Someone needs to pay attention to random stuff.
For instance, a disinterested third party might look into how many teddy bears have been donated to various agencies by area philanthropic organizations over the years.
I ask this because it seems as if the Miner runs several of these pictures a year. The happy fireman or policeman stands there holding a teddy bear, while the donors surround him holding their own bears. Dozens of bears are donated.
These bears in turn are given to young children who have been traumatized by a fire or a car accident. Under those circumstances, the thinking goes, having a cuddly toy could help relieve the child's stress.
I think it's a pretty wonderful thing all the way around. People are basically good-hearted, and the teddy bear donations are just one way that kindness is illustrated.
The circumstances where a child might be given a bear go beyond house fires and car accidents, of course. There could be any number of incidents over time that result in a child getting a bear, an event that might be fairly severe but not one that would make the pages of the Miner as news. But if news is the guide, it seems like weeks - and perhaps months - could go by before the need to hand out a bear arises.
I'm going to guess there is a really big room somewhere that holds a ready reserve of thousands of teddy bears that police, social services and fire departments have accumulated over the years and haven't had a chance to give away.
Changing gears ...
I was northbound on Stockton Hill Road Memorial Day Weekend, a van just ahead in the right lane, when a man in one of those brightly colored traffic vests stepped out into the street and signaled for the van to drive into the Frontier parking lot. The street was basically empty because of the holiday, even though sunset was hours away.
The incident struck me as odd. I found out later it was a traffic stop, part of the "Click It or Ticket" thing KPD was doing. I'm not sure what the driver of the van did to warrant being pulled over so the cops could find out if he was wearing his seat belt, but it certainly wasn't one of those high-risk stops. I'll throw out a guess it was something many KPD officers might consider insignificant under different circumstances, one that many of them ignore when it's not "Click It or Ticket" week.
For example, the driver of the van may have approached Stockton Hill Road on Detroit, slowed to a crawl and looked left to see absolutely no oncoming traffic except for me in a different lane. Maybe the driver turned onto Stockton Hill Road without coming to a complete stop.
We all do it. If you pay close attention, you see the police do it.
Now that whole scenario is just speculation on my part, but I do know from talking to other people that they'd be a little upset to get that sort of traffic stop treatment. The point being that if it's serious enough for a traffic stop, then make it a real traffic stop for something that is inexcusable all the time, not just "Click It or Ticket" week.
Seat belt laws aren't "primary," meaning you can't be stopped for not wearing one. You can get socked with a fine, however, if you are pulled over for something else and are not strapped in.
One of my golf buddies said the whole exercise was just another excuse for the police to look around and see what they can see.
"They don't see a meth pipe on the console every time they pull someone over," he said.
I know that's true. I also imagine a few people got a little bit upset for being pulled over for what they consider to be ticky-tack stuff.
"I'd be really angry," my golf buddy said. "I'm not sure I'd pull into that parking lot just because some guy in a vest was pointing that way."
And in situations like that, I think it would be pretty smart on the part of the KPD to calm frayed nerves with something special for the driver who was pulled over - a cuddly teddy bear, perhaps.
Besides, KPD could really use that conference room.