff Pat Garrett did not kill Billy the Kid. He killed another man, who was not a wanted man; therefore, that was murder! Let common sense prevail. It's almost midnight. The sheriff and his two men are looking for Billy the Kid, in the dark.

They knew that BTK was light-haired, light-skinned, blue-eyed. Their Sheriff goes into Pete's room and then they. who are on duty, certainly nervous, certainly "on guard," let Billy the Kid go right in on their Sheriff. This is not possible. It is TOTALLY impossible. If that had really happened, then Pat Garrett, being furious at such a mistake, would have at least fired them, for letting the very man they were looking for, the very criminal who had been convicted of killing Sheriff Brady. and who recently killed Deputies Bob Olinger and James Bell, walk right in on him with no warning given. The first words spoken were, "You've shot the wrong man" (which was true!!). If Pat Garrett and Ft. Sumner were correct, then the first words spoken should have been, "Look out, Pat, it's the Kid!" They weren't spoken, because it wasn't Billy the Kid.

You've probably read the many stories that were made up to cover this murder of the wrong man. False stories, false reports, fake coroner reports, etc. "Historians", who wrote and reacted to what they READ have backed up these lies for 123 years. Billy the Kid left New Mexico with a new life, Pat Garrett became famous for "killing" the most famous outlaw in the West, and John Poe became a famous man in New Mexico. Billy the Kid, now gone, could not speak up. If he had, he certainly would have been run down, captured, and hanged, not only for the murder of Sheriff Brady, but, also for the murders of deputies Olinger and Bell. Pat Garrett and the Santa Fe Ring were left behind to tell the story as they wanted it told. And many "historians" made it history!

In 1949, purely by accident, and, as if by fate, a man named William V. Morrison, heard that Billy the Kid was still alive, living in Texas. Interested in history, and related to the Pete Maxwell family in Ft. Sumner, he decided to check out this rumor. He travelled to Texas and confronted a reluctant Billy the Kid, who was living under the alias of Brushy Bill Roberts. Billy the Kid, now 90 years old, feeling his days were numbered, agreed to "come out in the open" if Morrison would seek to get him a pardon in New Mexico, a pardon he had been promised him by Governor Lew Wallace, years ago. He, an old and tired man, wanted a pardon from "man" and forgiveness from his Maker, before he died. He and Morrison travelled to New Mexico to meet with Governor Mabry, who promised a private hearing. Instead, they arrived to a room lined with police officers, lawmen of all kinds, many armed, and "historians" who had READ "history" as the Santa Fe Ring and Pat Garrett had written it. He was shaken, visibly and physically shaken. He had some kind of a stroke and had to rest. Then, he, ill and upset by the events, scared, facing all those lawmen and guns, thinking he might still hang, betrayed by ANOTHER New Mexican Governor, he couldn't remember facts, couldn't even remember his wife's name. They had come to seek a pardon, and they brought affadavits from people in New Mexico who knew Billy the Kid in 1881, who recognized him in 1950, stating that Brushy Bill Roberts was THE Billy the Kid. The Governor disregarded all of this, disgraced this Old Billy the Kid (You know how we often treat the OLD), and sent Brushy Billy the Kid Roberts back to Texas--a disgraced, heart-broken, ill, old man. New Mexico and the Santa Fe Ring finally won--they sentenced Billy the Kid to die!! HE DID! A month later, on the main street in Hico, Texas, Billy the Kid fell dead ...... Billy the Kid, the real Billy the Kid.... disgraced, heart broken, finally, really, dead... He, that old man, that old man who dressed western, who walked proudly down the streets of Hamilton and Hico, who told old cowboy stories (as many old men did in those days), who claimed to be the famous outlaw Billy the Kid was finally, really, dead. He was buried by his friends at Hamilton, Texas in a simple grave with a home-made headstone.

For 54 years it has been claimed that Brushy Bill Roberts was Billy the Kid and that he died in Hico, Texas. We know where he is buried. We know who's there. We do have a body and a location. We need to exhume Billy the Kid in Hamilton and show the world that we have THE Billy the Kid. It is quite obvious that Ft. Sumner will not allow anyone to dig up anything there. It has "a good thing going" and cannot afford to have the truth come out. There will never be any digging there.-the truth must never be found. Governor Richardson of New Mexico, Sheriff Gary Graves of DeBaca County (Ft. Sumner), Sheriff Tom Sullivan of Lincoln County, and Lincoln County Deputy Sheriff and Mayor of Capitan, New Mexico, Steve Sederwall, are all re-investigating the Billy the Kid story. They are seeking the truth--wherever it may be. Never again will we have the opportunity to find the truth. Maybe it's a longshot--maybe we won't find out much, but, at least it's a chance. It's something that will never happen again. IT'S NOW OR NEVER! WE NEED TO FULLY CO-OPERATE WITH NEW MEXICO.

There are those who will oppose exhuming Billy the Kid in Hamilton, for whatever reasons. Some like the mystery of the Billy the Kid death and feel that everyone wins as long as no one ever solves the mystery. Some have sincere respect for graves. Believe me, if the State wanted to take that land for any reason, those bodies would be moved ASAP. Catherine Bonney's grave was moved. Being religious, the soul counts, not the body. We dig up Egyptians in their mummies and proudly display them around the world without opposition! Brushy Bill would want the truth found! There are those who fear the truth--for they have lied. Then, there are those who oppose everything, just because they CAN and just to exert their POWER. This is an abuse of office. It is time for the truth. It is time to put politics and "politically-correct" behind us. It is time to put our personal reasons aside. We must co-operate fully in this genuine, valid, unique investigation. This was started in New Mexico by New Mexican officials, who have bravely put their careers and reputations on the line. Let's end it in Texas ! ! Jannay Valdez,
Billy the Kid Museum,
Canton, Texas
billythekid1950@cnbcom.net

Reader upset with library funding

Dear Editor,

Well, our County Judge and Commissioners Court have done it again. They have taken the funding from the Balmorhea Library. Not that it was ever much, $3000.00 a year, just enough to pay the utilities. Without this meager amount the library will probably be forced to close its doors.

This little library serves Saragosa., Toyahville and Balmorhea. I believe that a lot of people in all three communities pay county taxes, and get little or nothing in return. I have lived in Balmorhea for five years and have found it a wonderful place to live. There are lots of hard working, friendly and honest people that want the same thing for their children that people in any community want for their young people.

My family has a long history in Reeves County. My uncle, Cecil Cothrum was a resident of Pecos for many years, and he was very involved in Reeves County politics. All of my life, I have spent time in Pecos and Balmorhea, and I want the best for all of Reeves County residents. I want Balmorhea to have our library.

A library is so very important for our citizens, It is even more so for the very young. The younger children start to read, the better quality of life they will have, and no one can afford to buy all of the books that they want or need to read. Therefore, a community library. Yes - No?

Balmorhea did not get the promised community center, had its cemetery funding taken away, and now our library funding. What will our County Judge and Commissioners Court take from our community next?

We can only pray that our next commissioner will have enough clout with his constituents to get something accomplished for our end of the county. Sincerely,
CECILIA McADAMS
Balmorhea, TX

Democracy does not
equal freedom

The longer I live the more disgusted I become with our educational system. Perhaps it is only a symptom of my advancing years. I hope so.

Judging from the words of both political parties and responses from press and public alike, it appears safe to say that we have completely lost our ability to distinguish between freedom and democracy.

Being free does not require the use of a democratic system for government and being a democracy does not impart freedom on the voters.

I understand how a third grader might not understand the difference. Freedom and voting have been closely associated in our own history and elementary history classes might not distinguish between the two.

But, any high school graduate should have no trouble understanding the difference. Judging from the news and our reactions, this is not the case.

While the Bush administration waived the flag of weapons of mass destruction as the technical reason for the invasion of Iraq, the moral justification has been the liberation of the oppressed Iraqi people.

We are bringing democracy/freedom to Iraq and so we can feel good about the whole thing even if it turns out the whole mass destruction thing was smoke.

The implication is that once the Iraqis have a democratic form of government in place they will be free.

That is hogwash.

The reason it is hogwash is that we are probably ramming democracy down the throats of the majority of people in that country. If they were free to choose the majority would probably choose a theocracy of sorts - abhorrent to our American mentality, but still the choice of a free people.

So long as American might is the driving force behind the Iraqi government rather than the will of the Iraqi people, they will not be free despite getting to vote occasionally. And, the war will not end.

While I do not really give a care about Iraq or its people, I do care about America and the implications of our inability to separate voting from freedom.

If we cannot distinguish between the two, we are liable to wind up like the Iraqis having the right to vote but no semblance of freedom to go with it.

Recent developments in the coming national elections are particularly alarming in that the State Department has invited the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to monitor our elections.

As well, according to Florida Congressman Jeff Millerís August newsletter, 13 Democrats have written a letter to Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations asking him to bring observers to America for the election to ensure an accurate vote. That is sad.

As far as I am concerned it is also treason, at least in spirit.

Most important is our reaction as a people. The day we accept foreign authority over our elections is the day we admit that we are incapable of self-government.

Of course, UN monitoring is a few steps from UN enforcement, but UN observers monitoring a United States election is a tremendous symbolic gesture.

As a people we should be embarrassed by this request.

The implication is that we are no longer capable of self-government and that we must have outside help to maintain our democracy.

If that is so, we may have a vote, but we can no longer consider ourselves free any more than Iraq.

As to those who see nothing wrong with the situation I have a word of advice. If you truly believe that a fair election cannot be had in these United States, then it is time to revolt.

It is what your forefathers would have done and the only course of action for any freedom loving man or woman.

Billy the Kid--the new investigation

For 123 years Ft. Sumner, New Mexico has been saying that Billy the Kid was killed in Pete Maxwell's room and that they buried him in their cemetery. After many years of neglect for that "grave" they picked a spot and put a headstone there, with "Pals" on it, stating that Bowdre, Billy the Kid, and O'Folliard were buried there, neatly in a row. The truth is, they really do not know whom they buried, nor where that person was really buried. TOURISM ended the years of neglect for "Billy the Kid's" grave.

First of all--Sheriff Pat Garrett did not kill Billy the Kid. He killed another man, who was not a wanted man; therefore, that was murder! Let common sense prevail. It's almost midnight. The sheriff and his two men are looking for Billy the Kid, in the dark.

They knew that BTK was light-haired, light-skinned, blue-eyed. Their Sheriff goes into Pete's room and then they. who are on duty, certainly nervous, certainly "on guard," let Billy the Kid go right in on their Sheriff. This is not possible. It is TOTALLY impossible. If that had really happened, then Pat Garrett, being furious at such a mistake, would have at least fired them, for letting the very man they were looking for, the very criminal who had been convicted of killing Sheriff Brady. and who recently killed Deputies Bob Olinger and James Bell, walk right in on him with no warning given. The first words spoken were, "You've shot the wrong man" (which was true!!). If Pat Garrett and Ft. Sumner were correct, then the first words spoken should have been, "Look out, Pat, it's the Kid!" They weren't spoken, because it wasn't Billy the Kid.

You've probably read the many stories that were made up to cover this murder of the wrong man. False stories, false reports, fake coroner reports, etc. "Historians", who wrote and reacted to what they READ have backed up these lies for 123 years. Billy the Kid left New Mexico with a new life, Pat Garrett became famous for "killing" the most famous outlaw in the West, and John Poe became a famous man in New Mexico. Billy the Kid, now gone, could not speak up. If he had, he certainly would have been run down, captured, and hanged, not only for the murder of Sheriff Brady, but, also for the murders of deputies Olinger and Bell. Pat Garrett and the Santa Fe Ring were left behind to tell the story as they wanted it told. And many "historians" made it history!

In 1949, purely by accident, and, as if by fate, a man named William V. Morrison, heard that Billy the Kid was still alive, living in Texas. Interested in history, and related to the Pete Maxwell family in Ft. Sumner, he decided to check out this rumor. He travelled to Texas and confronted a reluctant Billy the Kid, who was living under the alias of Brushy Bill Roberts. Billy the Kid, now 90 years old, feeling his days were numbered, agreed to "come out in the open" if Morrison would seek to get him a pardon in New Mexico, a pardon he had been promised him by Governor Lew Wallace, years ago. He, an old and tired man, wanted a pardon from "man" and forgiveness from his Maker, before he died. He and Morrison travelled to New Mexico to meet with Governor Mabry, who promised a private hearing. Instead, they arrived to a room lined with police officers, lawmen of all kinds, many armed, and "historians" who had READ "history" as the Santa Fe Ring and Pat Garrett had written it. He was shaken, visibly and physically shaken. He had some kind of a stroke and had to rest. Then, he, ill and upset by the events, scared, facing all those lawmen and guns, thinking he might still hang, betrayed by ANOTHER New Mexican Governor, he couldn't remember facts, couldn't even remember his wife's name. They had come to seek a pardon, and they brought affadavits from people in New Mexico who knew Billy the Kid in 1881, who recognized him in 1950, stating that Brushy Bill Roberts was THE Billy the Kid. The Governor disregarded all of this, disgraced this Old Billy the Kid (You know how we often treat the OLD), and sent Brushy Billy the Kid Roberts back to Texas--a disgraced, heart-broken, ill, old man. New Mexico and the Santa Fe Ring finally won--they sentenced Billy the Kid to die!! HE DID! A month later, on the main street in Hico, Texas, Billy the Kid fell dead ...... Billy the Kid, the real Billy the Kid.... disgraced, heart broken, finally, really, dead... He, that old man, that old man who dressed western, who walked proudly down the streets of Hamilton and Hico, who told old cowboy stories (as many old men did in those days), who claimed to be the famous outlaw Billy the Kid was finally, really, dead. He was buried by his friends at Hamilton, Texas in a simple grave with a home-made headstone.

For 54 years it has been claimed that Brushy Bill Roberts was Billy the Kid and that he died in Hico, Texas. We know where he is buried. We know who's there. We do have a body and a location. We need to exhume Billy the Kid in Hamilton and show the world that we have THE Billy the Kid. It is quite obvious that Ft. Sumner will not allow anyone to dig up anything there. It has "a good thing going" and cannot afford to have the truth come out. There will never be any digging there.-the truth must never be found. Governor Richardson of New Mexico, Sheriff Gary Graves of DeBaca County (Ft. Sumner), Sheriff Tom Sullivan of Lincoln County, and Lincoln County Deputy Sheriff and Mayor of Capitan, New Mexico, Steve Sederwall, are all re-investigating the Billy the Kid story. They are seeking the truth--wherever it may be. Never again will we have the opportunity to find the truth. Maybe it's a longshot--maybe we won't find out much, but, at least it's a chance. It's something that will never happen again. IT'S NOW OR NEVER! WE NEED TO FULLY CO-OPERATE WITH NEW MEXICO.

There are those who will oppose exhuming Billy the Kid in Hamilton, for whatever reasons. Some like the mystery of the Billy the Kid death and feel that everyone wins as long as no one ever solves the mystery. Some have sincere respect for graves. Believe me, if the State wanted to take that land for any reason, those bodies would be moved ASAP. Catherine Bonney's grave was moved. Being religious, the soul counts, not the body. We dig up Egyptians in their mummies and proudly display them around the world without opposition! Brushy Bill would want the truth found! There are those who fear the truth--for they have lied. Then, there are those who oppose everything, just because they CAN and just to exert their POWER. This is an abuse of office. It is time for the truth. It is time to put politics and "politically-correct" behind us. It is time to put our personal reasons aside. We must co-operate fully in this genuine, valid, unique investigation. This was started in New Mexico by New Mexican officials, who have bravely put their careers and reputations on the line. Let's end it in Texas ! ! Jannay Valdez,
Billy the Kid Museum,
Canton, Texas
billythekid1950@cnbcom.net

Reader upset with library funding

Dear Editor,

Well, our County Judge and Commissioners Court have done it again. They have taken the funding from the Balmorhea Library. Not that it was ever much, $3000.00 a year, just enough to pay the utilities. Without this meager amount the library will probably be forced to close its doors.

This little library serves Saragosa., Toyahville and Balmorhea. I believe that a lot of people in all three communities pay county taxes, and get little or nothing in return. I have lived in Balmorhea for five years and have found it a wonderful place to live. There are lots of hard working, friendly and honest people that want the same thing for their children that people in any community want for their young people.

My family has a long history in Reeves County. My uncle, Cecil Cothrum was a resident of Pecos for many years, and he was very involved in Reeves County politics. All of my life, I have spent time in Pecos and Balmorhea, and I want the best for all of Reeves County residents. I want Balmorhea to have our library.

A library is so very important for our citizens, It is even more so for the very young. The younger children start to read, the better quality of life they will have, and no one can afford to buy all of the books that they want or need to read. Therefore, a community library. Yes - No?

Balmorhea did not get the promised community center, had its cemetery funding taken away, and now our library funding. What will our County Judge and Commissioners Court take from our community next?

We can only pray that our next commissioner will have enough clout with his constituents to get something accomplished for our end of the county. Sincerely,
CECILIA McADAMS
Balmorhea, TX

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