Letters to the editor

Dear editor,

Many thanks to Robert and Rosario Halpern and their entire staff, past and present, for their dedication to publishing two quality weekly newspapers in the Big Bend for these past years. Enjoy your retirements (or whatever endeavors you now undertake)!

That said, imagine some psycho with a fully automatic rifle indiscriminately firing into a crowd killing 10 women, 2 children and 2 men. Then imagine, after conviction for that atrocity, the president of the United States pardoning him.

Unfortunately, that scenario is not just hypothetical. On May 18, the New York Times published an article suggesting Nicholas A. Slatten, the shooter convicted of the above murders, was one of several former Blackwater contractors and former soldiers being considered for pardons for murders or other crimes committed while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. It is said that our president even referred to one or more of these people as “heroes.”

As a U.S. Navy veteran with an honorable discharge, and on behalf of millions of other veterans with honorable discharges, I can’t think of any worse way to debase the years we all spent serving our country. That these pardons are expected on or around Memorial Day would make it the most despicable and disgusting act committed by a president in my lifetime, and probably ever.

As I write this, I don’t know if Trump has issued those pardons, or if he really intends to, but the knowledge that he has even considered it marks a new moral low in American history. And I expect Texas non-veteran Senators Cruz and Cornyn to do nothing but cower deeper in Trump’s shadows, but for Congressman Will Hurd, who touts his years of undercover with the CIA, it’s time for him to decide if he is really a patriotic American by adamantly condemning these pardons or if he is just another Trump Republican.

So, Mr. Hurd, it’s patriot or hypocrite time. You choose.

Fred Gossien


Dear editor,

Political Pathology

Trump gave AG Barr unprecedented authority to declassify national security files to investigate Mueller Report’s investigators, pardoned a serviceman accused of war crimes, improperly asserts “executive privilege” impeding House oversight and undermines our institutions of a free press, law enforcement and co-equal branches of government.

America continues experiencing early-stage onset of totalitarianism from a Putin, Kim Jung-Un admiring president and complicit Congressional GOP. Prognosis: “Fatalities certain when untreated!”

Stage 1: Practiced barbaric White Supremacist “Zero Tolerance” on brown-skinned people; previously marginalized at rallies, through illegal arrests, placed into concentration camps, children separated, lost track and/or died;

Stage 2: Targeting political opponents as “enemies (of the state)”;

Stage 3: Public opponents begin to disappear and/or subjected to a Stalinist or N. Korean-style “Show trial” – before the execution;

Stage 4: Indiscriminate arrests maintain a cautionary lid on those daring to think about speaking-up;

Stage 5: Too late, Big Brother made things worse for all – but the oligarchs!

At a Republican rally Trump said: “this guy Hitler, he had some good ideas”, http://waterfordwhispersnews.com/2015/11/20/donald-trump-admits-theresa-lot-of-great-ideas-in-meinkampf/. He’s also kept Mein Kampf on his nightstand!

Trump-GOPers trample constitutional norms. People of conscience provided ample warnings while the cheering red MAGA cap (made overseas) supporters ignore the president staining the document claimed to love. We need an intervention.

America, embrace the Founding Fathers concerns about the election of an unprincipled lout! Political pathology of early onset totalitarianism worsens unless constitutional governance is restored by flushing the body politic of contributing sources.

Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah


Dear editor,

Now the C3 folks have given a “rough outline” of their plans for a music festival to a closed meeting of Presidio County officials. In my experience, when they close the doors, it is because they don’t want you to see what they are doing. We have their word for what went on, but we don’t know for ourselves what issues they raised, or how hard they pushed them because they closed the doors. Way to go. You want to raise suspicion and make people angry? Close the doors.

I retired from the Snohomish County, Washington Sheriff’s Office. In that county in the Cascades there is a small town named Darrington where every year there is a Blue Grass Festival attended by around 7,000 people. I never had to work security for that festival, but I was the assigned Darrington Deputy several times since Darrington has no police department. Trash, drunks, reported crimes of everything from DUI to assault, and worse. And C3 wants to bring that and fire danger into our sparsely populated fragile desert? No thanks. I have seen it and I don’t want it.

C3 is promising to take care of problems that require emergency services, etc. Fine. Here is one they won’t take care of because they can’t. According to the Centers for Disease Contol about 21% of Americans smoke. If there are 6,500 attendees then around 1,365 of them will be smokers. Most of them will be conscientious about their butts. But some will not. Imagine an 80-degree day with 15% humidity, and the wind blowing, a typical May day here. And someone travelling to or from the festival tosses a butt from their car. How many of you remember the Rock House Fire? I don’t know the stats for Presidio County, but here in Jeff Davis county 314,000 acres burned, almost exactly half the county. Could that happen again anyway? Of course. But there is already a steady stream of Austin people passing through Fort Davis to Marfa every weekend. Why add thousands more and heighten the danger? And how exactly does C3 prevent this? Answer? They can’t. They will have zero control over people travelling to and from their festival. And how about some non-desert dweller pulling off the road and starting a fire with their muffler? The awful possibilities are endless, so let’s have a festival and create lots more!

I don’t live in Presidio County, so no one there has to listen to me. But because of the prevailing winds, any fire will come raging past my house. Again. I guess we will see if Presidio County officials are good neighbors or not. If they decide not to be and allow this festival, I have some advice for people in the surrounding area. If you don’t have a well, put one in. Make sure your generator can power it. That way you can put sprinklers on your roof.

My wife who is a retired fire captain from District 14, What-com County, Washington, concurs with this letter and also says, “NO TO C3!!!”

Bill Case

Fort Davis