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Smokey Briggs


By Smokey Briggs

Tuesday, June 22, 1999

Follow the rules
or lose the game

The Constitution is a not like a buffet where you can pick and choose what you like.

That is not how it works.

You must take it all and interpret each piece with the same set of criteria. If you disagree with a section then you repeal it.

These are the rules that come with this game we call constitutional democracy.

If you don't follow these simple rules, the game doesn't work.

There is one purpose behind the guarantees of personal rights contained in the Constitution to protect us from the excesses of majority rule.

That is why amending the Constitution requires much more effort than the majority of elected politicians required to create a law.

Last week's battles in the House of Representatives highlighted the deep philosophical differences that divide this country in terms of interpreting our Constitution.

Last week the so-called liberals demonstrated that they have no desire to play by any consistent rules of constitutional interpretation. (The conservative factions are by no means perfect, but at least they seem to attempt a semi-consistent stance regarding the Constitution as a whole.)

Last week, the liberal crowd pushed hard to effectively outlaw the private sale of firearms. Conservatives countered with proposals to bring prayer back into the schools and force labeling restrictions on various CD's, computer games and movies.

In the process, the liberals demonstrated their Jekyl and Hyde personality when it comes to the Constitution.

If liberals interpreted the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms like they interpret the amendments they like, we would all be required to keep an M-60 machinegun in the bedroom closet.

The liberals squealed mightily at the conservative proposals.

Listening to their righteous words one would have thought that storm troopers were on the verge of seizing the Washington Post on the orders of the Grand High Deacon of the Official Church of the United States.

Wrapping themselves in the First Amendment they protested most eloquently the conservative attempts to provide warning labels on popular music and hang the 10 Commandments in schools.

Any infringement, no matter how minor, cannot be tolerated, they said.

Their tone changed, however, when the ugly sister of the First Amendment walked into the room on the arm of the conservatives.

Born a single space lower on the page than her celebrated sister, the Second Amendment received nothing but harsh words from the liberals.

This amendment is not worthy, they said.

Gone were the lofty arguments of constitutional ideals. Gone were the standards of interpretation they used for the pretty First Amendment.

This is a shame.

When you boil it all down, the Second Amendment just doesn't protect a right that most liberals believe is necessary.

And since they disagree with the right protected by the Second Amendment, they see no harm in creating laws that clearly infringe upon it.

Laws, that if the tables were turned and it was free speech that were under attack, they would fight tooth and nail.

Unfortunately, this attitude runs contrary to the purpose of a Constitution. If ever successful, and not stopped by the Supreme Court, it converts a constitutional democracy into a simple democracy where majority rules.

And a tyranny by the majority is just as oppressive as any dictatorship no matter who happens to be the majority.

And then, we will have lost the game.

Your View

WTSS extends thanks to all those who helped

Letter to the Editor,

Superintendent Lemuel Harrison and staff members of the Organization of Excellence Committee at the West Texas State School (WTSS) extend their sincere thanks to the merchants and businesses in Pecos and the surrounding area for their generous donations of specialty items that were used as door prizes and food service incidentals at the WTSS Annual Awards Picnic.

The picnic was held at Pyote Park on Saturday, June 5. Staff and their families enjoyed a long day of visiting over barbecue, playing games, swimming or dancing. Awards were given for tenure, outstanding achievement and the Employee of the Year.

A large bulletin board posted at the picnic area listed all the merchants and businesses that donated items and goods. Additionally a card of thanks was sent to all donors. All staff were sent a list of the donors so they could express their personal appreciation when they patronized the donor's businesses.

WTSS is very appreciative of the outstanding support our facility and staff receive from our surrounding communities.


Superintendent at WTSS

Controversy at golf course prompts reader to respond

Dear Sirs:

During the recent controversy about pro shop operations at the Reeves County golf course, a fairly recent newcomer to Pecos commented that the county judge and the commissioners court must either really want Royce Cassell out of there or the court is simply incompetent. After some consideration we have decided that it must be a combination of both.

It seems apparent that Judge Galindo and the commissioner's court have failed to conduct the county's business properly concerning this issue. Many concerned taxpayers would like to know why the pro shop contract, which expired December 31, 1998, was not brought before the court until after Mr. Cassell offered his first resignation some weeks ago. Mr. Cassell tried to contact Judge Galindo and several commissioners early this year to learn the status of his contract. His calls were not returned and his letters went unanswered. Why would the court conduct business in this manner? After Mr. Cassell turned in his first resignation, and there was an outcry to not accept the resignation, an advisory committee was formed to determine the best type of contract, which would then be opened for bids. Why would the commissioner's court form a committee and then disregard their recommendations? Many people feel that this was done because the court does not want the Cassells to have the pro shop contract. Are these actions a result of wanting the Cassells out or because the court is incompetent?

Royce and Louise Casell have operated the pro shop for over 15 years. Over the years they have worked many long hours to build up their business. There is someone in the shop for at least 12 hours a day during the summer months and for 364 days a year the golf course is open to the public for the enjoyment of anyone interested in playing golf. They have provided carts that are in good working order, various supplies needed and refreshments. All of the equipment you see in the pro shop belongs to the Cassells, not a small investment. They are also required to keep current beer sales licenses. This couple has made an investment of money and years to this enterprise, not so much to profit, but because they love the community and the game of golf.

Mr. Cassell's decision to resign as greenskeeper is a direct result of the dealings he has had with Judge Galindo and the commissioner's court regarding the pro shop contract. Mr. Cassell has only been greenskeeper for a couple of years, but many long time Reeves County golfers could testify that in the short time he has been in charge of the golf course maintenance the entire course has improved dramatically. The grounds are cleaner and the greens and fairways have been greatly improved. Mr. Cassell has added new tee boxes and has planted and maintained trees and vegetation to make the course more challenging.

We feel that the court owes an apology to Mr. and Mrs. Cassell and the entire community for their lack of foresight and incompetent management of this issue.



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