National Newspaper Week begins today.
I fully accept and acknowledge when it comes to the value of newspapers I am totally biased. I completely support this year's slogan "Newspapers: The Cornerstone of Your Community."
I know of no other daily medium that provides in-depth information, analysis, entertainment, opinion (both ours and yours) , sports information, meeting schedules, club and social activity updates, faith-related information and services, and countless other pieces of news valuable to the reader and puts it at your door every morning.
Yes, I am biased. I've been working at newspapers as a reporter and editor since 1970 and never would have stayed in this crazy, stressful, demanding, never-ending, ever-changing career if I didn't fully believe what we do in our profession is important to keep the public informed about what directly and/or indirectly affects them and their daily lives.
Yes, the newspaper industry has changed dramatically since my first byline at a six-day paper in Delaware, Ohio, when newspaper people constantly were told we were dinosaurs and radio and television would put us out of business within a decade. Four decades later those same naysayers tell us the Internet, which gets most of its reliable information from newspapers and other printed news products, will put us out of business.
Well, we are still here, journalism is still being taught in colleges, college graduates are still finding jobs in the industry and people still want their newspaper at their front door in the morning to read with breakfast or at their business when they arrive for the day.
Of course the industry has changed. We've had to adapt, become more web-friendly, expand our horizon and seek new markets and revenue streams, but isn't it that way with all viable, ongoing enterprises?
This week we will salute newspapers and share ideas and columns dealing with the future of our industry; we will blow our own horn because there certainly are those in opposing mediums that want our horns to be permanently still, thus denying the public a place to express themselves, exercising free speech and a supporting a free press.
National Newspaper Week is our time to remind readers we are their cornerstone of their community.
If there is any doubt that bath salts are dangerous, the fatal shooting of an armed, threatening man who was high on the illegal drug should end the debate.
The evidence surrounding the fatal shooting of Jody Wilson by three Wood County sheriff's deputies verified through autopsy that Wilson was under the influence of bath salts, had more bath salts in his possession and had fired several rounds from a .223-caliber semi-automatic rifle at deputies after they confronted him and tried to take him into custody at his mother's Lubeck home.
The events leading to the shooting can directly be attributed to bath salts, which have the side effect of driving the user to paranoia.
According to the evidence presented to the grand jury - which found the deputies had not violated any laws in their shooting of Wilson - Wilson was armed with a rifle, a Glock pistol and had a shotgun and several other weapons inside the house with multiple rounds of ammunition.
While no one wants to condone a man's death at the hands of law enforcement, there are times when officers have few options but to defend themselves and potentially protect others by using deadly force. And, the fatal shooting of Wilson would appear to be one of those sad, tragic incidents.
The exhaustive evidence, crime scene photos, crime scene diagrams, interviews of witnesses and law enforcement officers, autopsy report, toxicology report, ballistic reports, 911 telephone call analysis, radio transmission analysis was impressive nearly beyond comprehension.
It would appear when Wilson first began his drug abuse, he started down the path that ended his life, the final step of which was when he exited the house with a raised weapon and fired three shots, according to evidence presented to the grand jury, and deputies returned fire.
The entire episode is beyond senseless and tragic, but unfortunately is one of the serious outcomes of drug abuse and especially bath salt use.
Sadly, all those involved in this shooting have to carry the tragedy with them for the remainder of their lives because taking a life should never be done lightly.
Contact Jim Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org