Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Overreactions can get people in trouble

Ned Cantwell

Newspaper junkies can’t pass a row of racks without sticking in a handful of quarters. Serious print addicts have been known to pick up classified throwaways and spend the lunch hour reading about used refrigerators.

There’s a reason for this. Read long enough and deep enough and you uncover wonderful nuggets not likely to be gleaned from the glimpse available on the TV report. Examples, you say? OK.

Roswell’s Tim Jennings, a prominent Democratic State Senator, was furious with The Bill, our own governor Richardson who another Alien City rep, Republican Dan Foley, called “drunk with power, just drunk with power.”

Tim blasted the guv for his treatment of certain lobbyists, called for an apology, and said if “…. this Legislature does not stand up on their feet and defend this institution, this governor will take us all straight to hell.”

This has to be welcome news to Janet Jackson who has been led to believe she is the one taking us all straight to hell.

Sen. Jennings, consumed with fury, also noted something to the effect that “if someone doesn’t stand up to him, nobody will.” The logic is unassailable.

Those who think The Bill is just a big, old huggable teddy bear need to think again. The guy brings out real venom among some who wander the Roundhouse corridors. Richardson’s threat to call a special session if the Legislature didn’t come through with some action on his pet projects fomented the following overreaction from Republican Sen. Diane Snyder of Albuquerque:

“His threatening, abusive behavior is conduct unbecoming a governor, especially one who represents a state as special as New Mexico.” Apparently, it is perfectly acceptable to be threatening and abusive if you are the governor, of, say, Arizona.

Not all questionable reactions are limited to politics. Take Colorado football coach Gary Barnett, who, incidentally, quite likely is available for the taking. Katie Hnida, a football place-kicker at UNM, was once a member of Barnett’s Colorado team.

This Barnett reaction to charges by Katie she was raped by a Colorado teammate four years ago: “Katie was not only a girl, she was terrible. … It’s obvious Katie was not very good. She was awful.”

Well, gosh, if you’re not a good football player, then. …. Sorry, coach, you need to send in a different play.

But all is well in the Land of Enchantment. As President Bush said after a visit last year, “We’ve had a great weekend here in the Land of the Enchanted.”

People who speak in passion or off the cuff can be excused for dumb stuff that comes out in the newspaper. Not so with columnists who have all week to prepare their remarks.

For instance, let’s say there is this hypothetical columnist who wrote this hypothetical column bemoaning the state of society. Say he cited as example a bill in the New Mexico legislature requiring manufacturers to add a bittering agent to antifreeze so people won’t drink it.

Then the hypothetical columnist finds out the bittering agent is required so dogs, not people, won’t drink the stuff.

You might say this writer is a hypothetical idiot. And I think you know whom we are talking about. Me, that’s whom.

Ned Cantwell lives in Ruidoso where he is busy fact checking future columns. Contact him at:

[email protected]

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