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High alert

1. Heidi Kyser’s December story about the mental and emotional fallout that cops deal with continued to garner interest and comment. Reader Raquel Johnson writes: “‘ High Alert’ is the best article I have read on the topic of the effects of police work on the men and women who serve their communities ... My husband has been in law enforcement for over 20 years. While he sometimes shares some of the things he has witnessed or experienced, there are many stories he never brings into our home. He puts it into a special place in his mind, where it will torment only him; he hopes. We personally know others who were greatly affected by their line of work, causing some to give up their career to pursue less demanding environments, hoping they changed jobs in time to save their sanity. For most, they bear a silent, internal suffering. Oddly, coworkers don’t necessarily offer a network of support.  There is a persona of bravado that no one seems to want to break through. It’s hard to trust, even if cops only associate with other cops. It has to go beyond sharing stories only other cops can understand. My question is, what are police departments doing out there to stop that cycle? While a few departments are starting to acknowledge the issue, employee assistance programs, chaplains, etc. are not enough. It starts with an attitude.” For spouses of cops, she recommends the book Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement: A Guide for Officers and Their Families by Kevin M. Gilmartin. “With a little knowledge under the belt, I’ve been able to be more understanding,” she writes. “So, while we sit facing a door in a restaurant, discuss what to do in a possible shootout at the grocery store, endure a myriad of complaints from folks upset about their unjust traffic ticket or how ‘innocent’ Johnny was sent to jail, and politely smile at cop-vs.-firemen jokes, we wait for that shift in culture that law enforcement desperately needs.”


2. Beautiful day, isn’t it? How about a nice hike in Red Rock? I said HOW ABOUT A NICE HIKE IN RED ROCK?! Sorry you couldn’t hear me over that annoying helicopter buzzing Icebox Canyon. It was a concern brought to light by our January story, “ Bring the noise,” about the surprising absence of regulations protecting Red Rock’s least visible but no less valuable asset: peace and quiet. The article inspired reader Jim Boone to write a letter to the BLM concerning a recent incident he experienced, which he copied us on: “I was hiking at Red Rock Canyon NCA ... and noticed a single engine airplane flying north above Highway 159. To my surprise, the pilot started doing acrobatic stunts between about Old Oak Creek Campground and the exit from the Scenic Loop Road. The pilot flew straight up until the plane stalled, then tumbled backwards several times before the pilot recovered and did it again.”

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Uh, yeah. Not the best companion for soaking in the restorative vibes of the great outdoors. “I realized that the BLM does not have jurisdiction over aircraft, but I was offended by the noise and reckless behavior of the pilot and was particularly insulted when the pilot buzzed peaks in the Rainbow Mountain Wilderness Area, undoubtedly scaring rock climbers and bighorn sheep alike,” Boone writes. “I ask that the BLM do whatever they can to protect the qualities of wilderness, including silence, that we hold so dear.” AMEN! I mean, uh, amen.


3. It’s match game time! Here are four recent Facebook comments on Desert Companion articles and blog posts. Can you match them to the articles they’re responding to?

1. “Garnished with a rabbit’s foot? Are you kidding me?” — Robert Ryder

2. “I’ll believe it when I see the whites of his eyes.” — F. Andrew Taylor

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3. “Subjective and a colossal waste of time.” — Ana Maria Rydell

4. “Pure magic!” — Lyndsey Sponder


Now, match them up with the correct articles!

A. A Wednesday Poem by Gregory Crosby on the Desert Companion blog

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B. A dining review of Due & Proper and Whist by Debbie Lee

C. A blog post by Andrew Kiraly about abstaining from alcohol for January

D. Our Best of the City online readers’ survey


We hope you enjoyed this subjective and colossal waste of time. Thanks for playing!