June 12, 2003 at 1:08 p.m.

Enough with the excuses

Enough with the excuses
Enough with the excuses

Do you think the pendulum of weirdness has swung out about as far as it can? Over the weekend a three-year-old boy was allegedly abducted and raped by a known sex offender. At first blush it looks like a slam dunk, find the creep and throw away the keys. But in our new society where rationalization is the key to mental health, the various spins began to spill out.

The county attorney reported that the suspect was a convicted sex offender, but that he had served his sentence, had registered as a sex offender and was reporting to his probation officer as directed. And, the attorney stated that he had never done anything like this assault previously. She continued to state that she didn’t know what else could have been done to prevent the situation. That leads to the second set of comments made that questioned why such a young child would be left unsupervised at the public park. Both of these points probably have some validity, but lost in all of the discussion and debate is the three-year-old victim. The bad guy will probably get some serious time in jail or an institution and may or may not be deemed sufficiently rehabilitated to re-enter society. The parent of the child will forever have to live with the guilt of not watching the child closer and the child, who will go through life with the terrible attack as his cross to bear.

Even though we now allow just about anyone the right to carry a concealed weapon, I sure don’t want to advocate that we return to the wild wild west eye-for-an-eye system of justice . . . but events like this sure magnify the flaws in the system we have. I think it’s time to re-evaluate and make the determination that some people are bad people that do bad things and need to be dealt with accordingly. And, if you believe in studies, you can find one that will show you that the little victim of this attack has a higher percentage chance than others of repeating this act on someone else. As a grandfather of four beautiful little people, I sure hope the changes come soon.

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As you read this, I would like to remind you that this Saturday is a very important day. June 14 is Flag Day, a day when everyone who owns a flag should display it. Flag Day is also a good opportunity to review our flag etiquette. During a flag raising or lowering event or when a flag passes you by as you are viewing a parade, everyone should stand, men should remove their hats and all should place their right hand over their hearts. The same rules apply during the playing of the National Anthem and the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance. When we all take a few moments to stop and show our respect for the flag it also sets a great example of respect in general, and God only knows, we can use all the respect we can get in this world.

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Next weekend, June 18-22, you will get the chance to put your flag etiquette techniques into practice during the annual North Branch Midsummer Days Celebration parade. The annual event has something for just about everyone. (Some people choose not to enjoy anything.) Plan to take in all or at least some of the great events in North Branch next week.

Thanks to American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, all of the North Branch businesses and all of the great volunteers for all of the efforts to put on this great celebration year after year. This is the first in a long series of great community celebrations available to us all in this area. Get out and take in some or all of the events.

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Although Karl Oskar Days is still a month away, the people planning for the annual Lindstrom event pretty well have the plans in place. The fireworks that serve as the grand finale to this big weekend will be held at dark Sunday evening just off Beach Park. The best viewing is from the park. We, here at the Press, have been asked to once again sponsor the Karl Oskar Days Boat Regatta prior to the fireworks display. The regatta takes place after the water ski show and prior to the fireworks display. In years past, this event has drawn many floating devices and boats in various stages of decoration and lighting that float past the beach area for those sitting on shore to enjoy. It is always a great way to unwind at the end of a very busy Karl Oskar Days weekend.

If you are interested in being part of the regatta, we would ask that you please contact our office and let us know what your theme is. We will attempt to secure some wonderful prizes to award, but providing your neighbors with an entertaining evening is probably a prize in itself. As we have done in the past, we are planning to try and provide some musical entertainment during the regatta. In years past we have had groups on pontoons and groups under the picnic shelter. If you are a member of a musical group that might be interested in performing on your pontoon or in the park, please give us a call.

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Yesterday, June 11, marked the second birthday of one of the important ladies in my life. Happy Birthday Natalie Eileen.

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