Let’s wait and see.

Now it can be told: I knew some people in Fort Wayne whose son-in-law was shot in one of these incidents like the one yesterday. It was also at a military base; it was what’s come to be known as the Fort Bragg sniper incident of 1995.

Now it can be told because I didn’t tell it then. It would have been a fine localization for a national story, but not everything has to be localized, especially when a man is fighting for his life for weeks and months on end. From what I recall of their account, the soldier/shooter took a bead on a row of officers overlooking an athletic field and started moving down the line. The first man was killed, the second one paralyzed. I think my friends’ son-in-law had just enough time to react, and was shot in the abdomen. He nearly died, but he didn’t, and when he recovered he was transferred to a teaching position at West Point.

I wonder if they gave him a Purple Heart. I’ve come to think of these incidents as skirmishes in America’s war on…something, even as I know they’ve happened elsewhere in the world. They still seem so uniquely American.

I haven’t had the heart to really go looking for reaction to yesterday’s news from Fort Hood. This is one of those stories where I think I’m going to stick to the best of the official accounts and stay out of Blogland. Recalling the reaction to the Virginia Tech shootings, I don’t want to accidentally run across John Derbyshire calling American soldiers a bunch of cowards for not “taking him down while he was reloading,” which I recall was one of his gems of insight following Mr. Cho’s rampage. I’ve already heard that soldiers on the base don’t walk around armed, and I’m sure that even as we speak, some keyboard warrior is calling that policy pussified, that they need to be strapped at all times. I might even agree. When it comes to guns and violence and crazy, maybe the whole country is a war zone.

At this point it seems the decent response is to maintain respectful, alert silence while we wait for the fact-finding to find some facts.

And how convenient: This attitude meshes perfectly with my need to be at a meeting in 30 minutes, and get out of here early. May I just say before I go, however, how much I enjoyed all of your comments yesterday, about how you found yourselves here at NN.C, whatever path you took. One of the coolest things about this site, no, the coolest thing, is the comment chorus, and how my part is only prelude, like in “Henry V.” Last summer I had lunch with an out-of-town friend who said he never misses a day, etc.

“And how about those comments?” I said.

“I don’t read the comments,” he replied.

WhAAA? Rob, if you’re reading, you’re missing the best part.

Now to wash my face. Defeating Eric in the crossword will have to wait. I’m running late.

Posted at 10:09 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

79 responses to “Let’s wait and see.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 6, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Military bases are really more like sprawling community college campuses, but instead of all the students in a uniform of denims and sweatshirts, and the profs in frayed jackets and dockers, everybody is in some form of camo utilities. Otherwise, there’s no more munitions in evidence than at your local branch campus.

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  2. john c said on November 6, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I sheepishly admit that I don’t read the comments much anymore either, but not because they aren’t excellent and interesting. Truth be told, I found them too interesting and, therefore, distracting. Being distracted is something I’m expert at. So I try and fight it when I can. I will say this, though. I don’t miss a day of NN.com!
    (Oh, and since I clearly missed out on the “how I got to Nancy tales.” My story can be summed up thusly: Bob Greene is a skirt-chaser, therefore Nancy is my friend.”)

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  3. beb said on November 6, 2009 at 11:14 am

    It’s like the military realizes that soldiers should not be running around with guns except in combat zones.

    How does shooting up a bnch of soldiers which would only lead to death on the scene or later by firing squad beat being deployed to Iraq? Call me confused on that.

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  4. john c said on November 6, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Oh yeah … (See how easily I can get distracted!) … stories like Fort Hood always remind me of when I happened to be in Ireland when one of these things happened. Can’t remember whether it was BBC or RTE, but one of the big news outlets had a panel discussion about it. It was the usual stuff about guns, etc. Then someone said something I’ll never forget. “Well, I mean, let’s face it. America is an inherently violent place.” They all nodded in agreement. I’m pretty sure I yelled at the TV: “No it’s not!” There may have even been a WTF!
    As usual, Nancy is the voice of reason. Everybody tries to make stories like this out to be something bigger; something defining. I can almost hear the editors saying: What does this story say about us? (It says nothing about me.) Nancy’s right. The fact-finders may indeed learn that there is something bigger here. Who knows what? But they may also learn that this guy was unstable and he snapped.

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  5. Deborah said on November 6, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Beb, it seems to me that anyone thinking logically or rationally would not have done what he did, he clearly is a nut case. And nut case thinking is not based in reality by any means.

    John C. I think America IS a pretty violent place. So are some other countries, but we have a long history of violence. I used to have a poster about how many deaths are caused by handguns in a given year the number for countries like Japan or Sweden (I forget now) were a couple of dozen, the US topped the list with a number in the multi-thousands.

    I should add that I had that poster in the early 80s.

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  6. mark said on November 6, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Still preliminary, but the evidence for “nut case” is looking pretty compelling. Here’s a possibly awful admission: I really wish the guy had been killed in the shootout, as first reported. I don’t have the stomach for the endless hours of microinspection and strained analysis this will generate for TV. I don’t want to hear the creative defense the lawyers will employ, interviews with former girlfriends, the fifth grade teacher that thought he was bright but sullen, or the blow by blow testimony from a hundred witnesses.

    I’m opposed to capital punishment but I wish this guy’s wounds had been fatal. Because his living is going to screw up tv news for a long time. Wow, that sounds harsh even to me.

    Further awful admission: The local paper tells me Sarah Palin will visit the Fort this month for her book signing tour and I think I’ll que up. I have a friend living abroad who hates her and will appreciate the humor in the gift of a signed copy. Plus, she is hot.

    Which makes me shallow and harsh.

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 6, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Small changes make big differences; tipping points, IMHO, are often between a 3% and an 8% of a group more than between 10% and 40%. We may be 7% easily provoked to a violent response, which compared to a place where the same inputs get you a 2 or 3% violent reaction rate, feels like a much more violent place . . . but where very few people have any violent tendencies.

    I’m making all these numbers up, but if you could limn them, i’d bet if you pushed the decimal over to .3 to .8% or .02 to .03%, i’ll bet it would be close. Which is to say i think BOTH John and Deborah are correct.

    It’s a different cultural calculation to assess the Muslim attitude towards violent communication, but for our own national trends, this describes a pretty solid basis for analyzing the roots of American tendencies. Walter Wink in “The Powers That Be” also has some very interesting things to say about the spiritual side of this question, and his formulation of “the myth of redemptive violence,” which he describes using the template of the movie “Shane.” Fascinating and troubling stuff.

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  8. basset said on November 6, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I’m with Nancy on this, just tell me what went on and leave the opinion and “analysis” out of it.

    Don’t remember how I found nn.c but I have surely enjoyed being here. Now to ask the group for some advice:

    anyone know an orchard, farm store, something like that near the Fort where I can get some persimmon pulp? living outside Indiana, I get a craving for persimmon pudding every fall… used to buy the pulp at an orchard outside Bedford, don’t get up that way much any more but I’ll be taking 65 and 69 up to Michigan in a few weeks. we have persimmon trees here in Tennessee, haven’t found any yet though.

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  9. ROgirl said on November 6, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Mark, you do have the option of not watching the analysis on TV. You might not even miss it.

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  10. LAMary said on November 6, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Daniel Zwerdling on NPR this morning seemed to have some good information about the shooter.

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  11. 4dbirds said on November 6, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I don’t think policies have changed much since I was in the army. Personal weapons are not allowed in the barracks. I think the army learned long ago that young people, beer and easy access to weapons is not a good mix. Military weapons are stored in the arms room (along with personal weapons which can be checked out by the owner through the armorer). While a soldier is assigned a weapon, he/she will only check it out for field exercises, firing range, cleaning, Guard duty, pay officer duty, etc. Of course combat zones are a completely different matter.

    Military Policemen keep their weapons with them when on duty but secure it when they’re off duty, usually at the MP station.

    The one BIG exeception to this and this is where, probably the shooter at Fort Hood came in, is married personnel. Married personnel can keep their personal weapons in their residences. Second Amendment. If he lived on or off base he could have loaded his weapons at home and took them in to the processing station.

    I’m always confused by these people. If you want to kill yourself, go ahead and do it. Why take out others who want to live? Was he married? If so, I do feel for his wife right now. I hope she’s not a pariah. Why don’t these effers ever think about the crap they leave behind. The broken families, the wounded bodies and their own loved ones. I have enough faith in the military community that some good souls are comforting her.

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  12. brian stouder said on November 6, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I don’t want to hear the cre­ative defense the lawyers will employ

    One assumes there will be a miltary tribunal/court martial, and therefore the rules will be very different than in a civil court.

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  13. Danny said on November 6, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Henry V. Is he on the new ABC series “V?”

    Moe, sci-fi fan that you are, did you watch the pilot a few nights ago?

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  14. R.M. Johnson said on November 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Yes, you remember the details of the Fort Bragg story quite well. My son-in-law recovered (physically) and went on to obtain his doctorate. However, things never quite seemed the same after the shooting. Eventually a divorce resulted. He is well remember for his teaching at the Military Academy and his ‘leadership’ speech ( http://mrcompletely.blogspot.com/2007/04/ltc-guy-lofaros-after-dinner-speech.html )is often quoted.

    Oh yes, he received the “Soldier’s Medal” (the highest medal awarded during peace time).

    He has since obtained his doctorate and left military service.

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  15. mark said on November 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm


    If your point is that turning off the Tv is less radical than wishing somebody dead, you’ve got me there. Good advice.

    I’m a news junkie, but mainly for business news rather than political. CNBC does a great job but beyond that, you never know when “balloon boy” or something similarly silly but momentarily unique will force itself onto the tube.

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  16. Danny said on November 6, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Was the shooter married? I heard he was single. I bet his next performance review is going to be really bad.

    I was somewhat incredulous that my morning commute was screwed by this incident. Miramar has apparently decided to check ID’s for the next few days. Backed the I-15 up in both directions.

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  17. 4dbirds said on November 6, 2009 at 12:22 pm


    There will be a criminal investigation and later a grand jury will be convened which is called an Article 32 investigation in the military. The threshold of evidence is pretty high in these things so if a case is recommended to go to court martial, a conviction is a certainty. That’s might sound harsh, but in my experience, article 32 investigations flesh out the bullshit cases and they don’t even go to trial. Of course I’m not a lawyer, I only watch them on TV.

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  18. Dorothy said on November 6, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    The shooter was not married. But he is/was a Major so does that make a difference, 4dbirds? I mean are higher ranking officers permitted to have their weapons, regardless of their marital status?

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  19. nancy said on November 6, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Hey, Bob! Thanks for stopping by. The rest of you guys, follow that link to his son-in-law’s speech. He discusses the shooting at Fort Bragg toward the end, but the rest of the speech is great, too. How interesting that he refers to the shooter as “some SOB having a bad week.” If only the blogosphere could be so succinct.

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  20. 4dbirds said on November 6, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Dorothy, Yes, Officers don’t live in the barracks. They used to have the BAQ (Batchelor Officer’s Quarters) and I’m not sure if personal weapons were allowed there. I think most officers live off post and yes he could keep as many weapons as he liked.

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  21. jeff borden said on November 6, 2009 at 12:45 pm


    I’m generally opposed to the death penalty, but I agree with you completely. I wish the shooter had been shot dead at the scene.

    These kinds of crimes get under my skin more than most. You have a self-loathing, morally bankrupt, badly damaged human being who seeks death but decides beforehand to take several of his fellow humans with him. If only, I think, you’d just shut up and put that pistol to your own temple. But they never do.

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  22. Sue said on November 6, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    mark, when you see Sarah, please tell her hi from ALL of us, ok? Really, that would be just the best thing ever. And as much as I dislike her, I think that the decision to take her book tour away from the standard big-city route is brilliant.
    I will be avoiding TV news for the next several days. CNN has been particularly annoying the last few weeks; I don’t expect anything approaching reasoned commentary from any of those yahoos. MSNBC is such a mishmash it’s like a news mine field. The local stations have trouble tossing out five words before it’s time for the next extended set of commercials. I do not want to hear what our best and brightest journalistic minds have to say because they’re not our best and brightest, they just got the job, that’s all.

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  23. mark said on November 6, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Sure, sue. I’ll just tell her I chat with a lot of people who follow her career. That would be polite and honest, I think.

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  24. Dorothy said on November 6, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Mr. Johnson thank you for that link and I was overwhelmed with a busload of feelings as I read it: pride in my country that produced men like your former son-in-law and the ones he referred to in his speech; sadness for the lives lost; pleasure of the way he wrote his words, and most of all, happiness that he survived to tell us these things.

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  25. brian stouder said on November 6, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    What Dorothy said; that was a marvelous piece of writing.

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  26. alex said on November 6, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I don’t have the stom­ach for the end­less hours of microin­spec­tion and strained analy­sis this will gen­er­ate for TV

    I’m sure it will be a lot easier to stomach than the strained analyses of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, who will surely froth about how “Muslim terrorists” have infiltrated the U.S. military thanks to liberals and political correctness.

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  27. moe99 said on November 6, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    That was an incredible piece of writing from Guy Lofaros. I was in tears at the end. It is a strong reminder of the high caliber of the people I worked with daily when I was at DoD 1980-81. Thank you for posting that, sir.

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  28. Jolene said on November 6, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    You have a self-loathing, morally bank­rupt, badly dam­aged human being who seeks death but decides before­hand to take sev­eral of his fel­low humans with him. If only, I think, you’d just shut up and put that pis­tol to your own tem­ple. But they never do.

    Well, sometimes they do. There’ve been a lot of suicides at Fort Hood and elsewhere in the military recently too. But I, too, wish he had died, and he still might. According to the TV people, he’s on a ventilator and may be paralyzed.

    What I see in what I’ve read and heard is a very familiar story: A person who was normal enough to get by, even to perform well academically, but who was always alone and never really fit in. The son of immigrants from a disrespected group–West Bank Palestinians. Parents now dead. Has two brothers, one here one in Jerusalem. Some connections to once-removed relatives (an aunt and a cousin have been interviewed). Never married. Tried to meet women through a mosque in Silver Spring, but, according to the imam, never connected because he could not find a woman who met his standards of piety. Never participated in other activities at the mosque. Colleagues at Walter Reed were reluctant to refer patients to him because they didn’t think he connected well with people. Didn’t fit into typical office socializing. (For instance, didn’t want to be in office pictures taken for holiday bulletin boards because they’d have women in them.) Had talked openly of opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and had sought to leave the military, including offering to repay the government for his medical training.

    He was, it seems to me, one of the strangers in our midst, someone for whom the pieces of life never fit together in the usual ways and who, depressed and isolated, gave in to a terrible combination of rage and despair.

    There are more than 300 million of us, each with our own unique history. Among the uncountable number of things that happen every day, a few of them will be horrible.

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  29. Dexter said on November 6, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I don’t recall officers going off like this. I was in Vietnam when fragging was common. Yes, common, but it wasn’t reported that way. I recall some incidents were reported as simple “friendly fire incidents”, until the truth started spilling out in 1970.
    Fragging was always murder and wounding of officers by enlisted men. It was caused by young officers ordering soldiers into ridiculous situations, and then the ensuing murder erupted. Maybe most have never read much about the harsh, violent racial strife within the military, but that was a part of it also. If you don’t believe me, it’s pretty easy to find this stuff online. I have done it so much I am tired of reading it again so I am not going to document these stories here.
    Last evening as the first reports came in, I called the Texas murders an act of terrorism, and this was before I knew the shooter was Muslim, or if he had acted alone. I still call it terrorism, because of the way it was carried out. And, we will never know everything; any organization that can cover up the fact that the killer was still alive has a long, unending road to credibility. I bet some prying reporter finally discovered he was alive and the brass had to admit it.
    Arming all soldiers as they walk around Army posts? Weapons are so tightly controlled on forts like Hood as it is…nobody wants that! Obviously officers can order an ordnance specialist to open the weapons stores. Quite obviously.

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  30. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 6, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    As Steve Carell said, giving credit to Ricky Gervais, everyone knows a Michael Scott — if you don’t know a Michael Scott in your life, you need to take seriously the possibility that YOU are Michael Scott.

    Lots of people asking “why didn’t they . . .” and the fact is, there are lots of Dr. Hasans all around, and if you put them all in a pen, it would be about the size of South Dakota, but without the emptiness. Part of me would like to take kids away more swiftly from aggressively unfit parents, but i also know that we already don’t have enough decent foster families for the high bar we use right now. The vast majority of kids are raising themselves with the occasional input of overaged adolescents they call “mom” and sometimes “dad,” and maybe it’s always been this way. With homebrew corn liquor in place of meth.

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  31. Jeff Borden said on November 6, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    A civics lesson for the boneheaded Republicans at the latest “rally for rage” in D.C. yesterday.

    Some pinhead congressman from Missouri, Todd Akins, decided to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because, he said, liberals hate it. He then proceeded to butcher the rendition.

    First, as a liberal, I do not hate the pledge. Second, it might behoove the distinguished goober from the Show Me State to read his &^%&^% history, which would reveal the pledge was written by a dedicated socialist as a way for American school children to participate in the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. Third, the words “under God” were inserted in the mid-1950s, largely to differentiate us from those godless, atheistic Commies.

    I don’t expect much from our elected officials of either party. There are far too many people writing our laws that I would not trust to mow my lawn. But if you’re going to be a douchnozzle, if you are going to tar me as anti-American because I disagree with your viewpoint, if you are going to primp and preen for Mr. Congeniality Award at the Knuckle Draggers Convention, at least do your fracking homework.

    Christ, this information is not hard to find. In fact, there is considerable attention paid to the pledge in “Devil in the White City,” the superb book about the world’s fair of 1883. There aren’t too many cartoons inside, which obviously would make it harder for a cretin like Akins to understand, but it was a best-seller.

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  32. ROgirl said on November 6, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    The sad thing is that there are so many “loners” out there, people who never quite fit in completely, but perform well enough to get through school and even hold a decent job, all the while being identified pretty readily as eccentric, kind of odd, or a bit strange. In most cases these individuals will go through their lives with only minor blips, but inevitably, every once in a while the calm surface will be disturbed and the turmoil that had been held in check will be released.

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  33. derwood said on November 6, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    I second what Dorothy, Brian, and Moe have said. Great piece of writing that leaves you with tears at the end.

    How I found NN.c…Before moving to Indy in 99 I was a huge Telling Tales fan. Lost track and started searching for Nancy Nall several years ago.

    You guys make me smarter, it never fails that I have to go look up some new word I had never heard of. I suck at writing so I am in awe of people who do it well.


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  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 6, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Frances Bellamy, wasn’t it, Jeff? That’s also where the blasted “Christian flag” was created, making a balanced duo of that and the US flag intruding into sanctuaries where it never had been before 1900 and getting no end of clergy in trouble around 2000 as we tried to push them to the back, if not out of the sanctuary altogether. And it was the Knights of Columbus who pushed for the “under God” that Eisenhower signed into law (1954?). The gap always makes me look up when “Bells of St. Mary’s” is on at Christmastime . . . 1940s, and it’s “one nation, indivisible, etc.”

    And i get home to find the shooting continues. Kyrie eleison.

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  35. mark said on November 6, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Speaking of the godless commies, anybody think they have the skinny on Obama declining the invite for the fall of the wall anniversary? I’m absolutely baffled and, without attributing motives that aren’t otherwise justifiable, can’t come up with the line of reasoning. “Too busy” rings a little hollow when the date would have been on an astute WH calendar for a long time and he’s shown the ability to multi-task in the air just to talk Windy City sports for an hour or so.

    In my book, the non-violent end of the cold war is a seminal event of the last 50 years and a significant bi-partisan achievent of the post-WW2/baby boomer generations. Two iconic presidents, Kennedy and Reagan, are forever linked to the wall and their words there are among the best remembered. Obama is a great speaker. Why not stroke the Europeans and the domestic 50 and up crowd while trying to wedge in between JFK and RWR?

    Seems like a political no-brainer to me.

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  36. Jolene said on November 6, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Jeff, along w/ the glitchy Pledge of Allegiance, yesterday’s rally included a performance by the House Minority Leader, the Honorable John Boehner, who waved his “pocket Constitution” at the crowd and said that he was sticking to the words contained in the preamble. Those words? “We hold these truths to be self-evident . . .”, which, of course, appear in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. Hysterical.

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  37. 4dbirds said on November 6, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I was living in Germany as a military dependant when the Wall went up and I was stationed in Berlin when the Wall came down.

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  38. Jolene said on November 6, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    The sad thing is that there are so many “lon­ers” out there, peo­ple who never quite fit in com­pletely, but per­form well enough to get through school and even hold a decent job, all the while being iden­ti­fied pretty read­ily as eccen­tric, kind of odd, or a bit strange. In most cases these indi­vid­u­als will go through their lives with only minor blips, but inevitably, every once in a while the calm sur­face will be dis­turbed and the tur­moil that had been held in check will be released.

    To wit, there was a workplace shooting in Orlando just now, with none of the trappings (i.e., the military, a doctor, Islam) that made yesterday’s events so shocking. Eight people shot, two dead, according to initial reports. A former employee with, apparently, a serious beef and poor communication skills.

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  39. Jolene said on November 6, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Speak­ing of the god­less com­mies, any­body think they have the skinny on Obama declin­ing the invite for the fall of the wall anniver­sary?

    Only a speculation, but perhaps he didn’t want to irritate the Russians, whose co-operation he is seeking to deal w/ Iran. They are, I’ve heard not happy about no longer being a superpower, so a triumphant speech at the Brandenburg gate might not go over well.

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  40. Dorothy said on November 6, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Yes derwood, well said!! I too feel smarter for hanging out here among these readers and writers. I think it improves my mind immensely to be learning new things here all the time.

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  41. Jim said on November 6, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Nancy, you are wise to avoid the blogosphere over the Fort Hood incident. I’ve skimmed some and I now feel covered in virtual slime.

    Jeff, your comments on the Pledge of Allegiance are right on. Several weeks ago, a “conservative” poster on Facebook was praising Glenn Beck because he supports the right of states to secede if they don’t like what the federal government is doing. I responded back that I guess she couldn’t recite the pledge anymore, since it contains that ugly “indivisible” part. She didn’t reply back.

    I recently came across a quote from James Garfield on Lincoln’s assassination: “God reigns! And the government at Washington still lives.” I find it interesting that many liberals would object to the first part, while many conservatives would object to the latter.

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  42. mark said on November 6, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    jolene- that’s possible, thanks

    4db- that’s pretty cool

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  43. brian stouder said on November 6, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Well, it looks like the angry shooter in Orlando has been arrested, so that’s two mass murderers who lived through their attacks, in two successive days. If nothing else, conspiracy theories will have a hard time gaining traction, when we will be able to document these people’s thoughts and motivations

    One thing I pondered at lunch today as this was unfolding, was whether the electronic news-media might better make some sort of industry-wide pact to tone down the coverage of these damned things, while they’re unfolding.

    Right now, any suicidal son of a bitch in the nation can choose to become coast-to-coast famous; can get as much live coverage as the President of the United States, or Brett Favre, if only he can slaughter enough people before he’s stopped.

    (But then my next thought was – I wonder if today’s attack is somehow connected to yesterday’s?)

    Anyway – endless “LIVE COVERAGE” quickly becomes an endless loop of uninformed speculation

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  44. MichaelG said on November 6, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    From yesterday: I also arrived here at Bob Greene time, directed by what blog I can’t remember. I also quit reading Lileks several years ago. He got a bit too loopy for me and a bit too twee. And he, like Jonah Goldberg and the rest of those sissy neocon war lovers was a bit overly brave with other people’s asses while carefully staying out of the line of fire themselves.

    I’d forgotten about that 1995 Ft Bragg shooting. When I was stationed at Bragg I was right across the street from the stadium. Corner of Bastogne and Ardennes. Lived on one side of Bastogne and worked on the other.

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  45. Jean S said on November 6, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Bob Greene sent me here as well…

    …it’s been ages since I watched any network news, and we get basic cable only, so no CNN, MSNBC yadda yadda. Two results: 1) it’s all NPR all the way, and 2) my blood pressure is superb.

    When I travel and spend time in airports, I note that I steadily become ever-more anxious. Why, thank you, CNN! I needed that! Jeez.

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  46. Danny said on November 6, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Everyone, a women’s soccer video that you must see. I like mean girls, but this one even scares me a little.

    Hey all you guys, out of all of the females at NN.C, who do you think would play soccer like this. I’m going with Mary and Moe. They seem quite “jolly-hockeysticks.” Heheh

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  47. Deborah said on November 6, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    This has been another good thread, once again. I keep checking in every time I send something to print, or when I’m waiting for a document to open. This is addictive.

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  48. ROgirl said on November 6, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Brian – what would cable be without “endless loops of uninformed speculation?”

    Test patterns?

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  49. Jolene said on November 6, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Fallows, as usual, has some wise words re those endless loops.

    Re what would cable be w/o those loops, I just can’t imagine why they don’t send their staff out to do so actual reporting rather than repeating uninformed blather over and over. And it kills me when they break into, for instance, an interview w/ a political leader to follow a car chase in LA, even when they have no idea whom is being chased for what. Ridiculous.

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  50. moe99 said on November 6, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Ah, Danny, should I be flattered?

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  51. john c said on November 6, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I know this is circling way back to the beginning of the comments, but Dorothy: I did not say there is no violence in America. There is, and there is far too much of it involving guns. But if America were an “inherently violent place,” then you and I and virtually everyone in the country would have personal experiences with violence all the time. Most people in this country have no direct experience with violence. Many people do, yes. And many of them are poor. But “inherently violent”? … it’s just the kind of sloppy leap of language I don’t like.

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  52. Danny said on November 6, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Yep! 🙂

    So did you watch V?

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  53. brian stouder said on November 6, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Most peo­ple in this coun­try have no direct expe­ri­ence with vio­lence. Many peo­ple do, yes. And many of them are poor. But “inher­ently vio­lent”?

    Well, there’s the wide-wide-WIDE view –


    an excerpt:

    Why did Neanderthals go extinct? Roughly 30,000 years ago, the Neanderthals disappeared, although pockets might have survived until as recently as 24,000 years ago. Since they vanished just as modern humans were emerging there, scientists have long speculated that we might have driven their extinction.

    “I think we did away with our competition,” asserted paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. “We either did it indirectly by out-competing them over resources or directly by conflict. Homo sapiens is completely different from any other hominid that ever existed — we process information about the world in a different way.”

    Killin’ ain’t so, y’know, BAD, if’n what you kill is sufficiently differn’t that it needs killin’

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  54. moe99 said on November 6, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    No, I will have to catch it on hulu! Thanks!

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  55. Dorothy said on November 6, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    john c: I have no issues with what you said. Or rather, if I do, I kept them to myself. I think Deborah is the one you intend to reply to.


    oh and brian – I agree with you about the media etc. and the incessant coverage, but I fear we have long since passed the point of no return for that kind of brevity.

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  56. nancy said on November 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    John, I agree with you, but with one caveat: The lives of most middle-class Americans are not inherently violent, but the lower you go on the socioeconomic ladder, the more likely you are to find the sort of casual chaos we would find unimaginable.

    When drugs are involved, you don’t even need to leave the middle class. I first noticed this when I read Ze’ev Chafets’ book, “Devil’s Night.” He spent a lot of time in the city, with people who would be pillars of the community anywhere else — ministers, elected officials, career men and women, and so on. I was amazed at how many had been directly touched by violence, mostly drug-related. A son, grandson, cousin, sister, aunt — someone had been shot to death in a drug house, a drive-by, a fight in a club, or just hit by a stray bullet.

    I was also struck by the news out of Cleveland this week, and how many people who live near the serial killer’s house said they begged police to investigate the slaughterhouse smell in the neighborhood, the disappearance of this or that woman, and just couldn’t get anyone interested.

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  57. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 6, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    . . . and contrariwise, i talk to families all the time who say “we tried to get the police to do [blank] or [blank],” and what was happening was that an officer would come out, hear them out, and then say “here’s a complaint form, fill it out and bring it to the station.” Which never happened. When you confirm that fact, and offer the info to the person you’re talking to, they simply say “well, it wouldn’t have done any good, and besides, they should have . . .”

    It’s quite the carousel.

    But whether police, children’s services, or whatever agency, there’s a desire to just see us swoop in and fix *their* problem (across the street or next door), but “stay the [bleep] out of my house and my family, and who asked you anyhow, [bleep] [bleeper]?” Meanwhile, casual violence . . . ai yi. Second “Devil’s Night,” and also in Michigan, “The Other Side of the River,” by i believe Kotlowitz.

    And, Bill Ayers’ “A Kind and Just Parent.” No, really.

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  58. Sue said on November 6, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Here’s something to lighten up the day, maybe more interesting to Wisconsinites and Minn-uh-syo-tah Scan-duh-hyu-vi-uhns, but Brian started it by referencing Brett:

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  59. LAMary said on November 6, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    I think the New Mexico player in the video must have been accosted by Mormon missionaries one too many times. That’s just a guess.

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  60. Linda said on November 6, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    I was also struck by the news out of Cleve­land this week, and how many peo­ple who live near the ser­ial killer’s house said they begged police to inves­ti­gate the slaugh­ter­house smell in the neigh­bor­hood, the dis­ap­pear­ance of this or that woman, and just couldn’t get any­one interested.

    A whole sachertorte of racism, sexism, and classism in that case. Chew on this for a minute: a woman reported being raped and choked in his house, and it took a month for the cops to come to his house? Well, she was probably black and poor and went to his house to drink with him, so of course she was not to be believed.

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  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 6, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    If people won’t fill out a complaint and sign it, it’s almost impossible to get the police to knock on a door. I’m not saying there was no racism, sexism, or classism in the reaction, but i’ve learned that when a whole family says “we tried to get help for [blank]” the reality is often one of unfiled reports, missed appointments, and skipped meetings. Folks want us to go “do something” about other people (often neighbors), but under no circumstances show up on *my* doorstep . . . and the law doesn’t give patrol officers or social workers much room to be proactive without a specific basis, or face stiff disciplinary action.

    I’ve seen a fair amount of footage of the house, and i see much worse driving in and out of my office. Of smells we will not speak — but the case of prima facie police malpractice isn’t necessarily as easy as it seems.

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  62. Scout said on November 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Apropos of nothing else here today… how about some Jon Stewart genius, hmmmm?


    I forget exactly how I got to nn.c, but I do remember it was via another blog I was reading at the time, a post in which the blogger listed her favorite reads and nn.c made the list “just because I enjoy great writing.” That was good enough for me to check it out and I have been here ever since. I have no recollection who the other blogger was.

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  63. Linda said on November 6, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Jeff, one lady came out and said she was a victim but did not file a report. But another one did, and it took a month to come to the house. I understand your frustration with no-shows who don’t hold up their end. But now I also understand why women who aren’t Snow White don’t bother with the cops sometimes.

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  64. Jeff Borden said on November 6, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    I have tons of sympathy for cops. I spent three years covering the night police in Columbus, Ohio, which is not exactly Murder City, but still witnessed enough mayhem and carnage to sear the soul and the mind. They are often damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Get aggressive and they have people complaining. Get passive and they have people complaining. It is a grim and generally thankless job that can take the starch out of the most macho police officer.

    That said, there are many neighborhoods where folks would rather deal with gangbangers than cops. The police officers will eventually drive away. The gang members will stay behind and they have long memories. And the officers, hardened by what they see and hear every day, can step over the boundaries.

    It’s why bad coppers are such a cancer on a city. Citizens see the uniform, not the face, and judge the entire force by the actions of one or a few. You are all undoubtedly familiar with the now infamous videotape of a hulking, off-duty Chicago cop beating the tar out of a tiny bartender when she refused to serve him more alcohol. This horrific incident was magnified when his police pals swung by the bar later, threatening anyone who might aid in his prosecution and warning the owner that code violations might be found if he pressed on.

    I comfort myself with the knowledge that cops like that are a distinct minority. But they do exist, and the damage they do, often in the poorest neighborhoods, is very real.

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  65. Rana said on November 6, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    just tell me what went on and leave the opin­ion and “analy­sis” out of it.

    I agree. I’m a big girl, with far more education than is probably currently necessary – I think I can figure it out for myself, given the information. Often, I think I’d do a much better job than the talking boneheads on the teevee.

    On other points, I’m feeling a bit uncomfortable with the conversation about the viability of suicide by gun for these troubled guys… that’s how my grandfather killed himself when my father was a child, so it’s not an abstract thought experiment for me or my family. I’m glad he didn’t take anyone with him, but it’s not like it didn’t have lasting and damaging effects. fwiw.

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  66. Deborah said on November 6, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    John C. that was me not Dorothy who commented about our violent nation. I have a whole schtick about this, too involved to go into here, goes way, way back and the numbers are staggering. Of course not everyone has these violent tendencies but when you compare the percentages to other nations it’s shocking.

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  67. Little Bird said on November 6, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    I would like to add to Deborah’s comment that violence is not limited to any one specific demographic. We’ve become so desensitized to it that we don’t always even recognize it. But it’s there.

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  68. Danny said on November 6, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Mary, did you catch the peeved look on her face right before she grabbed the BYU player’s pony tail and yanked/smacked her down? Wow.

    I think the New Mexico player is a terrorist .. and I know it is wrong to like her, but I do.

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  69. Danny said on November 6, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Sue, that was hilarious. “In Minn-uh-sooo-tah, win one Suuuu-per-bowl-lahhh!”

    Good stuff. I think I like it better than the original.

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  70. crazycatlady said on November 7, 2009 at 1:38 am

    Mark, I wouldn’t buy a copy of Sarah Palin’s book just yet. Wait a few months, I’m sure it will show up at the Dollar Store remaindered rack. I wouldn’t put a penny in her Wasilla designer knock-off pocketbook. Try to slip a copy of ‘Going Rouge’ to her to sign. Let hilarity ensue….

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  71. basset said on November 7, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Whaaaat, nobody here likes persimmons?

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  72. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 7, 2009 at 10:11 am

    How about paw paws?

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  73. coozledad said on November 7, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Basset: Have you tried an Asian grocery? If they don’t have the paste, they’ll have some of the large Japanese persimmons, which would be easy enough to puree. They’re also a lot less bitter.
    EDIT: Be sure and ask for assistance if you have any questions. Once I thought I was buying a package of arrowroot powder. The woman at the counter asked me what I was going to use it for. Thickening sauces, I said. She told me it was to fix the basin-er-sink. When it was plugged up.
    Lye, in other words.

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  74. Deborah said on November 7, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Basset, I saw persimmons at Trader Joes produce department this afternoon. Thought of you.

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  75. basset said on November 7, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    I saw some at Costco during our regular Saturday-afternoon sample-table graze… believe the Asian persimmons taste different, though. they’re surely a lot bigger.

    and this is just about the time of year to pick them down in southwestern Indiana – they’re no good till after the first hard frost.

    the last few years, I’ve been buying frozen pulp at an orchard store on 37 outside Bedford, right down the road from the Mitchell Persimmon Festival. probably won’t be getting up that way for awhile, though.

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  76. coozledad said on November 7, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Basset: Tell me when to pick them. We have a shitload. When the day comes I have to eat these things to live, I will be drinking bootblack, and doing Republican speaking tours.

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  77. basset said on November 9, 2009 at 1:32 am

    Give them a day or two after a hard frost – you want them soft, even a little squishy. Then you push ’em through a colander or a potato ricer and bake the pulp into “pudding,” which is actually more the texture of pumpkin-pie filling.

    unripe persimmons taste like alum. maybe they’re good with bootblack.

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  78. Connie said on November 9, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Bob Greene for me too.

    And I am shocked to find from yesterday that a search for my name leads one here. I am easy to find in dozens of listings related to current and previous jobs, and other topics. So who is looking for me here?

    Completely unrelated: page and pictures are up of my POW’s upcoming sale of Herman Miller chairs and other goodies from the original 1963 building: http://www.myepl.org/sale.

    Hate persimmons. Never heard of them before moving to southern Indiana. Had my own persimmon tree in the back yard for several years, you can always tell when the dog was eating fallen persimmons. Must be beyond ripe to be anywhere near edible. Even the dog knew that.

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  79. basset said on November 9, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Probably never heard of pawpaws either, did you? Or breaded tenderloins?

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