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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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April 20, 2016     Hays Free Press
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+ QUOTE OF THE WEEK "Cell doors don't lock and the place can catch on fire from wiring that is 30years old. We'd be in an endless cycle offunding a couple of million dollars for a while on an annual basis of duct taping that whole thing together." - Will Conley, Precinct 3 Commissioner, on the Hays County Jail Hays Free Press April 20, 2016 Page 3A The current Texas Monthly is a spe- cial issue - a .38 Special, if you will. It's about guns. Page after page, see and hear about Texans and their rods. A cover shot and photo gallery show people and their be- loved rifles, carbines and sidearms. See former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry at Large by John Young the man's soul. Patterson pose with his Colt .45 like one might a tro- phy walleye. If one could peer down that barrel, you'd bet one could see into Artist Matthew Diffee depicts what he saw and heard at a San Antonio gun show. One quote: "We sell freedom im- plements and other bunker supplies." Ah, freedom. In a bunker. I understand how a few readers might see it differently, but one must ask how this form of fetishism took root. After all, a firearm is an appliance that shoots a projectile. I have a toaster It shoots toast. Precedent set, we can look forward to Texas Monthly's "Toast" issue. For the photo gallery, I offer to pose with my Sunbeam 2-Slicer. We are inseparable. My slogan: "Toast - the taste of freedom." No one should take this as a criticism of gun ownership. My father had a ser- vice revolver, making him one among millions. One distinction: He was o] enly disdainful of any group that, like the NRA, would make the gun the Golden Calf of our time. Once again: A rifle is an appliance. So when something called the National Rifle Association can be considered Washing- ton's most powerful lobbying arm, one wonders what power the National Waffle Iron Association could wield. The other day legions of petitioners called on the Republican Party to allow the open carrying of firearms at the national convention this summer in Cleveland. Fortunately, the Secret Service expressed its reservations. As a fallback, petitioners could ask the Secret Service to allow the brandishing " of blenders and food processors. There- in lies the solidarity of a great cause. I'll yield my Cuisinart when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. None can dispute the utility of rifles for trophy-hunting possum or nutria on a river bank. However, it is necessary to wonder how one's gun has become the extension of one's self. As a child, I never questioned why Davy Crockett called his rifle "Old Bet- sy," but I am quite sure he didn't plan to marry her. For some of those portrayed by Texas Monthly's cavalcade of exhibi- tionism, one wonders if nuptials were performed. The line is, "Guns don't kill people." True in the abstract. However, guns are more likely to kill when their owners have transformed them into Pixar char- acters. The term is "anthropomorphiz- ing." Webster's will explain that for you. I understand how guns are "part of our heritage." So, too, is the butter churn. I understand how guns have "preserved the peace." So, too, have handshakes. The problem, of course, is that fire- arms kill increasing numbers of us every year. In sum, and inarguably, guns don't make this a safer place ("keeping the peace"). They make it far more danger- ous than - say, oh, just about anywhere where run racks aren't treated like com- munion candles. Reasonable gun regulations that would save lives are thwarted by unreasonable parties. Meanwhile, gun industry prox- ies terrorize lawmakers into doing their bidding. I am the first to acknowledge that I would react violently if government knocked on my door to take away my toaster. However, I've told myself that's an overreaction. Considering how lit- tle has been done in 30 years to alter the proliferation of appliances that kill in bunches, maybe the bunker I had planned for my front yard would be over- kill. Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. jyoungcolumn @gmail.com A recent one-night bout th insomnia and e always-resulting thought swifts, resurrected some childhood experienc- es that steeled the determi- nation already being forced into my young mind about "succeeding in life." My parents worked hard as beginner farmer-ranchers to successfully keep us a few meals above the starva- tion-poverty level. Their aim was twofold: providing a liv- ing and setting an example of "trying to get ahead." That was the battle cry of most post-World War II families. If their common sense and work ethic weren't inspiration enough, there were examples close at hand that made Tobacco Road look like gentrified farm country. Seeing that kind of existence firsthand will, or should, add impetus to the broadsides of hard work and education already being fired point blank by diligent parents. Combining ambition and will to succeed with the lessons of those days - reinforced by those caring parents - not only intro- duced my siblings and me to worlds beyond Webb Bottom (a series of creeks) but provided ongoing impe- tus to stretch and to reach Webb's Wisdom by Willis Webb for the fruit higher up in the trees. And, the aforementioned "Tobacco Road" look-alikes merely added daily excla- mation points to the lessons being carefully imparted by Morn and Dad. Dad had an eighth-grade education and survived a de facto parentless pre-teen and teen years. Mother finished high school (11 grades in those days) but maintained she didn't have enough education to be much else but a housewife and mother, two titles she wore with marvelous dignity and grace, not to mention great success. I remember my brother, Kerry, and I playing with our neighbor tenant farmers' children and thinking to myself how different their lives were from ours. These neighbors - call them the Alberts (not their real name) - consisted of the mother and father, Linda and Royce, twin sons Jackie and Johnny, a younger son and daughter whose names I don't remember Jackie and Johnny ages fell somewhere between my age and Kerry's. I was six or seven and he's three years younger. The Albert kids never wore shoes that I can re- member. The soles of their feet were like leather. De- spite their mother's desires and leanings, they didn't bathe as often as we did. Once, the twins were "showing off" to Kerry and me. One of them grabbed a handful of dirt, stuck it in his mouth and began chew- ing with a grin that said, "Look at me (please). See how brave and clever I am." All of this while a stream of saliva-induced mud ran out of the corners of his grin- ning mouth that reflected the sad ignorance in which he'd been raised. As mentioned previously, Royce, the father worked hard at sharecropping and at performing farmhand service to my parents' op- erations to make ends meet for his large family. That sort of dual labor ensured that he spent little quality time, save around the supper ta- ble, with his children. In addition to farming his own crops and working for my parents, Royce fished in a not-too-distant major river (the Trinity), both from a boat and via trotlines to supplement his family's food supply. Sport fishing would've been a term that was totally puzzling to him. Then, one weekend came the crushing news. Royce and a friend were running trotlines in a spring rain-fed swelling of the treacher- ous Trinity. Their boat was swamped. Neither could swim and perished in the reddish waters of that unfor- giving river. Royce left a wife and four children, none old enough to maintain his farming efforts. It was the first time in my young life that someone I knew well died, much less perished in such a tragic way. My mother's attempts at shielding us and at the same time explaining Royce's demise, was an almost impossible task for a young parent faced with such a sad, sobering expe- rience. I hope I don't suffer from insomnia again anytime soon. Willis Webb is a retired community newspaper ed- itor-publisher of more than 50 years experience. wwebb@wildblue.net LETTER TO THE EDITOR I I I I I II FOR THOSE THAT even though I did not follow er, grandmother, daughter, ciate, respect and love her DON'T KNOW HER... the path I was shown by her. wife and friend to anyone for all she does for me and It's my fault I am where I am who knows her. am hoping to maybe have I would like to share with and nobody else's. She takes the time to care this letter put in the paper the readers and staff of the Regardless of where I am for other people who I know for her and everyone else Hays Free Press my feelings and the choices I've made, with troubled backgrounds, to see. It would mean a lot and thoughts about a won- derful and caring citizen of she has always been my She spends her free timeto me for her to receive the the Hays County area- who main support system andcaring and being with faro- recognition she deserves just so happens to be the refused to give up on me ily and keeps in touch with for the things she does for marketing director for this through all I've been though her friends she's had longer not just me, but everyone paper, and also happens to in life She's got the heart than I've been alive. She around her. by my morn- Tracy Mack. of a saint and the mostparticipates in community I receive this paper every May name is Zach Can- honest person I know. She's events and gatherings, goes week and am on the mail- non. I'm 27 years old and always gone the distance to church on Sunday, anding list and enjoy reading currently incarcerated in for anyone she loves and has always had a way with what's going on in the Hays the Texas Department of does all she can not to let plants and animals. County area through the Criminal ]ustice prison sys- people down. She's a ded- I don't get to speak with Hays Free Press. Hopefully tem on a 5-year sentence icated person with morals her face to face or hear her I'll see this letter in there in and sadly this is not my first and correct values. A reli- voice often because I'm the near future. Thank you time - I've been in trouble gious person who lives and halfway across the state in for the time, and also the my whole live, but can hon- believes in the things she prison, so we keep in touch local news y'all bring to the estly say I was raised correct stands for and represents, through mail, but some- community. and taught how to live a She's a beautiflfl person in- times I'm not the best at ex- With respect, sincerely decent life from my mom, side and out. A loving moth- pressing how much I appre- Zach Cannon 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 Reporters Proofreaders Cyndy SIovak-Barton Paige Lambert, Samantha Smith, Jane Kirkham, Debbie Hall Anna Herod News and Sports Editor Moses Lees III Columnists Bartee Halle, Chris Winslow, Pauline Tom, Clint Younts Marketing Director Tracy Mack Marketing Specialists James Darby, Pam Patino Production Manager David White Production Assistant Christine Thorpe Circulation/Classifieds Suzanne Hallam Distribution Gabe Oranelas + I II , fri !YI i,i