In watching media coverage of the terrible tragedy in Las Vegas last weekend, I was reminded of the same clear theme I wrote about in my August 30 post following coverage of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in Texas: how people reacted in the midst of the tragedy is The Real America. So I decided to use the same title for this post, simply adding “[Again]” at the end — but in this “Page Two”, as Paul Harvey used to say in his News and Comment radio broadcasts, I’ve added another element.
My plan prior to the Las Vegas massacre was to use this week’s post to express some thoughts on what I consider to be another tragedy, albeit thankfully a more benign one not directly affecting people’s lives — NFL players kneeling during the playing of our National Anthem. With certainly no intention of equating massive loss of life to prima donnas being prima donnas, I call that disrespectful behavior a tragedy because it is yet another chip in the foundation of this great country.
Law Enforcement At Its Best
I should first say something about law enforcement’s swift containment actions that I am convinced saved at least scores and probably hundreds or maybe even a thousand or more lives. Stephen Paddock was clearly planning to kill as many people as he could, and he had armed himself accordingly. The list of guns in his hotel room, several of them modified to enable fully automatic operation, is mind-boggling. Had law enforcement been less effective at zeroing in on his location, getting to it, and breaking in, he would have had much more time to continue spraying the crowd with more bullets, no doubt increasing several-fold both the death and injury counts.
Real People Being Real People
Video clips and interviews with eye witnesses have simply shown ordinary people helping ordinary people — on the scene, by helping others to safety, trying to manage their wounds until paramedics could get to them; and afterwards, by giving blood, bringing food, water and other supplies, etc. In a media briefing Monday night, one official said that the Convention Center was getting so many supplies donations that they may become unable to handle the “volume”, and that there was actually a waiting list for blood donations, with appointments being booked for Thursday and Friday. A man from Tennessee shielded his wife from the shower of bullets, losing his own life in the process. … These are just a few examples of people being The Real America.
Prima Donnas Being Prima Donnas
It’s a shame that it takes a tragedy like this to consume media coverage and overshadow reports of the activities of “celebrities” [a much over-used descriptor these days], like the huge focus we’ve seen lately on NFL players kneeling during the playing of our National Anthem. This selfish and disrespectful behavior is a tragedy of a different kind because it is one of many attacks these days on this country’s foundational roots.
Generally, people have a right to express their frustrations with whatever wrongs they perceive. However, in exercising that right, they don’t have a right to openly disrespect our country or symbols that represent it [anthem, flag …], or to destroy the right others have to enjoy a sports [or other] event they came [or tuned in] to see by using them as a captive audience against their will. Excuse me, but I was an Eagle Scout and also earned Scouting’s God and Country Award, and I grew up in a small town in which something like this at a high school football game would have resulted in expulsion of those involved [and everybody I knew would have thought that was a fair penalty]. Now, many decades later, that value system is still in me, and I’m one of those people whose spines tingle as they listen to our National Anthem with hand over heart in salute to our flag.
One Tennessee Titan involved in “anthem kneeling” is apparently clueless as to the source of funds that pay his [probably exorbitant] salary — he said “And the fans that don’t want to come to the game? I mean, OK. bye. I mean, if you feel that … we’re disrespecting you, don’t come to the game. You don’t have to. No one’s telling you to come to the game. It’s your freedom of choice to do that”. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall in the room where I expect the team owners probably helped him “see the light”.
We Need More Focus On Real Americans And Less On “Celebrities”
During the 2016 presidential campaign, some “celebrities” said they were going to move if Trump won the election — e.g., Barbara Streisand, Whoopi Goldberg, Al Sharpton, Samuel L. Jackson, … upwards of 20 if I recall correctly. As best I can tell, none of them have fulfilled that promise so far.
What I’d say to them, and to these NFL prima donnas, is a corollary to one of my favorite Scriptures, Joshua 24:15: “Choose … this day whom you will serve. … But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. My corollary is a similar choice: “Choose this day whether you do or don’t love your country and appreciate the sacrifices others have made to give you the freedoms you enjoy. If you do, address any concerns you have with it in a way that allows you to exercise your right to express your concerns while also respecting the rights of others; if you don’t, find another country you like better and move there”.
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Charles M. Jones