Uh-oh. I'm guilty of not practicing what I preached.
After a door-handle-shaking punk stole a guitar from my car in my driveway several years ago, you'd think I'd know better than to leave my car door unlocked.
Since then, the cops have told us repeatedly that too many people fall victim to theft after leaving their cars open.
My home is remote enough that I guess I didn't worry enough about it, but sometime Sunday night or early Monday someone went through our cars in my driveway. Only one daughter's car was locked; the rest were wide open.
We didn't lose much of monetary value - just a flashlight and a worthless device that's supposed to allow an iPod to play through the radio. But we lost our illusion of safety, even here in the comfortable confines of Evans.
We aren't alone, either. A resident of a nearby neighborhood tells me residents were victimized up and down their single street the same night.
If anyone can catch the culprit, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office can. Meanwhile, I promise to take my own advice - and theirs - and lock my car doors.
No texting, period
Speaking of practicing what's preached, I'm a little miffed that Georgia lawmakers (with my pals at The Chronicle on the bandwagon) plan to make it illegal for teens to text while driving.
Why stop at teens? Make it illegal for anyone to text while they're behind the wheel - no matter what their age. Otherwise it's just another case of the politically powerful posturing at the expense of the powerless.
One lawmaker in particular has a weak spot on this issue, and if he casts a vote for such selective hypocrisy, I'll tell on him worse than a kindergartner at recess.
Moon, from Vietnam
Like many others, all the talk about the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon caused me to recall my own whereabouts. I was sitting on my grandmother's living room floor in Lincoln County, watching the event on her console television.
The best reminiscence I've heard, though, comes from local Vietnam War veteran Bill Patterson.
Patterson was a member of the Augusta-based Army Reserve 319th Transportation Company, and often sends stories and photos of his days in the war to friends, fellow soldiers and others on his e-mail list.
On Monday, he sent around this story of Neil Armstrong's famous first step as seen from Vietnam.
"One night one of our guys said, 'Hey, go look at the first man landing on the moon!' I had to inquire what he was talking about as I had not seen a TV the nearly whole year we had been in the country.
"That night I did visit our Day Room, saw several of our 319th members there and we watched the blurry black and white image attached on the old tube TV we had somehow gotten.
"It seemed unreal at the time. Here we were in a war on the other side of our world and the rest of America had somehow made possible for this unbelievable accomplishment on Earth's moon, 240,000 miles away from all of us.
"My first thought was: How can our country do this impossible feat and not somehow find a way to end our terrible involvement in this little country? ...
"The image stayed in my mind for a long time. I realized that the world was going on despite this war. People were discovering new things and improving our lives. The moon had been there a very long time. This war had to be only brief and temporary relatively. The war became less important to me although any of us could have been killed or wounded at any time.
"Neil Armstrong made important history that night. Our company of activated Army reservists would remain in Vietnam for a few more weeks. ...
"We did get home. We saw the great things that had been accomplished during our absence.
"I pray that America will always have the freedom to find ways of accomplishing the impossible."
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail barry.paschal@newstimes online.com or call 706-863-6165, extension 106.)
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