Wednesday’s news items, part 2 [hypocrisy; flush with cash; lessons learned | about methyl-ethyl-awful, CS, leadership, personal protective gear and “change-of-heart after-the-fact” fear & more] – 4/29/2020

“too restrictive” | some local leader sayLancaster Online


Letter writer’s comment | This letter-to-the-editor writer notes in a letter in today’s LNP – Always Lancaster: “That Smucker could accuse any government official of a lack of transparency is laughable. Last fall his office conducted a survey asking his constituents what they thought about the impeachment of President Donald Trump, and when I asked if I could see the results of the survey, I was told it is his pol- icy not to share the findings. Smucker is, in my view, the dictionary definition of the pot calling the kettle black.”

local obituary | Anna K. “Toots” Mowrer

Crisis Text Line | “C.T.L. is a national, 24/7 crisis-intervention hotline that operates exclusively by text message, and it has been assisting Americans, especially teen-agers, with mental-health issues, abuse, and other crises since 2013. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the organization’s counsellors have noticed some striking trends. Seventy-eight per cent of people contacting C.T.L. are experiencing anxiety, more than double the rate from before the pandemic.”The New Yorker

Flush with cash; now how to spend it | “Lancaster County receives $95 million from CARES Act, seeks clarification moving forward”Lancaster Online

more unemployed | “Shutdown of QVC facility in West Hempfield to idle 1,124 employees”Lancaster Online


lessons learned | about methyl-ethyl-awful, CS, leadership, personal protective gear and “change-of-heart after-the-fact” fear. This is an opinion piece. We had a phone conversation with a fellow veteran yesterday. We talked about a shared experience that centered on operating in an environment of uncertainty and unfamiliarity.

Some years ago, our units deployed to Utah for desert and high-desert training. WE operated in the area of Dugway Proving Ground. Dugway Proving Ground is responsible for testing and evaluating nearly all Department of Defense (DoD) chemical and biological defense capabilities. Within its nearly 800,000 acres, there are numerous state-of-the-art laboratories, unique test chambers and extensive field test grids. It is where really badass chemical and biological bad stuff exists.

The threat of bumping into some of that stuff was real.

Every Army warrior is issued a protective mask. The mask becomes integral to the Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) because the battlefield is a lethal landscape fraught with hazards of all kinds and sorts. Every warrior regularly is trained in donning (putting on) the mask; cleaning and maintaining the mask and wearing the mask on the body while performing assigned tasks.

In peacetime training, the mask and personal protective equipment often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. But the seriousness level was jacked up more than a few notches in preparation for operating in the Utah landscape.

Once in preparation for the exercises in Utah, our units occupied an area in training at Fort Indiantown Gap. Everyone in the units occupied the ground and hardened their positions. Around midnight, one dark night, a training “attack” produced the release of CS (tear gas). The prepared warriors — those who trained, trusted and believed in the training, guidance from science and the unit’s CBRNE non-commissioned officer — donned their masks and continued the mission in a modified manner until the all clear was sounded. Those non-believers who didn’t have their masks became believers as they scurried about, choking and crying for relief. Lesson learned.

In the unforgiving landscape around Dugway though, the threat of deadly toxicity was real. Just as a pandemic virus is real. When establishing an operating base in Utah or in the middle east in a war, warriors need testing results and warning alarms. In the desert around Dugway, every warrior was a believer in lessons learned from experience: testing, equipment and training had to be trusted and practiced all the time.

And when those alarms went off, there was no delay in donning the masks and moving to the MOPP level needed to accomplish the mission. Just as HazMat teams do in day-to-day responses where hazardous materials and gasses may be present. Just as epidemiologists do in pandemic uncertainty.

Whenever the threat is unknown — until the threat is identified and classified — the objective is the same. Protect the population, isolate the population and identify ways to mitigate the threat. Rushing into a judgment during uncertainty is foolish. Said another way, “Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread.”

We expected the politicking from US Representative Smucker yesterday; he’s never been in combat. It’s harder to understand the similar politicking from the combat veteran, though.


  1. In my lifetime, there has never been anything more hypocritical than what is happening now with Uncle Joe. The The Larry King phone call would have legitimately doomed the Kavanaugh appointment. To see the prospective female VP hopefuls line up to support the senile old bastard is outrageous. It’s also a bit hypocritical to claim you are the political party that doesn’t see race or sex and then guarantee the VP candidate will be a female. I am sick with rage.

  2. Once again our ugly political system that is run by Wall Street has reared its ugly process. Once again, the Democratic Party elite have shone they are not really any different from the Republican Party. They are totally controlled by big business. Nobody listened when President Dwight Eisenhower in his final speech before leaving office to us to beware of the military industrial complex. Presidents of both parties since then, to varying degrees, did what they were told. Trump is just what we should have expected from what their administrations have done. Trump is definitely the nadir of this system. It is disgusting the choice the Democratic Party is choosing to run against him. They are too old white men who should be put out to pasture. Once again, we are faced with an election of two really bad choices and the need to choose the lesser of two evils. Both of these guys want to go back to the disgusting normal we have before COVID-19.

  3. I expect Sandy Berger will be appointed to lead a search of the National Archives to see if there is anything relating to The Uncle Joe accusation.

  4. You can bet nothing will be found. If you doubt me, one good movie to see and learn how things disappear and the party leaders win is the Brian dePalma film “Blow Out.”

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