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There when you need them: First responders show their mettle on a day of craziness




For the superstitious, Wednesday's calendar date was either a compelling reason to stay in bed or a can't-miss chance to court Lady Luck.  


Stories trickled in from around the nation of couples who chose 12-12-12 as a wedding date and parents who planned births around the day, hoping to provide their newborns with an auspicious start in life.  


There was a benefit concert in New York and a global meditation for world peace in New Zealand. And if social media is any indicator of collective sentiment, quite a few people chose 12:12 p.m. to cast their wishes to the fates, banking on the off-chance that a dream or two might come true.  


But not everything Wednesday was steeped in magic and mysticism. If you spent much time listening to the radio scanner, you might easily have decided it was a full moon.  


In the Golden Triangle, first responders raced from one emergency to the next, business as usual.  


There was a minor fire in downtown Columbus -- and a brief sighting of snow. Another fire in Starkville destroyed a home. A man led local law enforcement on a two-county chase through Lowndes and Monroe before he was taken into custody and transported to Baptist Memorial Behavioral Health Care.  


Then there were the bomb threats. The Mississippi office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported 31 threats in 29 counties, prompting the evacuations of buildings across the state, including the Lowndes and Clay County courthouses.  


The scanner stayed busy, and so did area police officers, sheriff's deputies and firefighters.  


Much has been made recently of purported strife and resignations within the ranks, but there is another side to those stories -- the dozens of men and women who quietly continue to serve. We don't think much about them until we need them, but when we need them, they are there.  


Of course, it is their duty to serve and protect. But in a day and time when people change houses, spouses, vehicles, careers with alarming regularity, it's comforting to take note of the many more who have made a lifetime commitment to sometimes thankless jobs.  


Each time they walk out the door, they -- and their families -- know they may not return. It is a chance they willingly take.  


They respond to prank calls that tax their patience and resources. They are called upon to unlock car doors, trap wildlife, defuse domestic squabbles and investigate suspicious persons and tripped alarm systems.  


While they are sometimes the target of occasional criticism, there is plenty to laud. And that makes our community fortunate -- every day of the week.  




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