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home : opinion : columns May 1, 2016

7/7/2013 6:00:00 AM
Column: It's faster than you think

Rich Thurlow

The guy in charge told us we could drive on up the road and take pictures if we wanted. Just be careful, he said.

This was sometime back in the 1980s. I can't remember how it started, but there was a fire in the Laramie Range about 10-15 miles west of Wheatland, Wyo. Kent had piled into the company pickup with me on one of those slow days for a weekly newspaper, and together I figured we might come up with enough good pictures to fill half a page.

The mountains looked, well, like mountains from a distance, but once you got in them it was mostly like being in hill country. One exception was where I parked the truck about five miles past the checkpoint. There was a steep, tree-filled slope on the right, a more gentle rise to the left.

I'm not sure why I decided to park there. I do recall getting out of the truck and walking up the road. I had started back when a sudden roaring noise erupted and flames shot straight up the slope right next to where I had been parked.

I remember thinking I'd better move the truck before it, and my job, went up in smoke. A puff of smoke had changed to 40-foot flames shooting up the ridge and above the roadway in a matter of seconds.

A decade later and now living in the desert Southwest, I postponed dinner to snap a few pictures of a brushfire. This time I witnessed a stand of mesquite trees - one that stretched a good 100 yards - go from intact to fully involved in less than 15 seconds. I cannot adequately describe how fast the flames moved.

I bring this up now because of the tragedy at Yarnell last Sunday and the ongoing drama in the Hualapai Mountains.

People ask how experience firefighters could get caught up in something like that. I don't know enough about fighting forest fires to have an opinion, but I have seen fire move from tree to tree faster than most people can run.

In other words, as long as there are people fighting the Dean Peak Fire, or wildland fires elsewhere, they are at risk. Most of us know it's dangerous work. The events of the past few days have strengthened that viewpoint.


If someone out of the blue called me and told me the computer was going to crash, I'd probably tell him no one would be hurt because it's running so slow.

Laura Cox did the next best thing. Friday morning she answered her phone and someone with an Asian/Indian accent told her the Windows operating system on her computer was about to crash. Cox gave the caller a better number to reach her, then started having second thoughts when the caller didn't get back in touch with her right away.

So she called a local computer repair business she has worked with and found out the call was a scam.

I'd never heard the "Windows is going to crash" line before, to be followed (I guess) by a request for a credit card number, but there really aren't any limits when it comes to shady characters trying to separate you from your money.

So a word to th &%&$))#@&(


g b$3#

- sonofagun, Windows just crashed.


The news last week that the business version of Obamacare would be put off a year was correctly called by the Associated Press as an election-year ploy. Full-blown Obamacare was set to grip the nation in 2014, and even our bumbling president was smart enough to know (and say) that there would be glitches, as there are with any government program.

True enough. Hey, it's only our health he's talking about.

As Chris Jacobs of the Heritage Foundation put it, "It is hard to understate the impact of today's devastating admission from the Administration that, after three years, it still cannot implement Obamacare without strangling businesses in red tape and destroying American jobs."

The official line from the government, though, was laughable. Businesses told the administration that Obamacare was complex and they needed more time to get questions answered. Thus the one-year delay.

Can you think of any other time in the last four-plus years when Obama has cared one whit about what business wanted?

The individual mandate, meanwhile, is still in force, at least until someone with a lawyer figures out that if business is getting a pass, they should too.

And how does this work that the president can just up and decide when a law is going to take effect?

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Republican party says they have solutions, anyone but me wonder where were these great ideas during 2000-2008 when they controlled 3 branches of government from 2000-2006, lost congress in 2006, white house and senate in 2008, so where were all there right wing geniuses during that 6 years of absolute control and then 2 years of 2/3rd control? I seem to remember they were on duty when 9/11 occurred, housing collapse, stock market collapse, two mid east wars on a Chinese credit card we still owe money on today, how can these fools even think all of us have gone senile in such a short time!

Posted: Monday, July 8, 2013
Article comment by: Moderately Independent

@ Knowing when to stop

Sorry, but you're asking too much for a Thurlow column (or blog for that matter) to not include a slam on this administration no matter what "good" things they may write.

It's really too bad because a few of the things that Rich, at least, has written seemed to have a genuine sincere feeling to them...but unfortunately the political poison that has infected him festers like an abominable puss that makes itself all too apparent.

Someday, we can only hope, he may take his position at the KDM more seriously and rise above the petty politcal drival and far right wing parroting which seems to be in the "capable" hands of his wife and Linda Athens, and address issues that responsible newspaper editors would.

Now before all the far righties get their panties in a twist, I'm not happy with everything this administration has done, but I'm also not happy with the manner that the congressional Republicans have been conducting themselves either...can you honestly say you are??? If you answer yes, you are only in the 10% or so of Americans who feel that way as the approval rating of Congress is at a all time low!

Note to Rich, why don't you start opining on both sides of the political spectrum? Fair and balanced of course!!!

Posted: Monday, July 8, 2013
Article comment by: Knowing when to stop

For a while, this was a good column. It's certainly true that wildland fires can travel faster than you'd imagine and are therefore very dangerous. And it's good to be reminded not to fall for phone scams. But too bad the writer couldn't just resist tossing in a right-wing political rant at the end.

Posted: Monday, July 8, 2013
Article comment by: Health A Priority

"Can you think of any other time in the last four-plus years when Obama has cared one whit about what business wanted?"

But I CAN think that at no other time has any other President cared so much about our nation's health! He is the first to plough through this very complex issue. I'm just hoping Obama will also pursue cleaning up GMOs and use of pesticides, etc VERY soon. Gluttoness Business interests be danged when it comes to our health!

Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

Thank you for "It's faster than you think". There were a number of speculations of what should've could've been done. I know I wondered why could they not get out or try to instead of getting into those bag shelter things, I think we always question what more could've been done? You have put it in a way that helps one to understand the forces of nature sometimes just doesn't allow for that something more.

Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Article comment by: Just Wondering

Maybe it's time to go after the real culprits, news agencies and their sponsors.

Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew


A stupid answer to an even dumber question.

BYW - Obama WON! Live with it. What a bunch of pathetic whiners.

Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Article comment by: dv s

David Gaither, he has been doing it for over 5 years now...where have you been...?

Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Article comment by: Neither Nor

David, David, David. I am a registered Independent. As long as you and some of the other ultra-conservatives on here keep ranting about the democrats and continue to give us no new ideas or leaders from the conservartive side, you will not get my vote. I do not in anyway see how you can run the other side down without offering some solutions as to how to fix this Country. And don't try to tell me that your side has any new ideas. They have all been tried.

Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Article comment by: Lost In America on the right wing

Using the Heritage Foundation as a source. Opinion piece or not, that's just bad journalism. Hey publisher, give Thurlow a raise!

Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Article comment by: David Gaither

"And how does this work that the president can just up and decide when a law is going to take effect?"

Only when you have a wannabe dictator in the white house and a gang of demoncrats in congress backing him!

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