From Left Field

    In Florida, a person can be arrested and sent to prison for up to three years for pointing a gun at someone. But that same person can shoot and kill that same someone, claim it was in self-defense and, due to the state's "stand your ground" law, cannot be arrested unless it can be proved the shooter was in no way threatened.
    In Indiana, the City of Decatur cannot prohibit guns in most places throughout the city, including parks and libraries, thanks to a new state law so courageously passed by our state legislators — most whom rail about keeping the government out of our lives..
    So is it any wonder that a security guard is posted at a recent town hall meeting held by State Rep. Matt Lehman and State Senator Eric Holdman in the Decatur library after a rather raucous meeting earlier? Yet someone in the audience gets all huffy, demanding to know why a security guard is present.
    The logical answer: Why not?
    Meanwhile, it's become almost a weekly occurrence that someone shoots up a college, a high school, a factory, retail store and on and on. Some teenagers get in an argument around the canal in downtown Indianapolis, out comes a gun and boom! boom! There's an argument in a Fort Wayne tavern, they "take it outside," and boom! someone is no longer alive.
    People die, we bury the dead and move on
    Last fall, a man is brandishing a gun in front of superior court on Third St. in Decatur. Police arrive and, eventually, the man is shot and wounded by police after allegedly threatening officers. Later we learn he allegedly was unhappy with Judge Pat Miller.
    The point of all this is that given how we are inundated with guns and with violence, is it any wonder that Judge Miller is so deeply concerned with security in the superior court building? The building is almost sieve-like in terms of security.
    The building, as city Councilman Bill Crone was saying the other night, was built at a time when people were urged to come inside, to mingle with public officials. It was constructed as a "open" building. Those days are longer gone than cheap gas.
    Yes, we want funds to be spent wisely, and thoughtful planning is always advocated. But the time to do something about that building and that court long ago arrived, and for the safety of the judge and his staff, as well as the probation officers and staff who work in the same building, it is imperative that something be done sooner rather than later. "Later" has already been used up.

Oh, good...more replay
    When did we get video replay in basketball?
    Suddenly in this modern age of bump-and-run, no-travel basketball, if someone gets an elbow high or flexes a muscle too strongly, we are immediately saddled with a question of the possible presence of a flagrant foul. So off go the officials to spend 10 minutes looking at a TV monitor while the fans preen for the cameras, holding up No. 1s; the players stand around, totally disinterested; and those of us in front of ye ol' big screen are inundated with another five or six commercials, a plug for two upcoming shows, and a message from the NCAA trying to convince us about how wonderful it is that all those NBA-bound players really are students first and athletes second.
    There also have been instances in this now-completed basketball season (NBA doesn't count; we said "basketball") where the folks in the black and white stripes have spent lots of minutes in front of a TV screen trying to determine whether there were 6.4 or 6.5 seconds left in regulation when the ball went out of bounds.
    If there's one thing basketball doesn't need, it's dragging out even more the last few minutes of a game, when timeouts are more plentiful than cheerleaders. Some checking on the Ohio State-Kansas game last week revealed that it took 28 minutes to play the last 10 on the scoreboard.
    And oh, yes, by the way, the National Football League has now decided that all turnovers during a game will be reviewed   
    At this rate it won't be long before we're having reviews of the reviews to make sure the reviewers got the review right.
    And more reviews, of course, mean ... (drum roll!) more commercials!