Treat all equally
Siren calls for more courthouse security point to the total absurdity of this situation. A suitable solution, if we’re to be forced into fearing our fellow citizens, is to treat everyone the same. I suggest that all county employees, including the Morgan County Commissioners who voted for this travesty, be required to enter the front door of the courthouse and go through security — in public — as the rest of us are made to do.
Simple fairness would solve lots of problems. If those who supposedly represent us were treated the same way as the general public, then maybe they would think twice about some of the things they do. It would be interesting to see Commissioner Close have to raise-up his pants legs “in case you have a hidden gun,” as I have had to do on numerous occasions.
If we’re afraid of guns or bombs being taken into the courthouse, let’s have Commissioners Dugan and Hutchinson, along with all the lawyers and judges, open their bags and briefcases for inspection so the public can see for themselves if we also need to be more fully protected from our “betters.”
Why are they given special passes to enter through the back door? Are they trying to avoid contact with those who elected them? Are they so important and busy that they don’t have one or two more minutes to be part of the crowd? Is it so far from their special parking spaces that they can’t manage a few more steps around to the front entrance? Do they fear us?
By far the loudest complaint heard from citizens when I ran for the county commission in 2004 was that “all those people in Berkeley think they’re more important than the rest of us.” Recent letters to the editor have alluded to this, including two about a complaint made to the State Police when an unfavored group demonstrated on Washington Street (while more “acceptable” groups, including children, are allowed to do as they wish), even though there was absolutely no security risk at all to the public.
Perhaps we need to be reminded of the following quote (often attributed to Thomas Jefferson but actually written by Benjamin Franklin), which remains as true today as it was in 1759: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
John C. Webster