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© St. Petersburg Times, published April 7, 2002
Fresh from the "the more it changes, the more it stays the same" department come some news stories that I can't help wondering might be related.
In Hernando County, residents are threatened by the fact that commercial property is being developed commercially and now (gasp!) the prospect of housing for people who aren't upper middle class.
In Pasco County, a fight between two carnival workers over jukebox selection results in manslaughter charges, making you wonder what they were thinking and how important a song can be.
The second trial in a driving under the influence-manslaughter case in Citrus County ends in another conviction, the point here being that after decades of education and tougher penalties, people are still driving drunk and killing other people.
The mayor of Inglis uses city property to ban Satan from the city limits.
A police chief in Inverness resigns after being accused of getting badge-heavy in an argument over his burgers not being flipped fast enough.
You know, if you buy property adjacent to or near property that is zoned for commercial use, you pretty much might have to accept that somebody might build something commercial on it and that commerce brings traffic and noise. If you buy or build a residence close to a major highway, especially one such as U.S. 19, you shouldn't expect that the highway frontage is going to be used for wooded subdivisions.
The poor, to quote someone who knew of which he spoke and who counseled understanding and compassion, are always with us, but, it would seem, we would rather they were with us in someone else's neighborhood.
And the outcry in Hernando isn't even against the poor, it is against a neighborhood in which income levels might well allow firefighters, schoolteachers and others apparently deemed undesirable by their prospective neighbors to move in.
In nearly 30 years in this area, I have never seen affordable housing projects met with approbation and support, even when they are in the middle of nowhere.
Until someone decides how to run a Western economy without poor people, they are going to have to live somewhere, but folks in these parts, generally speaking, seem more outspoken and concerned with animal habitat than human habitation.
There are those who believe that no issue is worthy of violence and many more who believe that violence should only be a last resort. Jukebox selection -- if that, indeed, was the cause of the fight -- is not a discussion calling for resorting to blows.
Rendering unto Caesar those things that are Caesar's does not include use of government-owned copying machines and bulletin boards to promulgate an elected official's religious values.
And slow restaurant service, no matter how much it irritates you, is not a police matter, especially when you are the police.
Science seems to have eliminated at least one possible cause for the kind of bizarre thinking behind all or some of these situations.
An article in the Journal of Genetic Counseling says it is probably all right for cousins to marry and that the heretofore feared reinforcement of recessive genes won't make our population any dumber than it is now.
That's either a relief or it isn't, depending on your current view of society's intellectual standing.
Being surgically if not chronologically beyond the possibilities of future parenthood myself, all I can say is that I wouldn't jump on the bandwagon and marry someone I met at a family reunion just yet, and genetic testing and counseling should probably be done more often than it is.
I say that as someone who carries a gene that has given me and members of my family cancer for five generations or more.
Maybe I should just throw in the towel, go get drunk, beat up my spouse and a family pet or two and make some obscene gestures at some poor people.
Oops. I can't.
I don't have a 7-year-old to take the wheel if I don't feel up to driving.
Yep, that did happen hereabouts.
But that was another column.