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Some stories involving human intellect (or glaring lack thereof) are bizarre enough to defy belief and reason.

Take the case of Joshua Rush and his wife Camille, who the other day gave new meaning to the phrase: "Hold my beer and watch this one."

Newton County Sheriff Glenn Wheeler charged the couple with various crimes after they allegedly showed up at a man's home in Piercetown, where Joshua threatened to shoot the man and set gasoline ablaze in the front yard if he didn't fork over some money.

The homeowner said he didn't have any, and Joshua, who reportedly already had fired several random shots, then allegedly aimed his handgun at the man and pulled the trigger, according to Wheeler.

Call it good fortune (I prefer divine providence) that the pistol reportedly jammed at such a critical moment.

Most robbers involved in a stick-up gone awry at that point would have hopped in the ol' pickup and scrammed, which is what the Rushes did. But not before warning the homeowner they were coming back to complete the botched robbery as soon as the gun could be repaired.

The announcement naturally provided the victim with plenty of time to contact the sheriff, who could wait for their return (which I doubt the Rushes believed would happen).

In total disregard for common sense, the couple did return as promised. They found deputies and Jasper police as their welcoming party. (I know. You can't make this stuff up.)

Sheriff Wheeler summarized the incident perfectly for the Harrison Daily Times: "If someone makes the decision to commit a crime and during the commission of that crime, their gun jams and they tell the victim they are going to go fix the gun and return in an hour to resume the crime, they probably need to rethink their criminal career. They are going about it all wrong."

Last I heard, the Rush family was rooming in the Newton County jail. Of course, as we all know, they remain innocent until proven guilty. Although, were I in their boots, I wouldn't be looking forward to reliving the escapade in open court.

Protest not a riot

Continuing with things I find difficult to fathom, I read Michael Wickline's recent news story about the need to bolster our Capitol Police force in light of the potential for lawlessness during protests.

In that account, Democrat Rep. Tippi McCollough of Little Rock relayed a question from Democrat Deborah Ferguson of West Memphis, asking Capitol Police Chief Darrell Hedden how he distinguishes between a riot and a peaceful protest.

Yes, valued readers, you read that one correctly.

Up in the rarified atmosphere of the Ozarks, where we've lately had a couple of protests of our own, we learned early on that those who show up to forcefully express their views on a given matter without resorting to firebombings, rock-throwing, assaults on innocent citizens, toppling statues, committing vandalism and creating mayhem in various forms are what's known as legitimate protesters exercising their First Amendment right.

The others aren't there to protest, but to commit crimes and ignite anarchy. My bet is most professional rioters are bused into cities and encouraged to routinely create destruction, mayhem and endless headlines.

Silver Dollar soaking

I've got to admit it. I'm strongly considering taking a secure seat in one of those oversized revolving rafts at Silver Dollar City's newest mega attraction, Mystic River Falls, billed as the the tallest drop on a water-raft ride in the Western Hemisphere.

Never one to eagerly hop aboard roller coasters, this ride might be right up my alley, as long as I wear a shirt that can be soaked after dropping four stories into a man-made river.

Now dropping riders by the score, the adventure includes winding, roaring rapids in an Ozarks mountainous river theme aimed at thrilling families and anyone else willing to be hoisted on high to wind up instantly refreshed on a steamy summer's day.

Lisa Rau, who manages publicity for this nationally recognized family theme park, said the $23 million Mystic River is an engineering marvel in the global attractions industry with its one-of-a-kind rotating, four-platform, eight-story lift.

Set in an authentic pier-like design of river towns of yesteryear, the miniature town includes the new expansive Rivertown Smokehouse, with an array of meats smoked on-site, and a new cinnamon bread bakery where bakers create tasty specialties.

Who knows, being seated inside that world-class barbecue restaurant where I can eat in air-conditioned comfort while watching others repeatedly get soaked may become my favorite part of the ride.

By the way, valued readers, Silver Dollar City is home to the massive Marvel Cave, which has the Mystic River flowing through its depths.

The 'entire' person

In conversation with a longtime friend the other day, we agreed on the lack of reasoning behind the criminal desire by groups of vandals to deface or remove historical statues that include some of our nation's founders like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington as well as civil-rights icons Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

The cancel-culture mob of rioters has even targeted the tribute to Indian spiritual leader and advocate of nonviolence Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi.

The truth is, these statues in large measure were erected not to honor a person's perfection but to recognize the full measure of their positive contributions to society and history.

Those immortalized in metal and stone were human with all the flaws that condition entails (imagine you and me). Despite their imperfections, they ultimately rose above partisanship, false hatred, emotional immaturity and selfish interest to help create the nation we have that values liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In short, a country that has become the beacon of light and hope for the entire world.

Simply put, it is the overall spirit, contributions and actions during their particular time in history--and the role these men in stone and bronze played in society--that are recognized.

If you don't agree, I'd suggest, in this country founded in the rule of law, attempting to have them removed through civilized legal channels, or simply not visiting the statues rather than trying to destroy them because of your particular ideological and emotional overreaction.

Either that, or recommend that statutes be erected only for the perfect among us. Only, well, I believe he was executed despite his contributions to humanity over 2,000 years ago.

My best guess

After considerable thought, I'm prepared to offer what I believe at this point (based on what I'm told by a former influential Harrison leader) to offer a solid guess about who purchased the former Dogpatch property and what I believe is under construction on those scenic acres South of Harrison.

I hereby speculate on my deadline (the 29th day of July) the nationally revered conservationist Johnny Morris of Springfield who owns Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, Tracker Boats, Ranger Boats, Big Cedar Lodge, Top of the Rock, Dogwood Canyon, multiple championship golf courses and Springfield's Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium, among other holdings, has purchased a world-class potential campground that will become a national draw for those who annually enjoy the nearby Buffalo National River.

If I'm right, that's some remarkably good news for our state, particularly this region of the Ozarks. Morris has both the resources and a deserved positive reputation for completing whatever outdoor projects he undertakes in the most creative manner possible.

He doesn't know the meaning of scrimping or cutting corners. I honestly can think of no one in the world better prepared to develop the fullest possible conservation-driven outdoor recreational environment on the former Dogpatch property than this self-made man.

Let's wait for the buyer's formal announcement and see whether I'm best served by taking up fortune-telling or sticking with writing columns for you.

Now go out into the world and treat everyone you meet exactly like you want them to treat you.

Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist, was editor of three Arkansas dailies and headed the master's journalism program at Ohio State University. Email him at [email protected]

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