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7/16/2013 8:52:00 AM Column: Some things, I just don't get
Craig Sterrett NT News Editor
The Coen Brothers’ movie “Fargo” is full of great lines but one that follows law enforcer Frances McDormand telling her arrestee, “And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper,” has been stuck in my head lately. That quote is simply, “Well, I just don’t understand it.” Not understanding does not equate to not being aware. There are little things and big things. I’m aware, for instance, that today we have some of the most amazing tools for communication, instant contact and immediate interaction. I just don’t understand why some people think Facebook and some of the other online tools were created as an outlet for every thought that ever pops into their heads. I’m aghast at some of the unwise and embarrassingly revealing stuff people post. Then there’s stuff that’s simply more than anyone other than immediate family needs to know and other stuff that you wouldn’t want your mom and dad or grandma to read. I’ve recently been watching posts from people who seem to use Facebook as a personal public-relations/ publicity tool, either for themselves or frowned-upon friends or relationships. I also don’t understand how there are a lot of folks from my dad’s generation who can’t even tell relatives or loved ones about major problems when it’s urgent that they tell somebody. Obviously my folks aren’t blathering to an unknown public about everything that happened in their day, how their love life is this week or where they are right this instant on vacation with the house unoccupied. There are a lot of little things I just don’t understand, most of which just make me a stick-in-the-mud — like spending perfectly good money on tattoos, my sweetheart’s “fairy garden” and people who love to bake their skin in the sun on hot days. There are bigger issues, too. Race relations seem to be worsening in a lot of ways the longer Barack Obama has been president. That shouldn’t be the case, because Americans have twice elected a non-white president. And that’s a good thing. I think Americans are becoming more open-minded but filled with trepidation at the same time. Sensationalizing of a deposition by TV food star Paula Deen over something she apparently said more than 20 years ago has elevated white folks’ fear or even the reality of being hastily and publicly labeled and punished as a racist. I just don’t understand why major networks covering the Trayvon Martin case had lawyer experts (activists?) on TV indicating that the word “cracker” is perfectly acceptable. And after unwillingly observing some of that that case, I just don’t understand why so many Illinoisans are excited about their opportunity to carry a loaded gun in their car or under clothing when a new concealed-carry law takes effect. I’ve lived almost 49 years in small cities in the middle of farm country, and I have never once felt I needed to have a gun with me for protection. I just don’t understand, however, why the murder-ridden city of Chicago wouldn’t want to have a few well-trained citizens who have guns as a deterrent or to protect themselves or their businesses. Out in downstate Illinois, I’d think some of the handgun enthusiasts might think twice about participating in concealed-carry (not their right to bear arms) if they consider the Trayvon Martin death and the likely civil suits George Zimmerman will face for killing that young man. I’m hopeful they all realize the awesome responsibility that comes with having a loaded weapon for “personal protection.” In fact, in most cases, the responsibility is to not use the thing. And now does the bankrupt state of Illinois need to invest in training as extensive as what police receive for anyone who wants to exercise concealed-carry rights? And why did George Zimmerman take it upon himself to keep following that kid? Further, why did the mass media find it so important to drag everyone, even those of us in the heartland, along on this emotional roller-coaster ride? I just don’t get it.