We Are Numb

The headline kind of said it all: “Has America become numb to tragedy?”

Sadly, that headline was from an NBC News website in 2009 after a mass shooting.

The mass shootings and killings just seem to pile up here in the good ol’ USA. We can’t even keep track of them, unless it happened to someone or somewhere close to us.

Here we are in 2017, CBS News asked basically the same question, “Are Americans becoming ‘numb’ to mass shootings?”

The answer is yes.

To be quite honest, the latest mass killing at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, got to me. While I don’t know any of the 26 who were murdered I’ve attended small-town churches in my life and the thought that someone could walk in and start killing people in their house of worship sickens me. It makes me sad for our country.

Continue reading


The Indictments

Nobody should underestimate how much Paul Manafort did to get this campaign to where it is right now.Newt Gingrich (Last August)

CNN reported on Friday a federal grand jury in Washington on Friday approved the first charges in the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to sources briefed on the matter.

So we eagerly waited for Monday. The New York Times reported early Monday that Paul Manafort, who once ran the Trump campaign, was told to surrender.

Several news outlets, including Fox News, reported that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Richard Gates were indicted on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the US and money laundering.

In addition, Fox News reported that a guilty plea by former Trump campaign policy adviser George Papadopolous was announced by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He admitted to making false statements to FBI agents as part of the investigation.

It was reported that Manafort and Gates surrendered to authorities Monday morning.

Continue reading

The Commander-in-Chief and Bergdahl

It was disclosed yesterday that U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl would be pleading guilty to desertion and to endangering the American troops sent to search for him.

The New York Times reports that the guilty plea could mean a five-year sentence for the desertion charge, and the charge of endangering troops carries a potential life sentence. He is due to be sentenced October 23.(WaPo)

I’ve written several posts about Bowe Bergdahl here at The Western Word. I wanted to see a full investigation into the matter before jumping to conclusions.

Leading up to the last Presidential election, Donald Trump should have toned down his hatred toward Bergdahl (not to mention others who were captured) and wait for answers. Of course, Trump did not.

Continue reading

Tuesday Commentary: Las Vegas

Respecting the Second Amendment does not mean abandoning common sense. The right to own guns in this country must remain, while we also must strengthen our laws to prevent mass shootings. – Claire McCaskill

I’m skipping my normal Tuesday column, “Terrific News Tuesday” to comment about the shooting Las Vegas.

We saw plenty of “thoughts and prayers” comments and posts after the mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night.

The President even took time out to talk about it Monday morning. He’s even going to visit Las Vegas this week because that is what Presidents do.

Continue reading

Tom Petty’s Cassette

The cassette was already in the cassette deck. When I turned the key, “Refugee” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers started piercing the silence with the words:

It don’t make no difference to me, baby,
Everybody’s had to fight to be free,
You see you don’t have to live like a refugee

It was the summer of 1980 and I had just purchased the stereo for my car. It was not just any stereo, it was a Pioneer in-dash AM/FM cassette player. It came with pioneer speakers and I added a 100-watt power booster. The power booster had a plug-in for a microphone so you could sing along which for some reason attracted a lot of passengers so we could all sing like rock stars. I was proud of the new equipment in my car and told all my friends about purchasing it in Kansas City and buying several cassettes to play, along with a cassette case.

The album on the cassette was “Damn the Torpedoes” which almost made it to the top of the charts topping out at number two in 1979. When “Refugee” ended “Here Comes My Girl” started then “Even the Losers” played, which was followed by “Don’t Do Me Like That.”

Continue reading

Never Forget

If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate. —Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl, in Shanksville, Pa., in 2002

The following column has been slightly edited from a previous column…

Today we take a moment to remember September 11, 2001. It seems just yesterday that our country was attacked – but it has been 16 years.

On that day I remember staring at the television in shock. When the second plane hit the World Trade Center, I hoped and prayed that it was a replay of the first plane hitting it. It wasn’t. I hoped like many folks that the whole thing was just a dream. It wasn’t.

At that time I worked for U.S. Senator Conrad Burns in Great Falls, Montana, and I was scheduled to attend a meeting the morning of September 11 at Malmstrom Air Force Base. As I showed my ID to at the base gate, a breaking news alert came on my car radio saying a plane had hit the Pentagon – my Pentagon – our Pentagon. My thoughts shifted to friends and former colleagues who worked there.

As a former security specialist with the Air Force, when I departed the meeting an hour or so later to head back to my office I saw a change in security procedures at the base that I had never seen before – and I knew that our country had changed. We had been attacked and we were now on our highest alert.

Many things have changed since those horrific attacks. Our country came together and united in the fight against terrorism. I remember our elected officials – Republicans and Democrats – in Washington standing on the Capitol steps that evening and singing, “God Bless America.” We stood in defiance against terrorism. Americans were united. We found heroes in the first responders and those who performed acts of bravery on that day.

Yes, it’s been 16 years and our memories are somewhat faded now. As a Nation, we must always remember the events of September 11, 2001.

God Bless America.