Country’s response to terrorist attacks is tragic

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It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since that chaotic Tuesday morning when the security blanket we once huddled collectively beneath was briskly jerked away.

As the anniversary approached earlier this year, I had hoped it would pass quietly. But as advance media coverage began to ramp up, that clearly wasn’t going to be the case.

For me, as with many Americans, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have always been a difficult date to try to come to terms with.

When they first occurred, I had mixed emotions.

The senseless loss of life involved, of course, is deplorable and saddening. But, at the same time, I believed, as I still do to some degree, that the United States deserved it.

It was a wake-up call that our government’s international policies were not working.

  • Written by REUBEN MEES

Of first and future fairs

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A recent source of joy for me is being able to witness the important first experiences in the life of my 11-month-old son, Parker.

PHILOSOPHICAL MUSINGS: City needs to be thorough, open in police chief search

Last week’s resignation of former Bellefontaine Police Chief Brad Kunze has been a troubling experience for our community, to say the least.

Yes, there was an investigation. Yes, Mr. Kunze did resign to avoid a public display. And yes, the city still needs to produce documents relating to the investigation.

But whatever your opinion of Mr. Kunze — I have mixed feelings on the matter — he is no longer in office.

He may fade into the shadows.

Like many other public employees, you see them a couple of years later — usually in the aisles of a supermarket or some other public place — looking a lot less run down and stressed out about being alive after leaving their jobs in the public sector.

Or he could resurface.

Like other people of influence, Mr. Kunze could find a niche in some other public position or eventually run for office. He certainly has the political skills to make a politician if the events surrounding his departure from the police department have not entirely damaged his reputation.

In any case, that is a choice for Mr. Kunze.

The job of city officials and the main concern for the citizens of Bellefontaine at this time now needs to turn to the future of our city police force.

While the Civil Service Commission has set a 4 p.m. Thursday, May 26, meeting to discuss this issue, the three-member body needs to think about the whole picture when deciding how to proceed. The three members of the commission are Art Harper, Jack Ritter and Alan Hale.

There are several methods already in place to name a new chief — specifically the commission can decide to promote from within, relying exclusively on as little as the results of a written Civil Service test to select the new chief.

While it is certainly one way to measure merit, I don’t believe a test alone measures the qualities of a true leader.

Given the nature of his character — very studious and by the books — I would imagine Mr. Kunze scored very highly on the exam at the time he was promoted to chief. What the test failed to assess, however, is that Mr. Kunze is not exactly a “people person.”

It was this very aspect of his personality, along with his uncooperative attitude in dealing with other local law enforcement agencies, that led to the recent events.

On the other hand, the commission and city administration could advertise the position both locally and nationally and accept applications from both within and outside the department to select a candidate.

Probably the most glaring problem with this procedure — other than the higher cost and time involved — is the possibility that the process could be tainted by political favoritism. I can already see the troubles down the road for a chief appointed by Democratic Mayor Adam Brannon’s administration when, eventually, the Republican power base in Logan County wins another term in the Mayor’s Office.

Also, take into consideration that a tight brotherhood of local police officers may not like an outsider being brought in to lead them. That, of course, would lead to internal conflict and likely result in an overall decline in the community’s perception of public safety.

What this process does allow is for a group of human beings to assess whether the candidate has the necessary qualities to lead and inspire confidence in the department as a whole.

Possibly some method could be used that incorporates both the test, which can include a personal interview component as well as an administrative review, along with an open discussion of the top-scoring finalists.

Whatever decision the commission makes, however, should be well-thought out and thoroughly discussed.

And any course of action they choose to take should not be rushed.

For the time being, the department is in the hands of Lt. Ron Birt, a capable officer who already has built the respect of the team of officers behind him. Our city police officers are top notch professionals who already know how to do the job they were hired to do.

Now, we as a community must move on from the past and prepare for the future.

The only way to do that is with thoughtful and open discussions and decision-making processes that involve not only a small commission of appointed residents and top city administrators, but the community as a whole.

Reuben Mees is an Examiner staff writer and Bellefontaine native. He won a 2007 Associated Press continuing coverage award for his stories on a controversial police chief change at a former job in Hattiesburg, Miss. He can be reached by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Written by REUBEN MEES

Prez trumps Trump twice in a week

Two times in one week, Donald Trump was denied the personal satisfaction of seeing himself on national television firmly stating the two words now synonymous with his name:

“You’re fired.”

And it took the President himself to deny one of the most influential businessmen in the United States from fulfilling his weekly desire.

The first came when Obama publicly released his long-form birth certificate to appease the so-called birthers who still doubt whether the Commander in Chief is legitimately American enough to sit in the Oval Office.

Trump, whose name has been bounced around as a possible Republican contender for the presidency in 2012, has been arguably the most vocal of the birthers in his call to see the document. But despite the fact that he didn’t get to go on national TV, emphatically point his hand at the camera and tell the President, “You’re fired,” Mr. Trump jumped on the chance to lather praise on himself as thick as the foam on children in soap commercials designed to make taking a bath look like a heckuva lot of fun for a kid.

“I’ve accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish,” Trump was quoted as saying. “I want to look at it, but I hope it’s true so we can get onto much more important matters, so the press can stop asking me questions.

“I am really honored frankly to have played such a big role in hopefully, hopefully, getting rid of this issue,” he added. “We have to look at it, we have to see is it real, is it proper, what’s on it, but I hope it checks out beautifully. I am really proud, I am really honored.”

But by day’s end, the birthers were back at it — this time sending out e-mail statements that the birth certificate was a fake doctored in the computer imaging program Photoshop Illustrator. Laughable at best, but at least Trump isn’t taking it that far.

So fast forward four days to Sunday — Trump’s big day on national TV. When his Celebrity Apprentice show airs in NBC’s 9 to 11 p.m. primetime slot.

I’m going to have to admit that although I’ve never really been an Apprentice fan, this season has sucked me in. The antics of actor Gary Busey, Star Jones’ “my way or the highway” attitude and Meat Loaf’s scattered-brained ideas have made a fan of me ... for this season.

So needless to say, I was rather peeved when, at 25 minutes until the show was over (I had recorded it on my DVR and was watching it about an hour late) a news flash came on saying the show would be interrupted for an unexpected announcement by the President.

I wondered what was so important that Obama felt it was necessary to interrupt my Sunday evening television lineup.

But after the ensuing commercial break ended, it was back to Trump, meeting the contestants in the board room to announce that the guys had won the contest about — of all things — hair care products. And of all statements, earlier in the show, Trump had the audacity to state that he thinks he has good hair.

So we make it through the first series of dramatic buildups to learn that the ladies would face The Don and another commercial break. Almost there, Mr. President, hold on just 10 more minutes.

Then boom, it cuts to the newscasters.

There would be no “You’re fired” for the millions of Apprentice fans this week.

But you know what really ticked me off about the whole thing? The newscasters came on and after some meaningless babble about this and that, one of the NBC talking heads blurted out that the Commander in Chief was going to announce that Osama bin Laden had been killed.

The news came as a huge surprise, but it wasn’t the President delivering the message. It was two talking heads. In fact, the final minutes of the prerecorded program ticked away and Obama still had not taken the podium. I turned bitterly to my smart phone and read a more detailed story on bin Laden before Googling Celebrity Apprentice to learn that Hope Dworaczyk had been fired.

Unfortunately, not Trump saying, “You’re fired!” Just like it wasn’t the President announcing bin Laden’s death.

Case in point: No matter how cool or important you think you are, someone’s always there to steal your thunder.

Reuben Mees is an Examiner staff writer, political junkie and a closet reality TV addict. He can be reached by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Written by THE BELLEFONTAINE EXAMINER STAFF