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No recitation of the number of Americans killed by guns — men, women, and increasingly, children — can carry the emotional power of hearing that three 9-year-olds were just slaughtered in their school, the latest in a long line of such horrors. The result for all of us is terror: a state of …

Maybe it’s the Berkshire County air, or a certain heartiness that one must possess to get through the long cold winters. Whatever it is, there is a special kind of person that moves to this part of the world when others of a certain age are flocking to year-round sunshine, warmth and golf. And it’s not just because people are friendly. There are friendly people all over, but they are rarely this interesting.

Living in the Berkshires, I have been fortunate to have some really good doctors. But I also know that doctors who decide to practice here make a sacrifice to do so. While the Berkshires are a beautiful place to live and raise children, doctors do not make the same salary as they would in a metropolitan area, and with the student debt that most physician’s carry it is a real problem.

One after another, they looked at a seething, conspiracy-addled crowd and indulged, fed and stoked every element of their furious worldview. I didn’t see a single true leader on Trump’s stage, not even Trump himself. I saw a collection of followers, each vying for the affection of the real power in Waco, the coddled populist mob.

It’s a blessing moving into a home, as I did 13 years ago, where the previous owners had been interested in the plantings. Hence a lovely hawthorn, flowering dogwood, flowering quince and a linden tree that, when flowering, smells sweet.

At the 20th anniversary of the Iraq War, we stand in the same position relative to the initial invasion as America stood in 1985 relative to the 1965 arrival of our first combat troops in Vietnam. This makes it a useful moment to compare the two conflicts and their effects, and to consider — provisionally, always provisionally — which was more disastrous, which intervention deserves to be remembered as the worst foreign policy decision in our history.

For hundreds of years, Moscow surrounded itself with satellite countries run by obsequious rulers. From the Soviet days, think of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. Now, in a tale of changing places, Russia is emerging as an economic satellite of China.

Meteorologists are reporting about it. Calendars proclaim it. Even the birds are chirping about it (much too early in the morning and too loudly, I might add). Spring. Spring. Spring. Sorry, I can’t get on that particular bandwagon — not when the snow in my backyard is still over the tops of my boots.


Cell service is itself a public health issue, though not just in the way tower opponents claim it is. If police or firefighters cannot make or receive emergency cellphone calls from huge swaths of a town in the 21st century, that is a public health problem. If residents who live in those coverage gaps lose power and are cut off from the outside world, as they were in the recent nor'easter, that is a public safety issue.

At the darkest hour in the toughest conditions, these Southern Berkshire emergency responders embodied the grit and bravery sometimes required to answer the call of duty. Last week, that call beckoned from within a storm that could stop a snowmobile in its tracks — but it couldn't stop these rescuers. For that, they have our sincere gratitude.

Before this week, Berkshire County was having a relatively warm winter with less snow than usual. Then, a nor'easter reminded us that we're in, well, the Northeast — and seemingly dumped a season's worth of the white stuff on us all at once.

If Mayor Tyer chooses to defer the selection of the next chief, it gives her administration the chance to sort out once and for all the delicate issues of whether the city should stick with its residency requirements and civil service process. Study and settle those issues now so the next mayor can move swiftly on what should be a priority for city leaders: selecting a new permanent leader for the Pittsfield Police Department. 

The conductors and interpreters of this study have to be open-minded. It's easier said than done, but North Adams must be both imaginative and clear-eyed in assessing what it can do to better connect its downtown. This is a chance to think outside the box, but a six-figure federal grant for a study is the sort of chance that a small city might not see again soon.

Editorial Cartoons

Letters to the Editor

To the editor: The recent news of the potential closing of the Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington has left me shaken. ("A company that was planning to invest in the Triplex Cinema is short on cash. If the money isn't raised, the theater could close," Eagle, March 22.)

To the editor: On Sunday, March 19, in the parking lot of St. Stanislaus in Adams, an African-American woman sitting in a car with two toddlers was threatened by a white man who pulled up next to her car, rolled down his window, extended his arm and made the gesture of shooting a pistol at her.

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