Is it raining stupid?

It’s late and I’m tired because I spent the morning at Hill talking history and then the afternoon slamming together a story on Everett Ruess that will grace your papers in the morning.

That and a 90 minute computer training had me pushing keys at work until 7 p.m. when the boss got word that some idiot had painted “Kill All Mexicans” on the lamp post at 28th and Washington, where a small memorial had been set up on the site of Wednesday’s tragedy. Trent Toone was down there watching it because we’d heard a rumor that the mayor was going to go clean the grafitti off and Channel 4 had a van there to film it so, of course, we had to go.

By the time I got there it was cold and raining and nobody but us and the TV van was around, certainly not the mayor, and Trent and a photographer were wondering what to do next.  I took a picture of the sign — inch-tall letters — apperently the idiot who wrote them was a neat idiot — and then we watched as a second TV van pulled up, talked to the first, then both drove off.

It was still late, and still cold and still raining and Trent took off after them, I talked to the photog for a bit and said, well, I’ll go relieve Trent, you stay here in case the mayor does show up, although if the mayor were to show up I’d think he had even fewer brains than whoever it was wrote on the post, which is darn few.

After going to where Trent was, I could see that Trent was gone, the TV people were interviewing someone in a house up on Eccles and 27th, it was STILL raining and cold, I was starting to feel as if chasing other news people doesn’t really constitute covering a story, so I checked in and the boss said that was enough, go on home so I did.

It was just a little scenario in a larger bit of insanity that seems to have gripped the town over the fatal crash Wednesday involving two guys fleeing the cops and running their car into another car with two other guys, who were killed.

Two guys in a car run from the cops, run a light, hit a car with two others and now the story over on the web site has 79 comments arguing whether the hitters were Mexicans or whether the cops did the right thing, or what.

The families of the drivers of the car that did the running in to apologized at first, saying their boys are really good boys, but then said it was really the cops’ fault because they shouldn’t have chased the guys when their car took off. Gangs are being yelled about again. The situation has tapped into the anti-Hispanic feelings that simmer not-so-quietly in this town anyway, as if criminal tendencies, or stupid tendencies, have anything to do with culture, or ethnic background, or skin color, or anything.

What is clear is that absolutely everyone is being a bit stupid — the two guys in the car who ran from the cops, of course. Their parents and families for not having enough sense to say “I’m sorry” and let it go at that. Those who see themselves as friends and/or supporters of the two guys who died who seem to think that the best way to react to a tragic situation is to look beyond the two jerks who did it for scapegoats and somehow decided that everyone in the country their ancestors came from is at fault. 

And me for standing in the rain thinking the  mayor was going to be dumb enough to stand in the rain and scrub off a piece of grafitti from a lamp post which, let’s be honest, was too high up for him to reach, or nearly so. 

My wife just made fun of me for even doing this blog, and she’s right. Time to go watch some more Twilight Zone episodes. The way things are looking, just doing nothing may make me the smartest guy in town tonight.

Not that that will be hard.

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16 Responses to Is it raining stupid?

  1. flatlander100 says:

    Never been a reporter, so not sure what the guidelines are in re: reporting a story and not becoming part of it. But I wondered as I read the above if maybe, once it was clear the Mayor was not coming and no one else was either and the news vans had departed and your boss told you to pack it in, I wondered if maybe, then, off the story and no longer on duty [so to speak], you might have considered stopping off at the nearest supermarket, picking up a can of spray paint and painting out the evidence on the post of just how moronic some of our neighbors can be. Might have made you feel a little better heading home in the rain had you done that. Would have made me feel better if you had. And maybe would have yielded a not so gloomy-bordering-on-cynical blog post.

    Just wondering….

  2. Charles Trentelman says:

    actually, yeah, but it was raining and cold and i was tired and didn’t have the energy to go shopping. Feel free.

  3. The Lovely Jennifer says:

    Hey! Someone finally said it. It doesn’t matter if the guys who got chased by the cops were green — point is: if they had stopped for the police instead of taking off, no body would have been killed! So they fled the scene, which was wrong – BECAUSE they had already done something wrong. The cops chased them on a judgement call, based probably on the notion that these guys had done something wrong and needed to be stopped and caught. And the guys who kept making bad decisions were dealt consequences – which makes a third wrong.

    It’s really a no-brainer who is at fault here. My mother always said “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

    Re the mayor: hey, if he said he would go down personally and clean off the graffiti, he should have donned his rain slicker, brought a step stool, bucket and brush and followed through on his promise. But he proved once again, he is not necessarily always a man of his word.

    TLJ

  4. ctrentelman says:

    I appreciate any and all comments but I would request we avoid trying to decide who is “at fault” here — the facts are clear, but the tragedy for all concerned, all four families, is equally clear.

    Let’s leave it at that and let the courts, and the funeral parlors, do their thing, ok?

  5. Lisa Larsen says:

    I’m not sure that this is the appropriate place for this but since you were blogging about the mayor and graffiti…I have to comment about how disgusted I was watching Bruce Edwards, once again, embarrass himself and Historic 25th Street as he wrote in three foot high letters the proverbial “F-word” and Ogden on the transom windows above the door of his building yesterday. This was during an Arbor day celebration that was being held in the parking lot across the street which was being attended by students of Ogden Prep, Weber State and a group of developmentally disabled young people. The mayor was giving a talk, which is why I am sure Bruce wanted/needed the attention. It worked, the police came, he got a mention in the paper this morning and I’m mentioning it here…but my God, first amendment or not, the guy just needs to go away!

  6. Cathy McGregor says:

    Just wondering…is the graffiti still there?

  7. Cathy McGregor says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if someone associated with the people who caused this tragedy put the graffiti on the pole as a part of their ongoing effort to stir up sympathy.
    Either way – I’m willing to go paint over it right now if it’s still there and put an end to this stupidity. Mr. Trentelman, your comments here only fuel the fire not defuse it. If it’s raining stupid – you’re one of the drips!

  8. The Lovely Jennifer says:

    Cathy – I was more intrigued by Mr. Trentleman’s comments on the mayor not showing up as promised – I had already read the paper, and formed an opinion.

    As far as fueling fires, I think any fires regarding Mr. Mayor’s broken promises need to be fueled – and with the most potent accelerant available! Two years comes up fast and it’s election time again! The voters need to be educated.

    TLJ

  9. Cathy McGregor says:

    I wasn’t talking about the Mayor – I don’t even live in Ogden.

  10. Cheryl says:

    Charlie, I think you hit the nail and the head and I’m proud of you for stating what many of us are thinking. There aren’t good or bad Hispanics, good or bad Whites, there are just PEOPLE who make bad choices.

    If you are going to KILL ALL HISPANICS, you have to kill me, my husband and my children. We had nothing to do with this tragedy, we just happen to be.

    Our grandson was Murdered by a WHITE woman and we didn’t paint KILL ALL WHITE people on a lamp post. We waited for the police and justice system to do theirs jobs, which is what people in Ogden need to do.

    Kudos Charlie, keep up the GREAT work!!

  11. Catherine H says:

    Mr. Charlie–great blog. I believe the mayor will talk close to us with his lips and draw from us with his actions.

    Stupidity is a race and a culture. Unfortunately none of us are guiltless of it. I only hope most will see the stupidity before they act.

    Keep up the superb work. I always enjoying reading your insight. I’ve always loved the Twilight Zone. Remember the child who controlled the town?

    Cathy

  12. Cathy McGregor says:

    Cheryl, I am sorry for the loss of your grandson. And of course you did not go vandelize a lamp post because of it. Neither did the families of these boys. More than likely the vandelizers were people who were not immediate friends or family. More than likely it was someone who was trying to stir up trouble. And it looks like they succeeded. People – lets’ not make a mountain out of a mole hill here. The graffiti is gone now. Although the gang tag that has been there for looks like a very long time is still there. Anyone care about that? I didn’t think so…
    I;m sure Blake and Derek’s parents would love for all the publicity over their son’s death to go away now. I know Derek’s family. Derek was one of my daughter’s close friends. He was in our home two days before his death. Believe me when I say that they are modest, humble people who would love to see the upheaval surrounding this tragedy be put to rest. They have said many times that they don’t blame anyone for their son’s death. Let’s follow their example and let the healing begin.

  13. Cathy says:

    according to the ogden police, painting “kill all mexicans” on a light post is just freedom of speech. i’ll have to remember that, next time i get my hands on a can of spray paint.

    i’m not going to use the f-word (fault) – but … don’t you think the police should be caring about these things in order to keep the peace?

  14. anne says:

    Just a thought as i have been reading all the comments concerning this article. It seems to me that the person known as flatlander100 keeps telling people it would be easy for them to go and buy a can of spray paint and remove the offending graffiti instead of that person going and buying a can of paint and doing it himself. And Mr. Trentelman, I love your columns thank you for the work that you do.

  15. ctrentelman says:

    i had a piece of steel wool to scrub it off when I went down Sunday to do some pinhole photography, but someone else beat me to it.

    I don’t buy the “freedom of speech” arguement as it pertains to this sort of thing. It may not be illegal to write it, but it’s also quite legal for anyone to cover it over. What bothered me was the image of all these press people standing around watching it to see what happened, as if them doing that didn’t create the situation they were covering. Flatlander100 said my original post was a bit cynical, and that’s why.

  16. aggie says:

    I don’t know if the first amendment reaches to hate speech. It might. I always consider the source. I noticed that B Edwards has not stopped his childish behavior. Thanks Charles

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