I've seen many odd things go down at debates. I've seen people ignore questions, crash and burn in trying to answer questions, and even leave when asked a question they didn't like. Needless to say, I've seen debates where one (or more) candidates just didn't show up.
But I have never, ever seen or even heard of a debate where one of the candidates didn't show up, but sent someone in their place - but that person wasn't allowed to speak for the missing candidate. But that's just what happened at a recent forum in Forks, when Dim King Jim was too busy (he said) to attend, but he sent decrepit Phil Kitchel in his place. To, apparently, sit there silently, since he was "prohibited from responding to questions on McEntire's behalf."
Maybe Mr. Kitchel would hold up an 8x10 glossy photo of Dim King Jim when it was his turn (not) to speak? Whatever. Weird, very weird. Because I doubt very much that this was all done as a piece of political performance art, I can only assume it represents Dim King Jim's arrogance and confidence that he's got the West End, and the election as a whole, all sewed up.
In any case, less than a dozen people even bothered to show up, which may show that they also think Dim King Jim has got it all in the bag. Of course, it could also be a case of the widespread and all-purpose political apathy in Clallam County. But whatever it was, it sounds very, very odd. (And I guess the subtext is that, while we're supposed to believe that Dim King Jim is too busy to attend such things, Phil Kitchel has nothing but time on his hands. So, if you have any yard work or chores that need doing...)
Then we have the article about the somewhat off-target folks up at Peninsula College practicing to "avert the kind of carnage that wracked Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon last Thursday." I say this is a missed target because, simply put, the Clallam County Courthouse seems like a much, much likelier target for some sort of tragedy like that.
Think about it: The Courthouse is the focal point for people who have a bone to pick with government, the planning department, etc. Clallam County is also rich in anti-government/pro-gun zealots, the folks who gripe about paying taxes, and then gripe if their road isn't plowed when it snows. You know type.
Those types of anti-government, anti-tax, anti-authority whackos are also enabled and encouraged by the political posturing and pandering of people like, well gee, the aforementioned Dim King Jim. They stir the pot whenever necessary, and therefore constantly run the risk of having that pot boil over.
Needless to say, the Courthouse is also the Courthouse, where emotions run high, and stress and anger are inevitable by-products. Yet, despite all that, the County Courthouse is also woefully unprotected. Lots of entrances. No metal detectors. No security plan. Employees who don't know where the closest emergency button is. And it's also unclear who is expected to respond should some employee find and hit an emergency button. In the past, both the County and the City have said the other is responsible for responding in the event of an emergency. This chain of command confusion does not inspire confidence.
And, of course, the rotten cherry on top of all of that is the fact that, on any given day, two or three or the current County Commissioners may be carrying a concealed weapon, as well as Jim Jones. In other words, on any given day, no matter what, there are already three or four nuts in the Courthouse with guns. Every day.
Given the volatility of that situation, Barney Fife and his one bullet would actually be an improvement.
All of which is not to say that it's not a good idea for schools and all sorts of places to have plans in place "just in case." But given all we know about Clallam County, the betting would have to strongly favor the County Courthouse as the likely scene of carnage and chaos. It's really a matter of when, not if. But the County Commissioners not only ignore the elephant in the living room, they feed it, grow it with their apathy.
Yes, apathy to them, and nuts to you.