I have tried to stay political light this week, but yesterday my head almost exploded. Old news by now, but the revelations about Pat Tillman’s death are just driving me crazy. Not the fact that he died as a result of “friendly fire” (an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one… “Here come the friendly bullets, don’t worry!). Nor that the army lied to his family, we already knew that, too.
No, what almost made me sick was army Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich calling Pat Tillman “worm dirt” and implying that if his family were Christians they would be happy that he was dead and in a better place. Read the entire story and interview at
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=tillmanpart1, but here is the meat of it:
"When you die, I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don't believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt. So for their son to die for nothing, and now he is no more — that is pretty hard to get your head around that. So I don't know how an atheist thinks. I can only imagine that that would be pretty tough."
Pat’s mother has responded to this line of thought:
"Well, this guy makes disparaging remarks about the fact that we're not Christians, and the reason that we can't put Pat to rest is because we're not Christians," Mary Tillman, Pat's mother, said in an interview with ESPN.com. Mary Tillman casts the family as spiritual, though she said it does not believe in many of the fundamental aspects of organized religion.
"Oh, it has nothing to do with the fact that this whole thing is shady," she said sarcastically, "But it is because we are not Christians."
After a pause, her voice full with emotion, she added, "Pat may not have been what you call a Christian. He was about the best person I ever knew. I mean, he was just a good guy. He didn't lie. He was very honest. He was very generous. He was very humble. I mean, he had an ego, but it was a healthy ego. It is like, everything those [people] are, he wasn't."
So, Kaulzarich has declared himself judge (best left to God) and has sunk to the lowest depths of insensitivity in his public statements about a family in grief, who has been lied to by the very institution that the insensitive one represents (and who has been one of the parties investigating the death).
This is Pat and his brother Kevin.
Pat Tillman is a hero, no doubt. He died while defending our country in Afghanistan (not in Iraq, where we shouldn’t be in the first place). If his mother’s description of him is accurate, and there is no reason to doubt her, then Pat may well be in a better place, but his family, and the American people, still deserve the truth. And the army, or certain members, should pay a price for putting the family through unnecessary grief, for using their son’s tragedy in an immoral way, and for deceiving the American public.
Once again the Christian right is giving unbelievers good reason not to enter into their faith. There is no doubt that Jesus would approach this differently. Many of you know that I am a Christian, but I (and many Christians) do not worship the same god that they do.
Then there is Tom DeLay. Accusing (or coming very, very close, using his words) Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid of treason. He says he looked it up before he came to the interview (pocket dictionary?) I laughed as he gave his dictionary definition. He should have looked it up in the CONSTITUTION. I guess Tommy boy came very, very close to recommending Pelosi and Reid be put to death which is the punishment for treason. As he sits awaiting trial why does he think anyone is listening to him anyway? Well, I guess I listened, but as least I know not to agree with him.
Tom, don’t forget what you said in 1999 about Clinton and Kosovo:
“[Milosevic is] stronger in Kosovo now than he was before the bombing. … The Serbian people are rallying around him like never before. He’s much stronger with his allies, Russians and others.” Clinton “has no plan for the end” and “recognizes that Milosevic will still be in power,” added DeLay. “The bombing was a mistake. … And this president ought to show some leadership and admit it, and come to some sort of negotiated end.”
Oh, treason, Tom, treason!!!
Then to top it all off, all on the same day, I get a local weekly newspaper in the mail, and the editor says the Virginia Tech tragedy would have been prevented if the students and/or the professors had guns. His headline reads “A Gun Could Have Stopped the Violence.” I have a better one. “Had There Been No Guns There Would Have Been No Violence” I don’t think the founding fathers had automatic weapons and Glocks in mind when they gave us the right to bear arms, although certain NRA members are actually saying that they may have envisioned automatic weapons. Laugh.
Just to get a feel of how students feel, I asked several of my classmates at UAB and my daughter who is also in college how they would feel knowing their classmates were carrying weapons. Not one said they supported the idea. In one class we had a group project part of which involved making universities and colleges safer. These are all graduate students some with master’s degrees already. Not once in our research or in our presentation did the suggestion that college students and professors arm themselves come up. This is such a preposterous idea that I find it hard to believe it is even being mentioned.
How about laws that limit the sale of automatic and semi-automatic weapons?
How about gun registration?
You know, we are close to being able to trace cattle back from farm to farm as all cattle will be registered and accurate records of sales kept in our fight against mad cow and other diseases. If we can track cows and calves and know their entire family history, why can’t we find a way to track gun ownership and sales and know a guns history? Just a thought.
How about limiting the sale of guns to mental health patients that have been declared to be a danger to themselves or others? Oh yeah, we already have that law, it was just ignored.
And while we are passing gun laws, how about one that requires trigger locks to keep toddlers from using their daddy's guns to accidently kill themselves or others?
Or, how about banning handguns altogether like Britain did after a horrific shooting years ago? The NRA has too much power to allow any of this to happen, unless the American public rises up in order to put a halt to senseless killing taking place in our schools at unexpected intervals and in our streets every day.
Time to editorialize a little. No one denies that thousands of Americans of all ages die each year from gun shots injury. This was published on Tuesday, June 25, 2002 in The Washington Post.
"For decades public health officials tried to address gun violence the way they tackled tobacco use and other leading causes of death. Former surgeon general C. Everett Koop labeled the bullet a pathogen. But targeting gun injuries can be hazardous to research. A pilot project at CDC in the 1990s to monitor firearm fatalities drew ire from gun advocates and was stopped after three years. Now all money appropriated to CDC to study injuries comes with a stipulation from Congress that the funds cannot be used to advocate for gun control." http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/nviss/news_measuringviol.htm
So the CDC, which solves health problems around the world, has its hands tied regarding gun violence because of the powerful gun lobby. You begin to think they just don't care who dies, as long as they are not denied the opportunity to be the one to pull the trigger.