Newmann: Too much time in the saddle |

Newmann: Too much time in the saddle

Tom Newmann
Valley Voices

“Things are in the saddle and ride mankind” — Ralph Waldo Emerson


Tom Newmann

Well, seems like lots of “things” (or events) are spending time in the saddle these days. And some of them have particularly sharp spurs. Here are just a few of the sharper-spurred variety:

  • The nasty virus, which has wreaked havoc on the nation — and the world — for well over a year, finally has the much-anticipated vaccines. When the first doses appeared, folks in the U.S. clamored for their shots. Massive vaccine rollouts followed. But now comes the news that some people have either opted out of their second doses … or even decided against having a first shot. So we’re now saddled with leftover doses. Meanwhile, folks in other countries, where the virus is ravaging the populace and vaccines are in short (or non-existent) supply, are left to wonder at the seeming waste.
  • There’s been a spike in lunatics who decide to wander into former places of employment, malls, supermarkets and other populous locales and start shooting. Outside of lots of lip service, the obligatory “thought and prayers” and a short-term outrage, not much seems to go in the direction of actually remedying these events. One generally expects these situations to occur in Third World countries. But not in the domain of the leaders of the free world. Hmmm …
  • On the above note, the perceived need for self-protection in the U.S. has reached an all-time high with first-time buyers driving record gun sales. The new gun buyers come from across all racial and political spectrums — and, according to gun sellers, sales seem to be motivated by mass shootings, racial and political unrest, fear and a need to feel safe. Some state and local governments — and even the Supreme Court — are set to review gun laws, including the right to carry. Maybe there’ll be no need to watch reruns of “Gunsmoke.” Instead, we could just start looking out our windows for the same Wild West action. Or, perhaps, we can actually begin to address the problems that are actually driving these record sales.
  • Many police departments have come under scrutiny for the roles of some of their officers in the deaths of Black citizens. Quite a few of these events (and it seems surreal to use the words “quite a few”) have been during traffic stops. Being a cop is a tough business and, having spent several years on the police beat, one gains great respect for what they face on a daily basis. But being Black can be even tougher. Being Black and having to worry about your safety when being stopped for a perceived routine traffic offense is … unimaginable. Justice is supposedly blind. Maybe that blindness should also start to encompass color.
  • And, five months after the election, charges of election fraud are still being raised. Even though it’s been proven time and again that there had been little (if any) skullduggery. And some states are enacting even more restrictive measures on voting. Let’s move on from these events. It’s nap time for the Pillow Guy.

These are just a few of the “things” that are in the saddle. They all have solutions, as do many other events that are probably on your own radar. The problem is … we tend to let these “things” just keep riding us.

Perhaps it’s time to finally start riding them.

Tom Newmann splits his time between Edwards and Queenstown, New Zealand. He has been going winter-to-winter since 1986. He was also a journalist in Missoula, Montana, at the Missoulian for quite a few years. Email him at

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