Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Guarding the Flock

I've always liked Dennis Miller. He has a no-nonsense, no-holds barred quick-wittedness about him which has always impressed me. His latest interview with Bill O'reilly, aptly named "Miller Time", once again reminded me why Dennis has me among his fan base. Mr. Miller was asked to comment on the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech. Interestingly enough, Mr. Miller, quite possibly unbeknowst to him, described an unlikely sheepdog amongst some of those kids there in Blacksburg. I've included a brief excerpt from his commentary:

Miller: "I'm intrigued by this character, Lebvew Lebresku, the seventy-six year old aerodynamics instructor at the college. Now listen, I think in our society we have somehow in current-day America, been denuded out of the gene that makes us want to survive at all costs. I think that Lebresku, a 76 year old holocaust survivor, who if you do the math was probably 12 when he first saw the face of evil, I'm sure looked up at that narrow window in that door and saw the same sick glint, that dead-shark thing in that eye that he had seen as a young man and he went towards it to stop it. I think that right now kids in this culture, between video games which kind of dumb them down vis-a-vis violence, and the non-judgemental aspect of this society don't know evil if it springs up at a door in their college."

In other words, what I think Mr. Miller is saying is that our society has become a breeding ground for sheep. We seem to have lost our ability to bring up a generation of sheepdogs and are reaping the fruits of what my parent's generation has sown and what my generation continues to prune. Our society's sense of normalcy, as it relates to violence, has taken a dramatic shift. I remember when I was growing up, shrieking when Frogger didn't quite make it across the road. Now, some of the video games that I have seen and played rival the carnage on the streets of Iraq. What do we expect? Folks, I believe that we are sleeping in the bed that we have made for ourselves. Could that demon-possessed rampage have been caused by something earlier in his childhood or teenage years? Possibly. Are there those who are being steered in that same direction by our culture's paradigm shift? You better believe it. I see it everyday.
Rest assured though...I, and many of my brothers-in-blue have not been "denuded" out of our instinct for survival. We have seen death and we have looked into the eyes of men who have wished death upon us. And now, like then, we yearn for the opportunity to stare into the face of that brand of evil visited on the campus of Virginia Tech and defend our lives and the lives of those sheep around us. We truly yearn for the day.

Mr. Miller continued, "I think the only thing we share at this point, is sorta looking around and saying, 'What in the hell is happening to this world?', and everybody seeks out whatever belief that they have. One of the things that falls away from me in the wake of a tragedy like this, is all the sterm and drang, all the usual suspects, all that crap that I pretend that I am interested in on a day to day basis goes away and I shoot hoops with my kids and I don't hear it as much."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

In the Sheepdog's Absence

Here we are again. The unthinkable becoming reality. Seared in our minds this time are not horrific scenes of towers falling, but rather of bloodied bodies being dragged and carried from their dormitories. It frustrates me to know that my enemies have won again. I fight evil, and evil has once again prevailed. I came home on the day of the massacre and listened to my wife tell me of newly released details that she had seen on the television. 21 dead, 30 dead. 32 dead. When were the numbers going to stop? I began to feel the anger welling inside my soul. I didn't want to hear anymore. I am still angry and I feel that at least for the time, ignorance will be my greatest ally.

I will grieve for the men and women who were slaughtered. I will grieve for their families and the loss of what they have loved for a lifetime. I will grieve when the anger recedes. Right now, I am just avoiding the television, the newspapers...any accounts of it. It sickens me to hear about the school, the procedure(s) that were or were not followed, of how no one acted to defend against this lone assailant {a' la flight 93}, of the beauty of hindsight. I avoid the frothing mouths craving ratings and dollars. Newspapers, radio, television stations can you please offer me an explanation? Why didn't we see or hear your pious clamoring deriding the administration of this school before this incident? Why weren't you critical of the college's policy of securing the campus during crisis before there was a crisis? You know why? Because the media as we know it today are a reactive group of people who at every chance, seek to prey on the basest ingredient of the human nature. I avoid these empty words printed to criticize and berate. I avoid the mouth in the suit telling me that more should have been done. And do you know why I avoid it? BECAUSE IT DOES NOTHING TO HELP! It waits for disaster and then dumps criticism on those involved. It waits for tragedy and then points its fat, overfed finger. I don't care that the masses think that the school could have done more to stop the murders. Where was this criticism before this happened? You know where it was? It was nonexistent because it was not necessary. Do we honestly think that these institutions of higher learning are not doing everything in their power to protect our children? Think of it this way, oh you naysayers...give me your answer as to what you feel the school could have done to avoid this tragedy. Oh you gazer of the crystal proffer your all-knowing answer. Give it to me, and I will give you a single unforeseen ingredient that will totally shatter your equation of perfection. And do you know why this is? Because there are, and always be, things that happen outside of our control and this possessed man was the variable this time.

However, this, this friends is what I do care about. I care about the fathers and mothers who will never see their children again. I care about the lovers who will never have the opportunity to vow their devotion to one another. I care about the mothers who had their flowers ripped from their hands; the fathers who's legacies died with their sons. This is what matters. Why can't we realize this? Things happen that we cannot control. People have killed and will continue to kill and there is absolutely nothing that we can do to totally eliminate some people's lust for death.

I was asked by a gentleman the other day how I felt about the events, and I answered, "I wish I would have been in that dorm five minutes before that demon walked in." "And what is it that you think you could have done young man?", he replied. "I could have made a difference." Maybe my absence was the variable.