Editorial: ThumbsPublished 8:30am Sunday, January 5, 2014
When the temperatures get bitter cold or when there is a blizzard or ice storm — in other words, when winter is at its worst — doesn’t Albert Lea begin to feel like some remote outpost? Sure, at other times, we are a regional center, with two freeways, and it’s easy to hop from city to city. But at times like this, suddenly travel is difficult. Albert Lea is a place of rest after white-knuckle driving for travelers. Meanwhile, residents stay in town, bundle up and spend quality time with family. It sort of takes us back to the days before freeways and highways, when travel by automobile wasn’t that much faster than by horse. Counties must have seemed much bigger. Minnesota must have seemed much bigger. Neighbors needed to help neighbors. Despite the coldest weather since 1996, the bright side is the situation seems to tighten the yarn of our close-knit community.
It could be easy to dismiss former punter Chris Kluwe’s report of his treatment with the Minnesota Vikings as a disgruntled employee. It’s true, he is disgruntled. Yes. Still, he was fighting for a cause he believed in — same-sex marriage — and it appears he was treated as a distraction — not by owners at all, but by coaches. He’s not exactly Jackie Robinson, but the coaches could learn a lesson or two from the baseball legend. Robinson surely was a distraction — but historically for the right reasons. Kluwe advocated a matter he believed was a right, simply a good cause. Sports teams these days downplay domestic violence or drunken driving, but here’s an athlete whose cause is that two people who love each other ought have the right to get married. Even if a person disagrees with Kluwe, it’s not really a matter worth kicking a guy off a team. If anything, Kluwe made the Vikings coaches and front office look good by seeming to have management that was high quality enough to allow his advocacy. Then they used a draft pick on a punter instead of a much-needed defensive player? Tsk tsk. With that kind of petty thinking, no wonder the Vikings had a losing season. Of course, we question why Kluwe didn’t go to the union or follow a chain of command with his beef. He has some questions to answer, too. Yet what bugs us the most is just how lousy the Vikings management handled this, just like how lousy they handled the release of stellar cornerback Antoine Winfield last March.
It’s a shame to see police reports of so many items being taken from retail stores. Indeed, it seems no amount of deterrence can halt it. With all the nonprofit social services available and with good Christians willing to help people and with government programs out there, it’s too bad anyone feels that they would need to steal. For some, they might steal because they feel desperation. For others, it’s the thrill of stealing. These are the true thieves, and they need a true kick-in-the-pants meeting with Johnny Law.