To the police and residents, the violence shows how a modern-day gold rush is transforming the rolling plains and farm towns where people once fretted about a population drain. Today, four-story chain hotels are rising, and small apartments rent for $2,000 a month. Two-lane roads are jammed with tractor-trailers. Fast-food restaurants offer $300 signing bonuses for new employees, and jobs as gas station attendants can pay $50,000 a year. Workers flush with cash are snapping up A.T.V.s, and hotel menus offer crab and artichoke dip and bacon-wrapped dates.
Amid all of that new money, reports of assault and theft have doubled or even tripled, and the police say they are rushing from call to call, grappling with everything from bar brawls and shoplifting to kidnappings and attempted murders. Traffic stops for drunken or reckless driving have skyrocketed; local jails are spilling over with drug suspects.
As Oil Floods Plains Towns, Crime Pours In
Story by Jack Healy/The New York Times
Photo by Matthew Staver/The New York Times
Stuck at the Minneapolis airport overnight because my flight was grounded selfie!
Why the obsession with cursive?
I’m relieved to report that my family’s Thanksgiving dinner only briefly got vaguely political, and actually the vaguely political part was Common Core educational standards, because I have a teacher cousin and a principal great aunt. One of the complaints was that schools don’t teach cursive anymore.
My opinion? Meh. I mean, yeah, I’m glad I know it even if I hardly use it, and it has its benefits — does the ACT still have that one cursive requirement? But people type more than they write now because it has its benefits too, and so to me there are just so many other problems with the U.S. educational system about which I’ll much sooner get on my high horse.
Anyway, I soon discovered just how many people feel strongly about the cursive thing. A post about putting cursive back in school curriculum showed up in my Facebook feed because one of my relatives who was at Thanksgiving dinner liked it. It reads:
Massachusetts is one of several states that wants to keep penmanship lessons in the curriculum. Do you think we should keep cursive writing alive?
The post was from a Massachusetts radio station. So many of their 35,065 Facebook fans liked and shared it that it essentially went viral across the country: 831,893 likes and 64,405 shares, as of this writing (er, typing). That’s a lot of people!
Some of the comments make fine points, but none of them have persuaded me to get more passionate about cursive. There were also stupid comments like this one:
The cool thing is that the Constitution is no longer just in cursive. Look, you can read it on Wikipedia. Just another benefit of digitization.
This week the State of Connecticut closed its investigation into the Sandy Hook shooting. Inside the report are some rather strange tidbits about Adam Lanza. Imagine living in this household:
- [His mother] was concerned about him and said that he hadn’t gone anywhere in three months and would only communicate with her by e-mail, though they were living in the same house.
- [H]e would not sleep in a hotel. In fact, during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, with no power in the house, the shooter refused to leave the home and go to a hotel.
During the week of December 10, 2012, the shooter’s mother was out of town in New Hampshire. She arrived home Thursday evening December 13, 2012, at approximately 10:00 p.m. [the night before the shooting].
The shooter was particular about the food that he ate and its arrangement on a plate in relation to other foods on the plate. Certain types of dishware could not be used for particular foods.
The mother did the shooter’s laundry on a daily basis as the shooter often changed clothing during the day. She was not allowed in the shooter’s room, however, even to clean. No one was allowed in his room.
The shooter disliked birthdays, Christmas and holidays. He would not allow his mother to put up a Christmas tree. The mother explained it by saying that shooter had no emotions or feelings. The mother also got rid of a cat because the shooter did not want it in the house.