The news gets worse and worse

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The news gets worse and worse

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By <a href="http://www.mpnnow.com/about/team.php?id=9">KEVIN FRISCH</a>
Messenger Post Columnist
Posted: Apr 23, 01:00 PM EDT

What a difference a weekend makes.

Last Friday, the big story was brand new man of leisure Don Imus, who was ousted from his nationally syndicated radio program after making a disparaging remark about a women&#39;s basketball team. Since the comment was racist in nature, there were calls for a new discussion on the topic of race; a new dialogue on the parallel universes that are black and white America.

By Sunday, this conversation was put on hold — along the East Coast, anyway — as attention turned to more immediate concerns. Namely, the weather. A full-fledged &#39;noreaster made an unwelcome April visit and, for some 36 hours, it snowed slush. Or slushed snow. Or rained snow and slush. Whatever, the result was inches and inches of precipitation leading to flooding, treacherous travel and widespread power outages.

By late Monday morning, even those with cold homes and flooded basements were suddenly counting their blessings as they heard the first news reports from Blacksburg, Va.

An unspeakably violent week in recent American history had another blood-soaked chapter. In the past 15 years, the week between April 15 and April 22 has seen the siege of the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Texas; the Oklahoma City bombing; the Columbine High School shootings and, now, the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history: the massacre at Virginia Tech. Including the gunman, 33 souls were lost on the college&#39;s campus on April 16. Another 26 people were wounded.

As the initial shock and confusion gave way to anguish and a search for likely-nonexistent answers, a few reflexive voices were raised.

There was right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, who climbed onto his high horse to condemn the "drive-by media," whoever they are. (Apparently, Rush has a problem with news people showing up to cover what may well be the biggest story of the year.)

There was the almost immediate debate over firearm rights, a customary echo when gun-related violence explodes.

Have you ever head a loud crash in the next room, then run in to see Junior standing next to a broken lamp and the first words out of his mouth are "I didn&#39;t do it"? Then you&#39;ve got some sense of the tone of a fax sent out the night of the slayings by Gun Owners of America.

"When will we learn that being defenseless is a bad defense?" asked Larry Pratt, the group&#39;s executive director. "All the school shootings that have ended abruptly in the last ten years were stopped because a law-abiding citizen — a potential victim — had a gun."

Actually, the Virginia Tech gunman took his own life, as did the two teens who wrought carnage at Columbine, but, oh well.

On the other side of the argument were people like Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Washington-based Violence Policy Center.

"In the wake of these shootings, too many routinely search for any reason for the tragedy except for the most obvious — the easy access to increasingly lethal firearms that make mass killings possible," he told the Toronto Globe and Mail.

It wasn&#39;t hard to side with Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine.

"I think that people who want to take this within 24 hours of the event and make it their political hobby horse to ride ... I&#39;ve got nothing but loathing for them," he said.

Kaine&#39;s point is well taken; his revulsion understandable. An informal waiting period of at least a week before latching an agenda — any agenda — onto sad and painful events would be a welcome change in this country.

The time will come for dissecting media coverage and debating the availability of firearms. In the meantime, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg and America as a whole have wounds to heal; tears to cry; losses to mourn.

Whoever thought we would so quickly be nostalgic for the days when the big issue was the Don Imus controversy?

<i>Messenger managing editor and aspiring president Kevin Frisch&#39;s column, Funny Thing..., appears each Sunday in the Daily Messenger. Contact him at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 257, or via e-mail at KFrisch@MPNewspapers.com.</i>

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Original Source: Rochester, NY - MPNnow
<a href="http://www.mpnnow.com/news/view_story.php?articleId=8158">http://www.mpnnow.com/news/view_story.php?articleId=8158</a>

Licensed under <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5</a>.

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Kevin Frisch

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2007-07-17

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Brent Jesiek

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5

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eng

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Kevin Frisch, "The news gets worse and worse," in The April 16 Archive, Item #760, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/760 (accessed September 1, 2014).