Thursday, January 13, 2011

"I hope you don't get murdered when you're 9"

No it wasn't my imagination: People at President Obama's University of Arizona (why not the Pima Community College that Loughlin attended?) speech tonight were actually hooting and hollering and whooping it up as if it were a pep rally rather than a speech in memory of the victims of Saturday's Tucson shooting. Cheers for the various victims varied in volume based on "popularity" in the public imagination: 9-year-old Christina Green got the highest rating on the "applause/whoop-o-meter" while the poor dead old folks who liked to travel the country in their RVs were only afforded polite acknowledgment. It was all embarrassingly similar to the appalling variance of cheers for various newly dead actors shown in montage at the Oscars every year.

Most appalling to me was the fact that Christina Green had been born on 9/11. One of 50 babies born on that date, later all featured in the book "Faces of Hope," as a symbol of our national optimism in the face of the 9/11 death and destruction... What a horrifying -- and realistic for the U.S. -- coda to her brief story.

President Obama quoted from the book during his speech. Apparently, next to Christina Green's picture in the book were platitudes for when she grew up, like "I hope you know all the words to the national anthem" and "I hope you jump in rain puddles." Too bad no one bothered to write/hope/pray "I hope you don't get murdered when you're 9 in a supermarket parking lot, in yet another mass shooting in America that now seems to happen just about every year."

Obama, in his speech, closed with "We should do what we can to make sure that our children's expectations are met." How were Christina Green's expectations met? The nut that shot her -- according to Obama, Palin, and everyone -- was "just a nut": apparently nothing at all could have been done about him. Really? No mental health service would have been helpful for a guy that liked to read everything from Plato to "The Wizard of Oz" to Ayn Rand to Marx? No mental health service would have been helpful, or proactive, after 5 calls to police were made from the community college he attended about his disruptive/frightening behavior? After all of his overt community disruptions, Loughner was in no data bank that alerted stores to the "inappropriateness" of selling him a Glock and repeat-rounds of ammunition?

Some tidbits from Obama's speech: "There's evil in the world; bad things happen; don't assign blame or point fingers; we should tell people we love them..." Oh. OK. These things happen. They're "normal." Mass shootings in grocery store parking lots are "normal." Shit happens. Just hug each other afterwards, OK?

You know what? These mass murder "things" don't just "happen" on a yearly basis in Sweden or Canada, just to name a couple of less violent places on this earth. None of this was OK.

Obama closed his speech with "If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today." [lots and lots of whooping approval from the crowd] REALLY? So what just happened is all OK now, 'cause little 9-year-old Christina is now -- according to a bizarre, feel-good mythology more utterly irrational than the psychotic killer's -- playing in puddles in heaven? Thank you, Mr. President, for making me feel so much better about a 9-year-old's murder in a Safeway parking lot.

Text of Obama's Tucson speech.
Faces of Hope book.

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