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Editorial Roundup: Recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers

August 21, 2018

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Aug. 21, 2018

Have you ever had a feeling you were getting left behind?

It can be a daunting experience, a realization not unlike that of Macaulay Culkin’s character in the 1990 movie Home Alone when he discovers his big family left for a trip to Paris and forgot to do a head count of their children. In that case, hilarity ensues, but it can be uncomfortable when you feel the world is moving forward far more quickly than you are.

In this high-tech age, that experience has been amplified by the rapid advancement of capacity in computing through devices, whether it’s a home assistant in the form of a small speaker, a doorbell that can communicate when someone is at your front door or a smartphone that can do, well, just about anything but clean the bathroom.

Small towns in Benton County are feeling a bit of a technological pinch as officials in county government look to replace an aged public safety radio system. Early next month, justices of the peace will weigh how to pay for a request from Sheriff Shawn Holloway to spend nearly $5 million for a new system for the sheriff’s office, jail, road department, emergency services, coroner and the county’s rural fire service.

The county’s plan does not cover the costs for new radio transceivers for smaller towns’ fire and police departments. The bad news for the smaller towns is the old system they rely on will eventually go away. As County Judge Barry Moehring recently noted, leaders in smaller towns are “not necessarily thrilled with it.”

This newspaper reported that Pea Ridge, for example, would have to scrape up about $60,255 for its fire department and $41,220 for its police department. Centerton would need $58,280 for its fire department and $68,700 for its police department.

The official small government response to that is “ouch!” But Benton County is likely to march ahead with its plans.

This, of course, is one of the challenges of piggy-backing on a single radio system, but imagine what a new system for a small town would cost if the town went solo?

Benton County has a responsibility to provide public safety and communication is key to that mission. Hopefully, county leaders can find a way to make the transition as painless as possible for the smaller towns, but nobody benefits if the entire county keeps relying on outdated equipment that’s perhaps easier to afford, but isn’t as reliable as it once was.

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Texarkana Gazette, Aug. 20, 2018

A group of satanists parked a statue of a pagan idol outside the Arkansas State Capitol last week and caused quite a stir.

We’ve seen numerous comments on social media protesting the statue — as could well be expected. And some seem to think it’s going to be a permanent fixture on the statehouse lawn.

Time to relax. The statue of the occult deity called Baphomet was on a truck and only at the capitol for a short time on Thursday as part of a free speech rally protesting the permanent — and recently replaced after an Oklahoma man battered it down last summer with his vehicle — Ten Commandments monument.

Members of something called the Satanic Temple apparently drive the thing around to protest religious symbolism on public property. Their point is that if you allow one religion to put up a statue or some other marker, you should open the doors to all religions to do the same. Somehow we don’t see that happening.

In any case, nothing to worry at the moment. Baphomet is gone from the capitol grounds and the Ten Commandments remain at least for now_there is a lawsuit pending to have the monument removed.

One can argue whether or not religious symbols such as the Ten Commandments belong on public land. But there is no doubt the Commandments stand for good, the satanists’ idol does not.

And for now good is winning.

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Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Aug. 18, 2018

As August pushes closer to September, summer heads out and fall moves in. That means football, county fairs, and all the other community events better held in cooler weather.

Parades are another thing we look forward to in the fall and holiday season. There are the rodeo parades, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, Christmas parades featuring the local high school band--and so much more.

One parade we won’t see this season is President Trump’s proposed military parade in Washington, D.C. Don’t get us wrong. We love our troops. (Some of us used to be troops.) They deserve all the praise for defending American freedom. And we’re happy to show our appreciation for them both past and present in Memorial Day and Veterans Day parades every year.

We support standing during the National Anthem and decorating national cemeteries with wreaths. That and motherhood and apple pie. Well, in these latitudes, pecan pie.

But there’s a fine line between adequately thanking our men and women in the military and spending tens of millions of dollars to bring tanks, jets and other military equipment into Washington, D.C., in a show of American might. Do you know what a tank can do to road pavement?

Word around the campfire is that the cost for this parade had ballooned to $92 million before the president was pressed into cancelling. President Trump says the nation will have a martial parade next year, and it’ll be cheaper. Because you know how things get less expensive in Washington with every passing year ...

Maybe we should just cancel the whole idea as too Turkish or maybe Chinese. What is the old saying? Speak softly and carry a big stick? The United States has the biggest military — by far — and the whole world already knows it. Of the world’s 21 aircraft carriers, the U.S. has 11 of them. Second place is Italy with two. We don’t need to rattle our sword — everybody is already aware of the Americans.

We can have a national celebration to show we love our veterans without spending $92 million and disrupting the national capital and tearing up its streets. Not to mention taking our soldiers and airmen away from their day jobs. Just so some politicians can get some rub-off from the military in the run-up to election season.

You know who does martial parades? Russia and North Korea. And the aforementioned Turks and mainland Chinese. Should we really be drawing inspiration from them?

If our government really wants to show veterans love and support, it might start with fixing the VA. Now that would be showing our vets some love.

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