How not to give constructive criticism

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By Ben Carlson

Column as I see ’em …
Remember the column I wrote a couple of weeks ago about my trip to the dentist? The one that began with my dentist jokingly calling the newspaper “goofy?”
Well, a coward chastised me with an unsigned letter this week, claiming that my dentist was actually trying to tell me that I’m a “dumb***.”
Language, madam, please!
Given the volume of complaints I’ve received from this woman, coupled with some comparative analysis of her writing style and the handwriting on the envelope, I’m fairly sure I know who sent the letter.
The writer — who claims to be neither “scared” of me nor the “daylight” yet refused to sign her name — says it is me, not those who actually do the things about which the paper reports, who is to blame for the “negative image of Lawrenceburg.”
Of course it is. One of these days the police will catch me forcing criminals to commit the acts about which we report, but until then let’s keep that our little secret, OK?
Anyway, the writer goes on and on about the Jerry Springer Show and the National Enquirer (she seemed to know an awful lot about them so I guess she’s a fan of them, too), and “all but assured” me that the pig poop thrown on the paper’s front door recently was directed only at me.
If I weren’t so sure of her identity, I’d question if she owns a 5-gallon bucket and lives on a pig farm, but I’m fairly certain that’s not the case.
Not that it was all bad. Knowing I’ve taken up that much rent-free space in someone’s head always pleases me, and I was particularly amused that the return address on the envelope was 100 Wake Up Drive, Lawrenceburg.
While I do appreciate her effort at constructive criticism, I am concerned that a person in her position has some real difficulties with reading comprehension.
In her letter, she takes me to task about a column I wrote a few weeks ago regarding the legal system’s handling of a drunk hunting incident during which Rex Burkhead was allegedly shot.
Were she as literate as one would expect a person in her position to be, she should have had no trouble understanding that I offered no criticism of Burkhead, or defense for his alleged assailant, David Gaines. I was simply commenting on the legal system, which in this case seems a bit out of whack.
Perhaps seeing that in print will encourage her to put down the National Enquirer, turn off Jerry Springer and take some remedial reading comprehension classes. I hear Anderson Community Education offers some fine help in that regard.
Given her position in life, it’s the least she can do.

Speaking of constructive criticism …
This newspaper has always been supportive of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), which provides volunteers to assist children going through the court system, but the group didn’t do itself any favors while speaking last Tuesday to the Anderson County Fiscal Court.
The group’s spokesperson spent about 10 minutes explaining its mission and setting the table for its annual budget request. During that presentation, the spokesperson recounted horrifying tales of child abuse, including one incident involving a child that was held under water for discipline.
While I don’t doubt for a moment that something like that happened, I seriously doubt it happened here, otherwise I’d have reported it.
CASA is a worthwhile group that deserves whatever support the public chooses to provide, and while such stories are compelling and sad, I’d suggest telling elected officials here about incidents that happened here.
Speaking of the least someone can do …
I want to take a moment to congratulate Steve Cornish for having such a tremendous turnout at his new business’ first official event.
Cornish, who recently opened Middle Creek Auction and Land Co. on Alton Road, had a firearms auction last Saturday and the place was packed — at least during the time I was there.
It’s good to see any new business open in Lawrenceburg, especially one as unique as his, and it’s even better to see someone exercise the right to sell and possess firearms.