"I Enjoy The Responses of Readers"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013

During the eight years I have been writing this column, I’ve learned a lot. Among the things I learned are many people agree with my opinions. I know this because I receive notes in the mail, emails, phone calls and even had a very nice lady knock on my door to comment. Most messages relate appreciation for my saying something they would have said themselves.

Over the years, I’ve had responses from readers whose opinions differ from mine. These people also correspond by various ways. Some enter their comment in the area following the column provided online, others send letters to the editor and some email me or call. I’m also often stopped on the street or in a store while shopping.

I enjoy all the comments, pro and con, and they reinforce my belief that everyone has an opinion on matters. The contacts with my readers cause me to think of the other side of things when I’ve made statements.

You’re probably wondering if I will ever get to the point. I recently received a note from a young man from Bad Axe. He felt I was out of line on my column about legislation. The word “gun” (added to my headline during editing) changed the focus of the column, which was not necessarily incorrect, it simply highlighted a portion of my statements. The writer had a valued opinion which he detailed in his communication. I was reminded of myself as a young man by many of his comments. He certainly jogged some fond memories and, although I seldom reply to messages, I found it necessary to express my appreciation to him.

I received a few comments on the legislation column from around the county; one suggested I should “stick to fishing.” After researching, I found no record of any mass murders committed with a fishing rod, no matter how much monofilament was on the spool.

The response to my column was not surprising considering the topic is in the news daily. The variation of feelings expressed and age variables of those responding was unusual. As I see it, many of my columns draw opposing responses separated by age, but the younger generation is handicapped because they have not seen the changes older people have witnessed.

Young people cannot remember how things used to be because they have no knowledge of those times; times when guns were only discussed during hunting season. Today, we hear reports daily of gun-toting gangs and drive-by shootings. The reports are so common, younger people just accept and expect to hear them. Gangs are common today but were seldom heard of in the past. Most families in the past had only one vehicle and few high school kids had their own car. Schools often denied the use of parking areas to students to avoid youngsters tearing up the roadways around the school and speeding carelessly, creating hazards.

In the past, the majority of young people who were allowed to use the family station wagon were older, usually high school graduates. Today, every youngster is driving some type of vehicle by age 16. Those of us with a few more years experience, and some memory left, should remember our own antics however. Remember setting up drag strips on black-topped country roads and tearing up tires. The older tires didn’t hold up like today’s, or maybe it was because I couldn’t get started without laying a little rubber.

Lives being lost or cars wrecked hardly ever occurred. Remember, there were fewer cars and a lot less horsepower. There were also organized drag strips managed by responsible organizations like the NHRA and local car clubs.

Writing this column weekly sometimes raises questions and comments, but readers I hear from and their responses are rewarding. They give me pause to consider and think things over.




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