Sometimes news falls in my lap

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 14, 2003

I asked a question in a recent column and got answers that I think are newsworthy. Those folks that journeyed from Italy to assist in dedicating the Courthouse fountain had no Hilton Inn in which to stay.

Better yet, several Suffolk residents opened their hearts and their homes. Most of the travelers spoke no more English than did Amedeo Obici’s great love, Louise. But they understood gratitude and friendliness as they graciously accepted American hospitality.

Fifteen had originally announced their intentions to attend the dedication but that swelled to 32 and provided the Sister Cities Commission with a formidable task.

Email newsletter signup

Jane Moore, the person handling the Italian connection, got on the phone and found hosts willing to prepare meals and see to transportation for meetings and other activities. All went smoothly.

Those citizens came from Italy at their own expense including hotels in New York and Washington. On the day he left, one gentleman, in his best broken English, said that when he was in New York he realized how awe-inspiring our country is. When he toured the Norfolk Naval Base, he realized how powerful our country is, and, when he spent time with Americans in their homes, he learned about the &uot;heart&uot; of our great country. Many thanks to Judy Parker of the Sister Cities Commission for this candid information.

n n n

On a much different subject I risk asking this question: How many of you were truly upset when you heard of the priest in prison being strangled by a fellow prisoner? Oh, you have to think about that? Never mind the possibility that he might have suffered more pain and humiliation by staying alive. Never mind that his death was too quick. Yes, I know all about our prison system needs fixing – just answer the question. OK, so you need more time. How about this question: How many of you were upset when nosy and abrasive TV reporter Andy Fox got pepper-sprayed? That was easy, wasn’t it?

n n n

Drunk Drivers Go To Jail. Remember when that was true. That was before defense lawyers figured out how to get most violators off with a slap on the wrist. It seems few take the &uot;crime&uot; seriously. &uot;So he had a few drinks, he didn’t hurt anybody.&uot; But maybe if he had driven one more block he might have killed someone. There is no way to bring back a dead innocent, or completely repair an injured victim. I really don’t care how many kill or maim themselves while driving at high speeds or high alcohol content. That’s merely suicide, not a crime in my book. But it seems every town on the map of America has stories to tell of the hapless drunk who cannot control him or herself. Lawyers, judges, and courts almost plead the drunks case the first time. These dimwits assume he/she won’t do it again, and again. But they do. Almost every time someone is killed or injured it is not the drunk’s first go around, it’s the second or third, or tenth.

It’s like a lot of things that have gone wrong with America; we are too easy on drunks, kids in school, censorship of what’s not acceptable on our TVs, and molesters. Most of those failures do not affect my lifestyle. But a drunk can eliminate it. And they are almost everywhere you look, if you take the time to look. Bars, restaurants, private clubs, social functions, anyplace where no one cares how much you drink.

They say the cops are out in force on holidays. Super! But they are looking on the highways. Where was the drunk before lurching into the car? The about-to-drive drunk is too often unaware of his or her brain condition and that last bend of the elbow sent it reeling over the edge. &uot;I’d go home if I could find my car.&uot;

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be contacted at