Interesting place, Butts County. Small town living that looks like a step back into the fifties. Unfortunately, it seems that we really are fifty years behind. Remember “Romper Room?” I gaze into the looking glass….
…and I see a quick-draw sheriff who fancies himself a gunslinger and who by golly is gonna save this town, no matter what. Remember a situation a few months back when a jerk up near Atlanta decided to steal a truck that was left idling in a parking lot, and drove off, just as the owner had jumped onto the back in an attempt to stop him? As state police followed the stolen truck down the interstate, with the situation under control, and the owner hanging on and communicating via cell phone, the little caravan passed through Butts County, where Sheriff Gunslinger and his gunslinging deputies were lying in wait. Several shots were fired at the truck, blowing out the windshield but somehow missing the driver completely. What wasn’t missed, though, was a state trooper, who fortunately was wearing his vest, which stopped a bullet. Sheriff Gunslinger was later quoted in this very newspaper, expressing dismay at not blowing the thief’s head off. What did he think was going to happen to a truck going 60 miles an hour once the driver has his head blown off? Does that truck then roll over and kill the man hanging on the back? Or does it just swerve out of control and kill innocent people, maybe even Sheriff Gunslinger? Unbelievable. In most other parts of the country, this guy would have been out of a job and possibly in jail in about three seconds. Here, he gets to be on TV and even gets a chance to take a shot at another vehicle a few months later. Please stop him before he kills someone.
I also see another sad similarity to the fifties. According to the last census, there are almost 20,000 citizens in Butts, roughly 70 percent white and 30 percent black. Yet, when I recently visited the courthouse in town to take care of a business matter, I was one of only three white faces among the approximately 50 or so people crowding the room and the steps leading out to the sidewalk. I returned a couple weeks later to see if that was a fluke or business as usual. Sadly, it looked the same. Why is this?
I also see an apparent unwillingness by your elected officials to have a Wal-Mart, or any other big box store, anywhere in the county. As a small business owner a Wal-Mart might hurt me some, or it might not have an impact at all. No way to tell. That said, though, the bigger picture shows me a lot of people, young and old, who need jobs, and who don’t have cars to go to Spalding or Henry Counties. Say what you will about Wal-Mart’s employment practices, they do hire a lot of folks who would be considered unemployable anywhere else---people with criminal histories, those who never got past high school, or even people whose general physical appearance isn’t likely to get them on a magazine cover. These County Commissioners who keep getting elected are not looking out for everyone’s best interests. Even the Amish gradually accept progress. We ain’t Amish, folks. It’s almost 2010, but not here in Butts County.