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November 10, 2005 | South Carolina Headlines


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What a difference a name makes
Ralph Bristol
September 14, 2005

An official in the Bush administration has referred to the New Orleans evacuees as “yard apes” and has not yet been fired.


That’s not true, but this is true. An official in the Barton administration has referred to New Orleans evacuees as “yard apes” and has not yet been fired.


Tom Barton, President of Greenville Tech, is appropriately shocked by the comment by the associate vice president of student services, Renee Holcombe, but he did not immediately fire her. Barton said he couldn't say whether Holcombe would remain in her current position because the school is consulting with attorneys on the action it can take.


Barton told the Greenville News that Holcombe made the comment at a briefing last Thursday to inform college employees of their roles as Greenville Tech bused hurricane survivors from the Palmetto Expo Center for registration. Barton said. "It was stated that we will take these yellow buses and go pick up these yard apes.”  Again, Barton has expressed shock over the comment.  He called it “asinine,” and said, “My God, how bad can bad get?”  But he didn’t immediately fire Ms. Holcombe. He’s consulting with his lawyer to see what the school can do.


Can you imagine if this story involved the Bush administration instead of the Barton administration, and President Bush had not yet decided whether to fire the offending person? Impeachment proceeding would be well underway.  There would be such a race to the microphones that any one of at least 50 U.S. Senators would have been trampled to death.


What a difference a name makes.


Football and flack jackets


The rumor mill has it Governor Sanford is thinking of activating the National Guard and declaring martial law.  No, not for Hurricane Ophelia – for high school football in Spartanburg County! What the heck is going on here?


Police and Sheriff’s officers are going to be attending high school football games en masse in Spartanburg and Gaffney after reports of shootings, gang fights and drug deals at last Friday’s games.


A teacher was leaving the Spartanburg game Friday night when she saw a large group of people fighting and then heard several gunshots.  People were running to their cars and diving for cover. Children were crying. The Spartanburg Public Safety Department will double its police presence at the next game as a result.


In Gaffney, Superintendent Dr. Bill James said groups gathering at the exits, entrances and sidewalks inside the stadium caused fights to break out.  Officers also found weapons on people they chased after witnessing a drug deal.


It’s a damn shame when parents and kids can’t go to a high school football game without worrying about getting caught in the crossfire of street gangs.  When it gets to the point that you can’t go to a high school football game without your flack jacket, you know something’s out of control.


Memorial madness


I wish I could find another phrase to replace “political correctness.”  It’s been used so much that people just tune out whenever you bring it up. But, call it what you will, it may have taken over the memorial for the 9/11 victims at the World Trade Center.


It seems the planners are going to attach an International Freedom Center to the WTC Memorial Museum. According to at least one account, the Freedom Center will dwarf the WTC Memorial, taking up 300,000 square feet, compared to 50,000 feet for the Memorial.


What will it include?  A multimedia tutorial about man's inhumanity to man, from Native American genocide to lynchings and cross-burnings in the South, from the Third Reich's Final Solution to the Soviet gulags and beyond.  Some have reported that it might even include a reminder of the abuses at Abu Graib prison in Iraq. Wouldn’t that be a lovely tribute to the 9/11 victims?


If anyone had tried to attach something like this to the new World War II Memorial, Bob Dole and Tom Hanks would have “taken them out back” and changed their minds. I can’t tell you why this terrible idea has not yet been nipped in the bud, other than it has not been on the radar screen of “big media.” 


Actually the right thing to do at the WTC site would be to create two memorials: a very prominent one for the heroes – the firefighters who died trying to save the victims – and a smaller one to the victims who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.


Any memorials or tutorials remembering victims of other historic acts of inhumanity should be erected at more appropriate places. This site should be reserved for those who died in this one unique act of brutality.

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Ralph, I appreciate your perspective but I disagree with one important point. All that perished at WTC deserve equal respect. And what about the remains of our collective "Heroes" that remain piled with NYC trash at Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island? Did America Forget? I'm a Singer/Songwriter and have been writing and performing for the 9/11 Families during the past few years. . . .

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