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Smokey Briggs


By Smokey Briggs

Tuesday, June 5, 2001

Slim on cholesterol

I was down at the auction barn and saw my friend Slim the other day.

He was on the wrong end of a set of post-hole diggers; drenched in sweat, and looking like a sack of bones somebody shrunk leather over and then dressed up in Levi's.

"Just the fellow I was hoping to see," he said through lips clenched around a cigarette.

"No way, Slim. Hard work would probably kill me," I told him. "I've partnered up with a set of post-hole diggers before and did not enjoy it one bit."

"Nah, I don't want you to dig. I want to buy you lunch. I've got a business proposition for you."

I've never turned down free lunch, despite Granny's wisdom that there is no such thing.

Granny was right.

Slim and I were both doing our best to get all around a couple of cheeseburgers when he started in.

"You're a lawyer right?" he accused.

"Not really. Yeah, I've got my ticket, but I'm trying to go straight," I told him.

"Well, I want you to file one of those class action law suits for me."

"Out of my league," I said around a french fry.

"Nah, this'll be easy. I want you to sue the beef industry and every fast food restaurant in the nation for killing folks. Ought to a pretty good fee when it's over."

"That will be easy?" I asked.

"Sure, just go copy all the lawsuits that were filed against the tobacco companies and change beef for cigarette, hamburger for tobacco, fat for nicotine _ you get the idea," he said.

"Just what are we suing for," I asked.

"To save folks lives of course. And to compensate the victims," he said without a smile. "And because I just cannot stand to watch one more soul eat him or herself into an early grave. Not to mention the terrible cost to society from fat-related deaths," he added with a self-righteous air while he dabbed at the grease on his chin with a napkin.

"I'm not so sure your comparing apples with oranges old friend," I said.

"Sure I am. You just haven't been reading that paper of yours. Just the other day there was an article that said more than 500,000 people die every year from heart disease. That is the same number that supposedly die from cigarettes."

Slim paused and sipped at his coke.

"And the government has declared that a goodly percentage of those folks can be saved by just doing a little exercise and mostly cutting the fat and cholesterol out of their diet _ and you know where most of that fat and cholesterol comes from?"


"Bingo. And fast food in general. Heck, you'd be better off smoking a pack of Camels rather than stuffing that nasty thing in your mouth," he said with a smile.

"And I sure would like to see the legions of the over-weight-but-self-righteous that get so worked up over tobacco paying sin taxes on burgers and fries, and having law suits filed against Burger Works `R Us, and having burger eating outlawed in public places. That would be downright fun."

"What about you Slim," I asked. "You eat a hamburger about every day. Doesn't all that cholesteral and fat worry you?"

"Nah. I work too hard to get fat, and shoot, I smoke. I've already picked my poison."

I stared at what was left of my lunch for a minute, wondering if I could calculate just how many minutes or hours more I might live if I ate a salad with no dressing instead.

Finally I signaled to the waitress.

"Yes honey?" she asked.

"Could I get a piece of pecan pie please," I said with a smile.

They served big slices of pie. If I worked at it, it would take me 15 minutes to eat the whole slice. Surely one piece of pie would not take more than 15 minutes off my life span.

The pie was good.

I think it was an even trade.

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

Our View

The gun show loophole - misleading on purpose

The anti-gun crowd got what it asked for with the Brady Bill _ mandatory background checks on firearms sold by gun dealers.

Practically the next day, Handgun Control Inc. (HCI) and its brethren gun banners took up the cry of the "gun show loophole."

The national press took up the battle cry like the good foot soldier of the left that it is, and for several years it has been the regular fare of the six o'clock news.

It is a good rallying cry.

It sounds sinister.

It implies that there is a special loophole in the laws that gives hardened murders a "get out of jail free" card to buy a machine gun so long as he does it at a gun show and not at an establishment like Smokey's Guns where Uncle Bob and Aunt Edna shop for deer rifles and shotguns.

Like all of the gun banners' propaganda slogans, it misnames and misleads. The truth, it seems, is not strong enough to advance their cause.

The gun show loophole is nothing more than the right of a private citizen to buy or sell a firearm to or from another private citizen.

Gun shows are gatherings of people who want to buy and sell firearms.

The "loophole" is that so far, Big Brother does not require private citizens who buy or sell an occasional firearm to wade through the swamp of red tape currently required of licensed firearms dealers.

Of course, the private seller or buyer cannot afford to wade through that swamp, nor to learn how to negotiate the legal hurdles involved.

So what "closing the gun show loophole" really means is outlawing the sale or purchase of a firearm between two private citizens at a "gun show."

"Prohibiting the private sale of firearms," would be a more truthful name.

And what is a gun show?

Current legislation sponsored by Democrat Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, and supported by HCI, defines a gun show as any event where 50 or more firearms are sold.

For now.

But that does not prohibit Uncle Bob from selling me his deer rifle, right? This law will just prevent nasty little guys who are actually dealing but somehow slipping through the federal dealer laws, right? So what is the problem?

The problem is twofold: 1) such legislation infringes on the basic freedoms of private citizens, 2) and it does so without any legitimate purpose or reasonable hope of accomplishing anything.

Will this stop criminals from obtaining firearms? No. Not in anyone's wildest dreams.

It is a fantasy to think that criminals actually buy guns at market prices at gun shows. Criminals buy guns on the black market from other criminals.

So what we end up with is one more misnamed, government intrusion into our personal lives in the name of safety that will not accomplish anything except to make firearms ownership more onerous for law-abiding citizens.

If this legislation passes, the new battle cry for the gun banners will be something like, "The Black Market Garage Sale Loophole." That loophole will be the one where Uncle Bob sells a criminal his deer rifle.

The criminal will be you.

Your View

President thanks and praise all volunteers

Dear Editor:
As the President of the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Board  of Directors I am compelled to answer Ms. Ornelas's letter printed in the May 29th edition of the Pecos Enterprise.  The points noted are very nearly verbatim (word for word) with recent  telephone conversations, I have had and I feel may be the opinion of persons  other then Mrs. Ornelas, even though she signed the letter. I understand her  anger in the loss of her job at the Chamber Office but we cannot allow this  to destroy our Chamber. There are always two sides to every story.

By being the leader of the Chamber Board of Directors, I must remain impartial but feel I must speak out on the issues cited in Mrs. Ornelas's letter.

Since taking office in January, I have aware of dissatisfaction among some of the members and have tried to address the problem from several directions, each time asking for co-operation from the Board and Chamber members. I have received comments, both pro and con about the management of the Chamber and its Executive Director and am compiling this information so as to find direction for a more smooth and successful management of the Chamber. Nothing can be done without the Board of Directors following the by-laws of the organization.

When I was asked to consider the position of President, I gave it a great deal of thought before accepting. I have always taken my responsibilities very seriously and am doing it now. It would be easy for me to throw up my hands and quit when a problem arises because I do not live in the City or the County, but I do have a very sincere interest in the future of Pecos. I have spent the last 25 years doing community and civic work in Pecos even though I live in Mentone. These problems do not occur overnight and have to be dealt with correctly.

It is only supposition that more Lion's Club business is handled at the Chamber than there is Chamber business, can we prove this? Each of us that have any interest in the community are involved with other organizations and groups and give a part of our time to them. If the Chamber is being neglected then changes need to be made to correct this.

As for many individuals and businesses not being a part of the Chamber because of the present Executive Director, then they are the persons that should step forward to see that changes are made if needed for the betterment of Pecos. If we all felt the same way, nothing would get done. My thanks and praise go to all the volunteers that take time from their busy schedules to work to improve the image of Pecos. At this moment we have a very strong working relationship with the City, County and Chamber and I thank the officials for all they have done also.

I pledge to you, the community that I will look at this situation from every angle and with the backing of the Board of Directors will make the decisions necessary to avoid any further conflict and will endeavor to make the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Bureau an entity we can all be proud of.

President Pecos Chamber of Commerce and CVB

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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