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Some squirrely ideas

Regular townsfolk aren’t the only ones bridling to resume normal activities these days. Since the partial lifting of stay-at-home orders, some of our community’s peskiest thieves have reappeared with a vengeance despite previously seeming to obey government decrees, the constitutionality or Godliness of which they apparently didn’t question.

We’re talking raccoons here. No sooner had the governor begun talking about letting folks out of their homes than these masked bandits began resuming their raids on Friend Mother’s free all-night convenience store for squirrels.

Until this weekend, the bandits’ masks had seemed like the Lone Ranger’s, pledged to supporting the law — or decree or whatever it was. But with almost hourly raids on peanuts and corn during early morning hours since then, they have shown their true colors.

Just as new-fangled technology is trying to keep COVID-19 in check, it’s also testing for and tracking these backyard varmints. A motion sensor recently installed on one of the key display cases in the squirrel store now causes smart speakers in Friend Mother’s house to loudly announce whenever the case is opened after dark: “Raccoon alert! Raccoon alert!”

Until she finally had enough of it, the speakers also played at the top of their electromagnetic lungs a soothing rendition of the Beatles’ “Rocky Raccoon” and flashed several lights. But that’s another story.

So far at least, no corn or peanuts have been lost to the bandits — though we suspect at some point either of the two peace officers who live within earshot might start challenging the volume of assault-like threats hurled at the bandits from Friend Mother’s back door moments after each alarm goes off.

Truth be known, our sympathy goes out to the ’coons, who are just trying to take care of their families. At least they’re not doing like some people seem to be — relying, even though they can return to work, on continued government handouts to take care of their kin.

We can’t fault anyone for wanting to milk governmental charity for all it’s worth — even though eventually we’ll all be paying for it, one way or another. It’s kind of like all the people with 20-year-old roofs who suddenly have found sufficient hail damage to merit getting an insurance company to pay for what they probably should have replaced on their own.

Even government is getting into that act. The City of Marion is seeking help from another level of government to pay for broken curbs and a collapsing culvert or bridge that were neglected problems for years before eventually causing a bank collapse along Luta Creek — a predictable disaster that opened up the possibility of fixing the problems mainly at someone else’s expense.

We do, however, have to question the work ethic of those who reportedly have declined to return to jobs they lost because government benefits for not working are at least temporarily more profitable.

Then again, we also have to question the employers who complain about this and the alleged lack of loyalty from laid-off workers. We understand the economic necessity of having laid them off, but we also understand the moral imperative of trying to avoid this by doing everything possible not to take that action.

You’ll see a lot of talk in our Letters to the Editor this week about morality on both sides of the debate about reopening society. Personal liberty and personal safety sometimes seem to pose irreconcilable differences.

Perhaps the best way for all of us to recover is to stopping worrying about whose fault any of this was — including any attempts to blame China — and start worrying about how each of us can do our utmost to bring our community, town, state, nation, and planet back from the brink of a disaster that’s likely to have impact for years if not decades to come.

Who knows? Maybe Friend Mother should actually set out some peanuts and corn for critters other than squirrels. After all, they’re having a tough time, too.

— ERIC MEYER

Last modified May 21, 2020

 

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