My Personal Side

By Craig Hastings
My dislike for Central Illinois winters right now prompt many not so well thought out comments about moving. I gas one of these out every time I’m standing outside my police car as a cold Arctic blast rips through my uniform gear and frosty mugs my old and thin skin. Each following winter causes me to complain more than the one before. So why do I stay here? Sure I could turn in my gear on loan from the City, call it quits, and actually move to a warm climate state. Since I haven’t, why don’t I just shut my mouth about the cold and carry on silently? Because I’m not satisfied I’ve done all I can do to keep Tuscola a great and safe place to live.

My fear is that I would continue to live at 63 Cherry Drive long after I retired. And guess what? I would continue to be that same frosty mug, thin-skinned old guy every time the cold Arctic wind ripped through my outer and under wear. I’ve told both of my sons that if one of them moves from here to a warmer state that ol’ dad is following right behind. No, I’m not moving out of country regardless of all those beautiful vacation commercials of the Bahamas and the many South American paradise vacation destinations. Those commercials want all of us to believe we all would look great strolling the white sandy beaches and clear blue water in our male slingshot swim wear and female string and patches sun bathing suit reveal all equivalents. Here’s my advise; go buy something close or even the very same as what you see on the commercials, put it on, then go stand in front of a mirror.

If you’re like me, and more of you are than not, you won’t see anything that resembles those cute and masculine younglings we see in the commercials. Me, I started adding enough material to get it right that I found myself dressed for a Central Illinois winter by the time I was satisfied I looked good enough for a white sandy beach! Therefore, I’ve struck through “white sandy beaches like the commercials” on my list of must haves should I move. I replaced it with “good views of a white sandy beach.”

Here’s what prompted this column. Getting more serious I want to comment on my own observations of the incredibly careless public alarm that sent thousands of people running for their lives in Hawaii last Saturday. “Incoming Ballistic Missile; This is NOT a drill!” The million dollar question not satisfactorily answered yet for me: how in the hell did this happen? How does this alarm of cataclysmic implications get broadcast to Hawaiians by mistake and then not retracted for another 38 minutes? Hawaii Gov. David Ige stated: “Many unfortunate errors were made.” YOU THINK?!!!! Unfortunate errors were made; well by who and how. I guess by who doesn’t matter. I’m sure it was someone of no special clear understanding of how the whole Emergency Management System worked. A screenshot of the crisis program’s “pick from the following options” was released to the public. If this wasn’t the most ridiculous, idiotic, and irresponsible plan management computer program I’ve ever witnessed in all my years of viewing countless crisis management programs, I’ll chew on nails for supper tonight!

If you haven’t seen it already, give it a look. You will see a list of emergency alert events that include “High surf”, “Amber Alert”, “Test”, even “Landslide” on this list. Then you will see one that presents PACOM (CDW) State Only. WTH?!!!! The short of it means, Pacific Command but there is nothing, not a thing on screen that reads anything missile, or nuclear, or how about this one… “contact the U.S. Military High Command we’re under attack”! Someone please tell me how a military attack on any part of our domestic homeland should be announced by one of the states. Tell me why anyone in any state would believe they are of the authority to make the first announcement to the American public of an attack on the United States. Heads need to roll and federal regulation needs to be put in place immediately.

Wouldn’t anyone of simple mind, myself included here, believe that should a military attack broadcast by any of the states occur that it would automatically forward to the U.S. Department of Defense? Shouldn’t this happen without further human actions of any kind? We’re talking about a military attack by a foreign enemy on our own shores. This would be a declaration of war simply by the nature of the event. How was the Hawaiian Governor going to respond? Was he going to call the State Police? I’m sure that would calm the citizens!

It took 38 minutes to rebroadcast, “Oops”! “Sorry, our bad over here at Hawaii Homeland Security.” “Citizens you can gather up your children you threw down into the storm sewers for their protection from the mistaken nuclear holocaust.” “The many of you that fled to water can get out now too.” “We’ll be dismissing any traffic violations caught on camera as motorist fled at high rates speed trying to get to the safety of caves, cliffs, and any other natural shelters on the island.” My god can all of the rest of us even imagine what our own reactions would have been? Have any of us ever thought about a nuclear attack targeting Central Illinois? I certainly haven’t. I don’t think it will ever happen here in corncob country, but this Hawaii event has me thinking about what is most important to me with just 30 minutes to live.

I think about my own last minutes of life priorities now. You should too. Again, not because I believe Douglas County, Illinois, will be anyone’s priority target, but some of us may move to that warmer climate, more heavily populated, more strategically important military targeted area some day so…just throwing it out there to think about. Here’s our scenario; inbound nuclear ballistic warheads, two, targeting our chemical plants and gas transfer pipelines. Naturally even if Rocket Man, Kim Jun Un, is off even 100 miles of target us, we will all die in the nuclear aftermath. What would you do as you wait to die a horribly painful death? I’ve thought about it for ten days now, and guess what, I haven’t a clue what I would do first, last, the most of, the least of, or why any of the fore mentioned. The only thing I have figured out is who I want close to me while we all wait to die together. We will all fit in the Shelby, but Leo the cat will have to sit outside because no cat hair is allowed in the Shelby. Sorry Leo, trust me it won’t matter.

If there was no other reason someone like Donald Trump was elected President of these United States it will be for him to deal with the North Korean and Iranian nuclear treats jeopardizing world order and especially the safety of all Americans. No president I’ve lived to see elected has had the where with all to make the tough decisions that have to be coming from this president. People we are in a world crisis right now. No amount of talking, negotiating as some would call it, will fix this broken chair. The patchwork, glued over, misaligned pieces, and mistakes of the past 20 years have run out of their temporary fixes. We’ve needed a skilled craftsman to fix this problem for 20 years and all we elected was handymen that didn’t know the difference between a flat blade and a Phillips screwdriver.

One of my most favorite people in the world once kidded this young wanna be mechanic at 14 years old and said to me; “Hey, go tell Jim (Higgins) I need a muffler bearing for this car.” “I’ll also need two cross threaded muffler clamps.” Of course I did and of course the joke was on me. There are no such parts and by description it was a ridiculous request; funny though! It seems President Obama must have been trying to find his own muffler bearing of sorts as he was trying to find the fix for Kim Jung Un for eight years. Uncle Joe Biden must have been looking for the left hand pliers to install it with. Getting elected doesn’t make someone a master mechanic.

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