A recipe fordisaster mustbe changed

There are certain things that just don’t mix reasonably well — oil and water, the far left and the far right, syrup and orange juice, and two positive or negative charges to name a few.

Here’s one more: Residences, public roadways, dogs and people with loaded guns.

On Monday, Feb. 19, the Bladen County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing to discuss a growing problem that puts loaded-gun-toting hunters and their dogs along public roadways near homes. The issue was pointed out to commissioners by residents and hunters who live in the Ammon community, but it’s an issue that can be found along many rural roads in Bladen County, from Ammon to White Oak to Kelly and Riegelwood, during hunting season.

Joe Britt of Ammon told commissioners last week he’s amazed that nobody has been shot and killed yet. He also said a great majority — “probably 98 percent,” he estimated — of those who are parking along public roads with dogs and loaded guns are from outside Bladen County.

The entire thing sounds like a recipe for serious disaster waiting to happen.

Britt and others are hoping the county can work out a new ordinance that wouldn’t keep hunters and dogs from their area, but keeps the hunters’ guns empty of ammunition and safely in their vehicles when not hunting and rounding up their dogs.

It seems like a simple, logical solution — and we feel certain the county commissioners, who have sounded extremely sympathetic to Britt and his supporters over the past two meetings, will have no problem signing off on the ordinance.

Still, as with any public safety issue, we urge rural residents of the county to turn out in big numbers on Feb. 19 to support the effort to keep loaded guns away from roadways and homes.

While it seems a shame that ordinances are needed to steer people back to logical and safe behavior, we will chastise those who come from other counties to jeopardize residents here — though we realize it will fall on deaf ears. We are certain these same folks would not want the kind of hunting practices they employ in Bladen County to be used near their own homes.

We can’t imagine anyone being able to defend what these hunters are doing, nor could we imagine the county passing this ordinance with anything less than a speedy, unanimous vote. We also hope there can be regular enforcement and some stiff penalties attached.

Our kudos go out to Britt and his supporters for speaking out.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“We certainly don’t want to give them carte blanche authority to determine either what is safe or unsafe without some type of basis for that decision or explaining why.” (George Ellis)