Dying for dogs
Cody Raulston died recently in the former mining hamlet of Zinc because the 28-year-old man clearly loved dogs enough to perish for them.
He was visiting a neighbor's home with another friend who owned a single-wide mobile home in the mountain community when the house caught fire. Both men began trying to fight the blaze together. Realizing pet dogs were still inside, Cody abandoned concerns for his welfare and rushed inside in an attempt to save them. He never came out.
After firefighters extinguished the blaze, they recovered what they believed was the man's charred remains.
When I read stories like this, although terribly sad, especially for Raulston's survivors and friends, it also helps restore my belief that humanity's DNA must be gilded with nobility and goodness. Otherwise, why would people sacrifice their safety and even their lives to benefit others, including dogs trapped in a burning trailer?
If Cody Raulston had never previously been featured in a newspaper, I hold him up today for the fundamentally good person he had to have been to make a choice to try and save a friend's pet dogs in an inferno that cost him his life.
I see 14th Judicial District Prosecutor David Etheridge has been pointed to investigate and prosecute, if necessary, the findings of an Arkansas legislative audit of the city of Ozark.
A story by reporter John Lovett of the Times Record in Fort Smith says the audit found noncompliance with state law and accepted accounting principles in the offices of mayor, recorder/treasurer, and district court clerk. The town's police chief was found in "substantial compliance" with fiscal and financial laws, however.
The audit's discoveries included multiple charges to credit cards under one account, including $1,520 in undocumented fuel purchases by the fire chief as well as the street superintendent and $1,049 not adequately documented by the street superintendent, the fire chief, and the recorder/treasurer, Lovett writes.
Also cited were $925 for conference registration fees for personnel of a nonprofit organization (an apparent constitutional conflict), plus $300 in conference registration fees for the family members of the mayor and a city council official, and $224 in clothing purchases made by the street superintendent which lacked apparent business purposes. Regarding the mayor (now former), auditors found the city made payments amounting to $49,635, also in apparent constitutional conflict. They included $30,000 to Main Street Arkansas, $12,000 to the Area Agency on Aging, $2,953 to the Chamber of Commerce, $2,500 to the Ozark-Franklin County Airport, and $1,300 to the Senior Citizens Center.
Now we'll watch Etheridge methodically separate fact from fiction.
Chiefly common sense
The legendary Chief Joseph led a band of Nez Percé Indians through the mountains and plateaus of northeastern Oregon, southeastern Washington and western Idaho during the mid-1800s. He and other tribal chiefs battled the U.S. Army during the 1870s and in order to avoid defeat, he led 700 of his tribe on a 1,400-mile tactical retreat until surrendering after several battles when his warriors were encircled 40 miles from the Canadian border.
The chief known as "The Red Napoleon" reportedly told his exhausted and starving people: "My heart is sick and sad. From where the Sun now stands I will fight no more forever." His band was sent to Oklahoma until Chief Joseph lobbied the U.S. government to return them to the Nez Percé reservation in northern Washington state.
Over the centuries the wisdom attributed to this Native American Chief's observations of life has endured:
"I have asked some of the great white chiefs where they get their authority to say to the Indian that he shall stay in one place when he sees white men going where they please. They cannot tell me."
"I believe much trouble and blood would be saved if we opened our hearts more."
"It does not require many words to speak the truth."
"The earth and myself are of one mind. The measure of the land and the measure of our bodies are the same." (Since the era of Chief Joseph, research has discovered the vibrating resonance frequency of the Earth is 7.8 cycles per second and humans' similar frequency is somewhere between 5 and 10 cycles per second.)
"I have heard talk and talk but nothing is done. Good words do not last long unless they amount to something." (That ring familiar 140 years later?)
"Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself--and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty." (Joseph, who'd been baptized as an infant, was pleading for fundamental principles in our Constitution: Don't bury me and my people beneath the crushing tyranny of tightly controlled ideologies.)
Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist. Email him at email@example.com.
Editorial on 01/20/2019
Print Headline: MIKE MASTERSON: A life sacrificed