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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

“Oh, you’re so negative”
By David G. Hanger


July 09, 2012

There is something particularly juvenile about the attitude that you can judge some other person, “Oh, you’re so negative,” and thereby invalidate anything that person might say. In the article that you were criticizing so harshly I actually discussed that local inclination briefly. Thus my simple observation that your ignorance has precluded the possibility that you begin to comprehend the fact that everything you said is far more negative than anything I have said. It even has a word or label by which it is called: nullification. It’s the old slay the messenger game because you don’t have the guts to deal with the message.

I am a member of one of the old-line “professions.” I am an accountant. At one time there were only three “professions,” medicine, law, and accounting. Banking and all other businesses are not “professions” under this definition; they are businesses. The word used to infer a service provided on a formulaic basis conditioned by law or science. There are only so many ways to pull or repair a tooth; only so many ways to remove an appendix. The parallels with law and accounting should be obvious, the essential difference one is based in science, the others in law.

All of the old-line “professions” deal in negatives. Medicine—illness and death; Attorneys—you are in trouble with the law or with someone else; Accountants—“Death and taxes.” Taxation has been the largest enterprise in human history since the time of the ancient Greeks, representing 30% to 50% of all economic activity in most civilizations now for 3,000 years. The only era when that number declined to below 15% (it apparently averaged right at 14%) was called the Dark Ages. Accountants keep track of your money and your expenses for any number of reasons, and the rules and the expectations for accountants, therefore, are in many respects far more strident than those for the other two “professions.”

Everything I do professionally is a question of negatives. I am presented with semi-organized chaos by my clients, and my first job is to create order out of that. Order itself could be positive or negative, I suppose, but true positivity in this case is nothing more than a result that does not exceed expectations. If we do not owe the government any money, that is generally viewed as positive; owe them a hundred grand, not so good. The intent, of course, is to create a result ultimately more positive than the material with which the project is started, and over 37 years in my case alone that has probably resulted in a couple hundred million dollars back into the community, a fairly positive result that is still unfortunately relative. If I got half of all it back, I still let half get away. So does that mean that what I do is all negative? I don’t think so. I win my audits, and I win my tax court cases, and there are few of them; that’s the rest of it.

There are a lot of positive things going on right outside my window today, all these folks fishing and things like that. Don’t see that they particularly need any comment, though. When things are going smoothly, smart managers just let them go. I do not concern myself with things that are going well, but on occasion I am prepared to comment on things I do not think are going well. Thus what I am commenting on is invariably something I consider a negative in some sense, but that does not mean that I am negative. My desire would be to fix the problem, which I certainly perceive as a positive.

So do not try to cloak me in my subject matter. I am not a negative person, and I am not that negative about Ketchikan. There are some things in this town I think are very negative, though, and once in awhile I might comment about them. I am generally in fact disinclined to comment much about anything here in Ketchikan, and have been that way for several years now. There is no point. Most of the time my topics are much broader based than here.

But this is an exception because this is personal.

Perhaps you don’t recall back 30 years ago when this particular hysteria began. This witch hunt, which goes on to this very day, makes the Salem witch trials look like child’s play. The cops have wedged their way into the bedroom without warrant, and with charges that in fact are “you are guilty until you can prove yourself innocent.” Because of that several innocent people in this town have gone to prison. I know two. In one case even the Court knew the guy didn’t do it; a female grifter was pulling a money con; but he left himself open, and they have to win. He could not prove he didn’t do it, and that was enough to be put in prison for years. The only witness they actually had against him was completely discredited; but then you have the cop show, and as meaningless as it actually is, it convinces the jury every time. I also know three who were guilty as sin. But three to two is unacceptable, or should be unacceptable in this country; and I am sure there are many others in this town who are familiar with the details of other cases where the allegations are total BS, but someone did a lot of time anyway.

It happened all over this country, not just here. But here Dick Callentine in his official capacity as a psychologist alleged that every other adult male in this town was a sexual abuser of children, and certain cops went way out of their way to try to make that true. It was an epidemic. We were the child abuse capital of the world.

How do all these people end up going to prison? It actually is real simple. You create a system wherein the alleged perpetrator is in all instances “guilty until proven innocent,” and then the legal system simply insures that the defendant cannot bring forth any witnesses who might prove his innocence. This is accomplished by classifying potential witnesses into “classes” and then under law or by legislative action deny these “classes” any right to testify. Then the alleged victim is isolated, then controlled and manipulated (literally brainwashed in the case of children) by law enforcement only, generally via a “victims abuse advocate,” whose first move in almost all instances, if a family is involved, is to accuse everyone in the family of being involved in the alleged abuse; thus disqualifying everyone in the family from testifying on anyone’s behalf. The truth is not desired by law enforcement in these cases. They actually get to prepare their own fictional screenplay. Presented by the cops with only the cops and the alleged victim being written into the script. No one else gets to testify at all, except the accused. And how does any poor schmuck win against that stacked deck?

One of the things about juries is they don’t seem to get the fact that cops lie. They are told repeatedly via the media (it should be common knowledge to one and all by now) that cops are authorized to lie and connive all they want to in the pursuit of justice, which, of course, is in the pursuit of arresting someone. And cops are careerists; the more successful arrests they make, the greater their prospects for promotion. Start mining a new field of endeavor with success, and look where it gets you. So not only is lying and conniving on the part of the cops considered good cop shop practice, but there is incentive to lie on the part of the cops well beyond that point. Their lie puts you in prison, that many brownie points toward their next promotion. Somehow you think all that ends at the courtroom door when they take an oath. They shade meaning; they lie outright; they perjure themselves in any number of ways including substituting bullying officers in court for someone who wasn’t there, or was not involved. I have personally witnessed all of these things. (Not in this town, by the way.) And the proof is in the pudding because in this instance they were exposed.

You lie to them, and you go to prison. They lie to you, standard cop shop procedure. The problem with any liar is you just never know when they are telling the truth. And it should not matter because they are damned liars. Hard school, I know.

Any number of studies has proven that this is particularly true when it comes to domestic abuse cases, and sexual abuse cases. The rules of procedure tighten as the crime becomes more serious, but with sexual abuse cases you are in fact guilty until you can prove yourself innocent, and you are then denied virtually any possibility of doing that.

The Jack Shay case highlights some things people around here should take very seriously. In way too many instances this community has a problem picking its leaders. The city council just rubber stamps King Karl for the most part, but I cannot deny that Karl Amylon is competent at his craft. Beyond that your leadership is pathetic. What have your Borough and State representatives been doing with their time? There is an old adage from down south that goes, “You can tell how corrupt a county is by the condition of its roads.” The basis for that assertion is sound. County governments get money from their state and from the Feds for road maintenance, money that is used by local contractors and by the local powers that be. If the roads are crap, the assertion is obviously accurate. The several legendary stretches of road around here have been that way for years now, and that is way wrong.

This Skinner clown was the president of the Chamber of Commerce, and then there was the manager out at Cape Fox who ripped off the Feds for $200 million a couple years back. (I do hope that case is adjudicated sometime soon; and not swept under the rug.) These folks who brought you such things as the veneer mill wasted $25 million in Federal funds and tens of millions in other funds, and today there is not one single local job for all of that. I think there is a serious local leadership problem, and I think a lot of that comes from how these leaders are chosen. There is a propensity to buy into “big man-itis” locally that just blows me away. The same mistake is made over and over again.

I think that is negative, but I do not think proposing to fix it is negative.

I liked Jack Shay, but I never voted for him. I concluded early on that his clown act was a façade hiding the inner man; but that was as far as my concern ever went. I prefer serious-minded folks for leadership positions, which is simply a question of style.

I have heard all kinds of things about photographs in his case, and an allegation that there is a video of something; but that is all I have heard, except that he pleaded guilty. I have no idea what that really means with an 81-year old man. Was he just looking at pictures? Was he actually doing something physical to someone that was actually proven, or provable? I don’t know. But if he was looking at pictures, why the hell are we putting him away for 17 years? There are a lot of “I don’t knows” about this case.

But Ketchikan elected this man every time he ran for office over a period of almost 40 years. Walking away from that fact is not a wise idea.

Do any of you remember Bill Weiss and Clark Cochrane? We have named things after Clark around here. These were two middle-aged single men who devoted their lives to other people’s children, primarily in their cases via youth sports and such.

Where are the Clark Cochrane’s and Bill Weiss’s of the last two generations? Far and in between, or someone is absolutely out of their tree; for all it takes is one bony, pointed finger.

I think that is very sad, and very negative, Valley Girl, but it does not make me negative.

David G. Hanger
Ketchikan, AK


Received July 09, 2012 - Published July 09, 2012



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