As Monday's shooting in West Lake makes frighteningly clear, some people just haven't gotten the message.
I'm not talking about the criminals, especially the one pilfering from Medical College of Georgia officer Peter Barbara's Chevy Suburban. That small-time hood got the message from the barrel of Barbara's 40-caliber Glock. It sounded something like "Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow!" and was probably easy to understand.
What's more difficult to figure out is the number of people who haven't gotten the message: Lock. Your. Car.
Sheriff Clay Whittle wrote a guest column last June on this topic. He didn't intend it just as a safety tip. His comments were more a way of telling people: My deputies can't be everywhere.
Help them by locking your car. Quit making it so easy for the crooks.
Whittle pointed out that nearly half of all reported cases of theft from cars in the county were from unlocked vehicles. In many cases, the items stolen were left lying in plain view.
"I'm not talking about obscure items left out in the open, either," Whittle wrote. "Some of the items stolen include cell phones, purses, wallets, money, laptop computers and expensive clothing."
Add to that list guns. The gun the West Lake thief was carrying apparently had been stolen during an earlier theft from another West Lake vehicle. The cops know because they got the gun back after Barbara shot it out of the thief's hands.
Good aim, Pistol Pete.
Several years ago, some items were swiped from my unlocked car in my driveway. That taught me the lesson about locking my car.
Don't learn the hard way. Lock your car and make it tougher on the crooks. And easier on the cops.
Are we 'ready'?
Doggone those Chronicle editorial writers. They beat me to the punch on this topic.
Ah, well. I'll tee off anyway, though my beef isn't with one of their letter-writers, which is what set them off last week.
In my case, I am sick and tired of yahoos in the national media wondering if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama's presidential election chances rest on whether "America is ready for a black president" or a "woman president."
After hearing that moronic phrase over and over and wondering if I was imagining its frequency, I conducted a Google search.
Combinations of "ready for a" and "black president" or "African-American president" on the Internet search engine turned up 164,000 hits. "Woman" or "female" president yielded 147,000 hits.
You can already see it coming, can't you? Whichever one of them is nominated, if Clinton or Obama loses to presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, it won't be portrayed as one ideology losing to another.
Instead, we will hear endlessly that it's a fulfillment of liberal prophesy: Clinton or Obama lost because America "wasn't ready" for someone of their race or sex.
Translation? That's just sneering shorthand for our obvious lack of enlightenment. You know, if only we were "ready" - as in more socially evolved, less culturally bigoted - then certainly we would have voted for Clinton or Obama.
If neither of them is elected, and there certainly are no guarantees in our entitlement-heavy society, we shouldn't expect to hear the truth: that it was because America "wasn't ready" to elect a socialist.
Especially not when it's easier to call you a bigot or a sexist or redneck throwback who isn't "ready" to make the "right" choice.
Wish me luck: Today I'm with a group participating in "Augusta in Army Boots," playing soldier at Fort Gordon. I'll bring back a full report.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com, or call 706-863-6165, extension 106.
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