Back in the early days of the Cold War (when I was just a kid) I saw a TV program (in black and white – might have been The Twilight Zone) about two Air Force officers in a subterranean missile silo. They receive an electronic signal ordering them to fire the missile. One of the officers voices his reluctance by saying something like “Before I kill a hundred thousand people I want to hear a verbal authorization.”
I still feel the same way, even if it’s just an airline reservation. And I want a printed boarding pass. I have a lot of trouble finding anything on my cell phone.
A few days ago I heard an off-hand criticism of social media: Why do we tell the world about our thoughts and activities? Is the world that interested? Are we that anxious to have the world know so much about us? The criticism made social media sound like an egotistical, self-induced version of Wikileaks.
I don’t have a lot to hide. On the other hand, I don’t want my name or internet address added to any more algorithmic lists. Nevertheless, I use social media. I look at Facebook so I can keep up on the activities of my family, particularly my family that is living in another country whom I rarely get to visit. I review Hangouts daily on my phone because I get to see photos of my children and grandchildren in that other country and in three different states. Facebook and e-mail have helped me re-establish contact with old friends. And I freely admit I have been trying to use Instagram, Facebook, and my Blog to promote my writing. (I’m just not comfortable with the self-promotion aspect of writing and my posts have therefore been sporadic.)
So now you may know more about me than I am comfortable in telling, and perhaps more than you care to know. I just hope this doesn’t lead to my getting a bunch of pop-up ads.
I’m back. Among other distractions I have been to Glacier National Park with a daughter and a grandson. My daughter did the internet research. Between her hard work on and off the net, and a little luck, we were able to find accommodations in a couple of rustic cabins and camped two nights at Avalanche Campground. I can still sleep on the ground. Wildflowers, waterfalls and mountain sheep were highlights, but there is so much more.
Upon my return from time with a daughter and a grandson in Glacier National Park I discovered Amazon had decided not to absorb any of the cost of publishing my novel. Therefore I have elected to published on-line and in paperback through Amazon, but without their financial help. I should have the details worked out within a week.
The proposed Bears Ears National Monument continues to be discussed, particularly in San Juan County, in Utah generally, in the western U.S, and throughout the country. As a part of this discussion expressed in a news clip of a young woman from San Juan County who stated she was opposed to the creation of the monument because it took away some of the freedom enjoyed by the citizens of San Juan County. I agree. It would. For example, the use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) would be further restricted.
While I was volunteering with the Forest Service on North Elk Ridge I rode into Dark Canyon seated in a side-by- side next to a man from northern Utah who was scouting for elk. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I also noted that ATV drivers had torn up huge sections of the riparian areas.
I would regret the loss of the freedom to drive an ATV into Dark Canyon. I also regret the damage done to Dark Canyon by the exercise of that freedom. My argument with the young woman in San Juan County is that where I lay my head at night does not give me the “freedom” to use the resources of Dark Canyon to the detriment of others. The freedom to wave my arms ends where someone else’s nose begins.
Enough people nominated DarkCanyons that Amazon has now assigned the transcript to an editor. The book received nominations from people on both coasts, the southwest, and probably some from other parts of the country. Maybe it got a few nominations from other countries. Thank you all for your support. Amazon should let us know within a week or two if the book will be given further consideration. Watch the blog for further updates.
Please consider this a blatant pitch to encourage you to read my book. I need a bunch of votes to help Amazon decide to publish it on line. The book is a Western. I know, Westerns aren’t exactly in vogue these days (seven percent of the market) but it relates to modern issues and besides, it is what I wanted to write.
If you want to read the first three chapters, click the link below. If you like what you read, please nominate the book by clicking the appropriate button. If Amazon selects the book you will receive a free e-copy of the full book.
The following is a paragraph from my journal, dated almost a year ago. I seems every bit as pertinent now. I would like to address it to my friends who have guns for self protection.
I’m trying to figure out why anyone thinks stricter gun control is a bad idea. Does any private citizen need a handgun? If someone broke into my house I don’t think I would shoot him (or her) if I could. Nothing I own is worth my life or anybody else’s. Poser: What if someone wanted to steal my granddaughter? For that I would die – or kill. So . . . how many people must die so I can have a gun in the house to provide for the unlikely possibility that I will need it to prevent the abduction of a grandchild from my home? No matter how careful I am with a firearm I think the likelihood of a grandchild being injured by a firearm, mine or someone else’s, greatly outweighs the likelihood that my grandchild will be saved by my having a firearm handy.
A couple of years ago a hiker found this .380 handgun on the trail near the Forest Service cabin where I spent my summers and left it at the trailhead with a note. I unloaded the gun and passed in on to the Wilderness Ranger. The ranger informed me later that the gun had been returned to the owner. I wondered what the owner thought he was going to shoot with it.
During the nine summers I spent in the mountains I saw many people strapped with handguns. Old men, young girls, teenage boys. They made me uneasy even though I have always been fascinated by guns. Dad had guns. I used to read through old stacks of TheAmericanRifleman by flashlight in the basement. To avoid being drafted into the Army I joined the Marine Corps (OCS 4-66), where I shot expert with the .45. I became familiar with many types of firearms and carried a .45 for most of my 13 month tour, quite a bit of it in the jungle. For some time I didn’t feel completely “ready” without a firearm.
I no longer love guns, at least not in my head. When a forest friend told me an ATV driver had put his hand on his pistol when my friend stopped to talk with him I wondered what the ATV driver was thinking. Whatever it was, luckily my friend was not of the same mind set. (“Judge, I had to shoot him. He went for his gun.”)
I’ve read the Second Amendment. I’ve read DistrictofColumbiav.Heller, and several cases that cite it. I believe the Supreme Court has decided that people have the constitutional right to arm themselves for self-protection. But that doesn’t make it the smart thing to do. How dangerous is a gun versus how many people you think you are going to save? The argument seems to be, “If he hadn’t had a gun, more people would have been killed.” Yeah? And if nobody had a gun?
I don’t think it is a legal questions. I think it’s cultural. And time for a change.
The first time I visited the Doll House (above) in the Bears Ears area of southeastern Utah was three years ago. My Forest Service supervisor (I was a volunteer) wouldn’t tell me where it was, and I only found it after inquires and a couple of four wheel drive explorations. I had the site to myself.
The last time I visited, more than a year ago, there were 100 people in the “parking lot,” a circle in the sagebrush at the end of a deeply eroded user-made two-track. The building was still pristine, but visitors were leaning on the walls and propping their children on the window sills for snap-shots.
I’m not sure a National Monument for this corner of Utah is the best idea but if something isn’t done this uniquely intact structure will truly be a ruin, like so many other ancestral pueblo sites.