by David Sisler

One of my all-time favorite movies is “Forrest Gump.” A classic line, from among many, occurred each time someone asked, “Gump, are you stupid?” And Forrest would reply, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Well, the Gumpster could have been describing a lot of us.

Consider the following news items, for which I, your humble scribe, award the SIASD award.

SIASD Award for Best Impersonation of Judicial Wisdom

Chip Melton, 32, was sentenced in Richmond County (Georgia) State Court to one year of probation and a $108 fine for one count of furnishing alcohol to a minor. No problem there, other than the fact that the sentence was too lenient.

The SIASD goes not to Mr. Melton, or to the Court for their wimpy sentence, but to the ninny, whoever he or she may be, who has allowed the 19-year-old woman back out on the streets, and behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

The unnamed guzzler has three drunken-driving charges pending. Lock her up and put whoever let her out the first two times in the cell next door.

Without editorial comment, I also report that the teenaged tippler has accused Mr. Melton of sexual battery.

SIASD Award for Best Performance by a Supporting Structure

Next, a one-size fits all SIASD is awarded to the fighting in Najaf, Iraq.

Shiites (be careful with your vowels, writer) are being hammered senseless by U.S. air strikes and artillery. Maybe they were senseless before the bombing started, but they have sure picked a good spot to hunker down.

The fighting has moved to within 200 yards of the revered Imam Ali Shrine and calls for cease fires have failed. Sooner or later American troops and/or their Iraqi partners will go in and root out the insurgents, and the shrine will be damaged. The hue and cry will be raised that the Great Satan has spoiled sacred sites. The fact that the terrorists chose that as their Alamo (and my apologies to the brave Texicans for my metaphor) will be forgotten or ignored.

According to the Law of Armed Conflict, if churches, hospitals and related structures are used as sanctuaries from which combatants attack opposing forces, then such structures become legitimate targets of war.

Because of the cowardice of the terrorist forces, America has been placed in a lose-lose situation. If we damage the shrine, we lose. If we fail to root out the terrorists, we lose.

But the SIASD is justly awarded to those who first soiled holy ground – the Shiite fighters.

SIASD Award for Outstanding Security Measures

A SIASD is awarded to the Yummies Up On Carpet Corridor who refuse to allow racial profiling in America’s airports. This award is prompted by the crash of two airlines which flew out of Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on August 25.

The planes departed separately, some 40 minutes apart, but crashed within minutes of each other.

Suspecting Chechen terrorists, officials at Domodedovo, an airport from which I have flown frequently to Samara, Russia, cracked down on an already tight security. Photographs from Domodedovo show armed men checking identification of dark-skinned males – people who racially resemble Chechens.

In Russia, rounding up the usual suspects usually means rounding up Chechens, and while Vladimir Putin’s government has made mistakes, failing to round up Chechens when Chechens are suspected is not one of them. The Chechens may be totally and unquestionably innocent in this case, but if they are suspected, they, and not another racial or ethnic group, are questioned.

As I have said in this space on more than one occasion, belaboring what we all know, but what seems to be ignored at official levels, all of the September 11 hijackers were men of Arab descent. With apologies to all of the innocents, until and unless we put tighter security systems into effect, and that includes racial profiling, we remain almost as vulnerable as we were on September 11.

A SIASD to Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta, and all of officialdom, who resist this logical security measure.

SIASD Award for Innovative Wardrobe Selection

From the front page of The Augusta Chronicle comes today’s fourth SIASD honoree, Clarence Darlington III, age 13.

Mr. Darlington was put in detention because of a t-shirt he wore to Spirit Creek Middle School. The offending shirt featured an American flag and a bald eagle.

Reading the headline, “Boy gets detention for patriotic t-shirt,” I was up in arms until I read further.

Darlington violated Richmond county’s dress code by wearing a shirt other than the prescribed solid red, solid white, or solid blue. No logos – of any kind – are allowed. Period.

“Well, that’s stupid,” I said. “Change the law so the American flag can be worn in an American school.”

And while I still say that, I kept reading.

Mr. Darlington was warned earlier about wearing a black shirt. Darlington just can’t seem to follow instructions. Isn’t that why he is in school? If you don’t want detention, and if you don’t want suspension – which is what he will earn for his next violation – follow the rules until the rules are changed. Stupid is as stupid does.

SIASD Award for Special Effects During an Election

Finally, I award a SIASD to election officials in New York and Florida.

It seems that 46,000 people are registered to vote in both states, and since computer records are routinely purged between elections, there is no way to tell how many of them actually voted twice.

Voting twice in the same election is a violation of federal law punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The New York Daily News reports that “registering in two places is illegal in both states, but the duplication goes undetected because election officials don’t check rolls across state lines.”

Remembering that 537 votes was President George W. Bush’s margin of victory in Florida, it seems that all of that concern about chads who were hung was merely needless fretting.

Of the 46,000 voting cheaters (and we thought it was bad when the dead voted in Chicago) 68 percent are registered Democrats. Sixteen percent didn’t claim a party. The Republicans came in last with 12 percent. Considering those figures, it is a miracle – and I use that word in the literal, biblical sense – that the election was not stolen from the Grand Old Party.

The New York Daily News also notes that 1,700 of those registered to vote in both states requested that their absentee ballots be mailed to their home in the other state, where they are also registered. And even that went unnoticed by election officials.

Proving that politics really has ceased to be honorable, efforts to prevent voters from registering and balloting in more than one state depend on the honor system!

Can you say, “Asleep at the switch?”

Can you say, “Who is watching the watchers?”

Can you say, “Stupid is as stupid does?”

Until next time, remember the t-shirt I saw sometime ago draped over the shapely form of a young lady. With an arrow pointing to the young man on her right, the legend said, “I’m with stupid.”


BY THE WAY, if you are interested, the first presentation of the SIASD may be found by clicking here.

Copyright 2004 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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