On the right lane: Sticky fingers

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“Once I pulled a job, I was so stupid. I picked a guy’s pocket on an airplane and made a run for it.”

Rodney Dangerfield, comedian

It might be my imagination but it seems like that there are a lot of crimes in the news lately here in Maine. Someone in Falmouth died as a result of stab wounds, a couple of standoff’s in nearby municipalities, a robbery at a car wash in Portland and three men arrested in Portland for attempting to rob a woman. Of course these are the stories that the news media choose to run and although I do read some of police happenings in local papers, I usually do not dig into the details of the crimes that are listed.

I will rephrase the last statement because I did notice something that makes meĀ  now wonder how frequently it does happen. In one paper, an individual was arrested on an outstanding warrant only to be arrested again a couple of days later on some type of drug charges. Now I do know that the push is on, from the president on down, to lessen the charges against those addicted on drugs but it seems to me if they do not want to be rehabilitated, then the legal system has to do something. I read the list of some of the criminals jailed for heinous crimes related to drugs that President Obama pardoned and some of them should be in prison for life. By the way, as I wrapped up this column last Monday, Channel 6 reported that deaths related to drug overdoses in Maine are happening at a record level already this year.

I was stationed in eight states, Germany, Vietnam and South Korea. Vietnam, of course, was a war zone when I was there so cross that one out. In South Korea I had a position that pretty much kept me occupied and not much time off to enjoy the country or the people. Germany, on the other hand, I had almost 10 years to explore and during much of that time lived in the local economy rather than on base, and I am glad I did. It was a learning experience for me and some of what I learned stays with me today. In Virginia I was stationed at the Pentagon and lived in Arlington. Some parts of our nations capital I was told to avoid and even Arlington suffered some crimes, including murder and many robberies. One of those crimes included a fast-food place where I worked part time and after the robbery four employees were forced into a cooler and shot in the head.

Back to living in Germany, it was no different than living here except for some difference in customs, culture and laws that one had to obey. What amazed me is that the police checked vehicles for unlocked doors and if one was found, the owner received a ticket that included a fine. I actually have no idea what would have happened if I had left my keys in my car. (By the way, I never received a ticket for an unlocked car.) Apartment doors always locked behind you when you left, so one quickly learned to always have their keys in their possession. Now on the other side of overkill was that there were cameras in traffic lights to catch those who ran red lights and hidden boxes that contained radar that took a picture of your license plate if you were speeding.

Now I understand from talking with some friends this past weekend that at least two, if not more, vehicles were stolen in Windham. I haven’t seen anything in the news but that doesn’t surprise me at all since I live in Windham. I also understand that the vehicles may have been unlocked with the keys in them and that’s something I certainly don’t know for sure. But the shame is that this is Maine. You know, the place that promotes itself as the place where one lives life as it should be.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham believes that now is the time government in Windham needs to be more open.