Midday Scan: Coping in Afghanistan, death in Pioneer Square

"The News Tribune" is providing insightful coverage of the difficulties and rewards for troops serving in Afghanistan. A story brings powerful detail to the death of a young woman shot in Pioneer Square.
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The summer farmers market in Pioneer Square.

"The News Tribune" is providing insightful coverage of the difficulties and rewards for troops serving in Afghanistan. A story brings powerful detail to the death of a young woman shot in Pioneer Square.

It can be easy to be cynical about a war which we know nothing about, and which seems to drag on forever. But The News Tribune has been offering interesting stories and insights through their embedded reporters, staff writer Adam Ashton and photojournalist Peter Haley, who have consistently produced quality reports about the soldiers they have joined in Afghanistan from Joint Base Lewis McChord. (They can be found on TNT’s FOB Tacoma military blog.)

Ashton’s story from today’s issue of TNT, like others he has written, reveals that the situation is more complex than many would like it to be. That is, progress is being made, albeit slowly and with strained relationships – meaning that, maybe, there is some point to America being there, after all. The end goal, of course, is to teach the Afghan army to be its own self-sustaining force, a hard goal to achieve, to be sure. The story sheds a light on what the relationships between the American and Afghan soldiers are like, which is both parts positive and parts cautious, as an interview with one of the Lewis-McChord soldiers suggests:

“Working with the Afghans, much like working with the Iraqis, is one of the most rewarding and difficult jobs there is to be had out there,’ said Bennett, a DuPont resident. ‘It can be supremely frustrating at times, but then you have one of those ‘eureka’ moments and it all clicks, and the feeling is awesome. And then the cycle begins again.’”

The shooting of Nicole Westbrook is a heartbreaking story that makes no sense, and one that is understandably frustrating and incredibly sad for the family. Seattle Times writer Sara Green writes a delicate yet powerful obituary. The events leading up to the shooting, which are unusually joyful and otherwise those of a typical night, are especially haunting:

“After the chaos of moving 1,400 miles to a new city, the young couple from Albuquerque, N.M., celebrated Griffin's first paycheck with a night out. They went to dinner and caught a comedy show. Before heading home in the early-morning hours of April 22, they wandered around Pioneer Square to take in the architecture, the public art and the nighttime energy of their new neighborhood.”

The report also notes that anonymous tips related to the case are welcome, and that anyone with information is asked to call the homicide unit’s tip line – 206-233-5000 – or to contact CrimeStoppers of Puget Sound – 800-222-TIPS (8477) – which is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.

When the draft picks for the Seattle Seahawks were announced, there was one large resonation of, “Who-da-wha … buh?” More satisfactorily, the selections – largely unknown quantities that no one had predicted whatsoever – turned all the pre-draft babble and predictions and hullabaloo on its head. Still, even in retrospect, many are left asking, “Why?”

Seattle Times sports reporter Jerry Brewer has a fairly insightful article that helps sort the confusion. Also, he leaves an important note: “The Seahawks don’t employ the classic approach. But because they’re so thorough and believe so fully in themselves, it’s wise to couch skepticism or at least delay unleashing it until you see the plan in action.”

Want a sweet new ride? You might want to take after a Canadian man, Peter Mark, and beach comb. Mark happened upon a Harley-Davidson on the shores of British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii islands while cruising around on his ATV, according to a report from CBC news. Mark, truly a paragon of virtue, resisted temptation and found the owner, a 29-year-old Japanese man who had lost three family members and his house during the disaster, NHK World reports. This goes to show that next time you find treasure stuck in the sand, you should consider who it belonged to and show similar consideration.

It’s May Day! And Mayor Mike McGinn is worried, according to Stranger associate editor Eli Sanders. Police have gathered evidence of a possible violent protest. “(McGinn) said police believe some protestors may be preparing to use flag poles, shields, screws, and other materials against officers and their horses.”

So, in case the Mayor’s Spidey-Sense proves true, be careful out there folks.



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