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These aren't the words I had pounded out on the old Smith-Corona for this 'cuff. I'm not even gonna mock the old Corona for having a name that is not popular these days. That other 'cuff will have to wait. If it ever reaches print, it'll be a miracle.

I can almost read the minds of 'cuffer readers as they think, "What in the devil is he up to this week?"

I'll just confess. I just got up from watching and listening to replays of scenes and confusion that held America in a tight grip on that fateful day, 9/11. The true American spirit plunged forth and everyone worked together to meet the tragedies when those planes destroyed the towers in New York, damaged the Pentagon, and all passengers, held hostage on a fourth plane headed for our nation's Capitol, unanimously became heroes as they sacrificed their lives by causing the plane to crash.

As I listened to the reading of the hundreds of names of victims of that fateful day I wondered ... "How would America, or Americans, respond if such a tragedy occurred today?"

It was not the old Corona, with a ribbon that needs changing, that drew me back to ... last Friday, did you watch any of those tragic moments from nineteen years ago? Have you wondered why and how we as a nation are responding to the burning of buildings, blocking streets, damaging businesses, looting stores, injuring persons and, yes, killings that have taken place? The hoodlums/criminals have even burnt the American flag, that symbol of our great nation, the symbol that allows them to do so.

What has happened to us during the past nineteen years, not only as a nation but as individuals, that allows these crimes to continue? Where will we be next year or nineteen years from now? What remnants of the good old USA will still be around, remnants we take for granted? Will we all be on food stamps? Will somebody at a desk far away assign us to our jobs and a get-by salary? What will happen if we rebel? Many of us will not be around. But what about the young adults, the old folks and, yes, the children who will be specially schooled somewhere? Oh, it can't happen here, but it has happened in many places. But it will never happen in America if Americans buckle their belts and stand up straight for the freedom the flag represents.

I guess I'll revert to a little of what was in that other 'cuff. It began with these words: "It's time. No, it's past time. That's not right either. Let's hope there is time to ..." and then I drifted off (you expected that?), remembering it was more than 20 years ago I wrote about a book that was written before the start of World War II. Friedrich A. Hayek, an Austrian professor, was author of that eyecatcher, "The Road to Serfdom." In it, he described German Nazism and Russian Socialism/Communism, begun as programs that guaranteed a social Utopia which, within a very few years evolved into anarchy systems headed by Hitler in Germany and Lenin/Stalin in Russia. After Germany's defeat, it returned to an elected semi-democratic form of government. Many small nation democracies are sometimes threatened by easily promoted socialism which eventually ... ?

It has happened here in the U.S.A. several times, but this latest outburst seems to have special strength. There is more free this and free that which attracts followers since it promises a utopia society. Too bad. Forgotten is the simple fact that anything free is not free. There is always a cost. What we have is "freedom" and when you eventually have to say no to free there is no more free, all you have left is "dom" ... or make that "dumb."

Let's go back to that "Let's hope there is time to ..." put a stop to vandalism, or rather destruction, that has popped up in so many cities in America during the past several months. The "Black Lives Matter" is understandable but the mass of protesters who join and infiltrate the racial group are there for other reasons, one of which is changing the government principles of the nation; to ignore the constitution that gives them that right, but which could and can create panic through national unchecked rioting. If you or I did any of those criminal actions, we would wind up behind bars before you could count a stick. So ... it's time the people in charge of cities and states get to work instead of ignoring the millions of dollars worth of damage being done to their cities as well as the safety and liveable conditions the citizens deserve. Since our president has so often offered assistance but is so haughtily turned down by mayors and governors, probably because of politics, it is time for the congressional branch to tackle the problems and back the president in his attempt to protect the cities and their tortured citizens.

Many of the odious activities are called protests but they really are riots which they say are approved by the constitution. Let all be reminded that the first amendment to that document guarantees "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Have you seen many peaceable assemblies? It's time to ...

Dodie Evans is the former owner and long-time editor of the "Gravette News Herald." Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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