I am sitting outside a coffee shop, having a cup of hot tea with my business partner. Lying on the table is my video-enabled iPhone with Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, iCal, email alerts and 1247 contacts with texting capability. Let us not forget news alerts from Fox and CNN, plus apps and email alerts from a couple of consul general offices and other news sources, including the Israeli GPO (government press office) and the Jerusalem Post.
My partner and I have been busy resolving several issues, including the Iranian/Israeli crises.
“Do you know that the head of the Iranian government who is attempting to obtain nukes and has threatened to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ believes the Twelfth Imam is alive and has been hiding in a well for the past 1,300 years?”
My partner nods.
We have also clarified that the Arab Spring is really just another step toward a number of new Islamist-dominated governments, now with modern weapons and Western-trained militaries.
“You know what else? Except for Israel, there is not one democratic government in the entire Middle East.”
My partner looks up from an iPhone and nods again.
What do I think about the Martin-Zimmerman situation? I could be wrong, but it appears there are only two people who know exactly what happened that night. I abhor any act of unprovoked violence, whether by perpetrators or vigilantes, but somewhere along the way, I picked up the idea that this was a nation of laws, with a judicial system to determine guilt or innocence. I know there is pain and/or anger associated with almost any death, especially when violence is involved, but we need solid evidence and unbiased actions by all concerned. Everyone deserves fair and impartial justice.
A young Tennessee couple on a date was carjacked, kidnapped and taken to the rented house of one of the perpetrators. There, the man was repeatedly raped and sodomized with a foreign object. The young lady, it is surmised, was made to watch, as they cut off his penis while he still lived. He was then gagged, his head was covered, his arms and his bare feet were bound and he was led (or dragged) outside the house where he was shot in the back, in the neck and in the back of the head and his body then set on fire.
The girl was then kept alive and repeatedly raped for many hours. She died, according to the police medical examiner, only after a prolonged period of brutal “sexual torture.” She suffered “horrific injuries to her vagina, anus and mouth.” The medical examination proved she not only had been repeatedly raped but “savaged with an object,” probably a broken chair leg. She had also been brutally beaten about the head and, apparently, while she was still alive, her breasts were cut off. Also, some type of chemical, possibly cleaning fluid, had been poured into her mouth and onto “her bleeding and battered genital area” (possibly in an attempt to remove DNA evidence). Then, according to the police forensic expert, she was hog-tied, her face covered tightly with a small trash bag, then she was put in trash bags, and stuffed into a trash can in the kitchen where, according to the medical examiner, she slowly suffocated.
“Did the report of that horrific incident in Tennessee [in 2007] mention the fact that the perpetrators were black and the victims white?”
My partner just sat there, having not even heard of the crime.
That apparently insignificant particular bit of information had not made national news. Why? Perhaps the national media (like the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times) joined the Chicago Tribune in admitting that (according to a report I read recently) they have, in effect, a policy of not reporting race.
The Tribune had published several news stories and related columns about assaults by groups of youths in the Streeterville area of downtown Chicago. In responding to a number of readers who asked why they had not included racial descriptions of the assailants and the victims in these [crime-related] incidents, editor Gerald W. Kern stated:
“We take these matters seriously and reach decisions about them after careful consideration. This is a good opportunity to explain our approach to issues like these. We do not reference race unless it is a fact that is central to telling the story.“ (Chicago Tribune, June 10, 2011)
Hmmm, apparently the racial aspect of the unarmed black teenager in Florida was more central than the inhuman brutality inflicted upon that young unarmed white couple in Tennessee by four black savage brutes. (Is that too strong? After all, we know the blacks were justified, given the years of persecution suffered by blacks. The whites deserved it.)
You believe in equality and justice for all, right? Tell me, what do you think the national media’s (and the black communities’) reaction would have been had the White Citizen’s Council, after learning of the aforementioned crime, called for marches and rallies in support of justice for whites, and thousands of white people gathered, marched, bought T-shirts, wore sheets and hoods (in support ) and were addressed by leaders who shouted slogans and harked back to white supremacy days? Later on, members of the KKK, wearing their trademarked Klan robes, would have called the press and announced they were putting up a reward for the capture, dead or alive, of the perpetrators.
What’s this? “Chicago Weekend Shootings: 10 Dead, At Least 40 Wounded,” declared a Huffpo headline! (Not the New York Times, Los Angeles Times or Chicago Tribune, but the Huffington Post!)
“The Chicago Sun-Times reports that most of the victims were in their mid-teens or early 30s, with the exception of 6-year-old Aliyah Shell, who was gunned down Saturday while playing in front of her home …”
But wait! Here is a report from CBS news: “Hundreds turn out for march for Florida teen.”
Are you kidding me? Forty-four people shot, 10 dead, many of them teenagers, on Chicago streets – and a Million Hoodie March is held for what happened in Florida?
Oh wait, now I get it. What did that editor say? “Only if race is central to the telling of the story.” The Chi-Town stuff was all just black on black action – no need to get worked up about that!
OK, enough “news” already – I really, really, need a break. I take a sip of my hot tea and look around.
Here I am, sitting outside, feeling the sun on my face and the breeze on my skin. I’m listening to the somehow-suddenly-muted sounds of traffic, sipping on my just-right tea. God is in His heaven, and all is right with the world. It’s a brand new spring! Pollen is everywhere! In spite of myself, I think, “Wow!! What a great day to be alive! Hmmm … maybe I should thank the God for … for … something.” Where do I start? Do I thank Him for the health, safety and protection of my family, my children and grandchildren? Do I thank God that none of my family has been murdered? Do I thank him for provision? My business? (Nah, I worked hard for that.) For (most of) my friends? That I live in America? That I really do believe in God and the Lord Jesus Christ? What to do? What to do?”
It’s one of those days that everyone who lives in a tourist attraction area wants you to believe happens every day; they don’t, but they want you to believe they do. It just so happens that today really is that nice. My tea is exactly the right temperature, and there is a soft breeze blowing. Sitting here in the sunshine, not talking business for the moment, just sitting. You know the kind of day I am talking about – the kind of day that, if you aren’t careful, will intrude on your hectic schedule.
Most of us are too busy to pause, recognize and appreciate those days, but every now and then some weird person asks us, “Isn’t this a beautiful day?!” Of course, courtesy forces us to respond politely. “It sure is.” (Sometimes, if we don’t stay alert, we may even notice that, hey, it really is pretty nice today!) Then I wonder how many other things beside nice days escaped unnoticed last year in my mad dash to somewhere.
A lot of us success gurus’ written-lists-of-goals to the contrary, we aren’t exactly sure where we are going, but we know “if we don’t hurry, we’ll be late!” We are in such a rush that we don’t notice the blue of the sky, the white puffy clouds, the soft sunshine, the trees with new green leaves, the flowers blooming and a thousand other wonderful things.
A sudden movement intrudes on my reverie. A sound grabs my attention. It isn’t the traffic, it isn’t a pedestrian. It is not a horn, a boom box, a siren or a stray conversation. It is a sound of utter joy. Such joy can only come from a heart that is pure, a conscience that is untainted and a voice created for praise. I look around to locate the source of this chorus of unrestrained joy. I spot it.
About 60 feet away, in a beautifully blooming (I’ve been here a bunch of times. Funny, never noticed that!) dogwood tree is a mockingbird singing with all his might. This particular mockingbird is obviously thrilled about the glory of this day and the joy of just being alive in it. He is so enthusiastic about it all that he just can’t sit still. He flies up and down, goes from limb to limb, to a lamppost and back to the tree. He goes from the bottom branch to the very top, hops up in the air and then does it all again.
After he has shamelessly demonstrated his joie de vivre about this glorious day to everyone and everything within the sound of his voice, he departs to take his message of unrestrained joy to another place, singing as he goes. I sit listening as his song fades into the distance. I turn to my partner, smile and say, “You know what? Today really is a gorgeous day!”
My partner looks at me and, this time, actually smiles a real smile.
Suddenly, a horn blows angrily, the traffic roars again and someone at the next table swears aloud. “Well, time to go back to the real world.”
Or was I just in the real world?