John Andrist: Joy In Helping Others, Assault Weapons, And Courts Protecting Losers


Silhouette of helping hand between two climber

“No matter how big a man you are, the size of your funeral depends on the weather.”

I remember reading that little saying on a card posted in Crosby’s Gubrud Implement 60 some years ago. It’s funny how our overloaded brains, even after they are exhibiting significant memory problems, can still hang on to bits of trivia.

But I was thinking about that old saw when my Bismarck family called Friday enroute home for John Fosland’s funeral, lamenting that rain, ice and snow were forcing them to turn back.

It was sad, because John Fosland, as my Divide County readers all know, was both remarkable and unforgettable.  Of course bad weather would never have prevented a full church for John.

If you didn’t know him, you missed an experience that surely would have enriched your life, as much as it enriched ours.

I don’t think I’ve ever known a person who experienced quite as much joy from helping others.

He was a farmer with great mechanical abilities, who bailed out so many of us so many times when we were having furnace problems, plumbing and electrical issues, combine breakdowns.

He never seemed to be too busy. You never heard him say I’ll get to you in three days. If he couldn’t get there within a couple hours he apologized profusely.

Moreover, he rarely, if ever, would accept any payment, even if we begged.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]…we have a problem when weapons not used for sporting purposes rise to such a level of importance to us.[/mks_pullquote]

This was who he was, his mark in life .  .  . a man who felt reward just to be able to help someone.

When I wrote this column exclusively for my Journal audience I often reflected on unique friends who had died. I’ve done less of that now that my reading audience has expanded into many other communities.

But for John I’m compelled to make an exception. He was central to everyone who knew him. He most certainly was central to me.

Looking for middle ground

There are some issues that beset us from time to time, for which there never seems to be middle ground.

Things like abortion, climate change, gun control.

I’ve never been overly possessive when it comes to guns. But the furor over gun control challenges my logic.

I don’t believe any terrorist will become emboldened by more guns, nor will taking guns away deter any attacks. Guns are simply not the problem for terrorism. They are only the tools.

At the same time I’m beyond understanding why we need assault weapons or why the NRA is unbending in a search for compromise.

I also struggle to understand why guns and violence are so central to today’s world of entertainment — movies, video games, even music.

There may never be a middle ground society can accept, but we have a problem when weapons not used for sporting purposes rise to such a level of importance to us.

Courts protect losers

One of the strange happening in Fargo this week is that of an enraged dad who is threatening to sue a Fargo high school.

His son had submitted a yearbook photo in which he was wrapped in stars and stripes and holding an assault weapon. The principal said no way.

The father and son, even for a libertarian like me, are ballisticallly over the top.

Just think, they want to deny the school’s authority to edit a yearbook. Folks, this has nothing to do with education!

Taxpayers not only fund public education, but may now be required to fund a defense against a redneck dad.

We continue to be the only country in the free world to renounce the concept that in civil suits the loser pays for the court costs.

It’s a welfare system for lawyers. Call it a subsidy for civil prosecuting attorneys.