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""My father always used to say that when you die, if you've got five real friends, then you've had a great life.""
– Lee Iacocca  
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  Volume No. 18 Issue No. 6 June 2021  

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  Things to ponder …
  By Mark Stoller

   Mark Stoller moved to Falcon in 2007. He and his wife, Andra, both U.S. Air Force veterans, enjoy life with their daughters, extended family and adopted rescue dogs in Latigo. Mark savors the privilege of his wife and daughters being his muse for topics, people to meet and places to investigate.
For the last three months, I have railed against the internet machine. Thank you for your indulgence.
   
   Please read on as I have new material this month!
   
   In an Associated Press article, I read about the small town of Miami, Oklahoma, where the residents help each other counter the effects of the pandemic, blizzards and job loss “one meal at a time.”
   
   Multiple cafes have constructed “giving walls” where customers can pre-pay meals for others. Those in need of a hot meal can come in, select a paid receipt, and receive the meal with no judgement or questions asked.
   
   Jennifer White, a Miami native, owns the Dawg House and was the first to initiate the giving wall. She hung a sign stating, “If you are hungry or know someone that is hungry & unable to afford a hot meal at the moment –- these meals have been paid in advance. Grab a ticket & have a meal. #Payitforward #Lovethyneighbor #Lovelocal.”
   
   Inside the first eight hours of business, she had a wall full of pre-paid receipts for those in need. At the time, she had counted more than 600 receipts purchased and used by locals.
   
   I would like to think we could do this in Falcon. Our neighbors are not going to advertise whether they are experiencing hard times. However, it is likely there are families in need within our community.
   
   I plan on challenging some of our local eateries with this idea to see if they are willing to host a Giving Wall. If you would like to engage them as well, it would show more than one person believes this could work in Falcon, too.
   
   From a feel-good story to a not-sure-how-to-feel topic: political activism by athletes and actors.
   We recently learned Major League Baseball is moving the All-Star Game out of Georgia because of recent voting integrity laws.
   
   It has always seemed to me that sporting events, shows and movies are for the sole purpose of entertainment. There are very skilled athletes and actors who can bring entertainment like no one else. Our society is given to hero worship as a sign of appreciation.
   
   That said, this begs the question of whether it is the athletes or actors’ responsibility to influence society in a political manner –- encourage people to vote, take a knee, protest, paint the initials of a movement across one’s helmet, end zone or court?
   
   In our country, freedom of speech is still protected. Famous people have just as much right to voice their opinions as anyone else. Should they act as advocates? Or, perhaps, stick to entertaining so the rest of America has something to escape to for an hour or two?
   Lastly, a quick return to internet privacy and whether it should be surrendered for the sake of security.
   
   Some years ago, when I thought we were all on the same side fighting against the evils targeting America, I believed it was OK for the government and their agencies to be intrusive if it meant catching terrorists.
   
   Now government and private entities collect information on individuals: internet activity, bank, social accounts, pictures, schedule, political affiliation, etc.
   
   I am deeply concerned by the abundance of rhetoric about one side re-educating the other in our newly “woke” cancel culture society.
   
   It’s a big enough topic for Ava’s political science classmates to debate it over the entire class period.
   
   At the end of the day, we must all ask ourselves to what point are we willing to surrender our privacy for the greater good, and who has the moral authority to determine what is the greater good?
  
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