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Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas


Thursday, Dec. 10, 1998

Clean and relaxed

By Rebecca Jones
You know, there's something very therapeutic about a bucket
in one hand and washcloth in the other. By nature I'm a
slob, but today something prompted me (the shouts of my
mother, no doubt) to clean out my car and bedroom. Maybe
it's just exhaustion, but I feel marvelously relaxed having
done so.

And relaxation is hard to come by in December. Everybody's
rushing about, frothing at the mouth, trying to buy that
perfect gift and stretch from ear to ear that perfect
goodwill grin... it's enough to make any sane person retch.
Don't get me wrong- I'm no Scrooge. My point is, after a
week or so of this, you need to unwind. And unlikely as it
may sound, I think cleaning up and out is the perfect way to
do it.

First off, it lends you a sense of control. No matter how
scary the world out there is, you at least can handle your
world. When you're cleaning, it's almost a sign of
survival; with each soapbubble comes the proclamation that
you're going to be around for a while. Physically and
mentally, you're keeping disorder at bay.

Having so little control as it is, it's a source of solace
to control one's own environment. You can conquer those
dustbunnies if nothing else (or so the mentality goes). Is
that why something as simple as rearranging your desk can
make you feel so good?

Perhaps it's the sense of accomplishment as well. Making
that which is normally a screaming mess into something neat
and tidy is certainly something to be proud of. This is
especially true in the holidays, when homes are generally
anything but neat and tidy.

Your house is a symbol of yourself, and its condition often
reflects yours. If a small-scale nuclear war seems to have
taken place within its walls, do you think that indicates a
calm mind? Conversely, if the house is neat, it could have
a soothing effect on your Christmas-frazzled brain.

And who can argue that cleaning out your closets and getting
rid of all the junk within isn't therapeutic? Again, I
revert to a Freudian explanation: it's like getting rid of
emotional baggage. I once sat down with two big shopping
bags of notes and letters I'd kept since middle school, read
through all of them, and threw a good three-fourths in the
trashcan. I realized that I hadn't even liked a lot of the
people I'd been "friends" with, so why keep their letters?
It felt really good (dare I say cleansing?) to throw them
away. And the letters that I did keep meant all the more to
me for it.

That's why we clean- to make room for the new stuff by
tossing out the old. We do it to grasp some control. And
that's why it's therapeutic- you'll never meet a
well-adjusted person who feels helpless and lives in the

Lobo Pride turns folks green

By Linda Stephens
Managing Editor
A few days ago, I saw a documentary on a school which
teaches children 'self-esteem'. Now I have no problem with
teaching self-esteem, only this school carried it to
extremes. They did away with grades, everyone who competed
got the same trophy and I heard a child giving a speech on
what a wonderful person she was. As I said they carried it
to extremes.

When we moved to Monahans some 20 years ago, my children
were small, the youngest in kindergarten. Almost immediately
I became aware of a type of "self-esteem" teaching I call
school spirit or maybe it could be called "Lobo pride". The
children learned to be proud of living in Monahans, to be
proud of their school and to be proud to be a Lobo. Green
was the color to wear. Now maybe some folks might consider
this extreme.

Another thing we noticed when we moved to Monahans was how
well kept the schools were. Even though the high school was
an older facility, it still looked good inside and out.

There was no trace of graffiti or other types of vandalism
like we had seen in other places we had lived. After a while
I began to equate the two together - the "Lobo pride" and
the well kept schools.

Psychologists have long taught that if you teach someone
self-respect, that person will take better care of
themselves and achieve more in their lifetime. I believe
that, here in Monahans, that same principal is applied to
the students and the way they feel about themselves as
related to their community and their schools.

When the varsity football team drives around the
kindergarten and the children come out and cheer for their
"heroes", they are learning that type of pride. When the
high school students visit the elementary grades and read to
them, they become role models to those younger children.
When the A Capella choir sings at their school, when the
Lobo mascot or the cheerleaders visit, when the younger ones
go to the high school to see the children's theatre
productions, that feeling of school pride grows.

And one day, those elementary children become high school
students and they become the role models and are thrilled
when the younger children look up to them. And eventually
some of those students become Lobo moms and dads and they
paint paws on the streets, and tie streamers on the highway
signs and paint yard signs and in so doing teach their
children that this is a great place to live with schools
they can be proud to attend.

And so when hundreds of Monahans folks turn up in Bedford
with signs that say "We believe!", perhaps it's because down
deep inside they've been believing for a long, long time.

Our View

FBI Registers, NRA Sues

As the Federal Bureau of Investigation forges on with their
plan of retaining information on law-abiding firearm
purchasers, NRA is keeping its word to challenge this
violation of federal law in the courts. Charging Attorney
General Janet Reno and the Justice Department with "illegal
snooping on law-abiding citizens," NRA filed a federal
lawsuit on Monday, November 30, to block the FBI from
keeping a national computer list of law-abiding gun buyers
whose gun purchases are not blocked by the new National
Instant Check System (NICS). The NRA suit contends that the
creation of a list of records is a violation of the law and
a gross intrusion into the private lives of lawful minded

"This is about privacy and freedom from government snooping
into our lives," said Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive Vice
President & CEO. "Janet Reno has turned Congress' intent to
keep records of convicted felons into an Orwellian nightmare
of keeping tabs on perfectly law-abiding Americans. The
federal government has no business keeping lists of
law-abiding Americans in their federal computers. Every
American values the right of personal privacy. That is what
this case is about; and we will fight for that principle at
every turn."

James Jay Baker, Executive Director of NRA's Institute for
Legislative Action, explained that instant check statute
directs the Attorney General to "destroy all records of the
system," and further prohibits "any system for the
registration of firearms, firearm owners, or firearm

"The clear intent of the Congress was to conduct the
background check unobtrusively at the point of sale, without
delay, and with all respect to the privacy of the gun
purchaser," Baker said. "Unfortunately, that is not what
federal government is doing. Clearly, the Attorney General
and the Justice Department are in violation of that intent
and that law."

The lawsuit requests an expeditious hearing to declare the
registration of gun purchasers as illegal an asks the court
to order the immediate destruction of the records, in
keeping with the privacy guarantees of the law. Joining NRA
in support of the suit is the Law Enforcement Alliance of
America, a national association of rank and file law
enforcement officers, and five private citizens who each
purchased a firearm on November 30, 1998, and are now
included in the FBI 's illegal registration database.

Also relative to NICS, the first day of its operation saw
the first complete "crash" of the system, and the
approximately 73,000 checks processed in the first three
days of operation are dramatically lower that even the most
conservative predicted estimated of 10,000 checks per hour.
The time that the system is down appears to be increasing
daily, and the FBI claims to have no idea how many calls
simply cannot get through to run an "instant" check.
Additionally, the rejection rate, which includes "denied"
and "delay" responses, is running at an alarmingly high 35%
possibly indicating a major flaw within the system itself.
In comparison, a Bureau of Justice Statistics study in 1997
of firearm transactions in Brady and Brady-exempt states
indicated a rejection rate of 2% to be typical. The
rejection rate in Virginia, which has operated an instant
check system since 1989 is 1% NRA is very interested in
hearing about problems experienced with NICS, whether they
are from FFL holders or firearm purchasers. LaPierre states,
"If you have experienced any serious problems with the
implementation of the NICS check, document what happened in
writing, and let us know either by fax or mail. If you wish
to fax us the information please send it to (703) 267-3918,
and be sure to note on your cover sheet that the fax is in
regards to problems with NICS. If you wish to mail the
information, please send to this address NRA-ILA 11250
Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 and put "Attention: NICS
Problems" on the envelope. And remember to call your U.S.
Representative and both Senators at (202) 224-3121 to make
them aware of any problems as well.

Senate Selects Leaders: U.S. Senate Republicans and
Democrats elected their respective leaders for the 106th
Congress this week. Republicans reelected Trent Lott
(solidly pro-Second Amendment) from Mississippi as Majority
Leader, and reelected Don Nickles (solidly pro-Second
Amendment) from Oklahoma as Assistant Majority Leader.
Democrats reelected Thomas Daschle (mixed record on
firearms) from South Dakota as Minority Leader, and elected
Harry Reid (mixed record) from Nevada as Minority Whip.

Good memories linger after loss

By Joe Warren
Last Saturday I traveled to Bedford to take pictures for the
paper of the Lobo state semifinal game against Aledo.

My junket was with friends in their motor-home, one of which
played on the 1966 Lobo team that also went to the state

When we arrived in Bedford we met other Lobo class of 1966
alumni and former state semifinalists for dinner.

It was fun to sit around and listen to these people
reminisce about the good old days.

They too lost their state semifinal game back in 1966, but
you could not tell that by the way they spoke of their

They remembered all the fun they had in their school years
together. They reflected about all of the coaches, players
and the memories from being part of Lobo history- part of an
elite group of athletes that accomplished as much as they
did. Only one other team in Lobo history went further, the
1948 squad that won State.

The loss that the Loboes suffered last week will and should
hurt for a few days, but the good memories of this season
will be with this group of young athletes for a lifetime,
just as the good memories and brotherhood the 1966 team
share with each other. The 1998 Lobo football team will go
down as part of Lobo legend and will always be remembered as
the Cinderella squad from Lobo Land. "We" will always

Our View

Is the FBI Watching you?

A new federal regulation that took effect Dec. 1st has gun
buyers in Texas irate and rightfully so. It's a regulation
that lets the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) keep a
file on every person that buys a gun. Under this regulation,
the FBI is allowed to maintain a national database with the
name of every person who purchases a gun in the United Sates.

As you might imagine, this invasion of privacy has gotten
the attention of Texans. The regulation was tagged onto a
plan to replace the five day waiting period for buying a gun
with an instant check system. The new system will make
background checks virtually instantaneous. But some policy
makers in the FBI seem to be more interested in collecting
information on law-abiding citizens instead of deterring

This time our individual privacy is on the line. When
law-abiding citizens go to buy shotguns, rifles or handguns,
the gun dealer makes a quick call to the FBI runs you r name
through its computer system. Once you've been cleared, you
can have your gun and be on your way. But your name,
address, birth date, sex and race all stay in the FBI's

Why does the FBI need a database with names of law-abiding
gun owners? It doesn't. It needs a database of criminals
with guns.

The FBI isn't the only one keeping a close eye on things.
Congress passed a law that prohibits the FBI from creating a
long-term database from the names it runs through the
instant checking system. The FBI is required by law to
delete name s after six months from the date the gun was

The Second Amendment guarantees our constitutional right to
bear arms. The rights set forth by the founders of our great
country have worked for America for 210 years. The framers
of our Constitution struck a fine balance between the rights
of the people and the powers of the government. We cannot
afford to let that delicate balance be skewed in the

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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Joe Warren, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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 1998 by Ward Newspapers Inc.