Forgetfulness became expensive last week for a Martinez man who accidentally carried a 9 mm pistol into the Augusta Regional Airport.
Robby Horton was headed out west to test-ride a motorcycle. Instead, he wound up testing out a pair of handcuffs courtesy of airport security and the FBI.
How do you put a pistol in your bag and forget it? Do people just leave guns lying around? Hey, whoops, howd that get there?
But that wasnt the dumbest thing this past week. That distinction goes to the family of another pistol-toter, Joshua James, the 16-year-old serial juvenile offender in Aiken County.
Young Joshua, sad to say, got his start at being a punk here in Columbia County before his dad imported the teen and his troubles to North Augusta. Joshua hit the big time last week, South Carolina cops say, when he plunged a steak knife into his dads back - twice.
Even though dad had to get patched up at the hospital, its tough to feel sorry for him. Just about everybody remembers Joshua from his own little gun-toting episode last year, when he carried a pistol to North Augusta High School. Remember what happened? After Joshua spent time in juvenile lockup, proud papa hugged him and said, Were going to have a barbecue to celebrate Joshuas release.
Some folks, dumbfounded by the dads coddling attitude, were told they were just being mean. Call me mean, then. Compassion for a child who breaks the law and needs correction is one thing; but to pamper a little backstabber who is old enough to know better is just plain stupid.
And speaking of stupid, does anyone in Columbia County government want to explain why the Development Authority is helping a private developer get $9.2 million in tax-free bonds to finance the construction of a low-rent apartment complex in Evans?
Last week, the Authority signed off on a deal with CED Construction Co. of Maitland, Fla., to build a 192-unit apartment complex on Washington Road near Owens Road. Executive Vice President Scott Culp says the federal loan program is designed to serve low- to moderate-income residents.
A couple of years ago, through a similar program, county commissioners helped finance Wedgewood Park, on Old Evans Road. That development got less notice for its funding than its location: The county allowed the complex to plop down in the future path of River Watch Parkway, so the Department of Transportation had to re-draw the road to miss the rental units.
In both cases, private developers borrow tax-free money to build giant rental complexes so we can have the privilege of welcoming more transients and low-income residents to the county.
I know that sounds awfully snobbish, but good grief: When our schools are overflowing with the kids of taxpaying citizens, why do we want to make it easier for non-taxpayers to bring their children to our overcrowded classrooms? Culp, using a formula based on the 130 complexes in his companys portfolio, says the Westwood Club Apartments will house an estimated 60 school-age children - most of them elementary age.
Get ready for more portable classrooms, Bel Air Elementary. The Development Authority, for its minimal work as a conduit, will receive a small fee - our cut, as one member laughingly describes it - none of which will help Bel Air house the extra students.
Guess you dont have to hold a steak knife to be a backstabber. Or to be stupid.
(Barry L. Paschal is opinions editor of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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