My turn: Steamed up over 'Bong Hits' saga

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2008

When does the press put a stop to the "fueling of the fire?" I am of course referring to the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" court case that is now going once again to our court system.

This is not the most important news in my life at the moment. I do understand that this young man feels that his civil rights were violated. I also understand the rights of our school system to protect the rest of the children from certain things. That includes a student who may or may not understand the power of the civil rights he is exploiting.

Now that we know they are both right and wrong at the same time, and that they both acted badly, let's get back to the point.

Most of the tax-paying citizens of this state and country will probably tell you that this is a complete waste of our limited resources. How much money of the general public's has been spent defending, hearing or trying this case of poor judgment? How much longer can these people keep beating this already-dead horse? How much longer will the press such as the Juneau Empire keep putting the travesty of justice and civil rights on the front page of "our" paper.

Make no mistake - this paper does not belong to a person or a corporation, it belongs to the people that read it. Without them this paper is nothing. An example of real news might fall under the category of why exactly am I paying more than $4.50 for a gallon of gasoline and more than $5 for heating fuel.

Why exactly does a political party get to choose the candidate that I get to vote for in the presidential elections? Why are not all general elections publicly funded? Tell us what exactly we can do the help a community that has lost its cannery to the IRS. And let's not forget about our Gov. Sarah Palin, who may or may not have violated the code of ethics she swore she would uphold. This is news to us. I for one would like to see some real news on the front page of my newspaper.

"Bong Hits 4 Jesus" belongs under the obituaries. It is dead! Stop fueling this fire for a couple of special interest groups and a few lawyers that want to get their names in the papers.

I am going to tell you my opinion on this subject. The person involved was not trying to make a political statement, or even a religious one. This was the act of a kid who was trying to be funny, and violated school policy during a school function. The administrators of the school policy overreacted. And this whole incident that should have been over six years ago is still making front page news.

For the love of whatever god you find holy, or just find sacred to your own personal beliefs, please be more responsible with the news. The power of the press is a monumental power indeed. And I quote a great man, Stan Lee: "With great power, comes great responsibility." I know this comes from a fictional character; however, the message is nonetheless true.

• Ben Wood is a Juneau resident.

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