Opinions

10/09/02


The True Citizen
P.O.Box 948
Waynesboro, GA
30830
(706) 554-2111
The Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Harold Rowland
A Pack Of Animals

In Milwaukee the other day a pack of animals attacked and killed Charlie Young. There have been several cases of savage dogs pouncing upon adults and children and mauling or killing their victims. But these were not savage dogs. This pack of killers was boys aged 10 to 16.

The victim, a 36-year-old male is not without some degree of blame. A kid threw an egg at him and in anger he punched one of the pack in the mouth breaking his tooth. While you can understand his anger and may even applaud his reaction, the proper course would have been to report the incident to the police. Instead, this grown man struck a teenager and the pack grabbed sticks and clubs and shovels and whatever they could find and beat him to death. They claim the victim had a knife or a box cutter.
After the fact they all made the expected excuses. One didn’t know the others would kill the man or he wouldn’t have touched him. He did, however, go back to the fallen victim and beat him some more. One just wanted Young to “feel some pain” because he had punched his friend. The 10 year old’s sister defended him. “He’s not a monster,” she opined, “he’s just 10 years old.” But how old does a rattlesnake have to be before it will sink its fangs in your flesh? How old does a wild animal have to be before it will attempt to bite anyone who comes too close?

These kids were a pack of wolves on the prowl long after they should have been at home in bed. But what was at home? Most have no fathers present in their life. One’s father is in jail. One of the boys, 14 years old, is a father himself.

In a sense these kids are victims, too. They have been victimized by women who gave them birth without benefit of marriage or a stable relationship of mother and father. They have been unsupervised, allowed to roam the streets, to skip school and to commit any crime without being reprimanded. The boy Young punched in the mouth was told to have his mother take him to the hospital. She told him she had to go to work and would take him the next day. Yeah. There are far too many people begging their victim’s role in this society. Some are screaming for reparations because their forefathers were brought to this country as slaves. Big deal. Human slavery is an abomination. But how does that differ from people who came to this country as indentured servants because they were unable to pay debts in jolly old England? How does that differ from Chinese laborers who were exploited in building the railroads in this nation? What about the Irish immigrants who were driven from their native land by the potato famine and literally owed their souls to the company store when they were able to find any kind of job?

It’s way past time for this country to continue to encourage illegitimate births through a welfare system that rewards indolence, underwrites the dissolution of the family and fills the streets with kids who are no more than predators looking for victims.
Listen in the weeks ahead to all the wailing about kids too young to know right from wrong, too ignorant to get along in this society, and so victimized by poverty that they should not be held accountable for their vicious and destructive behavior. Then will follow the cry for more money to be poured into childcare facilities and inadequate schools and job training programs, etc., etc.

Money will not solve the problem of humanity devoid of any sense of decency, of biological parents who deny any responsibility for the children they bring into the world or a moral code that makes excuses for every act of human depravity.
So how do we deal with killer kids? Lock ’em up for 20 years? Two decades in a prison should do wonders for their rehabilitation. Send them to a youth training facility? Put them in a foster home?

Remember when the Catholic Church said something about giving them a child until he was seven years old and he would be well grounded in the faith? These twigs are bent. Unfortunately, apart from some miracle, they will grow into twisted adults unless their lifestyle gets them killed in their youth.

Someone once said that if you would rear a great man you would have to start with his grandfather. That ought to tell you something. Reform the family or forget the kids..

Ben Roberts
For Better or Worse
I attended what I think will be my last wedding of the year this past weekend. Actually, I just got another invitation from an old buddy from high school, but I doubt I or anyone else other than he, the bride and the preacher will be showing up. It’s the same day as the Georgia-Florida game.

I realize that sounds very petty, and quite possibly, I’ll admit one day that it is – but not today. Several people have made the statement that they’ll only get married once and the UGA-FLA game is played every year.

I couldn’t agree more, which makes it all the more absurd to have your wedding on the same day. It’s not like the date snuck up on them, college game days are scheduled a year or two in advance, especially this one.
I will concede, however, that this is true love. This particular guy was a football fanatic in high school, so if he was paying so much attention to his soon-to-be bride that he forgot about one of the biggest rivalries in college football, well then, I’d say their marriage will work out just fine.

As I sat in the church on Saturday, I couldn’t help but think about the many weddings I’ve been a part of and the memories they’ve provided. Last month I was in a wedding in which the “wedding planner” knew less about ceremonial proceedings than I did. She also had very little tolerance for the antics of the groomsmen.

Groomsmen are as an integral part of a wedding as, say, kissing the bride or throwing the bouquet. A groom chooses a group of men to see him off on his new journey into matrimony. It is their job to be there for him, to support him and to try one last time to get him in as much trouble as possible.

When my old roommate, Bo Benton, proposed, he said he wanted a simple harmless bachelor party. So we brought a bunch of guys to Munnerlyn with the idea that little trouble could be found in the middle of nowhere in Burke County. In hindsight, it was not the brightest of ideas. We waited until everyone had entirely too many drinks before we brought out several shotguns for a couple of rounds of skeet. Later, I went to get a load of firewood and returned to find several guys sitting quietly in a circle near the fire. They were giggling as if they were getting away with something. I also noticed Bo, the potential groomsman that I had promised to watch over, was missing.

Moments later, Bo informed the group, from about halfway up the wind mill tower beside the house, that this was as high as he could go because the ladder was so badly rusted. After some careful questioning, I learned that the group had dared Bo to climb to the top of the tower – that being all the coaxing he needed. Looking back, it might have been better to have spent the evening throwing money at scantily clad women.

Several years before, in another buddy’s wedding, one of those same groomsmen was forced to lean on the pulpit to keep from falling over during the service after having such a good time the night before. Bo just happened to be a groomsman as well and stood with his knees locked, until he fell, not once, but twice during the service. The second time he managed to kick the base of the altar with a resounding thud and mumble something loudly as he went down. This resulted in most of the groomsmen biting their lips for the remainder of the service to keep from laughing out loud.

All the while, the preacher never missed a beat, the bride quietly fumed, and the groom wondered how he ever got to be friends with such a group. Just this summer, when my brother got married, every one of his groomsmen walked down the aisle and as they crossed in front of him, opened their coats to reveal a message pinned inside their jackets. It was a good thing the bride had not yet made her way down the aisle.

I am told that when my uncle, Jack, and my aunt, Ronnie, were kneeling for a prayer during their wedding, the whole church was able to see the words “HELP ME” scrawled across the bottom of his shoes. Apparently, his groomsman had already helped him enough.
contact benr@thetruecitizen.com

Bill Shipp
An Award Winning Case
At first glance, the federal Voting Rights lawsuit aimed at giving back to Cynthia McKinney the 4th District congressional seat seems to fall into the category of courthouse hoots. The legal action, filed last week by five DeKalb County voters, contends that “malicious” crossover voting by known Republicans in the Democratic primary violated black Democrats’ voting rights.

Therefore, the pro-McKinney petition concludes, McKinney’s stunning defeat (58 percent to 42 percent) by Denise Majette should be set aside, and McKinney ought to be on her way back to another term in Congress.
Before you fall down laughing at this apparent absurdity, please consider where you are:
•You reside in a state in which the Democratic-controlled Legislature seated a runner-up candidate for governor, Lester Maddox, because it didn’t want the clear winner of the election, Republican Bo Callaway, ruling the Statehouse. The courts said OK.
•Three good Democrats all once claimed to be governor at the same time. The courts spent months untangling the controversy while the rest of the country looked on in amusement and disbelief.
•Dead people voting in alphabetical order once boosted the career of Governor-then-Senator Herman Talmadge. The courts finally declared that the deceased could not legally cast ballots, even absentee ones. But Talmadge never looked back.

Many jaded old-timers would barely raise an eyebrow if the federal courts agreed that the Republican crossover was wrong and told McKinney she didn’t have to clean out her desk after all. Such a decision would fit right into the pattern of Georgia’s Alice in Wonderland political history.

The attorneys for the McKinney Five may think they are plowing new ground by digging into the Republican conspiracy. Sorry. Georgia voters have been down the crossover path before.
In 1966 Republicans tapped as their gubernatorial candidate Howard “Bo” Callaway, easily the most attractive contender for governor the GOP has ever had. With Callaway’s nomination safely assured, several key Republicans decided to try to make mischief in the Democratic primary.
They quietly organized a Republican crossover to support as the Democratic nominee an underfinanced segregationist gadfly named Lester Maddox. These Republicans believed Maddox would be the easiest candidate to defeat in a general election.

The crossover plot worked. But the consequences were unintended, to put it mildly. Voters gave Maddox enough ballots to force a runoff against former Gov. Ellis Arnall. Amazingly, thanks in large measure to the Republicans’ stealth vote, the runoff drew a much larger turnout of voters than the first primary, and Maddox won by a breathtaking 90,000-vote margin. As the Republicans had planned, Callaway defeated Maddox – but only by a plurality because of a sour-grapes write-in campaign by Arnall. The big mules in the Democratic Party turned up their collective nose at Callaway’s plurality triumph and crowned second-place Maddox governor.
So much for grand crossover plots. The episode turned out so badly for the GOP that some red-faced elephants deny to this day the existence of the crossover plan. (One could even make a case that the events led to Jimmy Carter’s presidency.) But how else does one explain the cascade of new votes for Maddox in the Democratic runoff?

Of course, in the McKinney contest, the facts are somewhat different. Republicans never tried to conceal their intentions. Some of their chiefs publicly urged crossover voting in the open primary. However, even without a sizeable GOP vote, Majette would have won, albeit by a narrower margin.

In addition, the party-jumping Republicans sacrificed an opportunity to vote in their own primary. Their absence lends credence to the belief that the Republican primary (minus the input of thousands of generally well-informed DeKalb and Gwinnett Republicans) produced a mostly weak slate of statewide candidates.

Still, one never knows how a federal court might rule on any given day. Before this anti-crossover litigation is finished, McKinney might be back in Washington and up to her old habit of opposing every defense appropriation. And her crossover case might be in contention for next year’s national Stella Award.

You remember the Stella Award, don’t you – the one given for the year’s most frivolous but nevertheless successful litigation? The citation is named for Stella Liebeck, who won a $2.1 million damage award in New Mexico from McDonald’s after spilling a cup of coffee on herself. The case for McKinney – should she prevail – would fit the criteria for a Stella nomination.

Bill Shipp is editor of Bill Shipp's Georgia, a weekly newsletter on government and business. He can be reached at P.O. Box 440755, Kennesaw, GA 30144 or by calling (770) 422-2543,
e-mail: bshipp@bellsouth.net, Web address: http://www.billshipp.com

Legal Organ of Burke County, Waynesboro, Sardis, Midville, Keysville, and Girard