Animal Tracks: Nothing but bad news

Some habits die hard. I was a reporter for most of my life and retired or not, to some degree I suppose I’ll always think like a reporter.

I learned early on that sometimes you don’t like the stories you cover but you don’t have to like them. The job is to cover the news as accurately, as honestly and as fairly as you can...period.

Even so, I have to admit that for the last few months I’ve been almost relieved to be retired. I wouldn’t enjoy covering all of the bad news that seems to be breaking these days.

The big news story of last week was our pullout in Afghanistan. I have to admit, it looked a lot like the fall of Saigon in 1975...hardly one of our best moments.

Like just about everything else these days, this has become just another political sticks left and right use to bash each other with. Which, if you think about it, is pretty sad.

Bozos on both sides should stop and remember that our misadventures in Afghanistan have been going on for 20 years now. We’ve had four presidents in that time, two Republicans and two Democrats. Since I’m not a Democrat or a Republican I’m under no obligation to agree with either of them but as an American, I can say that I don’t give any of them high marks for their handling of the situation.

If we didn’t learn the lesson from our experience in Vietnam. The lesson is a simple one - you don’t send forces into a bad situation unless you have a good plan of withdrawal. We should have learned that lesson in Vietnam or from watching the Russians fall flat on their faces in Afghanistan during their own decade long fiasco in that country.
Covid, of course, continues to be a big story as the “fourth wave” continues to spread through the country.

Back in the early part of the summer, it looked like we were through the worst of the pandemic. Case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths were coming down. Events were starting up again. Restrictions were being lifted. It looked like things were shifting back into a more normal mode. There were, of course, a few experts who warned us about a “worst case scenario,” a mutated variant of the virus that might show up. Unfortunately, that few experts were right and the Delta variant, it seems, is more contagious, more deadly and more resistant than the other variants that have come before. Whats worse is that the previous strains didn’t seem to affect younger folks as easily. The Delta variant hits young and old alike.

So here we are, going into fall with schools back in session with numbers going back up, precautions coming back and rapidly getting back to where we were in January and February when the virus was (we thought) at it’s height.

No, I can’t say I’m sorry I missed out on covering the pandemic. The first part, January, February, March and April of last year would have been hard enough. Watching it make a comeback at this point would have probably been even worse. I still miss going to work but honestly, I’m glad to be sitting this one out.