Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What A Week

Some random thoughts, and some ramblings off those thoughts from the week that was. Normally, this would fall under the "Safety Tips" entry - but some of this will be too long to keep in bullet point form..... this may be a long one.

I had a rough estimate of a post regarding MY week that was, but then the world started coming apart at the seams. I did have a rough week.... but if you really look at it.... in perspective it wasn't that bad. More on my week in a bit.

First two stories that ended up being intertwined, and both are pretty fucked up. The Duke lacrosse players were exonerated this week, after almost a year of living with false accusations against them. This, in and of itself is nothing like the second story of Don Imus getting canned for saying something stupid. But there is an interesting common ground.

The Duke players, who were accused of raping an exotic dancer at a house party, were cleared of all charges against them. They steadfastly held to their innocence, but in the court of public opinion, were found guilty about thirty seven minutes after the case went public. Did I think they were guilty? I paid only moderate attention to the case, but if push came to shove, I prolly would have bet that they were guilty.

I would have been guilty of making a snap judgement on the boys. My pre-judgement was that they were spoiled rich kids, and athletes with a sense of entitlement. Just because I don't like their basketball team, does NOT mean I can make gross generalizations about everyone that goes there. I've only known one person that went to Duke, and I thought the world of her. I worked with her at a restaurant, and she was the antithesis of what I assumed Duke students were like. But these were boys, and worse yet, athletes. Stories of the good that athletes do never make it to press, only the bad things. So it wouldn't be a stretch to put them in the 'bad' category without a second thought.

But while they may have shown poor judgement in bringing a stripper to a house where college students would be consuming copious amounts of alcohol - they didn't do anything near what they were accused of. And yet, they've been paying for it, and worse, ever since. Their teammates even faced the wrath, as the 2006 season was cancelled for the WHOLE team. Fair, prolly not, but that was the choice of the administrators. This won't end with their "my bad" from the DAs office. People have already labeled them as the Duke rapists, and public perception is about as easy to change as it is to keep Al Sharpton away from a camera.

Ah, good ol' Al. Al, and his cohort Jesse Jackson ran SO fast to the defense of the girl, that Al even forgot to put in hair gel that day. Jackson even went so far to offer to pay the girl's way through college. These were affluent WHITE men, who attacked a working-class BLACK girl. How dare they! Nevermind that her story changed more times than Peyton Manning has appeared in a commercial. Nevermind that there was no DNA match to any lacrosse player found. But, like the Tawana Brawley case, that didn't matter. This was a black girl attacked by white men.

Now that we know they didn't do anything wrong, Al and Jesse have left these boys waiting for an apology. They used the case to advance their own agendas, and used the boys as props. I'd even guess now that they found their next sacrificial lamb, they don't even think about the Duke boys anymore.

Their next lamb was Don Imus. I never listened to Imus, but I knew who he was. All I knew was that he was some old dude on the radio, that had a history of pushing the envelope as a shock-jock. Well, the world got to know Imus after he said something really, really, really, really stupid about the Rutgers women's basketball team. But unlike Al and Jesse, Imus apologized. Like TWO HUNDRED times. Imus even went on Sharpton's radio show to talk about the issue, and apologize there. Imus agreed to meet with the team, and apologized to them in person.

They accepted his apology. Should be end of story, right? I mean, c'mon, the people he offended accepted his apology. Let's move on right? Nope. Al and Jesse want Imus fired. And they got their wish.

Was he wrong for what he said? Hell yes. You don't get that far in a career without being smart, and what he did for that moment was unbelievably stupid. But he apologized to Al, to the public, and most importantly, to the people he offended. If he did all that, and the Rutgers team accepted, why does he need to be fired? Punished, yes. Fired, no. Sharpton and Jackson needed something to stay in the limelight, and fight a battle the wrong way. Both of these stories should have had feel-good endings to them. The Duke boys get cleared, and they get to work on returning to normal lives. Imus apologized, and learned his lesson. Race relations can move on, because now there's one less old white codger who will think before he speaks again. But neither of those scenarios play out, because Sharpton and Jackson don't like those endings.

From there, we look at what happened in Virgina. That is a tragedy of the most epic proportion. If the next 60 years of my life are ANYTHING like the last 30 years, I will never understand what it will be like to have to experience something like that. People far smarter and better than I are more equipped to talk about how life can move forward after something like that, and I hope I echo everyone else when I say that my prayers are with everyone associated with Virgina Tech.

But even now, less than 36 hours after the tragedy, we're confronted with a cloning effect of what we just talked about above. Talking heads are using this indescribable tragedy to advance their own cause. "We need to ban guns! We need better security! We need to profile!" Everyone needs to just shut the fuck up right now. Nick says kinda the same thing, and I can't agree more. Using this horror to advance your own agenda RIGHT now, well, that makes me not give a shit about your agenda.

Aside from death and taxes, one other certainty is that sometimes, you just have no fucking control over what happens to you. There is absolutely no level of control, level of security, or amount of safety measures you can put in place to make you 100% safe. A meteor could hit your house while you sleep tonight. An extreme example, for sure, but being completely safe is a fallacy. It's just not possible.

And it's even worse when you add a human element. The Virgina massacre was not a terrorist attack, but that of a lone mad man ( at least at the time of this posting only one individual is linked, they haven't said if any of his friends knew about it ). The trouble with people like this - and this includes the terrorists - is that if someone is willing to end their own life, they will find a way around any security measure. Choosing to end your own life is the ultimate trump card. Someone that hell bent on causing mass chaos, so determined that he's decided to end his own life, is someone that will find a way. Not a pleasant thought I know, but it's a cold reality of this world.

Can we be safe? Sure. Just not 100% safe. Can we be safer? That's the goal. But do NOT use events like this to push your own agenda. This was a tragedy, and should be treated as such.

Which really puts my week in perspective. I was not happy about being on call 24 hours a day for nine straight days. I wasn't happy about being up till 7 am one day during the week. I wasn't happy about being a man short at work all week. I wasn't happy about missing football for work. It was a very hard work week. Someday I'll post more about what I do, and while it's not physically stressful, it can be tough work at times. We're a young company, and I was left in charge for the week. I did it very well, and I worked very hard to make sure everything got done. And I wasn't happy about how tired I was at the end of the nine days.

But you know what?

No one's accused me of rape.

People aren't wrongly saying I should be fired.

And I'm still alive.

I'm sure in the future, I'll bitch about stressful things, or complain about things that in the grand scheme of things don't really matter. But this week, of all weeks, I'm doing pretty well.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. This was one of those posts where I just started typing, and this is what I got.


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