Getting a kick out of the airport games

Craig Hall, Publisher
Craig Hall, Publisher

I’ll be the first to admit I have absolutely no idea what the FBI was doing and has been doing out at Grand Junction Regional Airport.

I only can attest to the fact the FBI was at the airport on Nov. 6, because I was delivering papers that particular day. (Yes, under the job title publisher it also states responsible for local paper route.) I recall this because I was stared down by the feds as only the feds can do as I sauntered through the terminal to drop off papers — as if I’d been misappropriating something or other.

Beyond this knowledge, I don’t know of anyone who has much of a clue as to exactly what’s going on. Not that that lack of knowledge has stopped speculation, accusations or sweeping judgments.

I could play that game as well and say things like, “You know, when the feds come in, it’s only when it’s a slam dunk that something illegal is going on.” But haven’t we all seen that’s simply not the case as slam dunk after slam dunk clanks off the rim and the ball goes out of bounds never to be put back into play?

I could make a ridiculous statement as some have and say, “How does the airport authority not know what’s going on under its own roof?” Um, isn’t that how “misappropriation of funds” normally occurs, right under the nose of management? How many stories do you hear about internal fraud, embezzlement and theft that have occurred in the best of organizations that happened under what we consider to be well-run companies or entities? Even more, we’re startled at the amount and breadth of the fraud. And then those same folks poke fun at the airport authority for initiating its own internal investigation by using an outside entity, all while eluding to the fact this is simply a “cover your backside” action.

Instead, I will just opine that these kinds of reactions are typical of big-government types who love corruption conspiracies when that conspiracy can be applied to the “man.” That is, when the man in question isn’t their man. I just love the “it’s the seriousness of the charge” crowd.

As far as I can tell, the airport authority has basically no idea what’s going on with the FBI investigation as the files on the case are closed. So perhaps it’s smart on its part to look into some things as the feds play the games they tend to play in these scenarios. And the irony is not lost on me that a lot of the folks screaming “foul” on the airport authority are the same people who think Eric Holder’s Justice Department has done a bang-up job looking into Benghazi, the IRS and other investigations into corruption in the White House. Investigations, by the way, that are pretty much sealed to the public these folks serve.

This isn’t to say that if there’s corruption or misappropriation of funds at the Grand Junction Regional Airport, I wish it swept under the rug. I don’t. But I do think it needs to be more than a case of, “I don’t like how someone in the government spends money versus how I’d spend it” kind of accusation. Because if that is all it took to initiate an FBI investigation, I’d change my title to “Investigative Cub Reporter, Craigy Hall” and go nuclear on every elected government official and bureaucrat in the Grand Valley. Because let’s face facts:

If that’s the threshold for an all-out FBI investigation, then everyone in government is, indeed, corrupt and deserves to be in the sights of the feds.

But that’s not the threshold in the United States of America. As far as I know, innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt remains the standard. And that’s a standard that does not come into play during the investigation phase of anything. If there is evidence of a crime, due process dictates the people accused are entitled to the best legal representation and their day in court. But we all know how these standards can be kicked to the curb when it suits certain purposes. And there’s nothing like a good football to kick around that involves politics, a local government entity, some big time players in town and the “misappropriation of funds and corruption” to get the Charlie Browns lined up for the kick.

Well, not to get all Lucy Van Pelt on your investigative field goal attempt (which I’m guessing will miss wide left), but how about we sit back and wait to see what the actual score is before moving on to the next game out at our airport?

I’m anxious to know what is, has or isn’t occurring at the airport. But I do have a significant worry when it comes to the game the government is playing: And that is whether or not the game is fixed.

If I’ve learned one thing about the government when it comes to finding and eliminating corruption (something it should be the expert on), it’s much better at continuing it than ending it.

And as we all sit on the sidelines while the game plays out, let’s hope it doesn’t end in the perpetual, government, corruption tie and we all go home unsatisfied with a horrible taste in our mouths.