The winners and the losers

Published: Saturday, Jan. 22 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Loser: Just because you have the freedom to do something doesn't mean it's acceptable to exercise it in a way that frightens people. A 51-year-old man apparently decided this week that the best way to honor the Second Amendment was to walk though the University Mall in Orem with an unloaded assault rifle and handgun. Police confronted him and ended up citing him for disorderly conduct, a minor offense. Given the recent shooting at a shopping area in Tucson, the stunt was in poor taste. It also was foolish. Other people exercising their Second Amendment rights in a more discrete way may have assumed his weapons were armed and that he needed to be stopped before he hurt someone.

Winner: Most Utahns will hardly know it is here, unless they try to make dinner reservations downtown, but the annual Outdoor Retailer Winter Market is in Salt Lake City, and it is a major boon to the local economy. This year, 18,000 manufacturers and buyers are here, displaying more than 800 brands of items at the Salt Palace Convention Center. While the show is closed to the public, the public certainly will benefit from all those people spending money on hotel rooms, food and other items.

Winner: It's hard to remember now that Utah's unemployment rate stood at 2.8 percent at the end of 2007. That makes it difficult, by comparison, to proclaim the current 7.5 percent rate a winner. But the latest figures from the Department of Workforce Services show unemployment has held steady for the second straight month. To put it simply, no bad news is good news, indeed. Want more good news? The Utah economy added 15,300 new jobs since this time last year, all in the private sector. Experts are predicting that hiring will pick up in 2011. Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon says employment will rise 0.8 percent statewide during the year. It may not be 2007 again, but our guess is most Utahns will welcome some sunny projections for a change.

Winner: It didn't get a lot of attention here, but a South Korean special-forces raid on a hijacked freighter in the Arabian Sea this week was a major blow in the perpetual war against pirates. Striking at dawn, the forces boarded the ship, freed 21 hostages, killed eight Somali pirates and captured five more. Only one hostage was wounded. This bold move isn't likely to end the age-old practice of piracy, but it was a spectacular success for a South Korean anti-piracy ship that was deployed to the region in 2009.

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