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Quest for peaches and a needed dose of common sense

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By BEN CARLSON

 Column as I see ’em …

The good news is that the primary election is officially over. No folks can go back to just being folks instead of political rivals, although I doubt some will be able to pull that off.

The bad news is we now have five more months of politics before the November election.

By the middle of last week, I’d grown weary enough of listening to innuendo and allegations related to politics that I hopped in my truck and took a drive.

Make that a long drive.

I really didn’t have a clue as to where I’d go, other than away, but it dawned on me as I headed south on I-75 that in McBee, South Carolina, the year’s first peaches ought to be just about ripe.

Having spent a number of years living just north of Myrtle Beach, I developed over time a real affinity for South Carolina peaches, which are in every conceivable way superior to peaches in Georgia — my apologies to the Allman Brothers.

Whenever possible I’d get at least a basket or two and gorge on them before they turned from being just perfect to just too soft.

As I rolled toward McBee, I was getting a little nervous because while the traditional peach season begins in June, early peaches are usually easy to find. Yet as I closed in on McBee, all I was seeing were empty fruit stands.

The weather stunk, too, making the likelihood of striking out on my peach quest that much greater. I was facing the real possibility that I’d driven 600-plus miles for peaches, and was going to go home empty handed.

Just as hope began to fade, I spotted a lady sitting in a lawn chair. She had a tattered umbrella that was failing miserably to keep her dry, but leaning against the front tire of her pickup was a small sign proclaiming “season’s first peaches.”

Despite not having an umbrella to keep any of the rain off my head, I pulled in next to her, jumped out and almost certainly looked way too eager.

 “Whathca need, hon?” she asked, giving me a fairly narrow look as I blurted out, “Peaches, please” with enough excitement to give her a visible case of the willies over the weirdo who left his truck door hanging open and was standing in a downpour.

She shuffled to the back of her truck and began loading a bag of peaches when she glanced up, briefly, and said, “Whatabout strawberries? Got some of them, too.”

I could have kissed her because if there’s one thing that even comes close to McBee peaches, it’s the area’s wonderful strawberries.

I ended up with a basket of them, too.

For those curious, no, I didn’t bring enough of either home to share, so don’t ask. Instead, I scarfed down most of my bounty as I continued my drive, setting me up for a rather unpleasant evening of, well, you probably can guess the rest.

 

Speaking of unpleasant …

Rather than continuing to debate the unconstitutional fervor of those who pretend to want gun control but really mean gun elimination, I decided to discuss the latest school shooting off the record with a local school official.

With no political base to mollify with outlandish accusations and ridiculous statements, this person understands and is focused only on the importance of making the schools safer and leaves the political machinations to others.

I asked this person questions not posed among so-called reporters on the national cable outlets, not the least of which is how in the world that 17-year-old was able to bring a shotgun — sawed off or not — into the school, not to mention a pressure cooker and pipe bombs?

“Those are good questions,” the school official said. “Someone should have been paying attention.”

Bingo! It wouldn’t have taken metal detectors for someone to wonder why, on a hot, south Texas day, the boy was wearing a trench coat, which he used to smuggle in the shotgun.

Further, for him to furtively bring in bombs, either that school has absolutely no security whatsoever or those responsible for it were fast asleep at the switch.

Instead of those questions, our heroes on Fox and CNN immediately threw red meat to their respective bases, hoping and succeeding in yet again getting warring factions screaming about guns.

Had those networks — and the bulk of what used to be good newspapers in this country — performed as reporters instead of the thinly disguised party apparatchik they’ve become, their microphones would have been shoved squarely in the faces of school board members and the school’s superintendent, demanding answers to why they failed the children so spectacularly.

But, no, just as was the case in the mass shooting in Florida, it was more important for them to take their presumptive sides and ignore what actually went wrong.

The truth, if anyone still cares about such minor details, is that the so-called common sense gun regulations belched out by people who have not one clue what they’re talking about wouldn’t have made the first bit of difference.

No, schools don’t have to become impregnable fortresses, not if those in charge of securing them do their jobs and use some actual common sense … you know, like locking the classroom door so this boy can’t just open it and start shooting.

You know, like teaching staff and students not to run pell-mell into the hallways when a fire alarm goes off.

You know, like installing panic buttons inside of each classroom, rather than a teacher having to open the door to reach a fire alarm or, worse yet, allow the shooter easy access to the classroom.

You know, like having someone with a lick of intelligence understand that a child wearing a trench coat in the south Texas heat probably isn’t doing so because he’s cold.

No, common sense isn’t nearly as gratifying for the virtue signalers on the left or 2nd Amendment poseurs on the right, but it is exactly what’s needed to help prevent students from being killed.