Gun toters still banned from village hall

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 6, 2014

No self-respecting cowboy ever made his receptionist ride point, drawing first fire from the bad guys.

By seeking to scratch the tiny no guns label off the Village Hall door, new council member Bill Lawry would have made the sweet village receptionist the official greeter of gun-toting modern day cowboy wannabes.

Even Wild West saloons often had cowboys check their pistols at the door.

Lawry’s argument may be correct. A tiny sticker isn’t going to stop a crazed killer from entering the office and shooting everybody. The small posting at best symbolically reinforces the idea that the office is a place for official business, not weapons.

An advocate of concealed weapons, Lawry spoke at length last week about lifting the ban, even recruiting outsiders for ammunition. One state advocacy group peppered council members with emails from its membership. One pushy outsider even threatened legal action.

“More guns, less crime.”

The council predictably voted 4-1 to keep the sticker on the front door.

Only Lawry would arm the often hostile audience that attends quarrelsome zoning hearings at the town hall.

His pistol priority is misplaced. Clemmons needs better roads and public services — snow plows and garbage trucks — from its municipal government. That may be boring work compared to monitoring firearms, but it’s the job description of municipal councils. This isn’t the place to start a pistol-wearing revolutionary return to the Wild West. Those days only look glamorous in the movies.

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Vietnam War veteran Gene Shoemaker of Hampton Road came in the other day with a good idea — honoring the Clemmons soldiers who gave their lives in Vietnam.

He remembers at least two West Forsyth High grads — Hubert Samuel “Sammy” Tilley Jr., killed May 11, 1969 in Hua Nghia, South Vietnam, and Dallas C. Shelton of Lewisville, killed June 20, 1969 in Binh Duong, Sough Vietnam. There have also been local boys lost in Afghanistan and in the first Iraq War. And, of course, World War II.

Shoemaker has approached the Village Hall and West Forsyth High about doing something to honor our war dead.

“They need something,” he said.

Indeed. Forget about scraping tiny stickers off the front door of Village Hall. We can all agree to honor our war dead.

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It’s almost enough to make me convert to Methodism. On Sunday, Feb. 9, at 2 p.m., Centenary United Methodist Church, 646 W. 5th St., Winston-Salem, will show “The Searchers,” in the church’s Memorial Auditorium. The movie is free and is part of the church’s Faith & Film Series. Depending on which Best 10 Western Movies list you see, “The Searchers,” released in 1956 by director John Ford and starring John Wayne and a young Natalie Wood, is considered by some as the best Western ever.

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On a lark, I drove Elizabeth out to the rural community of Whynot on Sunday. It’s a couple miles off I-73 in Randolph County east of Seagrove. I was last there 20 years ago. Since then, there has been lots of growth — mostly pottery shops. They’re everywhere. Residents seem to warmly embrace the community’s unusual name. We saw Whynot United Methodist Church and Whynot Pottery and took our photo under the Whynot sign.

It seemed like the thing to do. Why not?