War: It's just a shot away
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Sep 05, 2013 | 981 views | 0 0 comments | 208 208 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ron Swift
Ron Swift
It is obvious that the majority of Americans are tired of warfare being used to settle disputes around the world.

I’ve long held the view that military conflicts answer only one question – who has the stronger military?

What it does not settle is centuries of religious conflict, tyrants grabbing power and using force to keep it, famine, the rampant killing of citizens, and just plain ol’ bigotry.

Yes, the using of chemical warfare by either side against the citizens of Syria is an unfathomable and disgusting atrocity. But, are we Americans so squeaky clean that we must enforce Mother Earth’s moral code? Remember Agent Orange?

What many Americans seem to believe – and I am one of them – is that to become militarily involved in Syria is to provoke a wrath of circumstances that we are unable to accurately predict. What we should recognize is that the Middle East has for some time been extremely volatile. Should the United State jump into the fray, the death toll of citizens will undoubtedly climb even higher.

Besides that, our government (if the daily news is correct) has not fully identified the Syrian rebels challenging the regime. Should the rebels come out on the winning end, would we end up with another Afghanistan?

You may recall that we came to the aid of that country in its war with the Russians, but didn’t win any permanent friendship.

With already well over 100,000 Syrian casualties and countless more who have abandoned their homes and fled the country, this conflict certainly won’t conclude with a few American missiles launched in that direction.

The Mid-East has long been fragile, as evidenced by the numerous conflicts that have flamed up in recent years. Until those countries realize that peaceful relationships with their neighbors and within their own borders are in their best interests, there’s little that we can and should do.


It’s downright entertaining to read old Patterson Irrigators.

Just 75 years ago this week, the Irrigator carried a front page story of an incident that aroused considerable interest among the citizens of Grayson. I’ll omit the names to protect possible relatives still living in this area.

It seems that an evangelist, a Grayson resident, threatened to kill his new son-in-law who happened to be another evangelist. He objected to the younger man, age 35, marrying his daughter, age 24. The couple had run off to Reno the previous weekend to tie the knot.

Evangelist No. 1 and his son were brought before Patterson Justice of the Peace J.M. Kerr. Most of Grayson took the day off to attend the proceedings, filling the local courtroom until it over-flowed.

That caused Judge Kerr to order everyone out except the accused, attorneys and trial witnesses. Only a few found vantage points at open windows.

The accused was taken into custody after the proceedings but released the next day after posting a $1,000 bond guaranteeing he would not kill his son-in-law.

One of the witnesses who testified was Riverbank’s justice of the peace. It seems evangelist No. 1 attacked No. 2 when the latter was conducting meetings in that city.

Just a family spat, but it made good reading. Can’t you just picture the gawkers outside the court!


Longtime Patterson resident Rufina Rodriguez gets added to our list. She turned 90 on July 10.

She was born and raised in Mexico and married Miguel Rodriguez in 1944. The couple had nine children, all but one being born and raised in Texas, the ninth in California. She has lived in Patterson since 1956 and still enjoys cooking. She has 29 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren, and a large family party was held to celebrate her birthday at the Patterson home of her daughter, Olga Barron.

Four other children – Mark, Sara, Frances, and Trini – also live here. Siblings Jesse resides in Modesto, Mary in Turlock, Evaristo in Los Banos and Ali in Merced. Her husband died in 1983.


Our Apricot Fiesta office certainly gets around.

Secretary Marilyn Hoobler and volunteers recently moved from City Hall to 26 S. Third St. where other businesses also rent space.

Interestingly, the Fiesta had its office in the same building a few years ago, Hoobler noted. She should know. She’s coming up on 30 years as its secretary.

Yes, that was our former fire chief, Dick Gaiser, quoted extensively in Monday’s Chronicle. He’s president of the Tuolumne Farm Bureau and is greatly concerned about the effect of the Rim Fire on cattle ranching in the high country. In fact, he’s offered some of this ranching property to accommodate injured cattle.

Looking for a different perspective on both world and national news? Try the new Aljazeera America channel. It might surprise you.


A reader of this column has inquired whether it will again this year offer educational opportunities now that fall has arrived.

The answer is “non”.

You may remember that last year, to prove the educational value of Fast Talk, a blurb was included each week just to prove how smart someone could become by regular reading of this column. Of course yule and spring holiday breaks were taken to give our “students” time away from the cerebral grind.

So why not this year?

Well, Patterson’s own Phil Breasher was the only reader earning a passing mark last spring. Just one — a figure not high enough to warrant regular educational offerings. Sorry, but I hope you understand.

But would you like just an occasional brain test?


Apparently it’s just a short drive from being Heisman winner Johnny Football to becoming Johnny Jerk.

By the way, Mr. Jerk received about the silliest NCAA penalty in college sports history for his alleged wrong-doing (signing autographs) – suspension for half a game. Could he have taken it by sitting out every other series?


Tidbits of wisdom keep arriving by email, and I could use every one.

• The only time the world beats a path to your door is when you’re in the bathroom.

• It used to be only death and taxes. Now, of course, there’s also shipping and handling.

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