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THE BRUNSWICK feBEACON
Edward M. Sweatt and Carolyn H. Sweatt Publishers
Edward M. Sweatt Editor
Lynn S. Carlson Managing Editor
Susan Usher News Editor
Doug Rutter Sports Editor
Eric Carlson Staff Writer
Peggy Earwood Office Manager
Carolyn H. Sweatt Adi <ertlslng Director
Tlmberley Adams. Cecelia Gore
and Linda Cheers Advertising Representatives
Dorothy Brennan and Brenda Clemmons Moore. .Graphic Artists
William Manning Pressman
Lonnle Sprinkle Assistant Pressman
David White Photo Technician
PAGE 4 -A, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1993
It's Time To Examine Each
Board's Style For Substance
In the coming weeks, all the South Brunswick Islands towns
will swear in newly-elected representatives of the people. Such
occasions seem the perfect opportunity for each board to make a
new or renewed commitment to open, accessible government and
for citizens to more forcefully exercise their considerable power
to make it happen.
Tilings we'd like to see:
? every seat filled at town board meetings, even when the
agenda items are routine;
? detailed agendas, with explanatory attachments, made
available to interested citizens the week before regular meetings
? meetings and public hearings scheduled at times when
most working people, as well as retirees, are able to attend;
? citizens asking more and better questions in a spirit of inter
est and concern rather than confrontation;
We'd like not to see:
? issues voted upon without being explained or discussed
(i.e., a town's real business having been decided on the phone
prior to the meeting);
? elective officials whispering among themselves in open
sessions rather than addressing the public they have pledged to
? citizens or elected officials allowing their towns to be di
vided into political or economic factions;
? anyone be allowed to continue to serve in an appointive po
sition who does not not attend meetings and fulfill the obligations
of her/his appointment.
Every town from Calabash to Holden Beach has its own per
sonality and each town board, its own governing style. It is the
shared responsibility of elective officials and the citizens they
represent to see that each town is governed in such a way that the
style has substance.
? Our worst enemies here are not the ignorant and the simple,
however cruel ; our worst enemies are the intelligent and
corrupt. ? Graham Greene
? A man gradually identifies himself with the form of his fate; a
man is, in the long run, his own circumstances.
? Jorge Luis Borges
? Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless
without freedom to think And there is no freedom of thought
? Bergen Evans
Who Says There Is Safety In Numbers?
My ilad used to say that the acad
emic achievement known as the B.S.
degree got its name from the barn
yard byproduct of the same initials.
Likewise, the M.S. signified
"more of the same" and the Ph D
stood for "piled higher and deeper."
Until last week, I had only earned
the meager pile of B.S., in recogni
tion of my four years of higher edu
But now, proudly enshrined on
my wall in its own 3-by-3-inch
frame, is a diploma stating that
"(Your Name Here) has completed
the National Safety Council's DE
FENSIVE DRIVING COURSE."
Which is to certify that I am $100
poorer and will not get any points on
my license for driving 50 miles per
hour in a 35 mph zone on a Wil
mington street where most people
speed through red lights at 60 mph
to avoid having their car hijacked
and stripped for parts to buy crack
Unfortunately, the four-hour
course did not provide any defensive
tips about avoiding that sort of urban
mishap. What it did offer was an
amazing array of fascinating and
For example, our instructor told
us that only one traffic violation out
of 50,000 results in a citation.
Which means that of the five million
people who went speeding through
Wilmington that week, I was one of
the 1(K) chumps who got tickets.
According to the statistics, if ten
million of those people were driving
to the airport, they would be 5,000
times more likely to get killed in a
car wreck than they would on an air
plane, where only 1.6 would be ex
pected to die in crashes.
Which means you are better off
taking lots of trips, because 75 per
cent of all fatal automobile wrecks
happen within 25 miles of home.
The numbers also suggest that you
should save your drinking for the
fligiii, since 50 percent of all fatal
auto accidents involve alcohol.
(There was no data offered on
your likelihood of being strangled to
death by a flight attendant for get
ting drunk and disruptive on the
I was interested to learn that only
25 percent of all fatal car wrecks are
caused by excessive speed. A whop
ping 80 percent of all deaths and se
rious injuries result from collisions
at less than 40 mph.
However, you arc 31 percent
more likely to have a collision at 65
mph than at 55. Which makes you
wonder whether it's such a good
idea to ride in a plane going 500
mph after all.
They say anything can be proven
with numbers, and that the three lev
els of falsehood ate "lies, damn lies
and statistics." But the most elo
quent insight I ever heard about our
devotion to numerical evidence
came from the great Chi(cago)nese
philosopher Mike Ditka.
"Da coach" was being questioned
at a post-game press conference
about a streak of wins his team had
enjoyed despite lagging behind in all
the "vital" figures used to gauge
overall playing performance.
Ditka looked at the questioner
like a grizzly trying to decide whe
ther a curious tourist would taste
better with or without his Gore-Tex
parka. Shaking his head in disgust,
he spat out the words:
''Statistics are for idiots!"
Even so, we hear them all the
time. "Four out of five doctors
agree" (that they are about to get the
short end of the tongue depressor
from the Clinton health care plan).
"Nine out of ten dentists recom
mend sugarless gum for their pa
tients who chew gum" (and charm
school for patients who chew their
"Only 21 percent of Americans
say they would trust Ross Perot to
be president" (and only three of
those believe his stories about NAF
TA hit men and nuptial sabotage).
One of the most irritating statis
tics I keep hearing over and over is
the one that says a handgun in the
home is 5,000 times more likely to
be used against a family member
than an intruder. Give that re
searcher a B.S. degree!
We always had handguns in our
home. But there was a zero percent
chance of them being used on a fam
ily member. Because as kids, we
were disciplined in their use. And
our family didn't resolve its con
flicts with violence.
However, there was a 100 percent
chance of that gun being used on an
intruder who didn't kiss the floor
upon being caught in the act.
No doubt that statistic was fabri
cated by dividing the number of do
mestic shootings by the number of
burglar takedowns, yielding a mean
ingless ratio of 1:5000. This idiotic
number has lots more to say about
the state of the family and individual
responsibility than about a person's
right to feel safe in his or her home.
As dad would say, "I've told you
a billion times not to exaggerate!"
Despite all the numbers, the de
fensive driving course wasn't such a
bad way to spend an evening. Better
than a poke in the eye with a sharp
Where else would you learn that a
driver who crashes at 30 mph with
out wearing a seat belt will hit the
windshield with the same force as he
would by doing a face plant on the
sidewalk from the roof of a 35-foot
Neither course of action is recom
mended. Nine out of ten newspaper
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Writers Respond To Column, Reply About 'Bubba' Shootinp ' Bear '
To the editor:
In response to the guest column "When
Bear Meets Bubba," (Nov. 3) please let me
say I feel the same way the writer did.
I have four grandchildren that like to play
in the woods. They play house and Indians
and hide-and-seek. We have people in our
neighborhood that like to do target practice.
How do we know that one of his bullets
won't stray and hit one of my grandchildren
and their heads or face may be blown off, al
Please hear our pleas for gun control be
fore we lose a precious small child. Then
what will their answer be? "I'm sorry."
Well, that is not enough after the child is
dead or maimed for life.
Please consider our request and plea.
Go d Frowns On Abusers
To the editor:
I would like to comment on the Nov. 3 ar
ticle about the cat getting shot. I would like
to express my sympathy to Linda Ingram
about her pet.
I have a story to tell about a man I used to
live close to. He threw gasoline on a cow
and set her on fire. She suffered for two
years. About three years later this man went
to check his tobacco barn and a burner ex
ploded. He almost got burned to death.
When I received the news, my comment
was, "Well, I guess he knows now how the
poor old cow suffered."
Another man 1 knew used to hunt rabbits
on the beach. He said he killed every cat he
saw over there hunting. Well, he had a
stroke in his right side and suffered for 12
years before he died, so I hope this gives
Linda some comfort about her pet.
God put man in charge of all animals
when He made this earth, and I don't think
he smiles on animal abusers.
Now for the man that says keep them at
home in the Nov. 1 1 edition: I have six stray
cats that 1 have given good homes. Their in
stinct tells them to hunt ? not because I
don't feed them. At least they are loved.
As for birds and squirrels, I feed them, al
so. It is very seldom that the cats bring up a
bird, but they still roam out in the woods.
I just thank God I have good neighbors.
Most all animals will kill from hunger or in
stinct. After all, humans kill to eat, also, un
less they are vegetarians.
Good Move For BCC
To the editor:
On behalf of Brunswick Community
College, I would like to thank the many citi
zens who voted for passage of the community
college bonds. BCC has been growing and
serving more students each year in our 19
curriculum programs. Support of this impor
tant bond gives even more students the
chance to get a good education beyond high
school close to their homes and communities.
A $4 million allied health building will be
built on our main campus on Business 17,
north of Supply, with the bond issue. This
new building will complement our existing
ones which were so generously provided by
a countywide bond passed in 1985. In fact,
that county bond issue will serve as our
match, so there will be no need to seek addi
tional funding for this upcoming building
Brunswick Community College, as part of
the Southeastern Allied Health Consortium,
plans to offer Respiratory Therapy Assistant
and Occupational Therapy Assistant in the
near future. We currently offer Health Info
rmation Technology, Phlebotomy and the
first year of Dental Assisting, Medical Lab
oratory Assistant, and Physical Therapy
Assistant through this regional program.
Also, BCC offers Practical Nursing and
Nurse Assistant programs as part of its over
all health care program selections.
We appreciate your vote of confidence in
our future plans at Brunswick Community
W. Michael Reaves
(More Letters, Following Page)
Every smitten couple ought to be
required to pool their pay and live
out of a joint checking account for
six months before they're allowed
to apply for a marriage license. The
result would be a brand of reality
guaranteed to smack the blinders
off true love and do wonders for the
national divorce rate.
I know a wife who phoned the
IRS to put a trace on the $800 in
come tax refund check that never
came. She learned that it had been
cashed and was about to make a big
fuss about the mailbox having been
robbed when her husband sheepish
ly admitted he spent it on a suit.
I've heard of a husband who re
quires his wife to bring him the
empty deodorant container (along
with a 50-cents-off coupon) before
he allocates the money for her to
buy some more.
It used to be so easy back when
dads were company men and moms
were homemakers. Mom got a
household allowance out of dad's
paycheck and would feed the kids
beeny-weenies from dented cans to
save a little pin money and buy her
self that darling new hat.
Then everything changed. Not
only did both spouses in most
homes take outside jobs, but spend
ing money got to be so easy!
For example, it doesn't feel like
spending at all when I fill out the
Zabar's order blank, fax it to New
York City, and find the goodies at my
door five days later, courtesy of our
reliable friends at UPS. It's more
As I feed the form into the fax,
I'm overwhelmed by the technolog
ical wonder of it all. My order will
get there in less than five minutes!
In my mind's eye I see a handsome
but-crude Italian guy packing those
five pounds of coffee beans and
marking them to go to "some
f%#$!@# place in the sticks called
I've never been to Zabar's and
he's never been here. We haven't
exchanged legal tender. We've done
business without ever having
touched, seen or talked to each oth
er. It's nothing short of a miracle!
I am not particularly extravagant,
but I might be if I could afford to.
My furniture is mostly hand-me
downs. Expensive clothing has no
particular allure for me. I drive a
dirty Volkswagen with 80,000 miles
But I do seem to buy a lot of little
things, as my mate is quick to point
out. He tells people about riding in
my car for the first time, opening
the glove compartment and count
ing eight pairs of cheap sunglasses.
It's a congenital defect my sister
shares. Her fiancee, on his first trip
to the powder room in her home,
was overwhelmed by the array of
"lotions and potions" (i.e. every
product available from Clinique,
Lancome, Neutrogena, Nivea and
Johnson & Johnson) on her shelves.
I think it all goes back to growing
up in a small town where no stores
were open on Sundays except
Revco, and there was nothing else
to do after church and the midday
meal except to go there. It was a
weekly ritual for Sister and me, fill
ing our red plastic handbaskets with
health and beauty aids, school sup
plies, costume jewelry and assorted
stuff on sale.
Sister and I are both fortunate to
be paired with men who don't make
it their business to police our spend
ing habits. (Translation: we both
bring home a big enough percent
age of the family bacon to have a
little economic autonomy.) Many
are not so blessed.
If you don't believe me, pop into
any supermarket and watch couples
shop together. It's a lot like watch
Eavesdrop on a retired couple.
You'll be pretty sure the wife singu
larly managed the household fi
nances for 30 years or so while rais
ing 3.2 successful kids, all the while
staying within the family budget
and saving enough here and there
for the aforementioned hats.
And now she has this Siamese
twin ? they're joined at the pocket
book ? to point out those unit pric
ing labels he assumes she never no
ticed before. (And to walk along be
side her, jingling the change in his
pockets and whistling along with
the Muzak in that helpful way.)
These are the same men who
swear that you get what you pay for
when you buy lawn tractors, sport
ing equipment or audio compo
nents, but fail to understand why
you've gotta have the nice, new cu
cumbers instead of the furry ones
marked down to half-price.
I once saw a punk couple arguing
in a Winn-Dixie. She had pink
spiked hair; his was blaze orange.
They were dressed in leathers and
ripped undershirts and had safety
pins for earrings and gold hoops in
their nostrils. He was intent on
Heinz ketchup, but she insisted only
Hunt's would do. For days, I kept
playing the scene in my mind, turn
ing it into a musical. "You say toe
may-toe, and I say toe-mah
toe... Let's call the whole thing off!"
Some things you just ought to do