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Darts and laurels: Hooray for dumb crooks

Should a dart or laurel go to dumb crooks?

Take the case Thursday night of an armed robber who walked into the South Main Street Internet Cafe in Salisbury and left without his gun. In the course of the robbery, the crook pointed his gun and demanded the sweepstakes parlor’s money from an employee. Meanwhile, he ordered everyone else in the establishment to lie on the floor.

The nervous employee dropped the money and was in the process of picking it up when the impatient robber walked around the counter and began grabbing at the money himself. Funny thing is, the robber didn’t bring a bag. When he dropped some of the money, too, he placed his gun on the counter to free both hands.

The quick-thinking employee grabbed the .38 Special and fired it at the robber, who realized his mistake and was heading out the door.

So a dart goes to the man for being a crook in the first place, threatening people with a gun and getting away with $715 in cash. He also deserves a dart for going into a robbery without something to hold the money he intended to steal.

How might a laurel be warranted in this mess? Thank goodness no one was hurt.

•••

A laurel to 13-year-old Boy Scout Jared Hensley, who has set a Troop 443 record  by earning 31 merit badges in a single year. This one Scout’s accomplishment reminds us of how strong the Scouting program is in Rowan County thanks to dedicated leaders, many of whom have devoted themselves to the program for decades. These men and women have had major impacts on boys’ lives, helping to shape new generations of leaders who know the importance of becoming involved in their communities.

Hensley, who already is an Eagle Scout and has about 64 merit badges already attached to his green sash, says he’ll keep working on achieving more merit badges that interest him. As important, he wants to help out younger Scouts. When they hear something like that, Scout leaders know their  personal investment of time is paid back to them over and over.

•••

The Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury deserves a laurel for holding its second “town hall” meeting Wednesday. These sessions understandably become forums mostly for complaints, but Director Kaye Green recognizes that feedback from the veterans is important to improve the hospital’s overall care.

To Green’s credit, each time a veteran brought up an issue involving his or her treatment or experience in dealing with the medical center, she asked a member of her staff with knowledge on that matter to meet and talk with the veteran personally.

 

It should be a concern, as at least one veteran pointed out Wednesday, when the telephone system at the VA hinders communication instead of enhancing it. U.S. Army veteran John Miller spoke of his frustration in trying to reach his doctor, his primary care team, or even a clinic — the kind of thing non-veterans with private family doctors usually take for granted.

Another interesting observation made by some veterans was that VA employees were allowed to park closer to campus buildings than patients. These are the kinds of things that can be corrected and should be.

The town hall sessions also give Green a chance to trumpet some of the things happening on the campus and update veterans on issues brought to her during the previous town hall sessions. Here’s hoping the town hall meetings continue deep into the future. They should not be temporary window dressing brought on by the national focus on long wait times at VA hospitals.

 

 

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