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February 21, 2002     The Hogansville Herald
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February 21, 2002
 

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Opinions & Ideas PAGE 4 - HOME NEWS - FEB. 21, 2002 THE HOGANSVILLE HOME NEWS USPS 620-040 MaKZ HAZ I'BLISHER]ADVERTISING D IRI'*TOR JOHN KbTKENDALL A,%SOC IATE Pu Bt2SHER/EDITOR ROB RICHARDSON ASSISTA,rr EDITOR JA N BUSINF IAGER Phone (706) 846-3188. Fax (706) 846-2206 P. O Box 426 Hogansvflle, Georgia 30230 What Do You Think About Plea Bargains? Controversy surrounds the case of a man in Hamilton who pied guilty to first degree homicide in a Harris County case this past week. Lamar Vonsel Bridges, 38, pled guilty to first-degree homicide in the death of Joseph Thompson, 45, also of Hamilton. According to tes- timony in the case, Bridges was driving home round dusk dark when he struck a lawn mower Thompson was riding from behind. Thompson was thrown from the mower and suffered a head injury. He died a few months later from complications from his injuries and other medical problems. The day of the accident, according to testimony, Bridges smelled strongly of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes, but refused to take an alcohol breath test when he was taken to the Harris County Jail after the incident. Judge Kenneth Followill sentenced Bridges to 10 years- three to serve in prison and the rest on probation, plus 12 months to serve and a $300 fine for DUI. SO where is the contro- versy? Columbus Attorney Dan Akin, which by the way is an old school classmate, said that Harris County District Attorney Mark Post has guaranteed Bridges he would be released in September 2004 if he pied guilty to the charge. Post denies ever making a specific sentence offer to AkirL NOW, HAVING brought you up to speed on the case, I want to elaborate a little on the so-called plea-bargain process. It seems that in today's society, the District Attorneys and Attorneys do an awful lot of plea bargain- ing. It's settled that this per- son will serve less time for entering a guilty plea of a crime he or she is guilty of. For some reason, that does- n't make sense t me. I know thaf,,the idea behind the process it to speed up the courts and ve the taxpayers money, but'm not sure it works out as it's sup- pose to often. Let's look at a hypotheti- cal case. For a moment, let's pretend that I robbed the First National Bank of Podunk, Alakazu. During the robbery, I shot and killed a security guard. Then, as I was fleeing from the parking lot, I ran over a pedestrian and ed him. Once caught, I'm charged with armed robbery, use of a weapon during the commis- sion of a crime, murder, vehicular homicide, reckless driving, fleeing and attempt- ing to elude police officers, running a stop sign and speeding. You'd think I'd be gone for sometime, right? Let's see, maybe 20 years for the robbery, life for shooting the security guard, 20 years for vehicular homicide and another ten years for the mis- demeanors. That's a total of life plus 50 years. OK, so Pm taken into cus- tody and the police learn that I've always been a model cit- izen, coached youth sports, donated to charity and worked hard in the commu- nity. I was a good man until I started playing the ponies, I got in debt and the only way I could figure to get out was by robbing the bank. ,: , My attorney learns all of this. He talks to the District Attorney. The DA agrees that I've always been a model cit- izen, that I was just made a mistake. The two of them get together and decide if I'll enter a guilty plea, all the mis- demeanors will be dropped and that's ten years off the sentence. They to do away all the other felony charges except the murder and vehic- ular homicide. Then, it's agreed that if I'll enter a guilty plea and save the court time and taxpayer's money, I'll be sentenced to life with an opportunity for parole on the murder charge and 20 years on the vehicular homi- cide. So, I go to prison, I'm a model prisoner. I get paroled early and I'm out in 10 to 12 years. While I'm a marked man and can't do the things I used to do, I walk away with my life. As bad as it is, I'm still living and breathing. So, now the question, how do you feel about plea bar- gains? I'm going to save my answer for a couple of weeks. I would like for our readers to tell me how you feel. You can E-mail me at starmer- cury@earthlink.net with your response, fax it to (706) 846-2206 or mail it to: John Kuykendall, P.O. Box 426, Manchester, GA. 31816. Please tell me if you do not wish for your response to be printed. THE HOGANSViLLE HOME NEWS is published weekly by the Star-Mercury , Publiing Corrqxany, a division of Grimes Publications, at 3051 Roosevelt Highway, Manchester, Georgia 31816. USPS 620-040. Subscription rates by mail: $18 in Tronp, Harris or Meriwether Counties: $26 a year elsewhere. Prices include all  "sales taxes. Periodical postage paid at Hogansville, Georgia 30230. FOR SUBSCRIPI'iO,; call (706) 846-3188 or write to Circulation Manager, Star Men:my Publications, E O. Box 426, Manchester, ia 31816. PO6TMASTER: Send "ads changes to P. O. Box 426, Hogansville. GA 30Z. STAFF Publisher and Advertising Direcu ............................................................... Mike Hale Associate Publisher and Editor ........................................................... John Kuykendall Business Manager ................................................................................ Jayne Goldston Assistant Editor ...................................................................................... Rob Richardson Staff Writers .......................................................................... Bryan Geter, Billy Bryant Assistant Advertising Manager .................................................................. Laurie Lewis Advertising Sales ....................................................................................... Linda Lester Composing ................................................................. Dewayne Flowers, Valinda lvery Legals ...................................................................................................... Jayne GoMston Pressman ..................................................................................... :....Wayne Grochowski sroom .......................................................................... David Boggs, Larry Colleges COmTZ OmCE President ............................................................................................. Millard B. Grimes Vice President .................................................................................. Charlotte S. Grimes Secretary .......................................................................................... Laura Grimes Corer Treasurer ....................................................................................... Kathy Grimes Garrett Legal Counsel and Assistant Secretary .............................................. James S. Grimes Chili Dogs Always Bark at Nig If you're addicted to drugs or alcohol, you can go someplace like the Betty Ford Clinic and get help. But where do you go if you're addicted to chili dogs? Yes, chili dogs. Those wonderful hot dogs with lots of chili on them and mustard and onions on the chili that the mere mention of which makes my mouth water, my heart rate speed up and my stomach literally beg to be fed as many of these delights as it can hold. I had my first chili dog when I was 12. My father took me to Atlanta's legendary Varsity, the world's largest outdoor drive-in. My father ordered me a chili dog, I took the first bite of it, and I was hooked. During my three years in exile in Chicago, I formulat- ed a scheme to get chili dogs from the Varsity delivered to me. I started dating a girl I met on a trip back home to Atlanta. Every other week I would fly her to Chicago. "And would you mind," I wold ask, "stopping by the Varsity on your way to the airport and bringing me 14 dozen chili dogs." Later, it became clearly evident to the young lady that I looked forward to the chili dogs more than I looked for- ward to seeing her. "It's me or the chili dogs," she eventually said. I often wonder what ever happened to her. I had heart surgery in 1982. The doctors said I could have anything I wanted to eat for my preparation dinner. I sent for Varsity chili dogs. Had I died under the knife the next day, at least I would have had a satisfying last meal. For years I've tried to decide why Varsity chili dogs remain the best I've ever eaten. The hot dogs are good and so is the chili, but it's the buns that really do it. The Varsity, somebody was telling me, steams the buns. There's nothing better than a steamy bun. But I must admit my chili dog addiction is becoming a problem. I can't eat them like I used to and not pay a painful price. The other night, for instance, I went to the Varsity and had three chili dogs with mustard and raw onions. I also had an order of french fries and I topped that off with a Varsity fried apple pie with ice cream on it. I went to bed at 11 p.m. The chili dogs hit at about two. My stomach felt like I had eaten a large box of nails. It made strange sounds like gooorpl And brriiipl I got out of bed, took six Rolaids, two Alka-Seltzers and drank a six-pack of Maalox. Noting helped. I'll never eat another chili dog, I said to myself. Those addicted to any substance often say things like that, but they rarely stick toit. I know I'll be back at the Varsity soon, woofing down chili dogs. And, later, the agony and the goooorfs and brriips will be back. My stomach and I simply will have to learn to live with a certain fact. That is, chili dogs bark at night. BY SPECIAL MENT WITH HIS DEDRA, THE HOME CARRYING COLUMNS BY THE LEWIS GRIZZARD, GREW UP IN MORELAND, AND THE MOST WIDELY GEORGIA WRITER OF TIME. GRIZZARD TO ALL AMERICA PARTICY TO THIS AREA OF WHICH HE AND WHERE A TION TO HOGANSVILLE IN HIS HONOR. THE GRIZZARD MUSEUM IN 1996, AND A WRITING i EDITING LAB IS BEING I ICATED TO HIS HIS BELOVED OF AVAILABLE FOR THROUGH BAD PRODUCTIONS, P.O. 191266, ATLANTA, GA 1266 AND AT BOOK Having the Right Friends Is The other day while read- ing in the book of 2 Samuel, I came across the story of Amnon, a son of King David. While reading this account about Anmon, a verse jumped out at me and reminded me of a young man I once knew. The verse was 2 Samuel 13:3, "But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David's broth- er and Jonadab was a very subtil man." The subtil that is used to describe Amnon's friend means that he was a clever, cunning, and crafty fellow. He was so clever, he helped Amnon plan and com- mit a dreadful sin (not imply- ing there are some sins that are not dreadful). This story of Amnon reminded me of a young man I became acquainted with in another town. I was asked to see this young man I'll call Eddie. Eddie was in the county jail and after much inquiry, the story was told me. One night Eddie, then eighteen, and a friend were in a mountain tav- ern. During that visit, Eddie's friend began to have trouble with someone else in the bar. After a little while, Eddie became so drunk, he was put by his friend in the back seat of the car, passed out. What was to happen next would change Eddie's life forever. Eddie's friend and that other fellow began to fight. Before it was all over with, the friend had driven Eddie and the other fellow to a remote place on that Tennessee mountain. What took place next is inconceivable. With Eddie passed out drunk in the back seat, Eddie's friend (I'm not sure of the order) shot and then tied that other fellow to the bumper of the car and drug him back and forth across a three mile stretch of dirt road. Obviously the other fel- low was kidnapped and mur- dered. To make a longer store shorter, one day when Eddie was twenty-one, I sat in the courtroom and heard the judge instruct the jury as to the applicable laws regard- ing that particular case. The next time I sat in that courtroom, I heard the judge sentence Eddie to life in prison for felony murder. "The point behind all of this is simply, we, like Amnon, need to choose our friends wisely." There are many more things that could be related about -the story of Eddie, but as I write this article several years later, as far as I know, Eddie is s in a Tennessee state prison. He is there all because he was with the wrong person in the wrong place. The story of Eddie is a tragic one, but an even greater tragedy is only was one life three. Eddie and his have essentially lost because of their young i being spent in prison. The: is simply, we, like need to choose our wisely. Many a young as well as old, has serious trouble because friendships they made. Parents ought to they can about the their children make in the choice of those It could save their Good friends are less and what a thing it are to be valued influences are to be In this day and sex, drugs, should teach our ple the value of good and the dangers of friends. They may now, but one day when the Eddies of this are in prison and enjoying life, they back and he thankful. Spare the Rod and Spoil the Last week I had a most interesting and informative experience fulfilling a pic- ture assignment at the Manchester Woman's Club. The speaker was Paul Fisher, who is director of admissions at Tallulah Falls Institute in the mountains of North Georgia. I had never met Fisher, but was familiar with the school at Tallulah Falls sup- ported by the Georgia FederationofWomen's Clubs. The school at Tallulah Falls has been a haven for many Georgia young people. Some forty years ago when we moved here, Mrs. Robert Fryer was on the Board of Directors at the school. TheManchesterWomans Club has continued to support the school and presented Paul Fisher a check in support of the school after his interest- ing talk last week. After the war, when I was a young man living in Athens, we would often ride up to TalAulah Falls on beautiful spring and fall days to view the scenery. The landscape view in this mountain area, about an hour's drive northwest of Athens, was breathtaking, even for a young man that usually spent all of his spare time on the ball field. My stepmother, who mar- ried my father when I was about a year old, taught school in an area near Tallulah Falls. This was her first year teach- ing in a mountain communi- ty nearby called Tiger. Mama was in her early twenties. I don't remember how she got a job at Tiger, but she was the only teacher in a one-room county school that was what was called a seven month school. Before Mama left Jackson County for her first teaching job, Grandpa bought her a new 1921 Overland automobile. I have heard my grandfa- ther say that he bought her the car because maybe this vehicle would keep her from getting married so young. Then he would laugh and say, "It worked for two years. Then she ran off in the car and got married anyway." Mama never confirmed this, but would laugh every time Grandpa would tell this story. Mama carried her new car to Tiger, but the roads were so bad in the mountains back in the early Twenties, she left her car at the home she boarded, almost a mile away, and walked to school every day. It seems she had a big mountain boy, maybe 16 or 17, a few years younger than she, who gave her a lot of dis- ciplinary problems. Finally she had to talk to the boy's father, and he advised Mama to whip the boy if he continued to misbe-- have. Late one spring afternoon with the lad on a rampage, Mama decided she would fol- low the father's advice and whip the unruly lack When she called him up to administer the whipping, the boy left school and went home. A short time later when school was out for the day, everybody left school walk- ing home, including Mama. Mama said she could see her problem child walking toward the school. His father was behind him with a hickory switch in his hand. Mama recalled the instance and she admitted being somewhat afraid, not of bodily harm, but for a cir- cumstance she was tomed. The father told had brought his son instructed Mama lad in his father insisted, she was even more fortable with the father ent as she gave the a legs with the switch. Soon the father switch and told Mama, don' never make an with like one on his son, th6n the l of them walked hofne day. Mama said any more trouble young man. Evidenfl fect example of rod and spoil the A this incident. This theonly: thing from this Mama must have learned how to I don't remember her light taps on us when she had as we were It is amazing how incidents that occur lives today can memories of our past... good, some bad.