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Toeing the Line

There is a fine line to balance between erring on the side of caution and jumping into action to prevent something bad from happening. I constantly question myself on this as I think sometimes that I’m too slow to act.

My basic nature is one of reserve in personal behavior: I don’t drink, smoke, gamble or partake of any other vices that would make me more interesting. I learn from others’ mistakes and, believe me, I’ve been around enough gamblers, crooks and drunks to last me a lifetime worth of lessons. Having said that, I think my desire to do the right thing the right way causes me to hesitate when maybe I should be more expedient.

Case in point: driving home down Highway 5 the other day I spotted a car two ahead of me doing the dash dance — you know, dancing with the dashes in the middle of the road. Whether the person was drunk, distracted or just a horrible driver I don’t know. What I do know is that he or she was bad enough that I should have called 9-1-1 but I hesitated, questioning whether the police could even find the car in time and whether I should report this person who could be just distracted. But if they’re that distracted maybe they should be pulled over… and then they pulled off on a side road and were gone.

I don’t know if this person made it home, I hope they did. I don’t know if this person hit someone else on a small country road, I hope they didn’t. But I probably should have made that call.

A lesser example happened in a hockey game a couple of months ago. Our best player — and my son — was getting roughed up in front of the goal pretty bad but I hesitated to crack someone. Luckily, my line mate had no such qualms and sent a message I should have sent. If it had gone on another 10 seconds I would have been the one throwing the punch, but I hesitated. I’m not endorsing violence here, btw, kids, but in the game of hockey messages get sent all the time. I watched one get sent that I should have sent. That won’t happen again.

I could go on, but you get the drift. So, I’ve identified this fault and am going to try and be more proactive. It’s a hard thing to do because so much is gut reaction — you see something happen and you take action. Cops and soldiers do it all the time, though I understand that’s their job and they’ve got training. But so much of it comes from within, and that’s where I have to look to make myself better. Wish me luck.

Rodney Williams is the managing editor for The Anna-Melissa Tribune, Van Alstyne Leader and Prosper Press. He can be contacted at, or