Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Friday, April 20, 2007
By Smokey Briggs
Why I am
It was a cool Wednesday afternoon in November. The sky was overcast and it was beginning to drizzle with a promise of real rain later. I was a few months into my 13th year, attending 8th grade at Sam Houston Junior High in Irving, Texas.
We got out of school early because it was Thanksgiving, and I was walking home wearing a brown jacket with a backpack full of books, my football pants and practice jersey slung over my shoulder to be washed.
I was kicking bottles thrown on the side of the road to amuse myself as I walked the mile or so from the school to home along Walnut Hill Lane.
That’s a nice part of Irving. Nice new buildings and apartments. Nice people. Middle class.
The first thing I heard was a car screeching to a halt. It was a big, rusty, blue, four-door sedan of late ’60s vintage. A Buick, I think.
The doors popped open. All four of them. And somebody yelled, “There he is!”
I jerked my head over my shoulder to see who they were talking about.
We had only lived in Irving for a couple of months and I knew nobody.
One guy was tall with zits and lot of permed, curly hair. The rest were a blur.
Mr. Curly Hair jumped out with a baseball bat. Somebody else had a length of thick chain.
My brain was in overdrive as it tried to figure out what the hell was going on. There was about 20 yards between them and me.
The four started running at me. That’s when I realized who “he” was.
He, was me.
They were running at me.
It’s funny how time compresses and slows all at once when you are in a situation like that. In the next few seconds I comprehended, I made a decision, and I acted on the decision.
I now know that it took them less than a few seconds to cover the ground between us. Not a lot of time.
Up to that point in my life, I had never experienced real violence. Schoolyard fights, yes. Fighting for my life? No.
Maybe it was just the realization that I could never out run them. I did not try to run.
I balled up my fists.
I swung. Looking back it was probably a pitiful attempt to defend myself.
And then there is just a whirl of motion and pain and brief moments of clarity in my memory banks.
I wish I could say I made a good accounting of myself. Later I was horribly ashamed that I don’t even know if I landed a single lick. Looking back, at 41, I now realize how silly it is to think a 110-pound 13-year-old could do much of anything against four grown, or nearly-grown, men.
Not with his fists.
Not when they were armed with bats and chains.
I realized with horror that I was in deep trouble. I couldn’t breathe.
I later figured out my lack of air was from the wind being driven out of my lungs by the blow that also cracked ribs.
I was being thrown, or shoved. They bum rushed me into the creek/drainage ditch that ran along the road. The creek was a 10-foot gash full of trees and brush that stood as reminders that this had not long before been rolling North Texas farm land. I played in that creek bed a lot back then as I was a transplant from the country and that trickle of water and stand of defiant trees were a comforting reminder of home for a displaced country boy.
We were in the ditch now. My world was a spinning blur of leaves and blows.
Somewhere deep in my brain I wondered why they were pulling me into the ditch?
Somebody was holding me. I couldn’t really move. I saw the bat coming. It arched around in slow, slow motion. Mr. Curly Hair was swinging it.
I tried to jerk my head away.
No luck, I guess, because that’s the last thing I remember.
I woke up drowning.
Well, “woke up” are not quite the right words. Some deep instinct forced me to roll over and pull my head out of the rising water of the creek. I sputtered water and coughed.
Damn, I hurt. My vision was blurry and squinty. My ribs were on fire. Every shallow breath was misery. And my head was a pounding drum of pain.
It was raining pretty hard, I think, and I was soaking wet and cold, and then I started coughing up the water I had sucked into my lungs.
That was fun. I passed out again but not till I managed to turn my body around so that my head was further up the slope.
I woke up.
It was getting darker. This time I recovered my senses. Things were still pretty confused, but I figured out I needed to get home.
“Somebody might start worrying,” I remember thinking. Funny - the thoughts that go through your head, especially when you have a first class concussion. There was a lump on the side of my head, just up from the temple, the size of my fist.
I crawled/staggered home with lots of stops to rest and recoup. Cars whizzed by. People looked up.
Nobody said, or did, anything.
As I lay in the hospital bed with the Irving Police Officer taking the report I had one of those crystal clear moments of understanding - when the bad guys come, you are on your own. The police probably will not be there, and you better not bet your life that a Good Samaritan is going to come to your aide.
It is up to you to defend yourself.
I vowed I would never be that helpless again.
In about ten seconds I had gone from happy 8th grader looking forward to four days off, to damn near dead. The doctor commented that had the bat connected with my skull an inch lower it would have hit my temple and probably killed me.
Those four could have done anything they wanted to me in that ditch. Murder. Rape. Whatever.
I was lucky I guess. All I received was a beating. I do not know to this day why they chose me. Was it mistaken identity? A gang initiation? Just for fun? I don’t know.
I do know this: That was the last day of my life that I walked out the front door without a weapon in my possession.
I have been armed ever since.
Legally or illegally, I have always carried a weapon. Something, anything, that would help equalize the odds.
Years later, I came to understand that not only is your defense up to you, but it is also a God-given right.
You have a God-given right to protect yourself.
No loving God could create us without that right.
It is an individual, inalienable, Right.
The possession and use of weapons is part of that right. A right to defend yourself is meaningless when you are confronted with superior numbers and weapons.
Unless you too are armed.
Firearms in all their variety are the best inventions of the human brain when it comes to self-defense.
Pistols, rifles and shotguns all have a place. These are the tools of personal self-defense. These tools let 80-year-old grandma’s, 50-year-old heart patients and 18-year-old women protect themselves from aggressors who are bigger and meaner and better armed.
Without a gun, many of us are simply an easy victim. With a gun, we are a threat.
Why is it that criminals do not pick cops to rob or rape?
Why don’t they pick rifle ranges as cool places to ply their trade?
Why is violent crime always lower in areas where men and women regularly pack the tools of self-defense?
Because criminals need easy victims, that’s why.
Laws that attempt to strip away the right of self-defense are simply evil.
Monday, an armed man shot and killed 32 students at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Last year pro-self-defense forces tried to get the Virginia legislature to allow concealed carry holders to carry on tax-funded college campuses.
The bill died, in part to lobbying by Virginia Tech administrators.
Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker put it this way after it became obvious that the bill would not pass: "I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."
Mr. Hincker, with no respect intended, I say you are an idiot.
The blood of these 32 people is on your hands, and the hands of all those who think like you.
Would a single armed person have prevented every death?
But he or she would probably have prevented some of them. Many of them, probably. They would have had a chance.
And what if two or three or five of those kids had been armed and capable of exercising their God-given right to defend themselves against evil?
We will never know, because Virginia Tech and the Virginia state legislature decided that the campus should be a place where killers and rapists know that most likely, all of their victims will be unarmed.
The real murders of these kids reside in the Virginia General Assembly, in the administration offices of Virginia Tech, and in every home of every voter that supports such idiocy.
The administrators of Virginia Tech should be held criminally accountable for these murders.
They killed these kids; just as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow.
Folks, it’s time to quit coddling victim disarmament people. Arguments for so-called “gun control” make a mockery of all logic and common sense.
Arguing with these people is useless. If they had the sense God gave a retarded duck they could not hold the belief that disarming the good people will somehow disarm the evil people.
If they want to walk around unarmed, that is their decision. I do not feel the need to force them to defend themselves.
But they have no right to interfere with the right of other men and women to defend themselves.
And, if our society is so mentally and morally corrupt that the victim disarmament crowd becomes a voting majority and tries to force the rest of us to become unarmed victims, it will be time to oppose them by any and every means.
I would rather fight them with my guns rather than hand my guns in and wait for the day those four gentlemen in the blue car show up on my family’s doorstep. There is simply too much at stake not to.
Return to top
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 2003-04 by Pecos Enterprise