Dave Simpson: One Shining Example: Our Juries

ask me (and I notice you didn't), the jury system has shone in recent verdicts for Kyle Rittenhouse, against those three knuckleheads in Georgia and against the truly ridiculous Jussie Smollett.

Dave Simpson

December 15, 20214 min read

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By Dave Simpson

Time for some updates, corrections and helpful obfuscations regarding recent columns appearing in this space:

– Now that a $1 trillion infrastructure bill has been passed by Congress and signed into law, do you suppose we will hear less of the obligatory modifier “crumbling” whenever the word infrastructure is uttered? For many years, the word infrastructure has almost always been preceded by the word “crumbling.” Crumbling, crumbling everywhere, and you have to wonder why the people we elect let it crumble in the first place. Ever heard of preventive maintenance, guys?

All God’s infrastructure gotta crumble, just like all God’s big numbers gotta “whop,” and just like every airport runway is paved with “tarmac,” even the ones that aren’t. Almost nobody knows what the ding-dong heck tarmac is. (Dictionary.com: “A brand of bituminous binder, similar to tarmacadam.”)

The least our lawmakers could have done before passing this bill – enough borrowed money to choke a herd of Clydesdales – was include a temporary cease fire from all the talk of crumbling. Otherwise our new infrastructure will be crumbling even before our grinning, chest-thumping, spendthrift politicians cut the ribbons.

– Two habitual readers pointed out that I erred in agreeing with an old friend, who is liberal, that Republicans (not unlike myself) cannot dance, and are a source of hilarity when we try. I rarely agree with this old friend, but I throw him a bone now and then to preserve our longstanding friendship of lo, these last 41 years.

I had to agree that conservatives aren’t as limber and effusive when things get jiggy, even if we take Relief Factor. Sad, but true.

Two readers, however – one in Lander, one in Laramie – cited the example of Western Swing, which they believe is the exception to the rule that Republicans can’t dance. And, come to think of it, I might add Square Dancing to the list. (I don’t think Democrats would be caught dead Square Dancing.) 

I regret being caught in this error, and I’m just glad nobody mentioned Line Dancing, which is a gross affront to nature.

– In another column, a crusty old friend (all my friends are crusty these days) speculated on what is the typical Wyoming town. He thinks it’s Riverton, because it is mainly an agricultural town without some other major economic driver. But a reader pointed out that Riverton is cheek-by-jowl with the Reservation, much like Laramie has the university, Cheyenne has state government, and Jackson has all the beautiful rich people.

I thought for a while that Wheatland might be your typical Wyoming town, but then realized it has the power plant.

So I have come to the conclusion that the typical Wyoming town has some outside influence, like Rawlins has the prison, Evanston the state hospital, and Cody has Yellowstone. So the answer to my crusty friend is that the typical Wyoming town could be any number of atypical towns.

Their atypical-ness makes them typical.

Works for me.

– A reader emailed that while attending a high school football game in Douglas, an irreverent hometown crowd was heard to chant, “Let’s go Brandon!” which we all know has nothing to do with anyone named Brandon, and everything to do with the strikingly lackluster performance of President Joe Biden.

(Some hapless TV reporter told viewers that the crowd was chanting “Let’s Go Brandon” at a NASCAR event, when in truth the crowd was chanting something WAY different.)

The reader added that the fans for the Jackson football team didn’t join in the chant.


– If you ask me (and I notice you didn’t), the jury system has shone in recent verdicts for Kyle Rittenhouse, against those three knuckleheads in Georgia who killed a guy while attempting to make a Gomer Pyle “citizen’s arrest,” and against the truly ridiculous Jussie Smollett. (Trying to bamboozle grizzled, seen-it-all Chicago cops with an obvious cock-and-bull story was blue-ribbon stupid.)

The juries took the time necessary, showed meticulous care, followed existing law as instructed, and had the guts to do what was right, regardless of threats of violence.

If only the rest of our government operated as honorably, honestly and effectively as these three juries.

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Dave Simpson

Political, Wyoming Life Columnist

Dave has written a weekly column about a wide variety of topics for 39 years, winning top columnist awards in Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois and Nebraska.