The Brunswick beacon. (Shallotte, N.C.) 19??-current, March 18, 1993, Page PAGE 4-A, Image 4
THE BRUNSWICK&GEACON Edward M. Sweatt and Carolyn H. Sweatt Publishers Edward M. Sweatt Editor Lynn S. Carlson Managing Editor Susan Usher News ISdltor Doug Rutter Sports Editor Eric Carlson Stajf Writer Peggy Earwood Office Manager Carolyn H. Sweatt Advertising Director Ttmberley Adams, Cecelia Gore and Linda Cheers..., Advertising Representatives [>orothy Brennan and Brenda Clemmons Moore ..Graphic Artists William Manning Pressman Lonnie Sprinkle Assistant Pressman rammie Henderson Photo Technician Phoebe Clemmons and Frances Sweatt Circulation 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 Brunswick County. 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 ernments. 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 County's. 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. Worth Repeating... ? 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 Oh, Shut Up And Eat Your Walnuts Who arc these nutrition fascists and why should wc listen to them anyway? 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 loop. 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 t/n? CS' Carlson ' > tr i ?? 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 thing. 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, no... 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 food product. 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 self. 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 week. 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 butter dish. 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 thing. K 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 Eric ( Carlson I 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 rifle matches. The highlight of every year was the day our police sponsors let us young team members fire the PBA's impressive collection of "exotic" weapons. 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 banking. 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 or felonies. 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 ally fast 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 their homelands. 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.