Friday, January 21, 2011

No good thing.

There is nothing funny about nineteen people‭ ‬being shot,‭ ‬six of them dying,‭ ‬in Tucson Arizona.‭ ‬The details of who died and who was injured have been hashed and rehashed,‭ ‬and there is nothing amusing‭ ‬in any of that.‭

There are however,‭ ‬some positive aspects to be found in reactions to the shootings.‭ ‬For instance,‭ ‬two men who are old enough to be his grandfather tackled the shooter.‭ ‬Seventy-four year old Bill Badger,‭ ‬a retired U.S.‭ ‬Army colonel,‭ ‬and sixty-one year old Roger Salzgeber restrained the alleged shooter,‭ ‬after someone hit him with a folding chair.‭ ‬Another sixty-one year old,‭ ‬Patricia Maisch,‭ ‬prevented the shooter from reloading his gun.

This information completely shatters notions that old people only play‭ ‬shuffleboard and complain about bursitis.‭ ‬Imagine the conversations at the local senior center over lunch.‭ “‬Hey Fred,‭ ‬how many crazed gunmen have you tackled today‭?”‬

“Only one,‭ ‬you‭?”

“Dude, I almost tackled a mass murderer,‭ ‬but some‭ ‬90‭ ‬year old gal body slammed him first.‭”


The American Chapter of Lawbreakers Unite‭ (ACLU‭) ‬has issued a statement condemning old people‭’‬s thwarting of badness.‭ “‬This is an outrage,‭ ‬our members work hard to steal money from the elderly.‭ ‬We condemn any tackling,‭ ‬hitting with purses,‭ ‬canes,‭ ‬or any other adaptive equipment,‭ ‬by the elderly, against our members.‭ ‬It is our intention to file suit,‭ ‬with impunity,‭ ‬against any attack on our members, while they are engaged in thievery or causing general mayhem.‭”

Reading the ACLU‭’‬s statement highlights another positive aspect to this national tragedy,‭ ‬the new words and phrases added to our national vocabulary.‭ ‬Firstly,‭ ‬the word vitriol.‭ ‬I suppose I have seen this word before,‭ ‬but until the relentless droning by the press,‭ ‬I was never sure of‭ ‬its meaning,‭ ‬and am absolutely convinced that it could not be used in ordinary conversation.‭ I was wrong. ‬Normally I would say,‭ “‬My boss complained about my‭ ‬3‭ ‬hour lunch.‭”‬ Now I say,‭ “‬My boss was full of vitriol when he ascertained the amount of time I spent in gastronomic indulgence.‭”‬

Another  example is the term “Blood libel‭”;‬ a phrase used by Sarah Palin,‭ ‬to answer the criticism much of the press has leveled against her because of a map with crosshairs on it. The crosshairs‭ ‬indicating democrat controlled congressional districts she would like to see controlled by republicans.‭ By definition, blood libel‬,‭ ‬according to‭ ‬Rabbi Shmuley Boteach,‭ ‬refers to holding a general population responsible for murdering,‭ ‬or being an accessory to murder.

This brings up the next aspect of this tragedy,‭ ‬namely the Press,‭ ‬which is like the ubiquitous,‭ “‬they‭”‬,‭ ‬and‭ “‬them‭”‬.‭ ‬The Press must think we are all a bit daft to believe that one map with crosshairs scattered across it would be a major motivator for this horrible tragedy.‭ After all, o‬ur conversation is loaded with shooting references.‭ ‬We shop at Target.‭ ‬When asked what time we will arrive,‭ “‬We are shooting for‭ ‬4‭ ‬p.m.‭”‬ When giving short salient points in an outline we use bullets.‭ ‬When I stub my toe I say,‭ “‬Shooooot‭!”‬ While passing a slow motorist I‭ ‬‘gun‭’‬ the engine.‭

In this case the alleged shooter was a loner who played video games.‭ ‬These two items alone are more of an indicator of a leaning to badness then a webpage with cross hairs.‭ ‬How many times‭ ‬after‭ ‬the law has caught some bad person have you heard neighbors say,‭ “‬Oh,‭ ‬I knew something was wrong with him from the beginning,‭ ‬he was always so friendly and outgoing.‭ ‬There‭ ‬were always people in his‭ ‬life‭;‬ he was so easy to get along with.‭”‬ No,‭ ‬normally you hear things about how much of a loner,‭ ‬quiet,‭ ‬keep to‭ ‬himself kind of a guy.‭

‭The shooter not only was a loner, he was a gamer. Which, I am told by young and groovy people, means he played video games. We are all well aware of the dangers posed by video games, carpal tunnel, bad eye sight, obesity, and homicidal tendencies.

In the midst of all this vitriol,‭ ‬heated debate,‭ ‬and general tongue-sticking-out at‭  ones ‬enemies,‭ at least ‬one person seems to be leading by example.‭ ‬The senior,‭ as in elder‬,‭ ‬senator from Arizona,‭ ‬John McCain,‭ ‬has been unusually silent.‭ ‬He has been,‭ ‬according to reports,‭ ‬visiting the injured and those who have lost loved ones.‭ ‬He has been extending personal condolences and warm words of kindness.‭ ‬In a time where people observe a moment of silence,‭ ‬he is demonstrating days of silence.‭ Silence ‬terrifies The Press, particularly the Broadcast ‭Press, ‬whose sole purpose is to fill every waking moment,‭ ‬on a multitude of outlets,‭ ‬with a‭ ‬never-ending flow of words.‭

Words did not tackle the shooter in Tucson.‭ ‬Words did not restrain‭ ‬him from reloading his gun.‭ ‬Senior citizens of action tackled and restrained him.‭ ‬So,‭ ‬if like me,‭ ‬the vitriol‭ (‬wow,‭ ‬I actually have used that word three times in this post‭) ‬is giving you acid indigestion,‭ ‬follow the example of these silver crowned men and‭ ‬women,‭ ‬get out and do something.‭ ‬Go tackle a maniac gunman.‭ Y‬ank bullets out of a deranged‭ ‬assassin‭’‬s hand.‭ ‬Find a loner and befriend him or her.‭ ‬Do not be a talking head,‭ ‬do something.

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