Driving around our fair city a week ago, like a lot of sensible fine folks, I was smacked right between the eyes with another tragedy. It felt like a shot to the gut with a kendo stick.
The news reports from a small Texas town just kept getting worse. I figured others, up to their eyeballs with Las Vegas and New York, now had to experience what has become a seemingly regular occurrence: senseless violence, death of innocent citizens and the requisite endless over-analysis of the mayhem du jour.
If it were a movie, let’s call it “Numb and Dumber.” I keep thinking of Barry Maguire singing “Eve of Destruction.”
After being force-fed a barrage of carnage on a regular news cycle, it caused me to ponder: Who are these people wreaking havoc on good people and when did we let them in?
Maybe we need to adopt an Emerald City approach, using an extreme vetting policy like the one employed by the Wizard incognito. Not having a bubble or a broom, Dorothy and her pals had to work hard to get in.
After the mass murder at a small Texas church, one news commentator, long on makeup but short on gray matter, actually said: “It might be time to look at increasing security at our churches.” Huh?
That’s how low we have stooped.
Can you imagine Barney Fife, thumbs in his belt, being the last line of defense when a marauder shows up to do harm to worshippers? Does that make any sense?
You want to make the churches safer, bring back the nuns in their full habits. I speak from personal experience. Just try to pull any shenanigans in God’s house and Sister Mary Mixed Martial Arts would have any assailant bruised and battered. They’d have permanent hearing loss after having both ears smacked by those dusty green erasers.
No, we’re not having armed guards at churches. Wouldn’t that defeat one of the messages we’re supposed to be taking away as we head for Sunday supper?
The murder committed by a deranged, sick individual was the act of a coward. Maybe he was bullied at school. Maybe he was an animal that should have been taken out behind the barn and destroyed.
Having spent last weekend at Texas A&M University, I was impressed by the school, its first-class facilities and athletic venues. I also uncovered a profound respect for the attitude of the Texans I met. When they say “Howdy” they mean it.
The killer also found the true meaning of “Don’t Mess with Texas.” when those individuals shot back.
I’m not advocating vigilante behavior. But we certainly need to be more vigilant.
On a recent flight, I observeded a heavily tattooed Mom, sporting golf ball-sized holes in her earlobes, call her toddler words more suited for a Quentin Tarantino movie.
My late Mom, whose birthday would be this week, never said anything close to those words when chastising me and my brothers, although who could blame her for thinking of them.
And a tattoo never came into play either.
It’s unfathomable that I would have ever said “That was great spaghetti and meatballs tonight. And oh, by the way, my friends think your tramp stamp is cool.”
We’re in trouble here. Somewhere along the way, we have made it acceptable to embrace or tolerate the unacceptable. When did it happen? In reality, it doesn’t really matter, does it?
We need to get stronger and accept that evil people are among us. We just can’t let them win.
As someone who has had his share of personal fiascos along the way, I’m the last person who has any business preaching and pontificating. But thanks to a lot of people who provided shining examples,, I know the difference between right and wrong.
And so do you.
I’m angry and I’m scared. We need to all do our part to straighten this mess out. And please forgive me if you read this looking for humor. I’ll try to do better next time.
But right now, I think it’s time to go pray. We’re better than this.
Mike Tasos’ column is published every other Sunday. He wants us to be better, to love one another and take baby steps to get us back to what we once were. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. He is also on Facebook.