Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Week of Insane Fame

At 2:50 Boston fell briefly silent after seven days of shocked babble over madness that erupted from two young minds and brought America back to 9/11 and the vulnerability with which we live today.

Then, on TV screens an industry of terrorism “experts,” lawyers and politicians resumes billions-of-word explanations for the inexplicable, to create an illusion of making sense out of what defies sense, the inner darkness that now has the technological means to hold society hostage to its expression.

After the Newtown shootings, all eyes were on the victims and their grieving families, but the Marathon massacre has given the media what it truly craves—-explosions, smoke, crowd panic, surveillance pictures, urban lockdown, carjacking, a deadly cop shootout and finally a bloody prime-time TV climax to resolve their fears.

Now that imminent terror has subsided, obsessive rehash of the week’s details, speculation about the legal process to come and apparently rational dissection of what all the irrationality means will go on ad nauseum to distract Americans from what government can truly do to make life safer and fairer.

Already, Lindsey Graham and the political vampires are out to demand that the justice system re-brand two naturalized citizens as “enemy combatants” and skip all the civilized niceties as they themselves hold Washington hostage on gun control, immigration reform and undoing the damage of the sequester to air-traffic control and other public safety measures.

The lethal insanity of two murderous young brothers will continue to distract us from that of hundreds of politicians who have been elected and are being paid to do everything they can to keep us safe and secure.   

In my ninetieth year, I recall what happened in 1933, shortly before FDR was sworn into office. As the President-elect was being driven through Miami, a feeble-minded immigrant named Giuseppe Zangara stood on a wobbly folding chair and fired five shots at the open car. The Mayor of Chicago, riding on the running board, was killed.

In those days, we were shielded from news by the sparse details of radio bulletins and the delay of reading about it in the next day’s newspaper.

Zangara was arrested, tried and executed two months later. By then, FDR had been inaugurated and had launched his legislative push to repair the damage of the Depression.

We are so much better-informed today.

1 comment:

kdbm said...

The voice of calm and reason!
Thanks so much and keep up the much needed work!