Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Am I Missing Something?

Am I missing something? I don't think so. Let me explain why I feel that way. During my twenty years as a reporter in Muncie I had the reputation in the black community of being fair. I didn't slant my stories in favor of them or against them. That's all they asked so I was able to go where no other white reporter would dare go. I have a plaque on the wall of my office thanking me for being fair and objective. I was invited to give the Martin Luther King Jr. Day address at a black church. I made friendships among blacks, including Black Muslims, that endure seventeen years after leaving the city. Because of that I feel qualified to write on the subject of Jena.
It's the wrong fight. It isn't helping the cause of civil rights, it's setting it back. Why? Because regardless of the provocation, six-on-one is always wrong, always cowardly. The beating of a white student would not have had to go much further to have been murder. Maybe he asked for trouble, I don't know. If he did, then an attack by one of those offended would have been justified. But six beating on one, that's bullying of the worst short. It's cowardly. It's never justified.
But Jena provides perfect photo opportunities for Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson so they are leading the parade. Had six whites given a similar beating to a black student they would still be there, but for an opposing reason. They are wrong. The other protesters are wrong. Civil rights means equal opportunity for all. And equal blame. It doesn't mean a six-on-one beating is justified. Not ever. Regardless of the cause, it's never excusable. The protesters are fighting the wrong fight.
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The treatment in this country of a 5-year-old boy horribly burned in an unprovoked attack in Iraq is a wonderful act of kindness. A couple of million dollars has been donated by Americans and people in other countries to pay for the many operations that are required. The downside is that some of those who donated may feel they have done their part and nothing more is required. But there are thousands more citizens of Iraq who have suffered horrible injuries and should not be overlooked or forgotten. Countless thousands have been killed and four million of a population of twenty-seven million have been forced to flee their homes, are now displaced persons. When is extending a helping hand enough and no more need be done? Never. We are responsible. We caused it. We can never do enough to feel it is truly enough.
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I have no sympathy for the president of Iran. He's obviously either a nut case or a master of provocation. Probably the latter. But what was gained by telling him he couldn't lay a wreath at the site of the World Trade Center? Nothing. He knew he would be turned down. He knew it would give Muslims one more reason to hate the arrogance of the United States. So what was lost? An opportunity to be gracious, to kill him with kindness. Had that been done he would have been boiling inside, would have been thinking, "Curses, foiled again!" Instead he will go home and make fiery speeches about the turn down. Young Muslims will be listening. Knowing that, will you sleep better tonight?


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