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These wacky times are getting wackier

If you were an outsider dropping into Monday evening’s Ceres City Council meeting you might have walked away thinking, my God, that is one place to avoid.

At least the meeting started out with the eloquent prayer of a local pastor. It was the best part of the meeting but went downhill fast.

Council meetings used to be civil in Ceres but not anymore. One bombastic audience member feels the need to berate and insult all city officials, including the city clerk, the city manager, the police chief, the city attorney and a councilwoman.

A disrespectful “woke” white person berated the mayor and another citizen saying they dissed others.

Numerous citizens complained about Ceres nightly sounding like a like bombing of Beirut with illegal fireworks.

Complaints about people speeding recklessly in their neighborhoods because of “no cop, no stop.” Or driving with loud pipes. Or neighbors of an excessively populated household stuffing their trash overload into their neighbors’ can.

A tearful Spanish-speaking mom spent 11 minutes accusing Ceres Police of arresting her son for no reason at all and booking him into Juvenile Hall.  Social justice warriors (one unable to speak English) spent even more time pleading the lady’s cause without knowledge as to the reason for the arrest. They only pushed for alternative justice.

The mayor returns a dialogue spoken entirely in Spanish with no translation to English and is duly chastised for it.

I sure miss the good old days.

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It’s always very sad when someone loses their life in a traffic collision. I got my license in 1978 and I had a driver’s training instructor who instilled in us students that there was “no such thing as an accident.” I tried to refute his claims but he always came back with something.

“Well, what if the person in the oncoming car drifts into your lane and hits you head on?” I argued.

“You can get out of the way – just watch the tires of that car and you can see if it’s drifting and take corrective action.”

I am still not convinced he is right 100 percent but I like his assertion. Indeed, many auto crashes can be avoided with sane vigilant driving. Drivers should take greater control over situations. I am a firm believer that we can learn from others mistakes, too.

We don’t know exactly what led to the April 28 crash on Santa Fe Avenue that took the life of a 48-year-old Denair mother and her 16-year-old daughter Cheyenne. Obviously the driver, Kristie Wight, was at fault as she cross the center line and went head-on into an oncoming vehicle. The CHP said neither were wearing their seat belts. It’s been suggested by the CHP that the Wight vehicle may have been involved in some incident of road rage prior to crashing.

Drivers should never lose their cool behind the wheel or be in a hurry to get somewhere. I’ve seen a lot of crazy and impatient drivers lately and I’m not sure if the government lockdown and incessant media coverage of COVID has driven them to acting out.

Last week I saw a driver deliberately run a red light in front of the Modesto Police Department as I stopped during a yellow to red. He was caught twice at the next two red lights as I rolled up right alongside him. On Monday I watched an impatient driver whip around me, change lanes in the intersection only to be caught at the next light. That kind of driving only makes the driver look impatient and stupid.

It goes without saying that drivers should also be buckled up and make sure their passengers are too.

Enough said.

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As I go into this topic, just know that I am not one to ascribe to kooky conspiracy theories. When it comes to what the Bible predicts, I believe that it’s the gospel truth.

I may risk offending readers when I discuss matters of faith since many of you may not be Christians and don’t believe what the Good Book says. But you must admit that the book of Revelation has some interesting and scary scenarios of what is coming. Now admittedly, not everyone agrees with how to interpret the Scriptures, especially the reference to the so-called “Mark of the Beast” and the number associated with the number of the Beast – 666.

According to theologian Thomas R. Schreiner, 777 represents perfection and 666 is the number of man and then represents what is against God, or antichrist, the totality of evil.

The government’s push to receive a COVID vaccination – and the insistence of some Democrat governors to get the vaccine or otherwise you can’t fly or attend sporting events – has sparked renewed discussion about the mark.

Revelation 13:16-17 reads: “And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.”

Nobody can buy or sell without the mark? Is that because physical cash has disappeared? Or is it because certain people have been ostracized and cannot do business at stores with their cash?

What is this mark? A tattoo? A physical mark? Or is it unseen? Is it a computer chip injected under your skin?

Shelters already computer chip dogs so that if they become lost they may be scanned and owner notified. Microchipping of humans is already happening. In 1998, British scientist Kevin Warwick (known as “Captain Cyborg”) became the first human to receive an RFID (radio-frequency identification) microchip implant. Some in Sweden are already being microchipped.

I don’t believe it’s a far flung prediction to imagine a day coming where the government says, “It costs too much to print money so we’re going to stop so every purchase must be made by debit or credit card, which already has a chip installed in it.” Banks will find it easier handling digital transactions and not deal with cash. Once paper and coin money is made obsolete, the deal will be, oh, goodness, people are losing their cards and out of convenience someone will push the idea of making it where you can never lose your chip by placing it inside your body. Just scan your hand with the chip in it. Since cash will be eliminated the only way you could but anything would be through the chip.

The COVID vaccinations are what make me think this is how it will all go down with the chip-under-the-skin scenario. Already we have progressives shaming those of us who don’t want to take this vaccine which has not even been approved by the FDA, treating those who don’t as second-class citizens. Imagine the threats they will impose for those who refuse to get the microchip implanted.

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I found Vice Mayor Couper Condit’s final vote on amendments to Mike Reynold’s Kase’s Journey marijuana dispensary developer agreement to be interesting.

On Jan. 10 when the council discussed changes to Kase’s Journey’s DA, Condit voted “no” after insisting that the revenue be earmarked for public safety (despite the fact that all of that money goes into the General Fund of which 70-80 percent goes to police and fire expenses). In fact, he advocated giving carte blanche authority to the two chiefs on “how to best use this money,” as opposed to letting the full elected council decide.

On April 12, without explanation, Condit voted in favor of the same agreement he opposed on Jan. 10. It’s nice to see him show some flexibility  – something the new council has lacked.

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I’ve always heard the saying “Youth is wasted on the wrong people” and never understood it until recently. It’s a reflection on how someone who is young does not have enough experience to make wise decisions or to appreciate how lucky they are to be in the flower of their youth with their strength, energy and beauty.

In most households in America the parents are doing a superb job in raising the kids. In others they are doing poorly. Judging by how some kids in Stanislaus County think they need to give police more work, maybe it’s time the public school system set aside the lessons on “social injustice” and begin teaching common sense. Maybe we should enact “Act Smart” classes so that kids stop doing dumb things to get into trouble.

In this class we can teach how it’s dumb to race around in the car. Maybe teach that patience pays off. I once had the unfortunate experience of seeing a young woman about 20 years of age, sitting dead in her driver’s seat because she decided to pass a big-rig on a solid yellow line south of Ceres and plow head-on into a pickup. Her car still had the dealer paper plates on them.

A class that teaches the hazards of pointing a gun at an officer could have benefitted Reymar Gagarin in Modesto when officers opened fire on him May 25, 2020. Or benefitted Carmen Mendez, the 15-year-old who fled from a Ceres Police officer on Aug. 19, 2018 after picking up a gun. This the same kid who earlier stole booze from a liquor store.

We can also teach some of these kids that the way you don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo is to conduct sideshows where you block traffic, put public safety employees in fear of mobs and destroy public property. Seriously, vandalizing a fire engine in Turlock? It’s too bad they weren’t taught how to become productive civil human beings.

This column is the opinion of Jeff Benziger, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Ceres Courier or 209 Multimedia Corporation. How do you feel about this? Let Jeff know at