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Tuesday, February 15, 2000

Smokey Briggs


By Smokey Briggs

John Rocker's Crime

Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker is guilty of something _ just what he is guilty of depends on who you ask.

Most people seem to have hopped on the band wagon condemning his remarks regarding New York in general.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Rocker said that he would retire before playing for a team in New York city.

As reason for this statement, he said, "Imagine having to take the No. 7 train to Shea Stadium, looking like you're in Beirut, next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids."

"It's depressing," he said.

"The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country."

That's what he said.

He has now been labeled a bigot and a racist.

I'm not sure that's fair.

Just for the record:

I wouldn't want to ride to work on a subway that looks like it is out of a war zone (and New York subways qualify).

I'm not keen on the punk rock (or whatever you call it these days), dyed hair, pierced body parts, scene.

I don't approve of homosexuality.

I don't like sitting next to habitual criminals (especially those dumb enough to get caught several times).

I don't approve, as a rule, of young women having lots of kids (or even a few) out of wedlock.

These are behaviors. Behaviors you can agree with, or not. But disagreeing with them doesn't make you racist, or bigoted.

And going to work everyday sitting next to that collection of people, could be depressing.

Now as to his comments about foreigners and the speaking of the English language.

So what?

Why does John Rocker, or anybody else, have to like everyone else's culture?

Because that is what we're talking about - culture, not language. Language is simply an indicator of culture - perhaps the most obvious indicator.

To be a good person, must I like all things about all cultures?

I don't.

I sincerely dislike and disagree with many of the practices, ethics, and attitudes of many cultures.

I'm not keen on the Chinese practice of killing infant girls.

The Japanese concept of honorable suicide runs contrary to much of what I believe.

I'm not fond of Russian culture's approach to civil liberties.

I find the genocidal tendencies of many African tribes appalling.

I think the English tendency toward socialism and civilian disarmament is a sign of moral decay.

And, I have no doubt, that many of the above mentioned peoples have a few problems with my cultural beliefs. If they don't, they must not believe in their own ideas very much.

Does that make us all racist/bigot/fools?

I don't think so.

I think it makes us human.

And I would hate to live in a world where everybody believed the exact same things as I did.

How boring.

And how inhuman.

And that is John Rocker's biggest crime - the act of being human, and verbally committing to that state of existence where all the self-riteous could hear.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed

Our View

Sign vandals probably have room-temperature I.Q.

Political campaign signs in Pecos are being vandalized, destroyed, and stolen.

The volume of the destruction rules out random vandalism.

Obviously, there are people in our community who cannot find a better way of supporting "their" candidate for political office other than tearing down an opponent's signs.

What this says about Pecos' collective I.Q. is frightening. These guys must really lower the average for the rest of us.

Anyone who can't do better than vandalism as political activism shouldn't be allowed to vote.

They are too stupid to cast a rational, and informed vote.

This kind of foolishness is also bad for Pecos. It is bad for our self-esteem and bad for our reputation. (And we need all the help we can get these days).

And it should embarrass us.

Every citizen should keep a sharp eye out, and should call the police if they see someone vandalizing these signs.

These acts of vandalism constitute up to a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Anyone caught should be prosecuted to the hilt.

While they are in jail, the miscreants should then be forced to read a fourth-grade civics book explaining our system of government.

They probably wouldn't understand it, but it would be fitting punishment.

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