Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Immortality -- or not

The Fred Phelps group was out in force at the funerals of the victims of the mall shootings in Omaha. Signs said "God sent the shooter." The man is beyond reprehensible.

There has been a lot of coverage of the 19 year old shooter (whose name I will not print...for that is the thrust of this entry), about his life, his history, his depression and his suicide note which promised that he was going to make an impact with his death.

We still discuss the killers of Columbine (I am ashamed to say I remember their names) and whenever something like this happens inevitably someone will draw comparisons and talk about the lives of the current shooter with the lives of previous killers.

I have a really radical idea. What if , when something like this happens, the media didn't give it such wide coverage. I know it's impossible not to report it, but is it necessary to go over and over and over and over every minute detail for years to come? Do we need to see terrified survivors, and grieving families? Do we need to cover the funerals? Do we need to examine every moment of the shooter's life with a microscope? Again and again and again?

Turn on MSNBC any Saturday morning and you will find an in-depth report on Charles Manson, Scott Peterson, or anybody who ever committed mass murder. Killers of babies are really good fodder. One mom with postpartum depression who kills her whole family is solid gold. On a really good Saturday you might get them all, a "mass murder marathon." There is nothing new to report, it's just rehashing the same thing week after week.

Is it any wonder that someone with severe psychological problems and social difficulties, who feels the world is against him/her, decides s/he can "show 'em all" by going out in a blaze of what is supposed to be glory?

What if a mass murderer's name just died with his/her funeral? Would that, in time, alter the number of these horrific events?

But we live in an era of paparazzi and tabloid journalism and even if all the legitimate publications took a pledge NOT to give these guys there 15 decades of fame, the tabloids would take care of it for them.

When Walt and I were returning from Eric's birthday party in Oakland yesterday, we turned on the radio and listened to news from the BBC. Surprisingly, the headline news came from Ceylon, from Cambodia, and from other countries. There wasn't a single mention of anything in the United States (or, for that matter, anything in the UK either). It was a real shock to discover that other countries in the world are having problems too.

Gosh. What would happen if media in this country focused on the world and not just the oddball news that happens in this country? What if we acknowledged that there are other countries in the world, and not just our little corner of it.

I love living in a fantasy world. Sigh.

But speaking of fantasy worlds, I had a bizarre experience today. The puppies got me up at 4 a.m. and were delighted, after relieving themselves outside, to play by running back and forth across the vast expanse of my abdomen (I knew there was a good reason I never became thin--puppies get so much more exercise with the extra inches of flesh to climb).

They went back to sleep, I sat up watching a movie until dawn, when with a big yawn, Daisy woke up and decided to climb the hill and wake that little pipsqueak on the other side of Mt. Bev.

So 'round about noon, I was feeling a bit droopy, having been up since 4 a.m. Matlock was on part of the 2-3 hours I was sleeping. I was dreaming I was at a play and that I had brought a little black mouse with me in my bag. The lead actor in the play sounded like Andy Griffith and at intermission, he was still on stage speaking, but when you went to the lobby to buy a snack, the ticket taker was reciting the same lines, with the same voice, so you didn't miss anything.

Later I was in a museum with Lizzie and the black mouse, who looked a lot like Half Pint. A very weird dream.

Half Pint is starting to hold her own better against Daisy....

...and the two puppies have been playing a lot today. When Half Pint finally wore out, she found herself a nice warm place to sleep.

Daisy has decided that my chair is her bed. Whenever she's on the floor for longer than 5 minutes, you'll hear her whining and trying to climb up the front of the chair. She has spent almost all day today on it. Fortunately, she let me share it with her when I took my nap!

As for me, just call me "puppy bed."

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