Opinion: Racism, Scotland, Sammie: Chatstuff

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  • Photo by Steve Cameron Sammie the World's Greatest Cat still likes to drink in the sink.

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  • Photo by Steve Cameron Sammie the World's Greatest Cat still likes to drink in the sink.

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Well, naturally this is our day to do a chat column because …

Wait, what day is it, anyway?

I’m easily confused at the best of times, but over the holidays, keeping track of anything is pretty close to impossible.

Hey, there are plenty of items on the chat menu, though, so why worry about days of the week?

I’m here, and you’re here.

What else do we need?

We’ll just have Celine Dion step in and sing “My Heart Will Go On,” and try to forget that the Titantic actually did sink.

So let’s get on with things …

ITEM: I’ve gotten a lot of mail concerning the verdict handed down in the case of Richard Sovenski, the Hayden man who was charged with a hate crime for yelling horrible racial obscenities at kids in a church youth group.

Many, many, many of you must remember the neo-Nazi days, and you want the book thrown at people like Sovenski, the kind of guy whose racist shouts can make outsiders suspect us of being an angry white supremicist society.

What he did was disgusting.

Sovenski seemed to display every wrong North Idaho stereotype during his outburst, which was caught on tape in a McDonald’s parking lot.

I understand if you’re thinking Sovenski should have been found guilty of malicious harassment — which is a felony in Idaho.

Instead of that, jurors decided on a misdemeanor battery charge after hearing that there were some mitigating circumstances in the case.

Please don’t fault the jury, which spent six hours over two days watching video and listening to 14 witnesses.

Look, Idaho now has some of the strictest hate-crime laws in the nation, and for that we should be glad.

But remember, violation of these tough laws has to be proven — and the jury in this case did not believe the event merited a felony conviction.

Look at it another way: There are plenty of states where Sovenski would not have been charged with anything.

What he did was ugly, but the jury didn’t believe it rose to the standard of a felony.

We shoud respect their decision.

ITEM: Whoa, I might have started something serious with that mention of Scotland, bagpipes, and the photo of young piper Andrew Martinov.

Apparently, Dick Barclay wants to pick up the caber and run with it.

Well, actually, you don’t run very far in a traditional Highland caber toss, since a proper caber is 19 feet, 6 inches long and weighs 175 pounds.

No lightweights apply for that event.

At any rate, Dick started with thinking of a Burns Night (every Scottish community has an evening celebrating the poet Robert Burns), and it reminded him of, uh …

I think I’ll let Dick carry the caber — or at least the conversation — from this point, since he has plenty of background in the matter.

“When I lived in Spokane, we used to have a proper Burns Night,” Dick wrote.

“The St. Andrews Society took over one of the ballrooms at the Davenport Hotel and did the whole bit with pipers, dancers, a haggis with Burns’ address to same, and the gravy.

“I don’t know if you know the history of Coeur d’Alene. In the 1950s and ’60s we had a tattoo in Memorial Field with pipe band competitions, dancing and the works.

“At one time, the mayor declared that no one wearing a kilt would be thrown in jail.

“There are a lot of Scots around here.”

I’ve heard it, I believe it, and I want Dick to start the uprising for a Burns Night.

Canna go wrong.

ITEM: So many of you know her by now, I felt I had to mention that we’re in the process of losing Sammie the World’s Greatest Cat.

She once weighed 13 pounds, but on Thursday it was 6.2.

Sammie has some type of intestinal disease, and she’s not getting enough of the nutrients from her food.

If there is ANY good side to this, it’s that Sammie has no idea she’s dying.

Her outward routines, appetite and personality are just the same. She hasn’t yet lost energy, and still bounds up to the kitchen counter with that amazing ease that cats possess.

She’ll also still fight me for every bite of a Subway sandwich, and she’s become addicted to those orange cheese crackers filled with peanut butter.

The wonderful Dr. Kathryn Ovink at Rathdrum Animal Hospital is battling this damn disease as hard as humanly possible.

Sammie starts on some special, high-calorie food today.

The hope, and I’ve been assured it’s a long shot, is that Sammie somehow can get enough nutrients from that food to gain a tiny bit of weight, or at least not lose any more.

But whatever disease is hiding there in her intestines has been a miserable bitch.

Right now, though, Sammie is as much fun as ever, and …

I plan to cherish every day.


Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press.

A Brand New Day appears from Wednesday through Saturday each week.

Steve’s “Zags Tracker” columnon Gonzaga basketball runs on Tuesday.

Email: scameron@cdapress.com

Facebook: BrandNewDayCDAPress

Twitter: @BrandNewDayCDA

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