MY TURN: Newcomers welcome; road ragers, get lost

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This is in response to the recent editorial about good/bad drivers in Idaho and the guest opinion from the anonymous newcomers from Southern California — VERY WELL PUT by both parties.

I wish to extend a warm welcome to these newcomers to North Idaho. It seems as though there are a few idiots out there who make both the North Idaho “lifers” and “transplants” look bad.

As a proud third generation native-born (or hatched) North Idahoan, I have never been in favor of the mass population growth in the last 30-plus years, as I have seen the repercussions such as congested traffic, higher crime and property tax rates, longer waits for services (i.e. the DMV) and a stiffer competition for both the use of recreational facilities and for better paying jobs. However, since it’s all beyond my control, I’ve learned to live with the cliche I heard back in the 1970s: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

I also want to be VERY CLEAR that I don’t fault anyone (regardless of their origin) who wishes to move here to be closer to family, have a safer place to raise their kids, or a better place to retire. That goes ESPECIALLY for the brave retired first responders (i.e. law enforcement, firefighters, military) who dedicated/risked their lives confronting dangerous situations many spineless wimps would either flee from with their tails between their legs, or just look the other way — I’m also a proud veteran, by the way.

The ones I don’t want moving here, along with the ones I’d like to see go back to where they came from, are the morons who bring along their smug attitudes, criminal tendencies and lousy driving habits. And let’s don’t forget the “high and mighty” ones who want to grace us with their presence and wealth, while they also try to dictate how Idaho “should be,” since that’s the way it was where they moved from.

I have to be fair and say we are equally guilty of lousy driving habits, as dear old Dad (also born in Coeur d’Alene) was one of the “Grandfathers of Road Rage.” I loved the guy dearly, but how he never ended up in the ER or got taken out by some whack job with a gun because of his road rage antics is what I consider to be sheer dumb luck.

I would love to see the lawmakers impose time behind bars (not behind the bar), or at least a lengthy suspension of driving privileges to these imbeciles who show signs of road rage, such as tailgating, passing illegally, flashing their brights, shouting obscenities and giving the “one-finger salute.” Then maybe they’ll have a little time to think about showing a little courtesy to their fellow motorists, and keep sight of the fact that driving is a “privilege” and not their “God-given right.”

It’s ironic how innovative technologies are steering us closer to the “Space Age,” while many of our declining societal values such as showing common courtesy and respect to one another are pushing us back to the “Stone Age.”

Again, I wish to welcome those newcomers to North Idaho. As to any other newcomers, I’ve said it before and,I’ll say it again: “Welcome to North Idaho and may you leave your troubles FAR behind.”

• • •

Robert F. Mitcham is a Coeur d’Alene resident.

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