TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Bring Back Good Old Days Of Intercity Sports Rivalry

Congratulations to the Moorhead Spuds boys hockey team and to the Shanley High Deacons girls basketball team. Each team and their coaches represented their communities and schools extremely well.

My nephew, Steve Jacobson, coach of the Deacons, overcame some serious heart and health issues, claiming that basketball provided the outlet he needed to heal. Only in the Jacobson family could sports be a healing factor! For most of us, the excitement would bring on a heart attack … but then, we’re not Jacobsons.

My brother-in-law, Neal Jacobson, now of Bismarck, is the father of Steve and also was head boys basketball coach at Shanley. Tim Jacobson, Steve’s uncle and Neal’s brother, coached basketball at Shanley before moving over to Davies High School. (Nope, it’s not named after me, but my dad, Judge Ronald N. Davies.)

There are other Jacobson men in the family. I don’t know all of them well, except for Doug, Neal’s brother and Steve’s uncle, who is trying to find me a 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser two-door that I can afford. (That means he’s hunting for some rich person who wants to make a generous gift to a retired elderly man — that would be me.)

Back to Moorhead High and a little-known fact, at least in my world: If you watched these awesome young men, you know they can really play hockey. But did you notice the haircut on their equally awesome coach? Well, if you didn’t, look again at the pictures of the team. You’ll see that every single one of them had a haircut just like their coach’s. Well-trimmed and well-groomed. What a tribute to the coach and to their parents!

Not that there’s anything wrong with long hair … but today, you usually associate long hair with athletes. I’m old enough to remember back in 1957, my senior year at Shanley, when there wasn’t a male in Fargo who had anything but neatly cropped style.

Shanley had Sid Cichy, and Fargo Central had Acey Olson. If you’d come into their locker rooms with long hair, they’d have cut your hair on the spot.

Back in my day, Moorhead, Shanley and Central all played intercity games. It really created local excitement. Considering the cost of athletics today, wouldn’t it be nice if somehow the athletic association rules could be changed to once again allow all-city sports rivalries?

Think of the crowds you’d get … the travel expenses saved and travel time reduced … and the ability of friends and relatives to see more games. It’s probably not going to happen, though. Just my two bits’ worth: Some good things from the past should be restored.

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Back across the river in North Dakota, the Legislature is still at it. This time, its dealing with a measure close to my heart.

I have relatives in law enforcement; I have friends in law enforcement; and I have friends who have relatives in law enforcement. While I haven’t taken any large poll, I can tell you for sure that those to whom I have spoken to do not like House-Senate Bill 1169, the measure that allows open carry of guns without a permit.

Given that POTUS 45 just signed an executive order that allows people with mental illness to own a weapon, I have to think that some North Dakota legislators ought to have mental exams for their warped thinking.

The fact that other states permit unlimited open carry does not make it right. Look at gun deaths and injuries across the country. You’ll note that the absence of weapons is certainly not a problem.

Burleigh County Sheriff Pat Heinert, who is also a legislator, supports the proposed law as long as the individuals possess a state-issued identification. Methinks someone conked him on the head to get him to take this position.

An identification card does not qualify you for anything except proof you are alive.

Most law enforcement folks can’t or won’t speak out on this issue. But if they could, I can assure you that they do not favor open carry … much less open carry with no training.

The permitting process is based on the presumption that those who take the tests will learn firearm safety and practices. In other words, the process is an attempt to ensure you know how to safely own, carry and discharge the weapon. You have to be tested to drive a car, but not to openly carry a weapon … and that makes no sense.

It is dangerous enough for law enforcement to investigate and arrest suspects without the additional factor of every Tom, Dick and Harry having a concealed weapon. When Heinert cites his law experience as a basis for supporting this bill, I can only assume he’s a deskbound lawman who doesn’t work out in the cities, counties and state.

My assumption is based on common sense. What harm can the permitting process cause? Can permits help law enforcement? This isn’t a constitutional or gun rights issue — it’s all about common sense.

I repeat what I’ve said in the past: If a fight breaks out in a large crowd in which everyone is armed, will they keep their weapons concealed … or use them? If they use them — and they will — how will the Law be able to tell the assailants from the defenders? That’s right. They can’t.

Have a great week. Amen.

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