Friday, November 11, 2016

A letter to the editor of The Selma News

I don't know if this will get published or not, but I sent this letter to the editor of The Selma News just a bit ago.  The newspaper rarely publishes their news articles online except for a few here or there, so the article to which I refer is not available to share online or I would do so.
Just five days before our election last week, Donald Trump came to Johnston County to speak locally at The Farm for a campaign rally.  This rally drew approximately 17, 500 people according to Sheriff Steve Bizzell.  I am not personally a fan of Mr. Trump, but considering that it was being held only three miles up the road and I wanted my son to experience the political process, I took him and my wife to the event.  I still remember back to my youth when I went to a Ted Kennedy speech in my home town back in 1980 when he ran for President.  I carry that memory thirty-six years later.

While at the event, we noticed emergency services presence from different towns, most notably the Four Oaks Fire Department supplied a ladder truck that bore the American flag.  We saw other departments that had staff and equipment on site, but did not notice any from Selma.  Considering that the event was in our backyard, so to speak, I expected to see our town's presence if emergency responders were going to be on hand.  I can tell you that EMS workers were kept busy from people fainting after being on their feet all day and not eating any meals all day long.  Between old age, health conditions, and diabetes, we saw three people just in our immediate area that needed assistance.

I mentioned that we noticed the Four Oaks ladder truck being there prominently displayed.  I obtained some insight on my own after the rally and read some confirmation of what I learned in “The Selma News” article last week about our town manager vetoing the presence of our fire department at the rally for fear of showing favor to one political party over the other.  If only the candidate from one party decided to come to our town, how is that showing any favoritism?  This politically correct myopic fear wears thin on the patience of many people, as evidenced by the outcome of the election.

Look, Hillary Clinton could have had a rally locally if she wanted but she ignored little old Johnston County, and probably for good reason.  She could probably have filled the local theater with supporters and had some room to spare.  Personally, she would have had to get John Bon Jovi to perform here in Selma to get me to come see her rally.  I wasn’t willing to travel just as far as Raleigh to see Bon Jovi at a Clinton event, even if I did grow up listening to his music, still own some of his CDs, and still like his iconic tunes.

But if it was Clinton having a rally in town, I would not allow my disdain for her as a person and candidate veto our town's visibility in our American process or at a local event.  As I said, I am no fan of Donald Trump myself.  He was never my candidate from the beginning, I vehemently disagree with some of his positions, and I am embarrassed as an American by some of his statements.  But, I am even more embarrassed as a US citizen by what Mrs. Clinton has actually done.  Still, I would not let that stand in the way of our town being represented at a local event that she was holding.

Our little town missed an opportunity for visibility and good public relations with this event.

Troy LaPlante
Selma, NC

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Bridge Men's Study on the Book of James

Note that the original video that I uploaded to YouTube did NOT have the repeat at the open.  It had to have happened in YouTube's transcoding process.  I just checked it against the file that I uploaded and my original file is correct.  Anyway, the study begins THIS Sunday evening.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

I actually agree with this woman from the NAACP. Wow.

This is where I agree with the NAACP. Yeah, you will rarely if ever hear me admitting that, since it almost never happens. But, just because the person shot to death by the police possessed a firearm does not mean that he is guilty nor was doing anything wrong. IF and that is a big IF, Keith Scott was peacefully carrying his firearm, then the police should not be firing upon him. IF Scott was in fact brandishing his weapon in a dangerous way and potentially being injurious to others in his handling of the weapon, then he should have been seen as a danger and handled with lethal force. I understand the police perspective. I worked with, for, and around them for years. I also understand the ground rules for being a responsible citizen and weapons carrier. If this was police abuse or misconduct, then it needs to be dealt with. It has NOTHING to do with race. If the man with a gun was white, Asian, or ______ (insert racial description here), then I would feel the same way. The narrative of whether Scott had a gun versus a book (that was hokum) is irrelevant since it was demonstrably proven that he was indeed armed. Now whether he was acting appropriately while carrying is one thing, and whether or not the police handled the situation correctly or not is another entirely. One faux pas by the NAACP leader in the video clip is that it would only matter if Scott had a permit for his weapon if he was carrying it concealed, and the police would not shoot you for carrying what they cannot see. You do get shot if you are carrying a weapon in such a manner as to pose a reasonable threat.  You have to watch the video clip in order to see with what I agree.

Thoughts on recent violent "protests"

I am all for the right of The People to protest wrongs and seek a redress of grievances. MLK led protests and they were peaceful as well as effective. Some American colonials led protests. Some were successful, some not so much. Some were peaceful, some not so much. The failure of the British Crown to deal with its subjects in a fair and honest manner led to clashes between government and the citizenry. Quite honestly, the lack of cooperation with some colonials led to war on our own turf. However, what we are seeing in cities across America lately have not been protests over basic civil rights and perceived unfair taxation, but over a fabricated narrative that is sensationalized by a willing press and a complicit government at the highest levels. The First Amendment to the US Constitution reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." What we have seen in Charlotte, Dallas, Baltimore, Missouri, and other areas has not been protesting, not has it be peaceably assembling. It is brutish behavior and immature. I deplore true police brutality and believe it should be dealt with swiftly, fairly, and harshly in our justice system. Sometimes when a man gets shot, it has nothing to do with police brutality but with stupidity, animalistic behavior, and criminal intent. When that happens, one should expect to be met with lethal force, whether you are an individual or part of a mob. I hate government over-reach, but I also detest when the truth of a matter does not seem to matter. When protesting, it should be over injustice, not when instant justice is meted out for rash, lethal, brutish behavior in dealing with law enforcement or even an armed private citizen. I don't want to see anyone get harmed by law enforcement while "protesting" law enforcement, even when the said law enforcers are doing their jobs properly. But when these alleged protestors go to looting, shooting, stealing, beating, and destroying, perhaps they should be dealt with just like in the movie, "Soylent Green".


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wanting special treatment by my town

The very notion that someone wants to be treated differently than the rest of the community irritates the snot out of me. This arrogant individual was practically a tyrant as mayor, and I had to suffer through his tenure. His brash attitude brought shame to my community. I do not disparage the good that he did in our town. Yes, he has developed properties here and in other areas. Yes, he served on our planning board with a questionable history thereon, and did do some good things as mayor. When he did good, I publicly praised him. When he did wrong, I criticized his public performance. However, to whine to our town council that he should be treated any differently than every other citizen in town is sheer hubris. If he is in violation of local ordinance, then there is a prescribed course of action necessary. Every citizen deserves equal treatment under the law. This man got equal treatment under the law and complained about it openly in a public forum, demanding special treatment. Sure, he did a lot of development, but he will probably never admit is that he founded his business with the help of our tax dollars. He ran the business successfully for years, but recently went through bankruptcy, and one way or another, that will most likely indirectly be at our expense. He violated state regulations in some of his developments (I know, having reported them and spoken with enforcement agents) and never remedied them. It was not until his property right down the street from here was purchased after bankruptcy that it got developed. It sat as an eye sore for a couple of years. The bottom line is that this man demanded publicly for an entitlement and a consideration that no other citizen in this town gets. I don't care if he was a former POTUS or my uncle. He deserves treatment that is fair and identical to everyone else in town. To complain about that is petty and is the very attitude that got us Congressmen that feel entitled to special treatment. Nope. Equal treatment under the law. If I don't cut my grass, I will get the same enforcement letter he got. That is the way it should be. Boo-frickity-hoo.