Richard Carnes: Vail Valley lost innocence awhile ago |

Richard Carnes: Vail Valley lost innocence awhile ago

What kind of spin can we possibly put on a gun-toting, repeat offending, raging maniac that opens fire in a bar in an idyllic ski resort mountain community?

Considering a man lost his life, I don’t think we should even try.

My wife and I spent a wonderful Saturday afternoon enjoying lunch from Pepi’s deck in Vail Village, reminiscing with the newly-married Sheika while reminding ourselves of how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful and safe bubble of innocent tranquility.

Twenty-four hours later, that bubble has burst for us all.


Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

These pages will be full for the next few weeks of over-exaggerated claims and demands from both sides of closely related issues, most correct to one extreme or another, yet none helpful to the valley as a whole.

Those who hate handguns will be personally attacked by those who do not for suggesting that maybe no one would have been killed or even harmed if handguns were not allowed in the first place.

Those insisting handguns should be allowed will claim if others in the bar carried handguns then maybe no one would have died or even been harmed.

Neither opinion can change what occurred.

Those playing the veteran card will claim “the system” is to blame for never helping Rossi readjust to society after his traumatic experiences in Vietnam, while others will insist that particular aspect is never a justifiable excuse for violent acts upon others under any circumstance.

While both are at least partially correct, neither makes a difference this week.

I have known Rossi on and off for the last few decades, and remember a number of years ago when he barricaded himself inside his Avon trailer home and threatened to commit suicide.

There will be those who say we should have let him finish what he started.

Regardless of your take, I still feel sympathy for the man, yet not one ounce of empathy, for I can never understand the mindset that must certainly occur just moments before such an incident.

The same week a current American soldier snaps and kills 13 of his own in Texas, a former soldier snaps and luckily (?) kills only one in Happy Valley, and many will say we were fortunate it was not much, much worse.

I say it is OK to be reminded every once in a while that we actually live in the real world, but this is obviously taking the brief moments of clarity a bit too far.

From the gondola tragedy in the ’70s to Bob Mach brutally killing his wife in the ’90s and Kobe doing whatever the hell he actually did in the early 2000s, Happy Valley lost its innocence long ago.

It is up to us to ensure ignorance does not take its place in the future.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at Comment on

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