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Jeff Whitten: Thoughts on stuff
editor's notes

There’s still the COVID19 pandemic out there.

It’s got company now. Pandemonium. No social distancing there.

But unless you’re stuck in it or directly impacted by it or choose to be involved, the world only seems to be coming unglued. Life goes on about the same today for most people as it did about this time last week.

I’m not saying that’s bad or good.

It is, as they say, what it is.

But nobody I know, white or black, thinks cops killing black men is a good thing. Everybody I know thinks cops who do it should be treated like the criminals they became when they did it.

It looks like that’s happening. Thankfully.

Of course, it’s also not good when white men kill black men, or black men kill black men, or white women kill white men, or black men kill white men, and so on and on and on. But some people kill people. It’s when the people who are paid to keep people from getting killed are killing people who look like you more than they’re killing people who don’t look you, then you have a problem.

Meanwhile, a lot of people are getting hurt in what’s being called everything from rioting and looting to civil unrest. The bad stuff is getting in the way of those trying to protest peacefully, and everybody’s trying to blame somebody else when it comes to who’s responsible for the violence.

I have a sort of solution. Given the popularity among some for watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship series and other similar organized brawls, one wonders why some wily promoter hasn’t come up with the idea of renting out a couple of domed stadiums and inviting assorted groups of maniacs from all over the political spectrum to come and fight it out with their guns and sticks and knives and bricks.

Show it on pay per view and offer them a cut of the take. If it sounds barbaric, well, so is rioting and beating innocent bystanders with 2x4s. At least this way the only people getting hurt are the mobs.

As for the peaceful protesters, by all means continue, peacefully. You are doing your country and humanity a service.

But life goes on. So does death, sadly.

Bill Anderson, a longtime member of the Pembroke American Legion Post 164 and Pembroke Lions Club, has been hospitalized and is in bad shape, last I heard. He’s fighting a number of health battles and may not win this one.

His daughter, longtime local educator Julie Howard, has posted on Facebook asking for prayers, I’m told. I don’t do Facebook, but that’s as good a use for it as I can imagine.

I first met Bill a long time ago when he showed up to give out STAR teacher and student honors at Bryan County High School, then again when I joined the Pembroke American Legion Post.

There are none finer than Bill, who is one of those rare men who continued to quietly serve his community after he finished serving his country.


The world may seem to be coming unglued, but traffic’s coming back around to being the awful unglued mess it was prior to the shutdown in late March.

I suppose road rage is the price one has to pay for a good economy, hereabouts, although from what I gather the economic news is still somewhat unsettling.

My advice? Buy stock in dump trucks, or, better yet, buy a dump truck. Dirt ain’t cheap and neither is moving it. And so I got stuck in traffic coming in to the office Wednesday behind a line of about 18 dump trucks going one way while another dozen or so were headed the other way. All told, I probably counted 50 dump trucks during the commute. It’s getting like it was in 2007 all over again. If Georgia ever redesigns its state flag, it should put a dump truck up in there somewhere, next to a traffic cone, a peach and an Ohio State Salt Life sticker.

The pandemic continues unabated. More than 100,000 people have died from this thing so far, according to something I read somewhere. Had we kept on with business as usual, how many would have died? Three times that many? Nobody knows.

I was reminded Monday night during a stroll through Twitter feeds of why I stay as far away from social media as I can. People out there will eat you alive - figuratively, anyhow, though I wonder whether some might try it for real if they ever got hold of you.

I have not been on Facebook for months, and probably won’t go back there ever again. I just don’t see the use. The world’s crazy enough without learning people with mortgages and credit cards would probably burn you at the stake if only they could figure out how to do it with a keyboard. There are some people on yard sale sights who’d make Genghis Kahn look like Dr. Phil.

Anyway, one of the best journalists I ever met was Amy Swann, who passed away some years back. She was way too young, but her talent was so far beyond that of most of us that her writing still sparkles. Google her name, if you want to see what I’m talking about.

In the meantime, I bring her up because when she helped hire me more than two decades ago from a small daily down in Moultrie, one of the first questions she asked was, “You don’t think you’re God’s gift to journalism, do you?”

I thought about that for a second and then shook my head. “No.”

“Good,” she said.

All these years later, as I sort of stumble through and marvel at all the many new ways in which information is reported, there seems an ever growing number of online “journalists” claiming to provide the real news. Some are good, some aren’t. Some may be trained, though it seems many taught themselves by watching TMZ and reading sales brochures. And you can tell the ones who consider themselves “God’s gifts to journalism.”

And that’s OK, too. The world is what it is.

Me, I’m just a hack.

Take care out there and be nice to those you disagree with. It’s good manners.

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