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Pioneer Viewpoints: When Camelot came crashing down

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Fifty years.

Half a century.

This week, we mark the watershed moment of the 20th Century, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas. (Remember, the 9/11 attacks on the United States happened in 2001, which is the 21st Century.)

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But as in both tragedies, we remember where we were and what we were doing when we first heard the news.

Of course, with time, there are fewer people who remember the JFK assassination as a live event.

And what is even more troubling is the fact that many young people today can’t grasp the significance of the event.

As with the aftermath of 9/11, we were not the same country in the wake of the Kennedy assassination. The days of Camelot were over, and the upheaval of the late 1960s was upon the country — a controversial war in Vietnam, race relations boiling over, and a youth culture that demanded a different American Dream.

Also bred in that time is what now seems standard fare — distrust in the government. No event (again, until 9/11) created more conspiracy theories than the Kennedy assassination and the subsequent Warren Commission report on the event.

While we’ve become used to Big Brother now — the Patriot Act, NSA wiretapping scandals, drone surveillance — that suspicion of government was much more tame in November 1963.

Until, Nov. 22, that is.

There will be much about the Kennedy assassination in the newspapers, on television and online this week. Take it all in.

Remember.

Clarity on e-cigs This week will bring greater clarity to the issues of electronic cigarettes and their use, as well as regulations regarding e-cig businesses, as both the city and Beltrami County look at ordinances related to the topic.

More clarity is needed, at the local, state and national levels. Many on various sides of the issue are calling for the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide some of that clarity by issuing its own set of standards or regulations. Often, citizens and businesses are wary of government intrusion, but, in this case, a course of action is needed.

While the debate rages on whether e-cigarettes are harmful, or whether they help regular smokers kick the habit, what is not in dispute is the rise in popularity of the product, especially among young people. That is not something that should be taken lightly.

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