June 29, 1996

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Inmate should work
while fed by state

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Chain gangs have become a thing of the past, due to actions by people
in Alabama.
The governor of that state had attempted to bring back chain gangs and
even considered having female chain gangs, but the public and certain
groups who threatened to file suit have put an end to it.
Chain gangs are part of our colorful history and something we all need
to know about. "Cool Hand Luke," a movie starring Paul Newman,
acquainted many with the problems with chain gangs.
While we believe that prisoners should be treated as humans, they
certainly don't need to be babied such as is the case in many instances.
They should be given the opportunity to work - maybe not on chain gangs
as depicted in history - but in some fashion.
Many state prisons as well as county jails including Texas use
prisoners for community projects. In doing so, many prisoners earn good
time credit to shorten their sentence. However, Texas prisons along with
prisons in other states have been stopped from doing certain work that
was said to be competing with private industry. That's a shame but also
a part of history.
And, we would think that prisoners would want to work in order to help
pass the time. We should make sure bleeding heart liberals remember that
prisoners are in prison for a reason and work should be a part of paying
for their crime and rehabilatation.


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By Mac McKinnon

Accepting responsiblity

is part of growing up

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A headline in U.S. News & World Report recently really grabbed my eye.
It read, "Where did all the grown-ups go?"
What a great question! I had never really thought of it in those terms
but many of the things I've had to say in this column could fit under
that headline.
What the story that brought about the headline concerned was a book,
"The Sibling Society." I haven't read the book but from what the article
said, I certainly would like to do so. It was written by Robert Bly, who
is a poet and said to be the men's movement guru. I don't know exactly
what that means.
The topic in the book, according to the magazine, is the increasingly
adolescent nature of American society. I loved the line that says,
"Basically, he is asking the same question that noel Coward asked,
somewhat less seriously, in his jaunty song, `What's Going To Happen to
the Children When There Aren't Any More Grown-ups'."
The article goes on to say that "like a zillion other social critics,
Bly points to televison and consumer pressures: Children who once looked
to parents and teachers for cues on how to behave now look to TV,
advertising, peers or celebrities...As adults seem more and more
adolescent, more and more adolescents seem unconvinced that adult life
is worth reaching for."
Judging from the article, I'm not sure I agree with everything in the
book, but its premise seems to be accurate.
Have you ever noticed how people more than ever expect to get their way
on everything. If they don't, they go off on a tangent or get really mad
- somewhat like we expect our children to do but don't like it.
It just seems that people blow their top over things that just aren't
that big a deal. And the book noted that this refusal to grow up is
involved in the ballooning divorce rate, as couples can't seem to work
out their differences.
I've alway subscribed to the theory that we can disagree without being
disagreeable. It seems to me to be the adult thing to do. Some of us
have been adults since we were very young. And some never seem to get
there. That number, as attested to in the book, is growing.
In a way, we are all children. We need to keep some of that, the awe of
things that are different and changing times. But we need to accept
responsibility, which is a part of growing up - whether we like it or

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mac McKinnon is editor and publisher of the Pecos

Enterprise. His column appears on Wednesday and Friday.
Commentary on this page is the view of the writer and not necessarily
the view of this newspaper. Send your comments to:
Pecos Enterprise

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos TX 79772
Fax 915-445-4321
Copyright 1996 Pecos Enterprise
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