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This old man has trouble understanding certain issues

Date: 10/16/2014

There are many things I don’t understand and like the Tommy Lee Jones characters in “No Country for Old Men,” I would like to think that past life experience would provide me with the tools to comprehend the issues I come across.

Instead I can identify with Jones’s character who realizes all of his knowledge can’t explain away certain things.

I still don’t get why I see young men waddling around with their pants hanging on their knees and their boxers exposed. I don’t get why people load speakers in their cars so they blast their own music loud enough that prevents me from hearing my television in my home.

Yes, I’m old. I don’t get it.

I don’t understand why people want to stand in the street screaming at each other having some sort of domestic argument – swear at the top of their lungs in front of their young children.

I’m continually gobsmacked that no matter what I do to complain about a neighbor with a dead car in his yard nothing apparently happens. He has now built a stockade fence to block the view of the wreck from the street.

It baffles me, as well as bigger issues.

Take our recent interest in Ebola as an example. For years, the international community responded at a certain level to the annual outbreaks of the deadly disease in Africa. There seems to be a comfortable status quo as long as the virus stayed where it originated.

No one apparently ever conceived of a situation in which the virus would travel to the United States and Europe. This is what I don’t understand. This isn’t the 18th century. We have quick travel between the continents.

Now, of course, we are on full Ebola panic and I’m sure some people will be making some money off the fear.

Could this current situation have been prevented, if international health officials and members of western governments taken a more proactive course years ago?

Massachusetts voters will be asked to cast their votes for several ballot questions this year. One of those involves expanding the current bottle bill to include glass and plastic containers for all non-alcoholic, non-carbonated drinks with the exception of dairy products, infant formula and certain medications.

The idea is to address the litter caused by water bottles and the like. The currently bottle bill has worked wonders in providing an incentive for people to properly dispose of soda and beer cans and bottles.

The argument against the expansion is that we don’t need it. Communities have recycling efforts and these plastic and glass bottles ought to go into a recycling bin rather than be redeemed for cash.

Again, there is a moment I can’t help but question. Do the big supermarkets that are behind the “no” vote effort really want me to believe that human nature has changed? We don’t have 100 percent participation in municipal recycling services, so what makes them believe that people will recycle these containers?  

They won’t. Without a compelling reason – a cash value – water bottles will continue to be heaved out of car windows and dropped on sidewalks.

This won’t encourage additional recycling. It will bring about more litter.

There is another question on the ballot with another questionable argument.

We should automatically raise the gas tax in the Commonwealth to provide the money we need for infrastructure repairs.

How about having a government that addresses these repairs with an adequately funded annual budget?

Perhaps we can siphon money from other programs that may not be as necessary?

No, that might make sense, so naturally we won’t do that.

The world seems to present more questions than answers – at least to me.

Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.