"I can go the distance," said Herc.

"I can go the distance," said Herc.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hicks and Gangsters: The Polar Opposites of Ogden

I really hate the people who comment on news stories online, and yet I still can't help but read.

For some reason, it makes them think they have the right to be obnoxious and rude. True colors show in the online forums.

Take the story about the Weber County Fair, for instance. I was there. Now, while the fair attracts some of the more backwards people of the county, most of us are not inbred cud chewin' farmers who drive beat up old pickup trucks and wear orange vests all through hunting season. However, that is pretty much the consensus of the people commenting on KSL's story, and believe me when I say that online forums also reveal stupidity. Seriously. The story was about some guys who got arrested for a fight while paramedics in the arena were trying to save the life of one of the drivers. As you can see from reading the comments here, there was little discussion on what happened to the driver compared to the plethora of redneck jokes.

That is the view of Ogden you get from the Salt Lake crowd. Now, the blessed people of Layton north to Logan have a completely different picture of O-Town. It's that we're gun shooting gangsters and even walking down Wall Avenue in sunny daylight puts you in danger of being mugged.

I worked in Ogden for about five weeks this summer, all of my shifts ended around midnight, and I think I have a right to say that I know a bit more about this town than the folks who avoid it because it's "seedy." First, I will agree with them. Yes, it is dangerous. Yes, it is a bit rundown in certain AREAS. And yes, there are gangs.

Now I'm going to stomp on your assumptions. It is only dangerous at night, and the less people and more dimly lit it is the more dangerous it gets. What kind of idiot walks around any city that size at night and doesn't expect to be harassed? The one who ends up on the nightly news the next day. Actually, in even larger towns, they might not even make the news just because they were stabbed. Maybe--just maybe--they will be tucked in a tiny corner of the last page of the news section as a blurb. Because believe me, Ogden is not nearly as bad as other cities.

As for being seedy and rundown? You bet it is. In certain areas. In recent years Ogden has been making progress at improving the condition of downtown. Hence the Junction. The closer you get to the mountain in Ogden, the nicer the homes are, and the safer the neighborhoods. Nobody ever sees these places because they only head to Ogden for the shopping and these are just residential areas.

Frankly, I like Ogden. I was raised around it. Being nearby taught me to be careful and lock my doors--something everyone should know better about, especially since the Logan Lurker disturbed the close-mindedness of many Cache Valley residents last year. I'm proud of the slight twang in my speech, how I say "ya'll" and leave out the t's in some words, but that does not make me a hick. Just as Ogden is not completely ghetto/redneck, so are small towns not the little safe haven where you can trust anybody.

As my grandpa used to say, "It's not the people here that I don't trust, it's the ones passing through."

On a side note about the derby, I hope the people involved--especially the driver who got hurt--is okay now. Here is the video of the derby on YouTube. It's a little long but tells the whole story from start to finish.

Live long and prosper.

Peace out.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Something we should all be concerned about

Afghan Women and the Return of the Taliban

Last Saturday, my weekly copy of Time magazine arrived in the mail, like usual. Only instead of the usual cover illustrating the perilous state of the economy, I was shocked to see a picture of a beautiful Afghani woman with dark almond shaped eyes, wavy hair, and a gaping hole where her nose should be. The woman, named Aisha, ran away from her husband's house at the age of 17 because, she says, her in-laws were abusing her. The Taliban found her and punished her by having her husband cut off her ears and nose with a knife, leaving her in the mountains afterward to die. She finally made her way to a secret womens shelter in Kabul. This happened last year.

I didn't start this blog with the intention of spouting political ideas, but this story (linked in the title above) really got to me. It's making a lot of other people think about what could happen in Afghanistan if we leave before kicking the Taliban out. It's a haunting picture. It was also daring of Time to print it, considering the grotesqueness of it all and that it will be seen from child eye-level at news stands across America. I think it ought to be seen, and by as many people as possible. We can't hide from reality, even if reality is ugly. I understand that we have many challenges here at home, but as a part of a global community we have the responsibility for the basic human rights of everyone.