MASTERSON ONLINE: Our ubiquitous bustle



I doubt any of us can remember a time in our lives when anger, disrespect, strife, arguments, and nasty name-calling were so pervasive in this ancient United States. . Some say that the dark cloud of negativity is weighing more and more heavily on our national psyche.

Once respectful (and often boring) town halls and school board meetings have often turned into bitter battlegrounds filled with outraged parents.

What does it say about what we have become as a once proud country, united in a tightly interwoven moral patchwork of patriotism, compassion and mutual respect?

Anyone remember our spirit of solidarity in the aftermath of 9/11? Two decades later, it has become common for many to be suspicious of government and the agendas and motives of others. I see unfair attacks on other Americans who think differently from their attackers, as if they have to become obedient and stupid sheep rather than the complex human beings that we are.

For example, too many people have rushed to demonize their fellow citizens by calling them “racists”, as if this grossly overused insult still had some meaning. When you recklessly call someone they disagree with as a racist, what then do you call a bona fide racist? A double racist?

I think the vast majority of ordinary Americans are not racists. Yet many carry this label simply because they disagree with the radical views of an ideology.

Instead, like me, the victims of these defamations believe in what was once appreciated: to live their lives as they prefer while letting others live theirs.

And in a nation with such diverse and constitutionally protected views, religions and cultures, who among us is qualified to determine “acceptable” versus “unacceptable” reasoning?

When did one person’s supposed offense take precedence over another person’s words or actions? Which alleged offense is more worthy of attention, and who even makes such a decision? A panel of judges? A frame of mind policing?

Dear friends, this untenable situation must be resolved if our divided nation is to survive.

We should know from the ugliness we have observed in normally mild school board meetings (of all places) how deep anger has run into the hearts and minds of honest citizens and paying parents. taxes to support their child’s education.

Many believe that such dissensions and conflicts cannot occur by mere circumstance. There must be a calculated political force and an agenda running behind such a spread of hatred and mistrust.

Unfortunately, it is not effective to call on our higher angels to soften the rising waters of passionate conflict, especially in the absence of genuine higher leadership. Few listen to lame arguments and political agendas that make no sense to these adults whose precious children are at stake.

And that leaves our national situation in a dangerous and difficult place as spending spirals out of control, inflation skyrockets, supplies dwindle, crime soars, fuel prices rise, airlines melt, covid continues to spread and our sovereign America continues to be inundated with citizens of other nations who hope to collect half a million dollars in our taxes each just for showing up illegally in our country.

It seems to me that prayer, and a lot of it, is in order.

Shortage of veterinarians

We dropped Benji off at the vet the other day. It was time for another shot and exam which he passed with flying colors. The only concern was the half pound he had gained since the last visit. Hard to imagine that a 12½ pound dog could be overweight.

It made me wonder how our state could behave when it comes to vets, so I went looking for some answers. I was surprised and somewhat disappointed with what I found.

A study by Vet Near Me ( determined that our beloved Arkansas is No. 1 in the country (Yay! Uh, well, not so fast) by having the fewest number of vets employed per capita.

With our largely rural and agricultural population of over 3 million (compared to just over 2 million recorded in the 1980 census), I would have thought we would be in the heart of veterinary paradise for our size.

No need to consult with old Mike about his limited logical breeding skills.

Among the main results of this study are 14.2 veterinarians per 100,000 Arkansans. And who, you might ask, was the greatest number of vets employed?

Well that would be South Dakota, which would have actually been almost the end of my guesswork.

There is a 58 percent difference between South Dakota (48.3 per 100,000) and Minnesota No. 15 (28.6) and a 70 percent difference between South Dakota and Arkansas. The study finds that a third of the top-ranked states in the country are in the Midwest, where agriculture is king. Only five states had at least 40 veterinarians per 100,000 population.

Veterinarians in Arkansas, West Virginia, Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi and Florida (all in bottom 15) earn 115 to 146% more than their state’s average salaries . Arkansas is the highest paying state for vets.

A computer analysis appears to reflect the popularity of veterinary services.

For example, the term “vet near me” is searched over half a million times a month. In 2020 and so far in 2021, Google’s searches for “online veterinarian” have reached new heights, according to the study.

So dear readers, if like us you already have a veterinarian for your dear furry four-legged child, please be thankful that he or she is receiving the medical care they need in our state with the dubious distinction of being at least No. 1. number of veterinarians employed.

Pirates on the porches

As the Christmas season approaches, I noticed a study that found Arkansas to be the seventh state most likely to be plagued by porch pirates. Online shopping is expected to approach $ 207 billion this holiday season.

CCTV Camera World reported that last year 20 billion packages were shipped across the country, and 43% of Americans reported stolen packages.

The wiser among us will make arrangements to be available to accept packages upon arrival rather than leaving them alone on the porch for hours.

Sad we are at this state in a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles. I don’t know what you’re gonna do, but I’m attaching a doorbell camera.

Now go out into the world and treat everyone you meet exactly the way you want them to treat you.

Mike Masterson is a longtime journalist from Arkansas, was editor of three Arkansas dailies, and led the Masters of Journalism program at Ohio State University. Email him at [email protected]



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