This is my last column. By the time the next would have run, I will have begun my next job, doing what I started doing here last April, which I would not have gotten without these columns.
It’s been a good year. It’s been a good two-and-a-half years. And I have enjoyed working with and talking with you.
I have written before about the admiration I hold for the dedication of the Havre Public Schools administration and Board of Trustees to reforms and updates that will keep Havre’s students prepared for a changing world.
I believe that the Montana State University-Northern that comes out of the next 18-months of optimization will be a stronger and more vital institution to energize and lead the region.
City Hall has undergone positive changes over the past year, from a few convenient enhancements brought with Clerk Doug Kaercher to the wide reviews initiated by Police Chief Kirk Fitch. And I have reason to believe that there will be more interesting developments in Havre’s government in the next few years.
But I would also reiterate the warnings I have offered here.
I have recognized, understood and appreciated the general suspicion I have detected among many Hi-Line residents toward people and ideas not of here.
And, in one case that I have taken particular interest in, this wariness is warranted.
There is a force out there growing, and it isn’t tied to political party or any one lobbying organization. It is a force that wants to know more about you than you are allowed to know about it.
Bills in Congress that use covers like national security, protecting U.S. industry or saving our children from pornographers will be and are used to empower a strengthening coalition of national intelligence agencies, corporations and law enforcement with unprecedented anonymous access to our lives.
It is probably not as menacing as it sounds. These people are a lot dumber than that last paragraph makes them sound. And there will always be people that are smarter and more capable than them fighting against them for the freedom of the rest of us. Men like Aaron Swartz. Men inspired by men like Aaron Swartz.
So I guess I would be too worried. I’d keep an eye on things and listen for ways to preserve your rights.
Most importantly, keep sharing. The more information that we are told is dangerous to have and illegal to share, the worse off we will be. Keep thinking. Keep talking. Keep learning. We live in exciting times.
I thank you for sharing them with me.
(Zach White for almost three years has been reporter for the Havre Daily News. He can be reached until Friday at email@example.com)