Thursday, April 18, 2013

Always Some Good

Actor Patton Oswalt dragged out a chestnut from the late, great Fred Rogers this week.  There's something about the admonition to "look for the helpers", heard in our inner ears in Rogers' comforting, child-like voice, that reminds us that in the midst of all sorts of horrors it may yet be possible to find people being the best kind of people there are.

This week, alas, has made the need for such a search that much more important.  It's only Thursday morning, and I think most of us would prefer the week be over.  The cities of Boston, West, TX, and Washington are not doing so hot.  The guy who sent ricin-laced letters to Sen. Wicker and Pres. Obama has been caught, which, in a normal week, would be major news.  As is the story of the guy arrested for carrying a firearm on the Capitol grounds (I sometimes wonder if people like this know how stupid they are, or if they think they're some kind of martyr for the cause of stupidity); that, too, would be a major story.  As would be the US Senate managing to demonstrate all the political savvy of a coatamundi and voting down a series of mild gun-control measures the vast majority of the American people support.

If there's a theme to the week, it's cowardice.  The person or people who planted the bombs in Boston are cowards.  The folks who took to social media to blame everyone from North Korea to the International Islamic Caliphate to our own government for the bombing; those folks are pretty much cowards.  The Senate's action is a case study in cowardice.  Glenn Reynolds going after Gabby Giffords on Twitter?  Oh, hell, yeah.  Nothing demonstrates cowardice like going after someone like former Rep. Giffords on social media.

I would be remiss if I didn't highlight something Erik Loomis noted about the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, TX.  Loomis said, accurately enough, that Texas's efforts to demonstrate to the world that "Third World" can be a local phenomenon, and thus we have the spectacle of a nursing home close enough to a fertilizer plant that, with the explosion, it has collapsed.  Among other horrors.  Alas, for pointing out the obvious - that we have things like zoning boards and safety regulations and unions for good reasons - Michelle Malkin dispatched her Flying Monkey Brigades who demonstrated all the wisdom and spelling acumen of third grade repeaters.

As I noted on FB this morning, there have been examples of real heroism this week.  People showing the rest of us how to live and act in the midst of chaos and confusion.  Yet again, and sad enough to say, it has been our first responders, EMTs, firefighters, and police officers who show us what courage is.  It isn't haranguing people on the internet; it isn't selling out 90% of the American people because Wayne LaPierre might say something bad about you; it isn't pretending to be a combination of Gil Grissom and Leroy Jethro Gibbs and looking at photographs on the internet and discovering who the "real" culprit or culprits in the Boston bombing are; it isn't telling the world an arrest has been made then having to admit you had no idea what the hell you're talking about.  And, of course, despite the repeated admonitions over the past four months, it isn't owning a gun to defend oneself against invisible enemies.

No, real heroism is seeing a fire and going toward it.  Real heroism is knowing there are people hurt, people who need your help, and also knowing it might well not be safe to go to them and going anyway.  Real heroism is kneeling on a sidewalk or street and while all around you people are running and screaming and you really want to run and scream but you can't because there's a woman lying on the ground whose leg has been blown off and the only thing between her and death is you doing your job.  So, you stay.

In the midst of what could hardly be described as a banner week for the United States, we can look at people like this and say, "Thank you."

Virtual Tin Cup

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