The following is a response to the announcement that a local columnist in our newspaper was retiring.
I was at odds with Mr. Rossie on many occasions and once, I so successfully got under his skin that he came after me by name, in print, in this newspaper.
Mr. Rossie had, (and likely still has,) a deep distain for the National Rifle Association, (NRA) and its members. I am a life member of the NRA, a financial contributor, and a certified instructor, so I took the distinction of his distain personally, especially when he targeted me directly.
Normally in the newspaper business, a columnist writes a story and supporters and detractors have their comments and the matter is completed. Not so in this case. Mr. Rossie’s tirade on the evils of the NRA and the idiocy of their followers prompted my rebuttal in a Guest Viewpoint. Mr. Rossie then devoted another complete column attacking me personally. Considering the most unusual nature of allowing such a rebuke to be printed, I sought through the editorial and management staff access to the paper once again in order to defend myself. This request was denied. I found it ironic that a newspaper, and its star, senior staff member would take refuge behind their ability to censor a critic. It bolstered in me a sense of accomplishment in apparently finding and then irritating a nerve so successfully as to be awarded this distinction.
I am an outdoorsman, a hunter and a fly-fisherman and so too does Mr. Rossie share these pleasures. We’re both writers, albeit of very differing styles and philosophies, we see the world as differently as two human beings can possibly see it and so, I wonder how a fellow fly-fisherman can be so fatally flawed in philosophy and politic, yet see and understand the moments of perfection and its observation, only possible on a trout stream.
In my observation, Mr. Rossie wrote most of his opinion and political work, not to persuade, but to berate, to punish, to belittle the opposing viewpoint and its adherents. I always thought this stemmed from the fact that Mr. Rossie was obviously cognizant of the need to sell newspapers, even at the expense of good measure. As the occasional guest writer, I am not so encumbered, persuading otherwise not by rant and rave, but by lesson and logic. Mr. Rossie appealed more to the emotion; even I dare say the hysterical, dependent of the gusting winds of outrage, indignation and sometimes fears to make his points.
Mr. Rossi’s famous school bus story is recognized as his best work because he took the rare occasion to use the emotional power to paint in yellow, a familiar story, apolitical and free of vitriol.
Mr. Rossie made his livelihood by writing, an enviable achievement from the viewpoint of this writer who can only beg to be published on occasion, Mr. Rossie was paid for doing what he loved, a grand and enviable achievement.
I wish Mr. Rossie all the best, and I will miss, not his written missives, but my pleasure, now removed, in refuting them.