Delaying inevitable is painful

Published 2:55 am Sunday, April 17, 2011

Delaying the inevitable is just human nature, I suppose.

It’s what makes people with an irrational fear of dentists often put off dental visits as if the chair were, in fact, electrified.

It’s what makes businesses that should fail linger on far too long as owners desperately throw more and more money at a bad business model.

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I learned firsthand about just how serious humans are at delaying the inevitable several years ago, in the most unusual of places.

On a whim, I signed up to attend a combat pistol shooting class. It was when I was living in Ohio and was a bored bachelor looking for some excuse to play with guns on the weekend.

Perhaps I should have read the class description a little better, because what I thought would just be a class to hone skills on shooting pistols under stress, ultimately wound up being a class aimed mostly at learning how to kill people.

That became apparent in the first 15 minutes of the three-day class.

Having no intentions of joining the military or being employed by any kind of hit squad, I toyed with the idea of just asking politely to be excused.

However, I opted to stay in the class, learn what I could during the pistol portions of the class and at least feign interest when the discussions drifted toward how deadly an ink pen could be in skilled hands.

During one of the breaks, one of the instructors began telling a story about an advanced knife-fighting class he taught from time to time. He was attempting to wrestle up a few would-be sticking students.

As he described the class, he chuckled to himself as he talked about part of the class that focused on hand-to-hand combat.

The scene he painted included the instructor wearing a large padded suit and all of the students in a circle around him. He would clearly tell each student that he was going to fight each of them, one by one.

Invariably, he said, each of the students would delay and stall every way possible, trying to avoid him rather than throwing the first punch.

“I don’t get it,” he said. “I’ve clearly told them I’m about to come after them, yet they try to avoid it.”

While my fellow pistol pupils were considering the wonders of getting one’s rear-end kicked, I thought of two things.

First, I didn’t think I’d ever need to sign up for knife-fighting or hand-to-hand combat classes.

Second, it was clearly a case of the inevitable being delayed as long as possible.

As I look around Natchez, I can’t help but think some of that is going on, too.

Last week, the City of Natchez voted to give the would-be Roth Hill casino developers another six months to prove they have the capacity to actually create what they’ve promised. It’s been how long? Four years or so?

That sure seems like we know the eventual outcome.

As one reader wrote to me last week:

“I finally realized what Charlie Brown was going through when he wanted to kick the football that Lucy was holding. The people of Natchez are Charlie and the developers play Lucy and jerk the ball away just before Charlie can kick it.”

Like the proverbially optimistic Charlie, the city continues to put all its hopes on something that most residents think isn’t likely to happen.

We’d be wise to follow the advice of the two attorneys who pressed the city to abandon plans and begin developing Roth Hill for public use.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or