I’ve thought about Larry Patterson a lot since former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara offered his mea culpas about Vietnam. Larry and I formed the double-play combination for the 1967 Gridley (Calif.) High School baseball team. Larry played second base. At the time, I thought he had it all - senior class president, letters in three sports and a cheerleader on both arms. I went to college, and Larry got into drug trouble. He had a choice: Go into the service or go to jail. He chose the military. One day while he was fighting “McNamara’s War,” a mortar round hit the truck he was driving. Herbert Hoover was right, “Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.” If Larry, Dan Prock, Steve Squires and other classmates who fought in that “damned ol’ Southeast Asian war” were alive today, they’d join me in giving McNamara a razzberry for his 20/20 hindsight. Since they’re just names on a memorial now, I’ll do it for them: “Pfhtttt.”
People don’t kill people; guns do
You don’t have to look any further than San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren to see what’s wrong with our justice system. Warren recently ruled that a Florida gun manufacturer can be sued for legally manufacturing high-powered weapons. In July 1993, a deranged killer in a San Francisco high-rise used assault weapons to murder eight people, including a Gonzaga University graduate. The San Francisco Chronicle referred to Warren’s ruling as “a landmark decision with national implications.” It’s also nutty and unconstitutional. This is another example of the judiciary creating law rather than interpreting it. By extension, the manufacturer of any weapon or tool used to kill is liable. Apparently, people don’t kill people. Warren is a good argument for term limits - for judges.
Idaho Republicans treat tribes properly
The Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe is having trouble with other states as it tries to launch a national lottery. But not Idaho. In fact, new Republican Attorney General Al Lance has offered the tribe legal assistance. The cooperation doesn’t stop there, however. New Republican Gov. Phil Batt has made improved economic conditions on reservations a top priority and hasn’t tried to stop the Coeur d’Alenes’ gaming - as former Idaho Lottery Director Wally Hedrick did under former Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus’ administration. Other states, particularly Washington, can learn a lesson from the budding relationship between Idaho tribes and their state government.