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January 13, 2016     Hays Free Press
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January 13, 2016
 

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK "I just want my dogs back. The'y 're babies and they're my children. They are my heart and my everything. I never knew I'd love them this much until this happened." -Pierre Blanchard, about his specially skilled dogs, pg. 1 C Page 3A Hays Free Press * January 13, 2016 They sT profuse as to encircle the globe, so lethal that even mutual en- ] ;.*"",- at Large by John Young emies agree they must be monitored and limited. If you are thinking the "they" refers to firearms, you aren't thinking the way some policymakers are. No, we speak of a threat that draws tmdivided attention: the matter of orbiting interstellar hardware - loose nuts, bolts and more. It's called space debris. On space debris you get bipartisan and intemational cooperation. On firearms? To many disgraceful lawmakers, guns are commerce alone, and hence should be left alone. Howev- er, the two matters are quite analogous. Not to discount the danger of space debris. One loose sprocket speeding in orbit can destroy or impair anything in its path. But the only person we know space debris has killed is that poor headless soul in the movie "Gravity." Meanwhile, guns kill so many: inno- cent children, innocent adults, people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, which is anywhere. What do we do about it? Mostly, we bury. Before discussing the clear and present danger of misused guns, un- derstand how seriously our govern- ment treats a problem you probably didn't know exists. In January 2007, China destroyed one of its own satellites with a missile. This event disrupted a worldwide moratori- um on the use of anti-satellite weapons. The United States had used them. The Russians had used them. However, the resulting debris, the smithereens from the destroyed satellites, threatened and continues to threaten space programs, including other satellites. NASA has cataloged all the space debris it can identify and is tracking roughly 500,000 pieces of"space junl4' that can kill. Now, back to the real killers, firearms: How cavalier can lawmakers be about these killing devices? So cavalier that the Republican Congress has prevented the Centers for Disease Control from study- ing their public safety dimensions. Guns as lethal debris? We should treat them as such. See them around the globe in the hands of marauding bands and the criminal element. As long as we look at the matter as King Commerce or "my rights over every- one else's," nothing can be done to curb their misuse. We have taken serious steps to curb drunk driving. We have managed to stop poisoning children with toxic paint to toxins in toys.What about the guns that make it into their tiny hands? Much attention has been devoted to President Obama's call for universal background checks, something that eight of 10 Americans support. Less attention has been drawn to his direc- tive to study "smart gun" technology, to make a gun so that only the owner can operate it. Not a thief, not a child, not the Taliban. The president mentioned the tech- nology of, for instance, using one's fin- gerprint to activate one's firearm. As a citizen, I want that for every gun. I should have a say on this matter, and so should you. As a group - Amer- ican taxpayers - ours is the world's largest purchaser of firearms, both for our military and law enforcement. The federal government should in- sist that any firearms it purchases have "smart gun'' features. This is called a marketplace solu- tion. If guns find their way into the hands of people who are not supposed to fire them, they shouldn't fire. The same applies to cars and keys. This inititiave is a way to reduce the blood spilled daily on the most violent planet in the solar system. It deserves bipartisan support like no other threat one can imagine. Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. jyoungcolumn@gmail.com W now have entered e season of change. 015 has turned to 2016 so that even the cal- endar says this is a different time. When contemplating the new year, we often hear, "out with the old, in with the new," as if everything old is something to dispense with and everything new is the best. These thoughts didn't come as a result of a "Goldie Walk." They came as a result of watching our one-year- old Catahoula mix adapt to change. As I have reported previously; we live in a large house built in 1912.When it was first built it did not have "sleeping porches." They were added later. Being a Chica- go boy, I had never heard of "sleeping porches." They are additions to the bed rooms, big enough for a bed and a chair and a lamp. The idea is that there are windows on all sides, so that when you open the windows, you'll always get a nice breeze. That's a great idea in the spring and summer when the Texas heat can fry your brain. Not so great in the winter, when the winter wind whips through those old creaky Goldie Walks by Mark Stoub windows like a freight train on a mission. When we had that recent cold snap that blew through here last week, we decided that adding an- other blanket wasn't the best approach. We had another bed, after all, located not on a drafty old "sleeping porch." So we decided to change bed- rooms. "Simple," you say. And I would agree; except where Goldie was concerned. You see our dog sleeps with us. All the dog books tell us that dogs need to sleep in their own beds, but not in our house. She's our "pet," after all. When bed time came she would lead us up the stairs to the bed in which we had been sleeping. When we tried to tell her to follow us to a different bed, she wouldn't do it. She refused. No matter how much cajoling and coaxing we did, she would not come to the new bedroom. Finally, we had to bodily lead her to the new arrangement; not once, but several times. She also had to "re-learn,' how to get into this new bed. Our dog is not dumb; in fact she seems to be quite smart. It's just that she is not a big fan of change. I can relate. When I used to write checks to pay my bills, (now I pay my bills on line; it's so much easier, I can't remember the last time I wrote a check), it took me forever to remember that we all have gotten a year older, that time marches on, waiting for no one. I went to the redi-care clin- ic because I had a cold, (they said I had allergies. What do they know?), and they mea- sured my height. It's been well documented by many other doctor's offices, that I have lost an inch. All my life I had been 5'10 and %." That % of an inch has been very import- ant to me. It meant that I was an inch and ~A away from 6 foot, a "common" standard of tall. Now I am not as tall. I told my lament to the nurse and she reported that she too had lost some height, but for her it didn't seem nearly as important as it did to me. That too was a lesson learned. Our culture and nature preaches to us that change is not only necessary, it's inevitable. You can't stop changing. Then why do we find it so hard? I believe the basic answer to that question is fear. I'm afraid I won't have what it takes to accomplish the change I desire. I'm afraid such change will be hard work, and I'm not ready for that. I'm afraid that ifI change I won't fit in my world the way I used to. Confronting this fear is the first step toward the change we desire. There is an old aphorism that packs a lot of truth in it. "Work as though it's all up to you. Pray as though it's all up to God." Facing the need for change requires a level of self-examination few of us have the courage to pur- sue. But if you give your all to the change you desire, and you commit that change into God's hands, then your "what, me change?" will become, "change me!" And what a great place to start. Mark W. Stoub, author of "Blood Under the Altar" and the forthcoming, "Fire in the Blood." mj.stoub@sbcglobal.net In our good o1' boy world ofTexiz, a double standard for the sexes has long ex- isted. Equal rights standards notwithstanding, a dominant macho mentality for years steered public thought and even legal ruling in favor of males. It's the cowboy image, don't you know. "Come heah, woh- munI" Try it with the empha- sis on the "heah" then a little heavier on the "woh-mun," and you'll get an idea. Once, you could hear that on a daily basis in the rural, coun- try-loving world in which I grew up. I suppose, if we're trying to place gender blame some- where, perhaps we can begin with HankWilliams. Say, whut? You mean the old Hall of Fame country singer, Hank Williams? Yep. Remember "Your Cheatin" Heart?" (Note to wannabe C&W songwriters: Never put a"g" on a word with an "ing" endin'.) In the interest of public dis- closure here, I'm a long time devotee of country music. I was force-fed it growing up in a one-radio home. (Yeah, I grew up before So?) Webb's Wisdom by Willis Webb That was a four-foot tall relic bought from the Western Auto in Teague and every Sat- urday night it was tuned in to the Grand 01' Opry (yep, op- era with a "y"). Of course, on Sunday mornings our single music source household had the Stamps Quartet gospel harmonies, with its country roots, grooved into our ear drums. They's a reason fer that country music listenin,, you see. We wanted to make fun of them snotty, blue blood, monocled rich folks whose favrit thang was that snooty screechin, (remember no "g" except in "thang") stuff they calls opera music. Sophisticated, hmph! I'll show yew sophisticated AND equal rights. TammyWyn- ette spelled that out with: D-I-V-O-R-C-E. And Loretta (Webb) Lynn punctuated it with "Don't Come Home A-Drankin' with Lovin' on Your Mind." Oh, and for you history and literature lovers out there, Shakespeare's momma's malden name was Webb. Yes, country music con- tains a lot of "cry-in-your- beer" lyrics and most of it is based on "cheatin'." (Why else would a man or woman cry in their beeff) Now, I didn't write all of this to suggest that infidelity is most prevalent in the homes of country music lovers. I be- lieve it seems to be prevalent in that music genre simply because it sells in a social order where hard times and great disappointment are daffy fare. Perhaps the hard-work, 18-hour-day tough-but-sim- ple life of country folks lends itself to cheating. Hard work, physical absence and roman- tic neglect will do that. A neglected wife might turn to someone else for at- tention and affection. As one thing often leads to another, physical acts take place and jealous rage is prevalent with the offended mate. It was once said, and ap- parently proven for years, that if a good el' Texiz boy caught his mate in bed with some- one else, he was justified in shooting the intruding male lover. Annnnd, if the bullet(s) happened to also find his wife and kill her, then it was justi- fiable homicide in both cases. I actually knew of one case many years ago where a man set his wife up by having someone encourage an in- terested male to become her lover, then killing both and beating a murder rap with the justifiable homicide ruling. Changes in state laws have thankfully closed loopholes and eliminated any "justifi- able legal homicide" rulings in cases of infidelity. Killing another human being, even under such dramatic and disturbing conditions isn't justifiable. Anyway, at age 78 that's the least of my worries. Uh, what's for dinner, dear? "Take out." Sounds good. "Wanna watch TV?." What's on the tube? "GoodWife." Okay by me. Willis Webb is a retired community newspaper edi- tor-publisher of more than 50 years experience. wwebb@wildblue.net Barton Publications, Inc. News tips: news@haysfreepress.com Opinions: csb@haysfreepress.com 113 W. Center St., Kyle, TX 78640. 512-268-7862 122 Main St., Buda, TX 78610 512-295-9760 www.haysfreepress.com Publisher Cyndy Slovak-Barton News and Sports Editor Moses Lees III Reporter Paige Lambert Columnists Mark Stoub, Bartee Halle, Pauline Tom, Clint Younts Proofreaders Jane Kirkham, Debbie Hall Marketing Director Tracy Mack Marketing Specialists James Darby, Pam Patino Production Manager David White Production Assistant Christine Thorpe Circulation/Classifieds Suzanne Hallam Distribution Pete Sizemore, Nick Hallam Gabe Oranelas, +