ROUND TABLE: After arrest, time to cleanse our moral palates

Thankfully, serious crimes such as a bank robbery do not happen every day.

A buzz emerges in the community whenever a crime, and an arrest, are reported. “Justice” or at least judgment, tastes pretty sweet.

“Did they catch the guy?” was the quick question posed by community members when they encountered one of our news staff last week.

Happily, the authorities did catch a suspect, and they deserve plenty of credit for their quick progress.

Comments such as “he’s probably long gone,” when the initial ground search came up empty, were replaced by statements such as “he robbed the bank and stayed a few blocks away?” when the cuffs were placed on the young man on Monday.

The presumption of guilt filled a gap left by lack of clear information.

Yes, the arrest was made, and now that the police have taken care of the initial investigation and made an arrest, the time has come for the courts to handle matters.

Comical, quizzical and sometimes mean were the readers’ posts on our Facebook page (where the arrest story was broken, thanks in large part to prompt information from Police Chief Neal Holste and his staff).

Few people in the public know who committed the bank robbery on Sept. 12. The case is under adjudication, and in time the truth will out, in court, as must be the case.

We saw with the rapid response to Facebook that social media does have the double-edged effect of greasing the skids of judgment by the average person.

We all enjoy the “in the know” feeling that social media affords us. That the arrest took place during daylight hours in a residential neighborhood, with an audience, adds to the town-square quality of Observing the Arrest.

The suspect played to the crowd, in a way that surprised those of us who have seen this kind of thing happen. It is easy to draw conclusions from a suspect’s smug behavior and choice of attire. (A local winery is getting some free publicity, with a side of smirks.)

When visiting a winery and sampling its wares, a bowl of small crackers is typically provided the imbiber, in order to separate the flavor of one variety from the one to come.

Now that the excitement of the arrest has blown over, it’s time to put a proverbial palate-cleansing cracker in our mouths, and separate the zingy sense of initial rush to judgment from the paler need to let the courts handle it.

Not as exciting a selection, but when it comes to justice, don’t we all want a blind tasting?

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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