I have a couple of items on my mind before we get to the regular Thursday Q&A. First, when I heard about a double shooting in Giles County Tuesday night, I didn't pay much attention to it. There were no details available, and when you hear about shootings any more, you tend to slough it off, figuring it's probably "domestic" or "drug-related." Today, it turned out that two men fishing and camping on the Appalachian Trail were the victims (so far, they're both still alive). And then it was announced that a suspect had been apprehended after crashing the vehicle he stole from one of the men. This whole scenario of shootings on the Appalachian Trail is eerily familiar.
There have been a number of incidents all along the Trail, but the one that sticks in my mind happened close to home. In May of 1981, a young couple was shot in the same general area on the AT as the Tuesday incident. Unfortunately, neither of them survived. After an extensive manhunt, a suspect was arrested and confessed to the killings. His name was Randall Lee Smith. The name of the suspect in Tuesday's shootings? Randall Lee Smith -- one and the same. Smith somehow finagled a plea bargain back in the 80s and was only charged with second degree murder. Besides the plea bargain, there was both physical evidence and the confession. He was sentenced to 30 years, but now we learn that he's been out for 12 YEARS.
I read a book about the case ("Murder on the Appalachian Trail") published in, I think, 1988, written by Jess Carr, who I believe was one of the attorneys involved in the case. I don't remember all the details, but I do recall that Smith was clearly "not right" and should certainly have been considered a continuing threat. His post-parole period of supervision ended in 2006, which means that nobody's been keeping an eye on him. That was a really dumb move; reprehensible, really, when you think about it.
The other thing I wanted to mention was that I had to hustle to get a license for my dog Wednesday. This came about as the result of a letter to the editor I read in the Tuesday morning paper. The City has been cracking down on dog licensure; i.e., it needs more money. Veterinarians are now required to report the names and addresses of patients who live in the City so the animal's license status can be checked. Anyway, in this letter, the writer said that animal control officers are now going door to door checking on dog licenses, and that they came to his door. His dog wasn't licensed, so they issued him a summons -- which he refused to sign. Because he wouldn't sign it, he was arrested, handcuffed, taken to jail, and charged with "obstruction of justice." I've always refused to give in and buy a dog license because, damn it, every other thing I own is taxed to the max and I don't see why I should have to pay a tax on my dog. After reading about that gentleman's ordeal, though, I figured I'd better suck it up and buy a damn license because I sure as hell am not going to jail over it. Why is it that the less money people have, the more some damned taxing authority wants from them? Who cares if the City needs gas money? Not I! I'd rather keep it in my own pocket -- and gas tank. There are never enough cops around to prevent the daily robberies, rapes, maimings, and murders around here, but they can spare the animal control officers to go door to door checking on tax payments. Yeah, I feel safer. If all the various levels of government would stop trying to protect us from ourselves and legislating our every move, they wouldn't need so much money.
Ahhhhh. Venting is good.
And so is grilling, which we'll now proceed to.
1. What was the last tax YOU paid?
2. Is there an income tax in your state?
3. Does your locality impose sales taxes?
4. If you have a dog, did you buy a license?
5. Do you believe Internet sales should be taxed?
6. Do you believe that in cases of violent crime, 30 years should mean 30 years?
7. Have you bought your Mother's Day gift yet?
8. Is there a live volcano anywhere near you?
9. If there is, would you let me know when it looks ready to blow? And toss me a very nice lei before I go in?
TWISTED LINGUISTICS has selected these Words Gone Wild for your viewing pleasure and belly laughs today. See what you can do with the ones that stumped me.
no preceived idea - No communications coming in from the mother ship.
prooved - Cows preening on freshly pedicured hooves.
human beeing - People with sharp, sharp tongues.
hypociritical - Russian hippopotamuses that can write only in Cyrillic letters.
Obudsman law - Cracking down on people who smoke pot and then sit around saying Ooooooom.
famlily - Inbred clan of lily-livered wusses.