Friday, June 18, 2010

Guest Column - Citizens for change?

Jim Foutz and I have been on the opposite sides of the fence for years. He was vocal when I was at The Advocate… he remains vocal today. I don’t agree with all of his points, but I strongly suggest you get all sides of the issue in coming to your conclusions. He has done his research and is willing to take responsibility for his opinions. By the way, his comment about my comment is true… but I stand by it.

Citizens for change?
James Foutz, Greenville

What burns me is people sitting in their ivory towers on their thrones passing judgments on others who speak about those that after being released from prison have not re-offended or done anything criminally wrong. The uneducated fears and smears spread by those like Councilmen Baumgardner and gang, who proudly state “we need the city to run them out of town and close all of John Grahams’ residential “facilities” are due to fear and what may happen.
In fact, if anyone takes just a few moments and checks with local law enforcement it can be shown and proven that little if any serious issues or problems with any of these isolated and low number individuals coming into these facilities have caused any real problems or harm to anyone.
As the records clearly indicates, a large majority of those out of town residents (which in reality have only been a few) leave the area and return to their original places or to other areas outside of Darke County after the maximum 90-day stay. Most don’t even stay anywhere near the 90 days allowed under the direction of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation, directives which Mr. Graham follows and is closely monitored by the state to which he must comply or face sanctions like losing funding or facing possible closure to these facilities.
In this case anyways, in these residential facilities, the myths and lies, fears and smears to scare people are totally not factual, but are misleading and disturbing! This group of individuals spreading fear, hate, anger, hostility and inciting panic among our community by spreading more falsehoods and outright lies once again as they have before (unsuccessfully) is baseless and extremely ignorant!
For Mr. Robinson, whom I have a great deal respect for, even though we disagree on many topics, political and otherwise, to say in his weekly blog which he writes on the internet now, humans such as these should be “drawn and quartered” is not only extreme, but barbaric.
Murderers many times get less prison time and even less restrictions/mandates than those who are labeled predators or sexual offenders. The wide classification encompasses so many people for so many diverse offenses placing everyone into one category or another and painting them all with one broad brush throwing each of them to the fire. It’s frightening, appalling and very disturbing that we allow our judicial system to lump many of them in together and requires such sentences or release conditions, some people even calling for the death penalty for such offenders.
Why does this group hate and fear so much? Especially, when they such things as they wish to close all the shelters, including the one for the homeless? This is 2010 and we still have people with these type of mindsets and sad disturbing ideals, spewing and thrashing their hate and fear amongst us and towards others. I hope this community sees this for what it is and doesn’t play into this irrational and non-factual data that’s being once again spread throughout our little community.
We need to start actually helping those in need, like Mr. Graham is attempting to do with his organization, as are some others throughout Ohio and the U.S., in both small, as well as, larger communities. There is a need to help these people reshape and rebuild their lives after serving their time and after receiving their punishment.
Let’s work together and help stop this blatant ignorance, hatred and violence against these individuals by inciting such behavior, actions and communications through these types of groups like Baumgardner and company and start working together in a common cause for justice, fairness and equality for all people, regardless of difference or past circumstance.
But for this group to say this is their number one priority to clean and rid the city of all of these shelters homeless or otherwise is a sad, sad commentary and in my opinion certainly not in keeping with any Christian foundations which this county is alleged to be founded on.
What ever happened to giving people a second chance, even those who made serious mistakes for various reasons, after being convicted, sentenced and who have served their time an opportunity to re-enter our communities and society? I was brought up that Jesus taught the opposite of what this fanatical extreme over the top fear and smear group is attempting to do. I only hope the majority in our county see this for what it is, another political/social agenda and ploy, even though they say otherwise.
Apparently in Darke County, talking the talk is quite easy to do, but when it comes to being and behaving like real true Christians, many of those wrapping themselves up in the cloth of Jesus and the bible fail. In other words talk is cheap it is by the actions that proves to oneself and others the character, destiny and new path that they are attempting to follow as worthy productive members of our community.
This same issue and same group chose to incite and fight a “losing” battle and whom made a spectacle and uproar within our community a few years ago with Safe Haven, a mental health support and recovery center, when they relocated to a residential neighborhood.
These same individuals attempted to block it, simply out of uneducated fears, myths and misconceptions, when Safe Haven took over a empty church on Fair Street. That too has proven to have little, if any negative impact or consequences to our community or neighborhood for which it resides. In fact, it actually provides extremely valuable programs to those in need of mental health recovery services.
So let’s all take a step back, take some deep breaths and fully analyze this situation before going any further off the deep end and take a few moments to simply gather some basic facts regarding our local community and these much needed programs.


Geirwir Edd said...

Hope Saturday does not become a witch hunt and that people attend to actually learn rather than condemn.

That's My Opinion said...


shamrock said...

Does Mr. Foutz have children or grandchildren in the area? This would be a huge factor in his opinion carrying weight. Secondly, I know he lives in an apartment, so does he own the bulding? If not, would not this factor in since property value would not be a concern for him.