It's always kind of a surreal feeling in the hours and days after a seminal moment in history occurs; you want to get information and process the event, but in the meantime the sun still rises and sets, and there's still the business of living to attend to. You still have to take a shower, go to work, feed the cat, etc., etc., etc. Time and tide wait for no one.
So it was as I sat on my couch last night, volleying back and forth between watching the Red Sox (who were wasting a perfectly good pitching performance by Dice-K) and Keith Olbermann. Keith, like everyone else in broadcasting, had wall-to-wall coverage of the Virginia Tech tragedy; in fact, his three Worst Persons were all awarded so as a result of inane comments made following the massacre. If you haven't seen it, this is the link here.
While Debbie Schlussel's comments are merely more of the racist nonsense we've come to expect from the Limbaugh peanut gallery, there's a particularly brutal bite to the ones by Derbyshire and Blake. First, let's set the record straight here: while both men are guilty of the most monstrous acts of insensitivity and self-serving hubris ("I don't know what I would have done but I'm sure I would have done something else"), Derbyshire was at least capable of generating the ugly thoughts independently; Blake worked up the nerve only to say, "Yeah! What HE said!" (The actual columns can be found here and here, if you've got the stomach for it.) It's astounding to me that two men with desk jobs and no history of any kind of national service (Derbyshire, a British expatriot, yaps about his .22 but neither he nor Blake seem to have any military record, nor to my knowledge are they policemen) can feel free to mock with impunity the terrified, coldly targeted young men at Virginia Tech as if they had taken the last lifeboat off the Titanic while thumbing their noses at the women and children left behind. But it's also clear that not only is Mr. Blake making judgments that aren't his to claim, he also doesn't have his facts straight. The young man belittled by Blake for "holding doors shut" has been credited with potentially saving 11 students by barricading the door to the class, then lunging to close it again as the gunman tried his best to force his way in and, when frustrated in that attempt, shot through the door. In his rush to judgment, Blake apparently didn't take the time to find out that Professor Liviu Librescu, whom he praised, also saved his students by holding the door of his classroom shut while Cho, the gunman, was attempting to enter it. The killer then shot the professor through the door. I'm unsure why Blake thinks it is better to die while holding a door shut to save people than live, but it's clear that both these men are heroes...the only real difference is that tragically, one of them is dead, the other scorned for not being so.
In any event, if Derbyshire and Blake are so infatuated with the idea of putting oneself in harm's way for the sake of others, there is a way to act out their fantasies. They could be Army Strong, after all. But somehow, I don't see either of them answering the call...