John Colson: Hit and Run |

John Colson: Hit and Run

John Colson
Aspen Times Weekly

Well, well, well.

Our national meltdown continues unabated, while most of us watch from the sidelines and wonder whether the next knock at the door will be the Jehovah’s Witnesses in their dark suits and ties, or a squad of armed thugs in camo gear demanding cash and other valuables, or simply our blood.

A crazed Jew-hater has shocked the nation and the world by invading the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and killing a security guard before being brought down; three cops are killed by another whacked-out white supremacist in Pittsburgh, Pa.; a doctor who performs abortions is murdered at church; even Starbucks isn’t a safe place to hang out any more, judging by the recent bombing of one of the franchise outlets in New York City.

Locally, the Aspen Music Festival website is under seemingly improbable attack by cyber-terrorists or worse. Perhaps this is a sign that someone finally figured out that the soft underbelly of our nation’s elite just might be accessible through their love of classical music, and that a possible access point might be here in our little Shangri-La in the mountains.

The dockets of our local courts have been clogged lately with cases involving increasingly violent, hate-fueled acts, a frightening reflection of the growing national tendency toward insanity and armed insurrection.

Even the weather seems to be in on the escalating destabilization, at least if one can judge from the fact that we’ve seen more bizarre storms and more rain this spring than any previous spring I can recall.

Our nation’s oddball class of comedic social critics are baffled at how to deal with a young president who is smart, careful and clear-eyed about the world, and at least so far seems to be able to avoid the kind of political and personal pratfalls that made his two predecessors [Bush and Clinton] such rich sources of material.

Lately there has been disturbing news about a second wave of home foreclosures. But this one hasn’t been spawned not by idiotic lending practices snatched up by equally idiotic borrowers. No, this wave is due to joblessness and the recession, which themselves are inextricably linked to the aforementioned idiocy along with the venality and greed of the world’s stock traders, bankers, corporate chiefs and their minions.

The list of indicators that the world is locked on an intercept course with Armageddon is growing faster than anyone can keep up with.

And to top it all off, the news corporation that employs me has been so damaged by the recession that my bosses have taken the previously unimaginable step of cobbling together a hybridized version of The Aspen Times and The Glenwood Springs Post Independent, two newspapers that have managed to weather the storms of history for more than a century.

Now, taken together with all the turbulence around the nation and the world, this may seem like a triviality, a strictly local hiccup in the grand scheme of our times. But if that’s the way you feel, it’s probably because you don’t work for Colorado Mountain News Media or its parent, Swift Communications, and you figure you’ve got problems of your own and don’t have time to worry about mine.

The plain fact is, however, that my problem could soon become yours, if the local newspapers are unable to withstand the double-barreled onslaught of declining revenues and rising costs and fold up their tents.

Because not only would you be deprived of reading my own jaundiced version of things every week [a development that might please more people than not], but your access to news about local government decisions and policies, social affairs, business happenings and a whole lot more would be vastly reduced if not eliminated. Local radio would be hard pressed to fill the void, and watching the community-access cablecasts of a selection of government proceedings is not likely to be much better.

And so the meltdown continues. I remain hopeful that things will not crash into a fiery pit of annihilation for the world as we know it. But I feel it necessary to occasionally take stock, in an admittedly limited way, of where we are, as a way of preparing for where we might go next.

Hope you don’t mind. It’s just that I feel like I’m tied to a set of railroad tracks, a huge headlight is heading my way, and it helps to lay things out now and then.

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