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Just because you can is not a good reason

I've know Robin Williams for years, and have watched as he won and lost political battles.

But as he flittered through his recent trial for siphoning tons of money from the Community Mental Health Board, something hit me: Robin finally became consumed by the ego that for so long drove his success.

His demeanor during the trial answered questions louder than his words. Every move, motion or maneuver said: "We did this because we could. And who are you or anyone else to question it?"

And that answer is rarely the right answer.

No one should ever do anything purely because they can. Not a politician. Not a company. Not a government. Not even a newspaper.

It's a battle I've fought for years in media circles. Many of the people who work in newspapers incorrectly think they have one purpose: to keep the proverbial pot stirred, no matter what the technique, issue or manner.

Why?

Because they can.

That reasoning is also sometimes used as a shield for police officers. Some gung-ho guys with a badge make a practice of pulling over people simply because they can. And if they find something amiss, all the better.

Fortunately, our community doesn't have to worry much about rogue blue lights.

Take the recent sweep of low-level drug dealers, for example. Local police officers, sheriff's deputies and state investigators could have compiled a list and just gone and arrested people on suspicion of dealing drugs.

But they didn't. Instead, they collected evidence for months, making sure they were taking down legitimate dealers that may be able to lead investigators to bigger fish.

(And while I'm on that subject, police have done their job; now it's time for local judges to throw the book, bench and whatever else isn't nailed down at the dopers. Granted, these folks are one of the lowest levels of the drug hierarchy, but they are in the hierarchy and can serve as an example.)

But back on task, as graduation approaches and some of McDuffie County's best and brightest head out into the real world, I hope they'll take this advice: Don't ever do something just because you can. It may be the easiest way to do something, but it's rarely the right way.

Speaking of abuse of police power, I was "arrested" last week as part of Thomson's Relay for Life "Jail & Bail" fundraiser. The $50 bail to keep me out of the holding cell was more than worth it -- and a pleasure to donate.

I've long heralded the efforts of anyone battling cancer and helping fund cancer research.

I hope everyone will at least stop by Friday night's relay and lend a hug, handshake or financial handout to the participants.

Folks like Steve Patch, Donna Curtis, Clarke Curtis and Mary McNeill may not be around anymore to say thanks, but those of us still here can.



Web posted on Thursday, May 12, 2005











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