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Mike’s Musings- Readers take aim at this columnist!

Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor

Hot summer days make for agitated people. Agitated people were out in full force last week, taking direct aim at this writer. Mostly the aim was directed toward my essay, “STOP PLAYING THE RACE CARD.” One of my premises was that we had grown up as a nation, and I was tired of people trying to make race an issue, when it really wasn’t. Specifically I was writing about the George Zimmerman trial and reaction to the verdict.

It’s been a long while since I’ve had so much reaction to an opinion piece. I got my share of slaps on the back saying “I’m right on” and I’m the only one with guts enough to print the truth. Those phone calls and emails were really nice to receive.

But a greater number of negatives comments, phone calls, emails and letters came my way. Most writers seem to suggest I am racially insensitive. Now this comes as a surprise to me. I have a brother-in-law and two nieces that are African American. I came very close to getting engaged to an African-American lady. I didn’t take a poll, but I believe they all would have given “thumbs up” to what I wrote. And by golly, I’m 100% sure, they would never consider me a “racist” or “racially insensitive.”

I will write one item again. I truly believe Al Sharpton, and to a lesser extent, Jesse Jackson, have made a lot of money organizing protests against what they believe are racial injustices. If the race card went away, they would no longer be in business.

Sorry if this offends some readers. I don’t pull any punches. I believe in telling it like it is, and I’ve been told over and over, that’s why many people read this newspaper. You might not like our opinions- that’s certainly your prerogative, but hopefully, you will respect us for airing them.

And then a few people from Marion have taken me to task for some of the stories we have written on the “hot potato” Osceola County EMS issue. Before and after Osceola County Commissioners voted to build a new EMS facility in Marion, Commission meetings have been filled with protestors demanding the Marion facility be denied and that a facility be built in the County’s northwest quadrant instead.

Let me get this straight. As a newspaper locating in Marion, we are in support of the Marion EMS facility. We’ve editorialized to that effect. We have written stories relating what people are saying at the Commission meetings. We have written stories about those opposed to the Marion site. Some people seem to think because we are called The Marion Press, the negative stories have no place in the newspaper. We feel it is our editorial duty to present all sides. Furthermore we are more than just a Marion paper. We have large amounts of papers distributed in Evart and other Osceola communities as well as Missaukee county.
Then there’s the lady that complained about my “tongue-in-cheek turtle racing story. She apparently found no humor in the fact that my wife and I have partaken in a couple of turtle races in the last two years.  She says keeping the turtles in captivity and then forcing them to race other turtles is downright cruel. Again, I appreciate her opinion, but ever since I was a toddler, I have observed turtles being raced at fairs and carnivals all over Michigan and Florida. I guess I never surmised someone would think that is cruel.

Don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate readers taking the time to make that phone call or write the email. It is very important, in my opinion, to share different viewpoints, and just because we might disagree on one issue, doesn’t mean we disagree on all.
Thanks for your input- keep it coming.

4 Responses to Mike’s Musings- Readers take aim at this columnist!

  1. Catherine59 Reply

    July 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Dear Mr. Wilcox,
    This is in response to your “Readers take aim at this columnist!”. While I disagree with some of your facts and conclusions (which I don’t think are unique to your column), I don’t see it as taking aim at you as a person. What we need in this country is to talk and listen to each other respectfully. That is the strength of a democracy. I commend you for printing differing viewpoints. I hope you continue to do it.
    In regard to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, I haven’t closely followed their personal finances. You may well have a point. I don’t believe in outrageous salaries well beyond what it takes to live a decent life. However, this goes two ways. Look at Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA. The NRA is behind the Stand Your Ground law now prevalent in many states (including Michigan). It was instrumental in contributing to Trayvon Martin’s death. I believe it is a terrible law that will result in more deaths unless abolished.
    Wayne LaPierre is very well off as head of the NRA. He was paid just under a million dollars for one year’s salary based on his last income tax filing. And there is substantial evidence that the NRA pushed the SYG law through in large part for economic reasons (i.e., it makes money for the gun industry and for the NRA). Take a look at the video and book by former NRA member Tom Diaz, The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry Are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It.
    I want to make clear I’m not opposed to hunting and recreational shooting. Most gun owners are responsible. I am in favor of making guns, as a product, far safer than they are now—just as we did with automobiles. I want to see sensible gun laws inacted that protect public health and end senseless deaths and injuries.
    Since you wrote your “Stop Playing the Race Card” editorial, Juror B29 has come forward to state her opinion that “Zimmerman got away with murder”. However, she felt she and other jurors had no choice but to aquit based on Florida’s SYG law. Before Florida’s SYG in 2005, the instructions to jurors would have read that Zimmerman “cannot justify the use of force likely to cause death or great bodily harm if by retreating he could have avoided the need to use force.”
    As I see it, a bad law and money interests “win” here and the Trayvon Martins of the world lose. We all have to speak up and not let this happen. One of the first things we are taught working in crisis intervention with youth is to use de-escalation techniques. The Stand Your Ground law, as it exists now, escalates, not de-escalates, situations. The results are too often tragic.
    Current polls show if you’re white, you are less likely to view the Zimmerman / Martin case as a racial issue. If you’re black, you are much more likely to see it as racially based. As long as there is this kind of a divided world viewpoint, I’d say we have a problem that continues to need urgent addressing.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/20/bill-moyers-and-analyst-tom-diaz-stand-your-ground-makes-us-more-vulnerable-to-gun-violence/

  2. Catherine59 Reply

    July 28, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Forgot to print my name on the above in case you require it:
    Catherine Loeb
    former Clare, Mi resident

  3. Catherine59 Reply

    July 30, 2013 at 2:29 am

    Mike,

    This is not for you to print, but I’d like to have you read this article. How can you reconcile this injustice?

    Florida’s Unjust Gun Laws
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2013/07/15/florida-unjust-gun-laws/WO6ZKI2VS19rDD6cIbUPjN/story.html

    What if Trayvon Martin had been a 17 year old female (or your daughter)? What if a man had been following her home in the evening? What if she had kneed him, pepper sprayed him or tripped him as many women might try to do if frightened or chased? Would she then risk being shot dead for being the aggressor? Would her ‘chaser’ be justified for shooting her in self-defense? Can you imagine this scenario?

    Or, was it much more likely to happen to a young black man? I personally think so. I think Trayvon was a victim of his race, his youth and his gender–all 3. And a victim of a gun. As Bill Moyers saids, “guns have the last word”.

    Catherine

  4. vinner38 Reply

    November 17, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Mike

    Please note the facts here.

    Some have to play the race card…They must play the victim.
    Its all they have.

    Signed Vince Eaton

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