Stranger Danger | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Stranger Danger 

Also: Air Care, God Alert

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Stranger Danger
Let's not conjure up Bill de Blasio right now; he's having enough trouble of his own with the New York City Police Department. Let's focus on us, the Utahns who are so fearful of anything or anyone out of the ordinary that the go-to is 911. This is what happened in the Avenues with the shovel-wielding guy who's now dead. The police officer is being treated for broken bones, and all of Salt Lake is backseat quarterbacking who was right and what should have happened. For sure, the mayor, the city council and the police chief need to take this seriously and dialogue about how to "de-escalate" these situations. Meanwhile, Utahns need to confront their own fears and learn to assess what a real threat is. Imminent danger is a good reason. Suspicious activity is tougher to figure, but not impossible. It just requires a little thinking.

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Air Care
The same week that brought protests over police shootings also brought a call for another clean-air rally. Aptly named Clean Air, No Excuses, the rally comes each January when smog sets into the valley with a relentless permanency. In 2014, some 5,000 people met at the Capitol steps to call for cleaner air measures, and damn it, they meant it. Too bad the measures were weak and relatively ineffective. Gov. Gary Herbert continues to call for voluntary actions, whether it's not idling or burning wood. Because Utah is so proud of its economic standing, there is no talk of restricting emissions from our productive petroleum plants. Utah apparently has plenty of money to move a prison, but none to help clean up industry. So, maybe this year's rally will have a better outcome—if all is not forgotten in February.

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God Alert
You kind of expect this from the Deseret News, but you have to wonder about The Salt Lake Tribune. Congress has been in sessionsince Jan. 6, but the Trib, with an article titled "Washington Insight," thinks it's time to tell us how many Mormons are on the Hill. Spoiler alert: 16, one more than 2014. And apparently, they've been carrying on as a little LDS caucus, what with praying and stuff, and will continue in that vein. Like the Catholics, the Mormons are overrepresented in Congress compared to their makeup in the general population. Well, all this was reported on a Sunday, so maybe church was a legitimate news item. It just wasn't very interesting.

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