Man, some of y’all hate Andrew Vining.

That was the thought, driving away from the Town Hall Monday night where people gave their views on the lock down. Points were made, deficiencies were admitted, but some people, man, they just want Vining’s hide.

I’m not sure why, really. I mean yeah, sure, the guy’s no back-slapping used car salesman type, but the school system in Clinton is really good, great even, with refinements being made to the system weekly if not faster. And with that said, well sure, things ain’t what they used to be, but nobody said progress was easy.

I was driving in Tuesday morning trying to work this out. “Why,” I’m thinking, “are people so on to the school superintendent?” Monday’s meeting ended with ever-more-vitriolic calls for the guy’s resignation, firing, even impeachment, this in turn matching the social media hue-and-cry whenever his names comes up. I mean sure, don’t agree with a decision, but…

And, knowing I was going to write this, called around and talked to some people, asking them what they thought. It’s what you do when you’re a journalist. In one conversation - with a local businessman of some success - a term came up.


He pulled me up short on that one. See, it works like this: Terrorism is not what you see on the news, at least not in its fullness. Yeah, somebody blows up something, people get hurt and killed, that’s an act of terrorism. No debate there. And the purpose of setting off the bomb as to, of course hurt people. Also no debate.

But what people don’t realize is what the terrorists are ultimately trying to do: You set off enough bombs in enough places, and people, the theory goes, get mad at the government which is supposed to be protecting them, and rise up against it.

(This is a fairly simple overview of a complex subject. For example sometimes terrorism - setting bombs off - is designed to force the government into upping its protection of citizens. This reaches the point where people, tired of handing over their papers, rise up against the government. I could go on, but this is a newspaper column, not a graduate thesis.)

The important point here, is terrorism is designed to have people rise up against the existing government. The hope is the terrorists, once the people rise up, will be in a position to put the people they like into power and we will all live happily ever after.

It has been like this since the dawn of time. The serpent, dropping a “truth” bombshell, got Eve to bite the apple after all.

And here last week we had a lady, mad at some guy, make some phone calls (not the first time she’s done this), get things in an uproar, lockdown, confusion, anger, social media flame-fanning, ending with people waiting in line to shout into a microphone that Vining needs to be gone. Time to overthrow the government.

Terrorism in action, 101.

And just to be clear, the people making the call out were not terrorists, no. The terrorist was the lady who called the F.B.I. (not her first bomb) and got this ball rolling. The terrorist was the person who started the fire. It was the victims of terrorism who fanned the flames, who made the fire burn hotter and brighter and ended with people upset.

Which is exactly how it’s supposed to work.

Another conversation, the night of the town hall after it ended, with a law enforcement professional - also someone well regarded in the community. It was short.

“What did you think?” I asked.

“Emotional,” he said.

That’s all he had to say. It’s a given in any situation, least of all when a terrorist act is being done, to not act from emotion. Response needs to be from a place of reason, a place of consideration. It’s what we expect from, for example, judges, elected officials, well, really, officials, from people whose judgement (that word) we count on.

We should expect that of ourselves. Yeah sure, we all have that emotional response - we’re not robots after all - but let’s not let our emotions run out ahead of us. For that matter I know of one business owner and one law enforcement professional who live by that credo and are respected by the community.

Let’s not allow terrorist bomb-throwing to drive this conversation. If you feel like changes need to be made, there’s outlets for that (and hey, not everyone may agree with you). But let’s leave the torches and pitchforks out of this. Let’s not be unwitting victims of our own emotion; let’s not be the victims here.