Ken Johnson
CONNECTING THE DOTS
Grand Junction Free Press Opinion Columnist

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April 18, 2013
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JOHNSON: A lynch mob in GJ?

We're all losers now. Last week in our little burg, this week in Boston.

Both seem to reflect the state of the country right now; senseless carnage on one side, lynch mob mentality on the other. At least in Boston the folks rallied around those injured in the violence.

It's hard to recall a worse week for our town than the feeding frenzy we had with that evil councilman-elect. You know, the one who reportedly smacked his live-in girlfriend after some sort of heated argument.

I'm embarrassed for everyone who just piled on like pious pilgrims dunking the witches at Salem. I'm REALLY embarrassed for the two city councilman who leaped on the pile.

Frankly, it felt nasty. Snarky. A sorry comment about how little we have mastered our own attention-deficit-disordered lives here in the internet-driven age of misinformation.

Does it feel like there are ZERO winners here? That we're all victims of violence courtesy of the public outrage and ranting?

Do we know there's violence, and then VIOLENCE? The latter is that continuing, abusive, debasing kind. It hasn't been that many years since it was common to whack the kids, put the wife in her place, and generally just take out your frustrations on those closest to you. And women may also do the same right back.

The other violence is, most times, a stupid misdemeanor, typically resulting from some escalating provocation. A stupidly lost temper, for example.

The losers? Count them! We just can't wait for the court to actually hear both sides and make the decision. No, we must demand that this cretin hang.

Do you think both parties to the incident are now victims? The town itself sure is. We may lose a first-time elected person who might have become a solid leader.

Guess we can't trust ignorant voters to pick a candidate who might be a regular human being like the rest of us. Do we really require a politically correct and slick politician instead?

The media had a field day with juicy, one-sided reports and rat-catcher reporting. Plus, it earns extra demerits for sucking on the "Made for TV" protest on the city hall steps.

Bigger losers were the eight "anger management" therapists who demanded that we should hang this jerk. These are the folks who, a case at a time, are certified to teach us how to change our behavior and live non-violent lives. Didn't their public outrage violate their very professional standards?

Sadly, the biggest loser of all is the slow and difficult battle against domestic violence itself.

Think about how much progress might have been made had we let the courts handle this, instead of breaking down the jail doors and lynching the guy the voters chose. Do you think we might have had a contrite and painfully aware leader in the city? One who could speak from experience for new and more effective awareness on just how big a problem we have? With maybe some new solutions and effective ideas? Like annual marches against domestic violence and her evil companion, sexual assault?

The challenge is pretty clear: Do we really work to end domestic violence or just let our worst impulses rule the day?

This past Monday brought us a great anniversary. Yep. We are now in the 100th year of Income Tax.

The 16th Amendment became law in February 1913. By October 1913 Congress finally enacted the modern income tax, snagging 1% (yes, ONE percent) on incomes above $3,000 and a special 6% surtax on incomes above $500,000.

We could have called it the Ides of October, eh?

For the first year, 3% of all Americans paid an income tax. Today 54% of us do. (And, of course, we ALL pay a bunch of other taxes.)

From a one-page form with a single page of instructions we now have a huge bunch of folks getting paid to figure out how the 73,000 pages of our tax code applies to each client. (That is a bookshelf the length of 180 books, each 4000 pages long.)

So, thanks, Congresses current and past - for nothing.

Ken is founder of the Grand Junction Free Press and former owner/publisher of The Daily Sentinel. He spends his time between the Grand Valley and California.


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The Post Independent Updated Apr 18, 2013 11:58AM Published Apr 18, 2013 11:56AM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.