Several separate low-pressure systems impacting the valley early this week brought us more snow. Maybe those ski races in Europe struggling to find enough snow for the racers should relocate to Colorado this year. For snow farming, CB is fielding a pretty good crop.
The low-pressure also seemed to generally bring many folks a case of mid-winter lethargy. It seemed most people, myself included, were a tad low energy as the week began. Emails were slow to be returned and few seemed too anxious to spout off about any particular issue (okay, maybe a few over the direction of CB heated garages). Perhaps it’s the mid-winter reset in what has been a pretty good ski winter so far…and there is every indication that a good ski season will continue.
So in the spirit of lethargy, there is no super long editorial like I have gotten in the habit of writing, no semi poem on the trade parade, or even another reflection on how lucky we are to live here. I will say this is the time of the season it feels we move over the hump. The Alley Loop seems to signal the turn every year, and hundreds of Loopers gave us a super successful event last week.
Speaking of events, it appears there will be no Mardi Gras parade this year as the Chamber is giving up on both that and the Chainless Race. On Fat Tuesday next week, there will be what no doubt will be an “interesting” Mardi Gras Prom at the Talk of the Town on February 21. Organizers might think about giving an award to the best Walk of Shame the morning after. That event is being sponsored by the Melanin Mountain Project, so thanks for stepping up. I am also already wondering how many Chinese weather balloons will show up for the Al Johnson event in March.
Back to the weather — While we can still get some brutal winter reminders, the days are getting longer and the temperatures consistently warmer. Thursday looks to be a return to early January for example, but we can more often than not expect afternoons with temps in the 20s, spring conditions and fun late season skiing. That’s not to say it won’t snow. Spring can bring huge dumps that ultimately help the summer wildflowers and local reservoirs. The forecast is calling for lots of 1-to-3-inch snow days next week and if the forecast continues in the way we’ve experienced so far this season, those 1-to-3s might actually be 6-to-9s. Bring it.
On one serious issue that never seems to go away anymore — as lethargic as we might feel, this week’s tragedy at Michigan State University brings the number of mass shootings that have taken place in the USA in 2023 to 67, more than one a day. In 2022 there were 690 mass shootings in this country. Between 2009 and 2018, there were 288 school shootings in the USA. The next closest country was Mexico with eight school shootings in that period.
We live in a world where Crested Butte and Gunnison students practice for mass shooting incidents and local law enforcement are trained specifically to deal with it. That wasn’t normal a couple of decades ago but is standard now.
Assault weapons tend to cause more deaths in such incidents. According to the website EveryTown For Gun Safety, from 2009 to 2022, nine out of the 10 mass shooting incidents with the most casualties involved the use of at least one assault weapon. A 2021 study found that the federal prohibition on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines was associated with a significant decrease in public mass shootings and related casualties and prevented at least 11 public mass shootings during the 10 years it was in effect.
I haven’t seen what type of weapon was used by the shooter at Michigan State. It doesn’t seem hard to understand that this type of horrific incident is pretty much an American issue and there are some things that can be done to temper the trend. Preventing those with legitimate mental health issues from being able to own any type of gun is one. Background checks with waiting periods are not unreasonable. Banning individual ownership of assault weapons is another. For those who argue that they like the sport of shooting them, that can be done in regulated settings. But in this country, the opportunity for mentally ill people to obtain extremely deadly weapons and use them regularly on innocent people is something that should shake us from our mid-winter lethargy.