My Small Town And Crime…

2016-04-22_10-04-25.pngI am going into my seventeenth year living in my small town in southwestern Indiana.  It is a town of about 2,000 people and a county of 20,000.  It is in the bottom 20% of the State in that regard. I certainly enjoy small town life.  I have been here long enough that most people at least know that I am the  old”deaf” guy. We aren’t quite “Mayberry” as portrayed to the right but we are probably about as white and as few in number. 🙂

Our small daily newspaper, yeah we still have one, doesn’t have much of a staff so they for the most part just print what is given to them. It seems the majority of our daily newspaper is about high school sports and who recently died.  Investigative reporting is non-existent. There are occasional letters to the editor that discusses our local government but for the most part no one in government and especially law enforcement are seriously questioned.  That is an underlying theme for this post.

In the sixteen years I have lived here crime it seems has been pretty static, at least from what I can glean from the newspaper and talking to other townspeople. There was recently a murder of a small child that made State wide news but murder and robbery is thankfully a very rare occurrences in my small town. A couple of times a year I see where the sheriff raids another meth lab but for the most part my small town seems almost immune from the big city problems of Indianapolis which brings me to the main topic of this post.

The budgets related to criminal activities  in our county has taken a sharp increase in the last few years and I just can’t fathom why. For years we got by with one judge handling the legal matters for our county. Most, if not all, the county employees were housed in the 100 year old county courthouse.  And then things suddenly changed. About four years ago when our long-time circuit judge retired it was decided that one judge could not handle the volume anymore. We needed two judges now.

We also needed a greatly expanded support team including more deputies for the three enforcement agencies in our small county. So many more employees where added that they had to seek additional space beyond the court house. Of course along with all this demanded remodeling much of the court house space to accommodate the expanded bureaucracy.  More tax dollars…

Tax dollars dedicated to criminal activities have taken a giant leap here but I just don’t see the cause of it?  And now a plan is underway to close down three of the four courthouse entrance doors and to put some more newly hired  guards  with metal detectors and weapons at the final one.  Of course that means more expense.

Is all of this being caused by real threats or just  increased fear?  Since my county is very red when it comes to its politics I kind of think the later. Fear is very dominant on that side of the aisle.   But I won’t be voicing much opposition to these changes as I don’t want to be deemed the “troublemaker” in my small town.  That can almost be the kiss of social death in a small town….

10 Rules for Living a 21st Century Life

2016-04-18_10-30-19.pngThis post has been sitting in my “draft” pile for as long as any there. I don’t pretend to be some guru siting on a mountain with the meaning of life. I’m just a guy who has managed to survive seventy years on this earth and not get into too much trouble. But living those seventy years I have made a lot of mistakes and had a few successes.

The last post was about rules and how they can be stifling in life and now here I am giving you my “rules for life”. Kind of ironic isn’t it? I get very philosophical at times. “What have I done right in life?” “What caused me to miss great opportunities?” These are questions I have been thinking about the past few years.  The answers to those questions have resulted in my 10 Rules for Living in the 21st Century. They are not in any particular order so don’t go there…  🙂

  1. Don’t get tied down to one locale — Jobs are just not as permanent as they used to be nor are they equally spread across the country. Accept the fact that you may have to relocate to another area for a job that matches your compassion.
  2. Continue Learning — Things are changing faster now than ever before and that pace will only increase as time goes by. Most likely what you learned just five years ago no longer has any relevance. Never stop learning either at a professional level or a personal one.
  3. Embrace Change — Let’s face it change happens whether you like it or not. Those who resist change are bound to miss out on too many of life’s opportunities.
  4. Question Established Beliefs — Never accept the line “That’s just the way we do it.” Everything can be improved. Don’t get stuck in one frame of mind. Be open to possibilities..
  5. Live Beyond Yourself — a multicultural country like the U.S.  demands that we get along with each other. It has been found that one of the strongest ties is community. We are all part of a greater presence. We are all our brother’s keeper. Ayn Rand just got it wrong. Empathy is not the scourge of mankind, it is the very foundation.
  6. Be willing to compromise — Its not a dirty word.
  7. Think for yourself — Don’t buy into hatred or prejudices that may be all around you. Too many of us take the lazy way in life. We tie into a belief system without really considering other possibilities.
  8. Recognize the world community — Clans are very strong in the world today and have been for thousands of years. Sunnis have a hatred for Shiite Muslims. Protestants distrust Catholics. Recognize that our world is fragile and needs all of us thinking globally. Tribal rivalries have a shrinking place in the 21st century.
  9. Be willing to admit you are wrong — This is a tough one. No one wants to admit that they might have been wrong about something. Too many see that admission as a sign of weakness. In reality it is a sign of strength that we are able to admit that we have grown beyond past beliefs.
  10. Love One Another — We are all in the same boat whether we like it or not.

In Search of Architectural Beauty

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I think the Milwaukee Museum above is the most creative building I have ever been in. It looks out on Lake Michigan. Architecture was one of my early fascinations in life….

Let’s Face It… Rules Are Stifling… But…

2016-03-06_09-25-49.pngRules are generally meant to keep us all acting in a certain way. That in and of itself is stifling to many of us. I have to admit that I am generally a rule averse person. I just don’t like someone telling me  “DO THIS”, “DON’T DO THAT”. Constantly trying to look at life from a different angle means that I am often breaking rules, at least the stupid ones.

2016-02-07_07-51-16There are too many rules that are in place simply to preserve the status quo. These rules are often called “tradition”. They are just the way we have done things in the past. These are the rules that are meant to be broken as the old saying goes. Traditions is supposedly the foundation of the Republican party. Most there want to stick with what they have done in the past rather than risk their futures on new things. The GOP is, or at least was, a party of rules.

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Of course in a society where people must get along with each other, some rules are necessary. You don’t shout “FIRE” in a crowded theater, as the old saying goes. Knowing the difference between necessary rules and those just meant to maintain the status quo is the secret to progress. My nature has always been to seek out new things but that seemed to be driven out of me in my early years. I was told to be seen and not heard. I was told that what I said didn’t really matter. I was taught that rules were never to be broken.

It would take years to finally shed myself of these feelings that were drilled into me and most everyone else at an early age.  Even today we are taught not to trust people who think outside of accepted limits. Just know your place and don’t rock the boat still persists in much of our world. Questioning everything is something that most of us have to re-learn…