News of a school shooting came through the car stereo this morning as we listened on our way to work. This would mark the 31st known school shooting in America since the events at Columbine 13 years ago, if we are to believe Twitter. We did not imagine the horror that had unfolded this morning.
A gunman in Newton, Connecticut strapped on a bullet-proof vest, marched into an elementary school, and killed 27 people, including 18 young children. It was an unfathomable act of violence that has become all too fathomable in society today.
It is difficult to put words down when you are a cauldron of roiling emotions, and I am not even remotely connected to the incident. My heart breaks for these children and their families. My anger boils over.
For some, including the White House, this is not the time to talk about gun control. Quiet sadness is the appropriate emotion as decreed by our leaders and those who would silence our anger and incredulity.
When is it convenient to discuss the matter? Next week as we tear into our Christmas presents and eat ourselves into a food coma? After we spend countless hours debating a “fiscal cliff?” When we inevitably fall back into the contented haze of life our first world offers?
We are encouraged to become numb to these events when we should be truly outraged. We are told not to politicize this tragic event, that we must simply mourn. This isn’t a political rallying point, it’s about trying to prevent horrific acts of violence. That it is instantly politicized is a travesty, but it is a fact of our modern life.
It is okay to weep in silence for these children, pound your fist in anger at the perpetrator and voice your repugnance about this all-too-common occurrence all at once. Being stricken with grief does not mean you should be stricken with pusillanimity. This should be a call to action, not silence. We should not be hushed by the crowd demanding respect for the dead.
The dead demand respect by action.
This is another sad day in a cycle of morbid events in our modern history. We are traveling backwards as a society as we allow those who would propel us in that direction to quell our emotions.
Gun control is no panacea, but the status quo is unacceptable. We must find ways to remove these weapons, so easily obtainable and used by evil and mentally unstable individuals and groups, from their hands.
We must find ways to fund and deliver mental healthcare and education to those who live on the fringes of stability and society.
We must do better as human beings.
Another great blurb from a column by one of my favorite sports columnists:
Why Isn’t the Pentagon Mosque on the Front Page?
There’s a small chance you have heard about a plan to build a mosque near (not “at”) Ground Zero in New York. The controversy is puzzling on many levels, most important, that this is America! Freedom must not be an empty concept. Freedom of religion means freedom of religion. The basic bargain of the First Amendment, as regards speech as well as faith, is that the sole way to protect the right to opinions and beliefs is to protect all opinions and all beliefs, keeping government out of the business of deciding which ones we like or don’t like.
The people who attacked the United States on 9-11 may have called themselves Muslims, though clearly were breaking the tenets of their faith. All religions have produced a few murderous fanatics — we don’t hold this against the faith when Christianity or Judaism is involved. Baruch Goldstein, raised as a Jew, used a machine gun to murder 29 Muslims in 1994 in Hebron. Goldstein was a monster, not a religious believer, and was breaking the tenets of the faith he claimed. No sensible person would say that because of Baruch Goldstein, synagogues should not be built on the West Bank. Timothy McVeigh, who called himself a Christian, murdered 168 people with a terrorist bomb in Oklahoma City, and it’s clear to everyone he was breaking the tenets of his faith. Why can’t we understand the same thing about the 9-11 killers? No one would object to a Christian church being built near the Oklahoma City terror bomb site.
Here’s what really puzzles me — with all the snarling hatred on display regarding the proposed downtown New York mosque, there’s been no discussion of the mosque that already exists inside the Pentagon. This worship space is quite close to where a plane flown by murderers struck on 9/11, and has caused no problems. The Washington Post buried the story on page A-11, while most newspapers and newscasts haven’t mentioned the Pentagon mosque at all. If the people who work inside the Pentagon can see past their differences and embrace religious tolerance, how come this is impossible for people such as Newt Gingrich?
My one question to LeBron is this: how important is it to be the Man?
You want to win? You want a great owner and organization? You want to play in a big market? You want to play in a great city? You want a proven coach? You want to get paid? Then Miami is your town, the only city that can really offer you all those things in one neat package. The problem is this: Miami is in Wade County. Dwyane won over the South Floridians even before the 2006 Finals MVP brought home the city’s first basketball championship, and not even LeBron will be able to supplant him as King of Miami.
LeBron would be loved in Miami, to be sure, but he would likely never be Miami’s man. As many championships as the Heat would win if he teamed up with Wade and Bosh, my guess is that being the Man - the King - is indeed a big factor in his decision making. This is why, as much as I would love to see him in a Heat uniform, I think he will end up in Chicago or back in Cleveland. As cold as it is in Chicago, as disloyal and rancorous the organization and owner might be, as unproven their coach is, and as there is no guarantee of winning there, LeBron would truly be King James in Chicago or Cleveland, with the opportunity to forge a new legacy alongside Michael Jordan’s in Chitown. Cleveland offers the comforts of home, and the chance for James to continue winning at a high level, but that team seems maxed out on championship potential for the foreseeable future. And, really, Cleveland over Miami as a city?
Miami offers the best of all worlds, in my opinion. Even if the power trio does not automatically guarantee a championship this season, the Heat would be able to build a dynasty over the next decade. Who wouldn’t want to play with these three?