I can tell you from experience, if you can’t handle a photograph of a half-dozen firefighters and EMTs valiantly trying to save a man’s life, then you don’t ever want to run a newspaper.

There are tough stories to write every issue that affect readers’ feelings, and it’s our job to write them.

And it’s tough to run photos like the one we ran last week of the young Canadian firefighter who lost his life riding a motorcycle on Highway 74 and (this week) of the Hemet motorcyclist whose life was claimed on Highway 243 just a day later. Both photos show heroes trying to save lives.

One of our jobs here is to give people what they need to know in their community. Why was traffic held up? Why were ambulances all around? Why are so many motorcycle crashes occurring lately? We hope all is OK in our little town.

Some photos tell more than a story can, such as when the Marine motorcyclist was killed several years ago on Highway 243. Larry Donahoo, Village Hardware, donated an American flag, and the man’s fellow Marines’ ritual covering of his body with the flag on the highway while traffic stopped was a gripping photo. It broke our hearts to lose a man we didn’t know.

Just as gripping is a photo of our paramedics working so hard to save the lives of all too many of these riders. In the whole of 2008, we had five motorcycle fatalities on our Hill highways. In just the last six months, we have had seven. That does not include crashes with or without just injuries.

Jeff Stone has promised when he reaches the Senate to work with CalTrans on solutions to motorcycle crashes in our mountains.

What will the TC do in the meantime? We’ll work to inform you with more statistics while hoping never to have to cover one of these tough events again.

Becky Clark,