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Friday, May 27, 2016

Protecting us from ourselves

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Part of the reason our tax dollars have to pay for police protection is that many of us must be protected from ourselves.

The police reports we consider too minor to publish are often sad and/or ridiculous.


* A woman filing a theft report against her brother for taking a carton of cigarettes and 12-pack of beer following a "discussion" over paying bills.

* Yet another fight involving one particular young (actually, nearing middle age) Bedford County woman who apparently has a serious anger management problem.

* A panhandler who stands outside convenience stores begging for money several days a week. He's asked me before. And he's not getting any of my dollars because he'd undoubtedly head straight for the nearest liquor store. The police arrest him over and over and it doesn't seem to stop him.

Plus the usual problems of some people who think anything not strapped down should belong to them, or those who believe driving or doing anything else in public while drunk is "cute" and no big deal.

It's an attitude problem, often based on self-centeredness. No wonder Time magazine named "You" as 2006 Person of the Year.

We're also spending billions of dollars each year to protect Iraqis from themselves.

It's time to call a halt.

The United States and its military has earned its claim to honor by capturing and making sure Saddam Hussein was killed. Those who died didn't give their lives in vain.

Now the ball's in Iraq's court, or should be, because nothing the U.S. can do will end thousands of years of ethnic turmoil. It's hardly likely that Iraq's feuding factions will unite into one big, happy family, in spite of President Bush's daydreams.

If our leaders really think a terror threat may originate from Iraq, then why not simply establish one large, permanent U.S. military base in the Baghdad area, go ONLY after terrorist groups threatening the U.S. mainland and let Iraqis fight out their country's future among themselves?

I've been doing quite a bit of research lately into the incidents surrounding the 1934 rioting in which Bedford County Courthouse was burned after crowds were kept from lynching a black man accused of raping a 15-year-old white girl.

Few Bedford countians are still alive who experienced the event.

But several who knew those who were there have made similar -- and striking -- comments: Many felt the young man eventually found guilty -- and executed -- may have been innocent.

Younger Bedford countians' knowledge of the incident comes, for many, from a story and photos in the Times-Gazette's 1969 sesquicentennial edition, a book-form keepsake kept by many families which has been reprinted. There's far, far more to it than that story, which largely misses the point of how a crowd bent on vengeance can go out of control.

I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has any information on this event, especially photos or information not previously published elsewhere.

David Melson is a Times-Gazette copy editor/staff writer. Responses welcome: dmelson@t-g.com.

David Melson
On the Loose