Grasshopper Soup: Keeping the facts straight on crime |

Grasshopper Soup: Keeping the facts straight on crime

Bob Sweigert
Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; I am sorry some people were upset by my column on the art theft in Tahoe City. I understand their concerns. But some ambiguities were created during the debate that deserve clarification. It is important, for the sake of the younger, less educated and more gullible among us, that any unintentional misinformation be corrected.

The facts of a story are always open to interpretation. But some facts are not. For example, the fact is, it is not illegal for a thought to cross your mind, or to entertain a thought. And, a person’s taste in art is not illegal, whether it makes them steal art or not. Only the stealing part is illegal. As far as I know, there are no laws against individual personal taste in art.

And, we should resist every urge to use our taste in art and literature as an excuse to abolish the First Amendment and eliminate the free press.

And, it’s never a good time to silence artists, writers and intellectuals. When the time comes, God and the U.S Constitution forbid, my only hope may be that my captors will release me because they don’t think I fit the description of a writer, artist and intellectual.

And, understanding a crime, and expressing and expounding on the possible motive for a crime, does not constitute promoting the crime, and it is not proof of support for the crime. Kids know. They rarely proclaim their innocence without telling a good story.

If charges are filed and an investigation begins into the art theft I will be flattered to be considered a person of interest. Especially if the detective is cute. But I already told everybody everything I know about the incident. The authorities won’t find me very interesting when I bore them over and over again with the same old story. But, I welcome the opportunity to cooperate fully with a legal investigation into the crime of the century. My column about the art theft was one of the most honest, trusting and above board columns I have ever written. I am very grateful that so many of you said you found it reasonable, fair, courageous and entertaining. Your intellects are profound. You are the keepers of the light of truth; you are the protectors of freedom of thought and freedom of expression; you are the fertile ground, and the seed, of understanding. But, most important of all, you have a great sense of humor!

One of the best art forms is silence, like the post-Labor Day weekend solitude found on the top of Granite Chief Peak, or in the middle of Lake Tahoe on a boat with a few friends, good music and uplifting conversation, surrounded by the deep blue domain of silence. What a welcome tranquility the end of a Tahoe summer presents.

Human silence is a masterpiece of fine art, a labor of love, a noble virtue. Silence can also be a trick, especially in the White House and the Department of Justice where politicians pontificate, dictate, obfuscate, deliberate, castigate, denigrate and stagnate.

Words spoken in anger never come out right. Inflammatory racial rhetoric can be heard coming from mouths that seem to be in perpetual motion. A black, Muslim congressman is heard inciting hatred for white, middle-class Christian conservatives, and his gullible audience gives him what he wants with cheers and applause. Will the encore be legal?

But there is good news. The lost or stolen buoy from the rock just east of the Lake Tahoe Dam has been found. It was near the shore in about a foot of water. I was commissioned to join the vigilante posse that searched for and recovered it without incident. Except Bill accidentally poked John in the face with the tip of the buoy and the three of us nearly fell on our butts climbing up and down the bank beside the lake.

And kids, when you understand the facts, you get younger, and have more fun, with age.

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 28 years.

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