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What do we do now?

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Jim Thompson

By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

It has been a month since Hamas hit Israel. So, what do we do now? 

Post “#Stand with Israel” and move on to complaining because there is a shortage of milk cartons for school lunches (a fact I’ll explain before this column is over)?

I don’t think it is that easy, despite us wanting it to be. Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and other Islamic radicals not only want to destroy Israel, but they also want to destroy the United States, too. If they are thinking about this day and night (and be assured, they are) we cannot let our guard down at any time, now or in the future.

For my entire life, these bad players and others have been trying to destroy Western culture and our way of life. They are not going to pause; they are not going to stop. 

It is up to us to stop them.

Look at the destruction they have spread around the world. Beirut, Lebanon was called the “Paris of the Middle East” until the late 1970s. Many places in the Middle East were safe and civilized.  Now there is only chaos.

Both China and Russia are in the mix, stirring the pot of radical Islam as well. I think worldwide conditions now are worse than during the Cold War of the 1950s-80s. Now we have no way to stop or, in many cases, discern propaganda from real news. One of the most blatant tools the Chinese are using today is TikTok. This is where young people are getting their news and the news they are getting is manipulated and promulgated by the Chinese.  

Young people, in particular, are vulnerable to propaganda. Show them a hurt puppy or tell them someone has been killed in a war and their sentiment immediately goes to the injured party. Sadly, things are more complex than this.  

Take the case of Israel. Now there are headlines about the deaths, especially the children’s deaths since Israel reacted to Hamas. Taking this to its simplest terms we have a situation where a bully on the playground pulled a little girl’s hair and the little girl swung around and gave him a black eye. Now, the bully runs to the teacher. To make it very plain and simple for you, the bully is Hamas, and the little girl is Israel. 

As I read elsewhere, Hamas can stop this any day by giving up the hostages and surrendering. These actions are within Hamas’ control and can bring a quick and peaceful end to this conflict. 

Hamas, it is on you.

Now to the milk carton shortage. A company called Pactiv Evergreen permanently shut down a paper mill in Canton, N.C. this year. This mill was originally built by Champion International, which has long since disappeared. The Canton Mill was one of the few places in the country to make milk carton paperboard stock.  

During the 1990s, environmental groups accused the Canton Mill of polluting the Little Pigeon River. The pressure on the mill was relentless, to the point that no one wanted it. 

When Champion International was purchased and broken up, no one wanted Canton. But Pactiv Evergreen made a valiant effort to make a go of it. Now, they have finally said the costs are too high, the profits too low, we quit.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, or the milk to go with it.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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