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PAGE 4-A, THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 1993
Clegg's Departure A Step
Backward For Brunswick
David Clegg's resignation as county manager and county at
torney is an unfortunate, though not unanticipated, setback for
During his tenure in the dual job, Clegg distinguished himself
as a skillful leader and a tireless promoter, dedicated to the prin
ciple that government's job is to serve all its constituents in as
fair, efficient and apolitical a fashion as is possible.
His administration was characterized by a clarity of mission
and attention to detail which are rare qualities among rural gov
He was aware, as all effective public administrators are, that
a good image for the county in the region and the state is an im
portant asset. He worked tirelessly to improve Brunswick
Clegg proved his ability to take pressure from elected offi
cials and citizens, eschewing the nepotism, favoritism and crony
ism that in times past have been hallmarks of Bninswick County
government. But that type of administrator can only survive and
thrive in an atmosphere where his ethics are respected and re
flected by the elected officials at whose pleasure he serves.
Though not known io shrink from a challenge, Clegg appar
ently saw no future in his options?hanging on in an atmosphere
of misery created by new county commissioners bent on end-run
ning his position and principles, or waiting and wondering when
the ax would fall.
Finding both that rock and hard place untenable, Clegg re
signed gracefully, without expressing rancor toward the men who
made it impossible for him to do otherwise. A true class act, he
will be missed.
More Than A Close Call
With This Freak Storm
As frightening as Saturday's ofT-season hurricane clone may
have been, Brunswick Countians can be thankful that no lives
were lost in the weekend's winter weather debacle.
Though many residents and visitors endured inconvenience
and discomfort which tested the boundaries of their tolerance,
most escaped relatively unscathed, with no damage that can't be
repaired with roofing materials, lumber and liberal applications
of elbow grease.
High on the inconvenience scale was the stranding of an esti
mated 100 carloads of day visitors on the island of Sunset Beach
during the storm's height. But they should be thankful, too?that
inconvenience was all they suffered. They weathered the storm in
their cars for nine hours, some using up all their fuel as they kept
their engines and heaters running to keep warm as temperatures
dropped throughout the afternoon. They left that night, cold and
frightened, but blessedly otherwise safe.
The island's one-lane pontoon bridge must be swung open
and rendered impassable during winds of more than 30 miles an
hour to prevent it from being damaged or, in the case of weather
like Saturday's, destroyed. The wind stayed high for nine hours,
even longer than would have been likely in a true hurricane.This
is not the fault of the the Department of Transportation or the
town council. It was simply a freak storm with unforeseeable
consequences for the old bridge.
Though a winter storm had been forecast, the extent of the
wind speed, wind-driven tide and low barometric pressure was
not. Sunset Beach officials were given only five minutes' notice
to swing open the bridge and leave it that way?only enough
time to send one firetruck and firefighter, who is also a police of
ficer and emergency medical technician, to the island.
The freak nature of this storm will spark new debate about
the extent to which the old bridge imperils residents and visitors,
and what level of risk is acceptable. The most logical and reason
able step now is for those on both sides of the bridge issue to start
searching in earnest for common ground.
The DOT last fall presented an array of options for a new,
safer, more reliable bridge, and asked for public input. It's time
townspeople reached a consensus and made their wishes known
to Odell Williamson, our new DOT board member, who is on the
island next door and in a position to help.
Saturday was proof that waiting is folly.
? Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? I have ta'en
Too little care of this. Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.
?Shakespeare: King Lear
? Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkirul
As man's ingratitude.
?Shakespeare: As You Like It
Eat Your Walnuts
Who arc these nutrition fascists
and why should wc listen to them
These arc the nimrods who
promised us that oat bran would
lower cholesterol, which sent the
marketeers into a frenzy of adding it
to everything from breakfast ccrcal
to denture paste.
Consequently, oat bran futures
went through the roof and every
commodities trader in Chicago got
to buy a new Range Rover. Until,
that is, the miracle was debunked
and oat bran was relegated to its for
mer use as the primary constituent
of particle board.
Now it's walnuts. Researchers, in
a study funded by the Walnut
Council (go figure) have determined
that eating walnuts lowers choles
terol. There is also some indication
that the same might be true of al
monds, pistachios, cashews, Goo
b( rs and Raisincts, but their respec
tive councils have been out of the
What they sometimes neglect to
tell you in the 30-second sound
bytes is that this only works if you
substitute the walnuts for an equal
amount of other fat in your diet. (If
then.) Just scarfing handsful of wal
nuts between meals and waiting for
your cholesterol to drop would be
like adding a sixer of Lite beer per
Carlson ' >
day lo your rcguiar booze intake and
cxpcciing to lose weight and be
come more sober.
When first we began to fret about
cholesterol?scurrying off to the
health fair at the mall to learn our
levels, our ratios and the difference
between LDL and HDL?we as
Americans did the wise and logical
Began a program of rcguiar aero
bic exercise? Not exactly...
Gave up those 600-caloric dou
blc-dcckcr burgers with the Thou
sand Island dressing and pasteurized
process cheese food product? Well,
What we did was rush off to the
nearest supermarket to buy "spread"
to slather on our toast and baked
potatoes and corn on the cob. This
was, in my humble estimation, the
blackest day in gastronomic history
since the discovery that people
would buy ricc cakes, not as a home
insulation medium, but as an actual
Okay, I will own up to being per
snickety about food. I order fancy
coffcc beans which are delivered to
me by UPS, and I ?,rmd them my
I do not cat hot dogs or bologna,
or drink wine that can be opened
without a corkscrew.
I'd rather have a five-ounce piece
of rare grilled beef tenderloin once a
month, and no other red meat, than
to eat ground beef three times a
And 1 won't touch "spread."
Why do you think they have to
call it thai? Because it's not really
food. Do you think some of the
producLs in your grocer's dairy case
arc called "chccz" and others
"crcmc" and "nondairy coffcc
whitcner" just to be different? Uh
uh. To go further would be to com
mit one of the few types of con
sumer fraud prohibited by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration.
1 never gave up butter?never
even turned to margarine, much less
"spread"?rationalizing that a table
spoon here and there for saulcing
wouldn't hurt a thing, and that any
substitute for a thin film of sweet
crcam butter on a slice of freshly
baked bread would be a gratuitous
form of blasphemy.
And now I've been vindicated.
We've known all along that butter
and margarine have the same
amount of calories, but now it seems
that the laboratory-made "spread"
you scoop out of that decorative and
useful plastic tub is more cruel to
your cardiovascular network than
the bovine-based slick I keep in my
Bui wait! There s more. There*?*
the French paradox. How can a peo
ple have 60 percent less cardiovas
cular disease than Americans when
they swill, liter upon liter of wine
and cat buttery croissants and vel
vety Camcmbcrt cheese and rich
sauces made with egg yolks and
heavy cream? Couldn't have any
thing to do with the fact that your
average Frenchman cats well-pre
pared fresh food, and much less of
it, walks or rides a bicycle instead of
driving everywhere, and enjoys long
leisurely meals, reasonable work
days and a couple months' vacation
every year. Could it?
Meanwhile, I'll continue to cook
with a little butter, stay away from
bologna, cat walnuts if and only if I
want to, and try not to pay attention
to any more nutritio" propaganda.
Unless, of course, it confirms that
what I'm already doing is the right
Where Do We Draw
The Firepower Line?
"...the right of the people to keep
and bear 50-caliber machine guns,
M-16 automatic rifles and AK-47
assault rifles shall not be infringed."
Thai's what you arc likely to hear
from the National Rifle Association
when that army of 700 law officers
finally smokes out the wackos in
Waco who murdered four people
and wounded 16 others in a 45
minute fire fight Feb. 28 and who
have the above-mentioned weapons
(and others) in their arsenal.
A police detective told me the
other day that he had never heard of
a firefight lasting that long during
his entire tour in Vietnam.
Well detective, welcome to law
enforcement, 1990s style. A time
when police arc forced to pull back
their armored personnel carriers and
send in M-l tanks because the crimi
nals have armor-piercing shells.
Before the smoke of batdc clears,
we will hear yet another round of
demands for laws prohibiting the
sale of exotic military weapons. And
we will hear the NRA proclaim that
these were among the "arms" that
the second amendment protects our
right to keep and bear.
Never mind that the framcrs of
the constitution were talking about
muzzle loaders that lobbed little
balls of lead?with unpredictable
force and accuracy?at a rate of
about one every minute.
The NRA would have us believe
that our forefathers looked into their
crystal ball and dccidcd that Amer
icans should also have the right to
own a gun that fires about 1,600
rounds per minute nnd ran easily cut
a pickup truck in half.
I used to belong to the NRA, back
when ils primary mission was to
promote target shooting, safe hunt
ing and gun collecting and to edu
cate gun owners in the strict disci
plines of proper firearms handling.
Under the guidance of a local
Police Benevolent Association, I
practically lived at a gun range and
worked my way up the NRA's profi
ciency ratings from basic marksman
to expert. I earned medals and tro
phies at numerous NRA-sponsored
The highlight of every year was
the day our police sponsors let us
young team members fire the PBA's
impressive collection of "exotic"
I remember trying to hold down a
Thompson submachine (a.k.a.
"Tommy) gun as it chattered away
on full "rock-and-roll," with a string
of .45-caliber slugs dancing off the
target and up the protective dirt
My shoulder was blue for days af
ter blasting away with their Brow
ning Automatic Rifle (BAR), that
massive gun you sec slung across
the shoulders of the beefiest in
fantrymen in World War II movies.
All of us knew that these were
strictly weapons of war. We never
dreamed of owning one without
earning the privilege by virtue of our
occupation. I still think it would be
great fun to unleash a missile from
an F-14 Tomcat flying at Mach 2,
but I have no delusions about having
a "right" to do so.
But the NRA hollers like a hit dog
every time we consider restricting
the scope of our constitutional
"rights" to own modem military
weapons. Even after one of these
weapons is sprayed at a school yard
or used to ambush federal agents.
The NRA will remind us that it is
illegal to own these guns in their ful
ly-automatic state. Which means
that instead of blasting a full clip of
ammunition with one squeeze, the
gun will fire only as fast as you can
pull the trigger.
They won't be so quick to point
out that anyone who buys a semi-au
tomatic AR-15 knows how easy it is
to convert it to a fully-automatic M
16. Keeping one in its legal state is
like having a Lambourghini Coun
tach with four bald re-tread tires.
When we owned our restaurant in
Hcndersonvillc, a guy came in and
tried to sell me a brand-new AK-47.
It was a perfectly legal model, still
in the box. And he was nice enough
to include an advertisement for a
conversion kit to make it just like
the rifles used to kill thousands of
GIs in Vietnam.
There arc basically four reasons
why people buy guns: food, fear, fun
You may not like hunting. But
killing animals for meat is a far
more natural human endeavor than
bungee jumping or climbing aboard
an airliner or watching television.
Still, it doesn't take a machine gun
to shoot a deer.
You may feel perfectly safe in
your home. Bui you can't deny
someone who lives next to a crack
house the right to protect himself.
However, he doesn't need an assault
rifle that is more likely to be stolen
than to be used for self defense.
The only legal reason to own a
modem military weapon is for fun.
Guns arc fun to collect. They arc
even more fun to shoot. F?pecia!!y
the ones that shoot lots of bullets re
But is that a valid reason to allow
access to all guns? Thousands of
people take drugs to have fun.
Others like to drive at 100 miles per
hour just for fun. Because one man's
fun is another man's felony.
Some people think drive-by
shootings are fun. Like the carload
of young men who sprayed a park
ing lot near Burgaw with an AK-47
last week, killing 20-year-old Hor
tense James as he sat behind the
wheel of his car.
By defending the tiny minority of
Americans who want to own these
weapons, the NRA runs the risk of
provoking a public backlash against
mainstream gun owners. Just as the
extremism of the Palestine Liber
ation Organization and the Irish
Republican Army obscures the mes
sage of those who peacefully oppose
Zionist and British occupation of
America is getting fed up with
gun violence. The NRA can help fo
cus people's anger on the criminal
instead of his weapon. Or it can
cause the public's anger to turn
against legitimate gun owners by de
fending murderous weapons that
have no socially redeeming value.