A hearty thank you
We would like to thank the Laramie Soup Kitchen, Interfaith Good Samaritan and Laramie Connections for their parts in ensuring that all members of our community were able to be included in the receipt of a Thanksgiving Meal as well as a Christmas Meal this Holiday season. The annual Community Thanksgiving Meal and the ELKS Christmas Meal program were not held this year due to COVID-19.
Eppson Center clients, who receive home delivered meals and curbside meals, were delighted with the delicious food and were all very grateful to have those meals this year. It was a genuine highlight of their Holiday season in a time where so many really needed something bright.
Laramie Connections volunteers helped deliver 1200 meals to those who are homebound which was greatly appreciated. In addition, community members able to prepare their own meals, had the opportunity to request a box of food from Interfaith and create meals at home for their families to celebrate the holidays.
What a great Community we live in We are grateful for the generosity of many individuals who donate to local non-profits, including the Eppson Center for Seniors. We thank you so much for making Laramie a great place to live.
Tammy J. Comer
Eppson Center for Seniors, Inc.
Without shame I admit to you that I am a nerdy fellow. A consequence of that is that I often find wisdom in books which can help me make sense of complicated matters. To that end, I recommend two books which address the zeitgeist. The first is Jonathan Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind” (tellingly subtitled “Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion”). The second is Seneca’s “On Anger” (which is widely available free online). Perhaps readers of this letter can suggest to their fellow Laramigos books from which they have similarly benefited?
A Shameful Choice
According to the New York Times, on Jan. 7, Senator Cynthia Lummis was among the U.S. Senators who — even after an historic coup attempt by rioters, vandals, and looters inside the Capitol Building — voted with conspiracy theorists. As a Wyomingite, I am feeling not just embarrassed, but angry.
She chose to represent our state in support of the actions of these thugs, the ones who continue to resist the peaceful and rightful transition of power. Doesn’t she comprehend how damaging this is to the future of our democracy?
When will she regret this vote? When will she admit it was a mistake to speak for Wyoming in this way? When will she level with her constituents that she just went along with an ugly propaganda campaign by Trump and his Twitter followers?
I guess it now all depends upon which way the political wind begins to blow and what she perceives to be good for her future.
When justice becomes cruel
On Dec. 27, 1929, Brady Paul was murdered in the line of duty. Corporal Paul was a motorcycle officer with the Pennsylvania State Police.
Paul and another officer set up a road block east of New Castle, Penn. A grocery store had been robbed. After stopping several cars the robber’s car was pulled over. Before either officer knew what they had stopped, Irene Schroeder climbed out and pointed her gun at Paul. Paul retreated backward toward the rear of the car warning Officer Moore on the other side of the car to take cover. This caused Schroeder to shot Paul point blank. Moore was wounded by another shot through the car window. Paul returned fire as the car drove away, but died soon after at the local hospital.
Brady Paul was the brother of my uncle. Every year on Dec. 27, there is a memorial service at the road block site on Pennsylvania Highway 422 for Corporal Brady Paul.
The killers were captured 19 days later near Phoenix, Arizona. Irene Schroeder, and Glen Dague were returned to Pennsylvania, tried, and executed on Feb. 23, 1931.
Less than 14 months after the crime, justice was carried out with two executions.
My point is, why now do many condemned prisoners sit 20 years or longer waiting for their execution? I see this delay as cruel and unusual punishment. Juries should be able to put a time limit on the death penalty. Get it done within two years or it becomes life without parole. Save the taxpayers the millions of dollars lawyers get milking every possible objection.
Lisa Montgomery, the first woman federally executed in 67 years, was just executed. Her crime was as bad as it gets, but sitting on death row 17 years was not the punishment her jury gave her. The jury did not say wait 17 years and then execute her.
It is time for our legal system to change the way business is done when it comes to the death penalty. Get it done in a timely manner or don’t execute. But we also see innocent death row men freed 20 years later. Maybe the death penalty is never appropriate? How many innocent men and women have we executed?
Capitol assault proves American democracy is strong
President-for-life Vladimir Putin, President-for-life Xi Jinping and friends would have you believe that America is no better than their countries. That what happened at the U.S. Capitol building serves to prove that our democracy is failing.To all of the naysayers I offer this:
American democracy has never been stronger.
We had an election. It was the most secure in history. Despite efforts by Republicans to suppress votes, citizens came out by the millions and turned some red states blue. While Democrats did not do as well as they’d hoped, still the White House and Senate turned over and Democrats retained control of the House. The Republican voter suppression effort did not work.
A vocal group has refused to accept the Presidential election result. A mob attempted a coup by invading the Capitol. After they were cleared away, Congress worked through the wee hours of the morning and confirmed Joe Biden’s election. It is times like these that prove American democracy is strong.
Chaotic? Sometimes. Flawed? Always. Discriminatory? Unfortunately, yes. But those who were determined to bring about the real revolution, did so peacefully at the ballot box and got to have their say, with some waiting in lines a mile long. Judges, election officials and the majority in Congress did their parts, as well.
Democracy, freedom, rests on the shoulders of “the people.” That is what defines this country. That we will have elections and people will vote in them. That some candidates will lose and others win. The goons who undertook and failed to change the result and others denying the election outcome notwithstanding.
Patrick D. Sheehy
Stop fomenting conspiracy theories
The Jan. 13 edition of the Laramie Boomerang ran an article entitled, “Lack of transparency?” on the top of the front page.
This story peddled vague and unproven claims about COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Wyoming. The lead stated, “Suddenly in Albany County and Laramie, it’s a tossup — getting the vaccine or getting information about the vaccine.”
This line immediately primes readers to worry about the safety of the vaccine, and to fear that if they ask for information about the vaccine, they may be prohibited from receiving it. The idea that Albany County residents must choose between getting information and getting vaccinated is not only completely untrue, it is extremely irresponsible to promote just one day after the United States set a new record for the number of COVID-19 deaths in a single day.
The next line continued, “The years of mistrust toward health care organizations has led some to believe fallacies about the distribution of the vaccine, and on the surface it would appear Wyoming is administering the vaccine too slowly on purpose.”
This sentence is troubling for a number of reasons. First, the language is unclear. Does the term ‘health care organizations’ refer to individual hospitals, insurance companies, or medical research labs? Does ‘Wyoming’ refer to state government officials, local government officials, or hospitals located in Wyoming? Secondly, who exactly has been harboring ‘mistrust toward health care organizations’? The author provides no evidence to substantiate the claim that health care organizations have been or should be viewed as untrustworthy, or that Wyoming is purposely delaying vaccine distribution.
This careless language encourages conspiratorial thinking, which is especially dangerous during a time when social media and the decline of local newspapers have made Americans so susceptible to conspiracy theories.
As public health experts have stated, there are rational explanations for why the distribution process is taking so long. Although the author addressed these reasons at the end of the article, this part of the discussion did not make the front page. Facts must make the front page. Unproven claims and irresponsible fear-mongering must not.”
Here is the link to the Wall Street Journal article that states that the US set a new record for the number of COVID-19 deaths in a single day: https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/covid-2021-01-13#:~:text=Key%20Takeaways%20From%20Jan.%2013,days%20after%20a%20single%20dose.
Give both sides equal time
I attended the first Albany County Democrats meeting of 2021 this past Tuesday. Disappointment is an understatement. As an Albany county owner of property near the summit, I was shocked that the obviously paid marketing team of Connect Gen was allowed time to “sell” the Rail Tie project. I did not expect to hear a blatant sales pitch regarding this single project! It is disturbing that Connect Gen representatives spoke for over 25 minutes and then a local unpaid group of citizens that are concerned about the siting and impact of this project were only given three minutes. Thank you for considering these concerns.
Who’s the patriot, who’s the partisan?
We are in the midst of one of the most perilous periods in our nation’s history. After weeks of baseless claims of voter fraud, dozens of failed lawsuits, and intimidation of state election officials to overturn an election he lost, President Trump organized and launched an attack on our Capitol in a last desperate attempt to prevent the transition to the next president.
Everyone knows what followed — assaults on law enforcement, extensive destruction, members of Congress hiding under chairs and fleeing for safety, construction of a gallows, and intent to capture the Vice-president and Speaker of the House.
Crises often reveal the character of elected officials. Throughout this ordeal, Representative Liz Cheney defended our Republic and Constitution, consistently placing it above partisan politics. Senator Barrasso quietly stood by as the president undermined the nation’s electoral process before supporting the results of the Electoral College.
Senator Cynthia Lummis joined with a handful of other senators to contest the Electoral College results in six states, seeking to disenfranchise 25 million voters in support of President Trump’s effort to stay in power. She witnessed first-hand the resulting Pro-Trump insurgency yet initially blamed the attack on leftist radicals.
Despite the most violent assault on our Capitol since the British captured it over 200 years ago, Lummis voted to reject Pennsylvania’s votes, thereby undermining the constitution and the electoral college that benefits Wyoming more than any other state. Her actions have been profoundly unpatriotic.
Senator Lummis now claims she cannot support impeachment of the president who instigated the insurgency and tried to overthrow the election because she wants to heal a nation that she helped divide.
How we react to the actions of our elected officials during harrowing times also says a lot about who we are as citizens in a representative democracy. Do we support the efforts of lawmakers who place our democracy above partisan politics, or stand with those who promote partisan tribalism over our republic and place deflection above truth?
Try the Golden Rule
Other than the military, most of us haven’t had a gun aimed at us. Having had a gun aimed at me from 10 feet away and unable to run makes the hair on the back of your neck raise, your heart rate jumps up and laser-like focus until the threat has stopped. I know how frightening a direct attack can be.
On Jan. 6 the rioters who violently attacked our Capital tramped our Constitution, our democracy and our country. It is wrong to be loyal to one politician — that is a dictatorship.
Trump Time is rapidly coming to an end. Yes, he has done some good things for our country. Yet his disparaging words, plus encouraging violence, legitimatized violent tendencies in some groups, which led to Jan. 6. The 1 to 2% are the ones who were violent and the mob rule took over.
Being Americans we have freedoms coupled with interconnectedness — also rights hooked with responsibilities. Truth, respect, strength, kindness and listening to each other will all play a part in overcoming violence leading our country to healing and moving forward into 2021.
Following the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a succinct idea to follow. It is based on Matthew 7:12. Looking with hope and expectation to 2021.
A bleak future?
The Wyoming Legislature is well on its way to creating an economic and social environment that will have a manifold of negative consequences. The vehicle of their creation is the pledged unwillingness to legislate new taxes. The far-right movement of Wyoming’s Republican party portends a bleak and brutish future for Wyoming’s citizens.
Republican state Senator John Kolb said, “To live in Wyoming, you should be hardy and self-reliant. If you need government to support your life this probably is not the greatest place to live.”
What are some of the consequences we will experience?
Many of Wyoming’s young families looking to stay will leave, or out of state families wanting to settle somewhere beautiful will avoid Wyoming. Why move somewhere that looks to cut every penny from school funding it can — where state government, through its Freedom Caucus, is more concerned with reducing spending than the welfare of its citizens? Why raise children in a social environment that is mean and brutish?
Wyoming’s median age will rise. As young families move to other states or don’t move here, there will be more old people. More senior citizens will get sick and die because hospitals will slowly reduce services and many will close. There will be fewer ambulances and they will be housed further away. Home-delivered meals will become a thing of the past. Social isolation will increase as senior outreach programs lose funding. The state is essentially abandoning many of our parents and grandparents to a grim future.
Smaller communities abandoned by the extractive industries will simply disappear. Their schools, local police stations, and post-offices will close. There are no jobs. People will leave.
Substance abuse rates will increase — no jobs, no money, no future. Why not get high? What else is there?
Despair and depression will fill the cracks in Wyoming’s social fabric. Wyoming’s per capita suicide rate is already one of the highest in the nation. It will only increase.
This is Wyoming’s path if we follow the lead of our legislature. They will make Wyoming a bleak and dark place to live.
Jeffrey J Olson