The first and last stories from this week’s issue (7 October 12) are posted here: the first because you’ve got to shudder at the thought of the poor kid trying to escape a kidnap attempt …when you see the guy’s mug shot. And the last because I want to talk about how the tagline came about — and give you a place to politely discuss the story, if you wish.
First, the kidnap story:
He Could Run,
But Could Not Hide
A 10-year old boy reported to his soccer coach in Santa Ana, Calif., that a man had grabbed him in the street, trying to kidnap him. The boy’s 19-year-old cousin had helped him escape. The boy pointed the culprit out to the coach, who went after him — but the coach couldn’t get a good grip on him, and the man escaped. Police arrived soon after, and found the suspect in the backyard of a house. Victor Joseph Espinoza, 55, a “documented gang member,” according to police, was booked on suspicion of false imprisonment and child annoying, with “gang enhancements” added. Police described Espinoza as weighing 435 pounds. “I was just mad at the time because the kid was crying,” said the coach, who asked to remain anonymous. (RC/KTLA Los Angeles) …A sports coach couldn’t keep up with a 435-pound man who had just been in a fight with a 10-year-old boy and a 19-year-old girl? No wonder he wanted to remain anonymous.
Espinoza’s mug shot:
The second story delves into (gasp!) politics:
When Samantha Pawlucy, 16, arrived at her geometry class at Charles Carroll High School, in Philadelphia, Pa., teacher Lynette Gaymon told her to take off her shirt. It was “dress-down day,” and students were free to wear T-shirts, but Gaymon, who’s black, said wearing the shirt she chose “is like me wearing a KKK shirt.” Gaymon even shouted into the hallway, “This girl is wearing a Romney/Ryan shirt in my classroom!” Another teacher approached Pawlucy with a marker as if to cross out the Republican candidates’ names. Gaymon, who was removed from the class, claims she was joking, but the girl was so embarrassed she was reluctant to return to school. When her parents visited the school to complain, students cursed at them. Violent threats have been made against both Pawlucy and Gaymon. (AC/Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, WCAU Philadelphia) …Does this mean we need to invade Philadelphia and bring them democracy?
Alexander’s original tagline for that story was: “…What happened to free speech and nonviolent elections?” That was OK: it’s pretty matter-of-fact, so it’s “thought-provoking” even if it’s not humorous.
But when Alexander sent the story to me, he commented, “OK, this story has gone from ‘ridiculous, but worked out in the end’ to ‘when does someone invade and bring them democracy?'”
I replied to say the last part would make a great tagline! And he refined it as you saw on the story.
Can’t Have It Both Ways
Liberals love to say I’m a terrible right-wing conservative; conservatives love to say I’m a terrible left-wing liberal. Few on either side see the irony of that fact, nor do they seem to understand that yelling names at someone is a pretty ridiculous way to change someone’s mind: the ad hominem attack is pretty much an admission that they can’t convince anyone of the merit of their arguments.
While this is not going to be a forum to argue your side (either side!) of political points, I do welcome your polite comments about either story. Neither Democrats nor Republicans are out to “destroy the country” as so many argue (see ad hominem above), but not allowing others to wear a shirt that states their opinions in public (such as a public school!) is not democracy, it’s outrageous, and it doesn’t matter whether that opinion is from the left or the right: it’s still wrong. And, by the way, so is threatening the girl or her teacher with violence!
I think Alexander’s tagline on the story is not only light, but is seriously thought-provoking. It’s time we had some serious discussion about politics in this country without resorting to name-calling, anger, or violence. And the last story this week is a great place to start.
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