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Tuesday notes

Mar 13, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck

Breezy, sunny, warm March weather is here in force. The weekend weather was superb, and it is carrying over into the new week.

Spring is, officially, still a week away, but no one is complaining about this marvelous sneak preview.

Massacre

The atrocity committed over the weekend in Afghanistan by an American soldier continues a disastrous public-relations month for the U.S. military there.

There simply is no room for any explanation, any rationalization through "motive," nor any apology that will do much to soothe the entirely justified outrage among the Afghan people and their government in the face of the actions of the 38-year-old sergeant who set out on a murderous mission in the middle of the night and killed 16 Afghan civilians, including women and children, and wounded five others before calmly turning himself into U.S. military authorities back at his base.

Swift, severe, public punishment of this criminal is essential, but even that will make for a pale comparison in Afghanistan's eyes after this senseless massacre.

President Obama said bravely Monday that this ugly incident "won't change the American mission" in Afghanistan.

Mr. President, it already has.

Hudson murders

The person or persons who killed two Hudson residents in November tried to destroy the evidence by setting fire to the crime scene.

That attempt failed.

A prime suspect is in custody, thanks to some pretty impressive police work based on scientific advancement, citizen cooperation and old-fashioned perseverance. We hope you read reporter Christina George's story Sunday to get a sense of how this arrest came together. And as the new week arrives there is news of two more arrests in the same case, confirming the scuttlebutt circulating last week. See more today on page one.

GOP down south

The Republican presidential primary train chugs on this week, having turned far south. Mississippi and Alabama vote Tuesday, following the primary in the U.S. Virgin Islands over the weekend. How, it is being asked, could Ron Paul win the Republican primary in the U.S. Virgin Islands and still lose out to Mitt Romney in the delegate count?

It's an example of the weird mathematics that governs primary election procedure, but also a totally unexpected elevation to prominence of a small primary in an election year when virtually no one would have predicted more than passing glance at the Virgin Islands -- nor much more than that for the Alabama or Mississippi primaries, either.

Instead, they are getting the most intense focus possible in this strange and drawn-out primary season.

Speaking up

There's lots of talk about high school sports this time of year, as well there should be. Over the weekend, however, the competitive team activity at Riverton High School that can make its case for being the most competitive of the bunch had another great showing in the first of its two culminating events.

At the National Forensic League district tournament in Riverton, the Wolverine speech and debate team, which has been competing week by week through a long season that began in November, nearly 20 tournaments ago, qualified five speakers for the nationals June in Indianapolis, the biggest nationals contingent ever for RHS and at least the sixth straight year Riverton has sent kids to nationals

Their names: Jaden Brummond, Jace Flanagan, Quentin Lance, Sam Myers and Sean Thornton. Their coach: Annette Thornton. Their next stop: The Wyoming High School Activities Association State Speech Meet this week in Rock Springs, where the winners won't go to nationals, but they will be state champions.

When it counts

What a run the Central Wyoming College women's basketball team made in the Region IX basketball tournament. The Rustler women didn't have the regular season results anyone would have wanted and, frankly, there were no expectations for them in the postseason.

But that sometimes can free a team from its doldrums, which must be what happened to coach Serol Stauffenberg's team. CWC pulled off two upsets in two days, including taking down heavily favored Sheridan College on Sunday, and ran to the brink of the Region IX title game before losing a vigorously contested game Monday to national powerhouse Otero Community College.

In team sports it's not how you start but how you finish, and the Rustler women end their season on a high note. Congratulations, and here's to a good week.

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