The View from Writers Roost
Aug 03, 2013 | 1201 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AS I readily admit, I love Western movies. I’m also a big fan of mysteries, detective stories, both movies and TV series. I like reading both genres. It’s what I was exposed to as a kid. Almost every movie I saw then was a Western. My most favorite TV programs have been Westerns or crime/detective tales.

To watch a movie, Western or modern detective, is great entertainment, particularly as long as it upholds the laws and morals of this country. Mix in a little American and/or Texas history and I’m hooked. Plus, I generally prefer a happy and just ending.

Americans love heroes, particularly extraordinarily brave ones.

I own a gun. It’s a shotgun. It’s for protection of my family and my property. It’s loaded in a way that I shouldn’t miss and it will kill.

Brash? Perhaps.

Irresponsible? Not at all.

Would I like it? Never.

There are those who advocate banning guns from ownership by individuals. I don’t agree with that but I do understand the feeling.

We see and hear about events that turn us inside out — gut-wrenching scenarios beyond the comprehension of most. I don’t advocate prohibiting gun ownership by responsible people. I do think we’re going to have to draw some serious and emphatic lines or we’ll continue to see slaughters as we had in Newtown, Conn. Or the Aurora, CO theater. And, no, I don’t have a suggestion but I’ll know a good solution when I hear or see it. Unfortunately, we’ll never end killing. It’s the biblically proven nature of the beast.

As a newsman, I know and understand that reporting crime and violence is part of the job of publishing a comprehensive newspaper.

I’VE SEEN my share of violence and death. I’ve even looked over the shoulder of a police officer as he shot a man coming at him with a knife. Despite the officer’s repeated warnings to halt and to drop the weapon, the assailant continued and lost his life. Three bullets in a perfect triangle in the man’s chest from 12 feet away. It was one of the more sobering, unnerving acts I’ve ever witnessed.

One of the more heart-rending episodes was the crash of the NASA Space Shuttle Columbia over East Texas with the subsequent strewing of body parts over the countryside.

I’ve been in car wrecks, one resulting in a fatality.

Even though I’ve always experienced revulsion, I’ve had to take scores of pictures of those gory vehicular disasters. For a time, I feared I’d become immune to them. That’s highly unlikely.

Recovering the body of a drowning victim, particularly a child, is especially unnerving. Death by fire is even worse.

There are several professions that I knew I could never embrace as a possibility. For me, that definitely includes anything that involves the violent death of a child or young person. Tiny, lifeless bodies will draw breath and life out of even the toughest person, often for an extended period. Part of that is the sight of blood. I don’t like it, either my own or someone else’s.

AT THE TOP of the list are police officer, wrecker driver, ambulance driver, medical doctor and hospital emergency room employee. No doubt the list could be much longer but those are numbing enough.

As a kid, I was around livestock a great deal. Although I never desired it, since it was part of how Dad supported our family, I witnessed the occasional slaughter of animals for food. I understood the necessity but was never able to actually either commit the act or embrace it.

True, I didn’t reject it either. I like to eat but I’d prefer not to have to watch the sacrifice of an animal so I can be fed. Call it a weak stomach blended with conscience.

I’ll watch the killing as long as John Wayne or some other cowboy does it and it’s on a screen.

Willis Webb is a retired community newspaper editor-publisher of more than 50 years experience. He can be reached by email at
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