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COLUMN: We need rain, but we don’t need meth

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By Ben Carlson

Column as I see ’em …
When the lack of rain turned brown the combination of weeds and grass that make up my lawn, I wasn’t particularly pleased.
When my wife started compensating for the drought by hosing down her precious flowers and such with pricey city water, I edged toward anger.
But when I hear this getting-to-the-point-of-ridiculous drought has the potential to halt deer season, I was downright steamed.
Oh, calm down. I didn’t say that deer hunting is being called off just three days into modern gun season. I did say that I’ve heard the idea kicked around, and that’s a little disconcerting to people like me to whom deer hunting is like Christmas, New Year’s and a birthday party all rolled into one.
It’s happened before, you know, at least twice from what I’ve heard. The woods, now littered with crunchy, dried leaves, are a virtual tinderbox. And while the vast, vast majority of hunters are conscientious, careful people, it would only take one bonehead to spark a tremendous blaze.
Any firefighter will tell you that a fire like that is very dangerous to neighboring homes under normal conditions, but when the material under the leaves is exceptionally dry, even root systems close to the surface can ignite and actually spread beneath the dirt.
Trying putting that fire out.
So, my fellow hunters, be very, very careful over the next couple weeks, and don’t give anyone a reason to take away that which we so thoroughly enjoy.

Speaking of a spreading fire, that’s just what I’m afraid could happen with this God-awful meth problem.
The report I wrote on page A1 isn’t necessarily designed to scare folks, although I’m not sure how a level-headed person won’t shiver a bit while reading it.
I know I shivered several times just writing it.
Over the years, I’ve seen police drag people from meth labs, and have come to view them with a combination of disgust and empathy.
Riddled with sores, nearly toothless and looking like they haven’t bathed in a year, these people have clearly lost their precious self control.
If the report does scare you, don’t ask me for an apology. Instead, keep a sharp eye out for the telltale signs of meth production in your neighborhood, such as destroyed batteries, ether cans or the stench of ammonia where such a stench would not normally exist.
As a community, let’s help the police — and just as importantly each other — in keep this garbage out of Anderson County.

On a positive note, it was encouraging to see so many folks lined up Wednesday night to give blood at Ward Elementary.
The allure of a coupon for free ice cream and a tin water bottle prompted my fifth grader to browbeat me into getting in line, although I was fairly certain that I’d be turned away.
I was, but only because I lived in England for two years in the 1980s while serving in the Air Force. That whole mad cow disease issue grew tentacles from that country, and living there for an extended period of time makes a person more likely to have consumed bad beef, I guess.
I was first rejected in 2002, and hoped by now that the mad cow fears would have abated. They haven’t, so I’m still forbidden from filling the bag.
Not that I blame the blood bank folks. I’d prefer they be extra careful with collections, because one never knows when he or she might need a pint of the red stuff.

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A couple times each year, we spring for the entire county to get a free edition, which is our way of trying to lure you into buying a subscription or at least grabbing a copy off the rack from time to time.
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E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com