Ryan Summerlin January 29, 2013
The hardest thing I do every week is figure out a topic for this column. I know that seems dramatic, but it’s entirely true.
I don’t have an easy "real job" either. I spend my week in strategy sessions, tapping into my creative energy, keeping track of an ever-changing, hectic schedule and meeting seemingly impossible deadlines. I dig my gig, but it’s by no means a piece of cake.
I’m like everyone else in that regard.
And, also like everyone else, I come home from work, give what’s left of me to my four-legged children and boyfriend, spend some quality time with friends, try to sweat out the day’s frustrations at the gym, call my parents, balance my checkbook, pay the bills, and volunteer when I can.
Despite all that, I swear, coming up with a topic every week is the most difficult thing I do.
People give me ideas all the time. But most of them need a full-time investigative reporter with a deadline six months from now to be the author. And the others? They really only require a handful of words to get a point across, nowhere near the 800 or so I need to turn in.
But then I saw my first-ever Sundance "shorts program" this year. A collection of several short movies that, when played together, make up the length of a typical movie. Just enough action and dialogue to tell a story without the painfully slow, drawn-out scenes to extend the time (run-on sentences in the writing world).
So in that spirit, here are a few things on my mind that don’t qualify for their own column, but still deserve a little time in the spotlight:
Friday night I went down to Salt Lake with a friend, and on the drive home we couldn’t even see the car in front of us. The inversion was not just revolting, it was almost deadly. The blanket of pollution was so thick it was nearly impossible to drive in. And yet everyone was. Drivers were turning in front of oncoming cars, unable to see them through the haze, then overcorrecting and dangerously swerving back into their own lanes. And yet the public buses and trains were completely empty.
Last week in Salt Lake pregnant woman were urged to stay inside. A group of Utah doctors claimed the inversion is linked to thousands of premature deaths each year. The city’s air quality was the poorest in the county and only a few particle-number-things behind Beijing’s. I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before some of that gunk starts to float up the hill and infiltrate our own air.
When will Governor Hebert put on his big-boy magical underpants and declare a public health emergency? When will he mandate those in the valley take public transportation on red-alert days? Or at the very least, waive the fees and make it more enticing? How much longer will some three million people just accept that a few months out of the year they can’t see more than a foot in front of them?
Next on my list: The head-shaking hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, which, without apologies or exceptions, preaches that a fetus is a sacred human life. From conception to death, they say. Unless, apparently, it’s going to cost them millions.
In 2006 a woman who was 28 weeks pregnant with twins died in a Catholic-Church-owned hospital in Colorado after the staff failed to perform a life-saving procedure.
Her husband sued Catholic Health Initiatives for the wrongful death of all three lives. The church’s response? They said an embryo is not person until it is born alive, and therefore they were not liable for the death of the twins. Holy convenience, Batman! Reminds me of a story about a pot and a kettle and one calling the other black. The case is currently making headlines again because the husband is working his way through the Colorado court system.
Last submission in the shorts program this week: The letter our esteemed sheriff (along with others in the state) sent to the president about gun-control laws.
Though I have not read the letter, reports say it claims Utah police officers are willing to defend the Constitution with their lives, namely that they’ll gladly take a bullet to defend your right to own a machine gun.
I’m not going to weigh in on the gun-control debate. But what I will say is this: Sheriff Edmunds and the others who signed that letter, let’s start with defending the First Amendment. Why don’t you put even a marginal effort into separating church and state here in Utah? How about getting the state’s churchislature out of liquor stores for starters? Then maybe you can move onto the schools.
To the people who are all pardon the pun up in arms over the perceived threat the government is coming to their home to take their guns: Your fiery rhetoric simply amazes me. It’s almost like, well, it’s almost like you’re afraid they might regulate who you can and can’t marry, or what you can and can’t do with your own body! Scary stuff indeed.
Also, there are only two reasons you really need an assault rifle. 1. You are part of a well-regulated militia. 2. You need to compensate for something else.
And, at the very least, birth control should not be harder to get than bullets.
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley. If you have a story idea, please e-mail her at email@example.com.