Friday, February 24, 2012

A Ryan Braun parable

Election Day, 1982: I am working for the newspaper in Detroit Lakes, Minn., spending election night in the Becker County courthouse watching the vote come in.

Ryan Braun: There is a difference
between "innocent" and
"not guilty." Either way, he
won't be suspended.
Becker isn't the biggest county in Minnesota, but it has some size to it, and Detroit Lakes is very near the southern border. Two Inlets Township, in the county's northeast corner, is a long haul to the county seat, made even longer by the fact that all the roads run east-west or north-south -- no diagonal shortcuts. If memory serves, it was close to 50 miles of driving.

We're starting to push midnight, everybody else is in, and we're still waiting for Two Inlets. The county auditor picks up the phone, calls the township clerk, wakes him up, asks where the ballots are.

The clerk says, Right here, I brought 'em home with me and I'll bring them in in the morning.

The auditor tells him that he will bring them in right now, and if they aren't in the courthouse within an hour he'll send a deputy out to get them, and him, and the clerk won't be going home until he gets bail.

That's what I thought of Thursday afternoon when I learned that Ryan Braun's suspension had been overturned, apparently on the basis that the guy who collected the urine sample took it home for the weekend rather than send it to the lab immediately.

You don't take the ballots home with you, and you don't take the urine sample home either. Same principle.

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