Commentary

Thu
27
Sep
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Solutions, But What Solutions?

By James Decker

Editor’s note: This is the fourth part in my series on drugs and addiction in our communities. If you have not read the first three parts (“Real Problems, Our Problems,” “They Are Us,” and “Solutions, But What Solutions?”), I encourage you to do so.

I’ve spent months thinking about the addiction problem in our rural communities and the decay and decline that comes with it. I learned a long time ago that identifying problems does no good if you aren’t also willing to identify and apply solutions. Today, I bring you a conversation about solutions.

As I have written, much of our addiction problem centers around attempts to self-medicate for despair, hopelessness, and depression. Professionals in the field liken depression and associated feelings with being enveloped by darkness. Our friends, family, and neighbors are faced with a world of darkness, for which self-medication seems to be the only outlet.

Thu
20
Sep
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Faces & Places

By Mary Gruben

Some sociologists say that men get out of doing housework by saying they don’t know how. I know because I’m married to the leader of that group, Since a man’s home is his castle; I have tried for a long time to get my husband to help clean his castle. He doth protest too much. Out of desperation I turned to the internet, which was my first mistake.

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Thu
20
Sep
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Solutions, But What Solutions?

By James Decker

Editor’s note: This is the third part in my series on drugs and addivtion in our communities. If you have not read the first two parts (“Real Problems, Our Problems” and “They Are Us”), I encourage you to do so.

Our communities are decaying from drug addiction and the accompanying crime, death, despair, and other adverse impacts. It is incumbent on community leaders to create and enact solutions, rather than wait on someone else to solve the problem. In discussion at the recent West Texas Rural Summit, one sheriff said something striking—he wanted to put drug dealers behind bars, but drug use is less law enforcement problem and more healthcare problem. Half of his jail is filled with drug charges and over half of those drugrelated inmates are dealing with some form of mental illness. To make matters worse, 80% of drug-related inmates are repeat drug offenders. Simply locking up drug users does not solve a problem, it only keeps jail beds filled.

Thu
13
Sep
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2 Cents Worth

By Carol Greenway -Holland

Thu
13
Sep
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IF THE SENATE TURNS BLUE

By Scotty Daniel

AMENDENT/1 A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Are you familiar with “The United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty11 (ATT) that was signed by the United States in 2013 (guess who was President then) and only awaits ratification by the Senate in order for the confiscation of firearms and ammunition provisions to be enforced against American citizens?

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Wed
05
Sep
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Real Problems, Our Problems

By James Decker

At the recent West Texas Rural Summit, drug addiction—causes, challenges, solutions—was a hot topic. This is a complicated topic that has been on my heart for a while. I hope my readers indulge me as I start a multi-part series on drugs. If we are serious about addressing this problem in our communities, and we should be, this topic deserves a comprehensive look, not just a summary. As we work to improve our communities— beautify them, bring jobs and amenities, make them more prosperous for all—drugs must be tackled by all of our community leaders.

When we think about drugs in our community, a few easy images come to mind. We think of marijuana. We think of out-of-town dealers selling to our locals. We almost certainly think of people cooking and using meth. Those images are all accurate pieces of the puzzle. But the puzzle itself is far more complicated and concerning.

Wed
05
Sep
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Faces & Places

By Mary Gruben

“And though she is little, she is fierce.” Shakespeare.

You can’t make up this stuff, folks.

Wil and I were sitting in our booth at McDonald’s, minding our own business, he with a McMuffin and I with hotcakes. I’m always looking and listening for stories and one had just walked in the door. About 4 or 5 years old, wearing a pink fluffy ballerina skirt, a red tee shirt with white letters that said, “Requires Constant Supervision,” a tiara that was about to slide off her brown hair that looked like a small bird’s nest and brown well-worn cowboy boots. She was holding the hand of an older woman I guessed to be grandma (and I was right) and the other hand rubbing the sleep from her eyes. I nudged Wil’s right leg with my foot and nodded toward the pair walking in. I said, “Want to bet we’re going to be entertained at breakfast?” He just smiled.

Thu
30
Aug
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PAST AMERICA vs PRESENT AMERICA

By Scotty Daniel

Having reached my 85th birthday, I’m part of a group of about 50 million Americans who are 65yrs of age or older. My age cohorts were in school during the 1940s. Every morning we stood, facing the American flag, pledged allegiance to that flag, sang the Star-Spangled Banner and had a prayer, usually The Lords Prayer and a special prayer for the safety of so many relatives and friends fighting and protecting us. We all felt so safe and secure! And, no one was concerned about a law-suit.

Thu
30
Aug
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Essays from West of 98

Rural Summits and Regionalism
By James Decker

Thu
23
Aug
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You Are Worthy

By James Decker

This past weekend, I heard a really sharp testimony at church, after a church member returned from a mission trip. One of the main points that the person made, learned on this mission trip, both about other people and about themselves, was this statement: You Are Worthy.

I got to thinking about how this applies within the efforts to improve our communities. How many of you have ever struggled with the notion of whether you are worthy of your goals? Well, guess what? YOU ARE

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