The Tour de Troit was pretty cool, and if Saturday’s picture looks muddy and pixelated, well, I apologize. I tried to fix the tiny picture — bug in WordPress for mobile devices, IMO — and it ‘sploded. Oh, well. It’s not like there aren’t 90 zillion other pix out there if you feel like searching #tdt2013 in the usual social networks.
More than 6,000 riders, we were told. You’d think riding in a group that size, it would be difficult to go off course, but somehow we managed. Don’t look at me, I was just following the people in front of me when suddenly there was a SCREEEECH of brakes and a very pissed-off driver what-the-hell’d us as we rolled through an intersection. An intersection without the usual police, corking it. And hey, there weren’t any at that last intersection, either, were they? A bunch of us stopped and consulted with the map, and a bunch more took out their phones and stared at those, and we managed to cobble together a way back to the route. It involved taking a group of three dozen or so down Woodward, a daunting proposition for some people who thought they’d be riding in a tunnel of police protection, but we got everybody back to the group, and now a few out-of-towners will have a better story to tell.
Afterward, there was beer and food and music. I observed a man at the next table learn that you are supposed to take the corn husk off before you eat a tamale. (“That’s nothing,” said Alan. “I’ve seen Hispanic people learn that lesson.”) A chilly morning turned into a glorious afternoon, one of those days when you’re happy to be right here, right now.
Then I took a nap. Because of the beer.
The weekend didn’t go so well elsewhere. I’m reading about the Kenyan mall attack now, one of those events you’re frankly amazed doesn’t happen more often. I am, anyway. Terrorists are fond of bombs, but there’s nothing like a few well-trained, or even adequately trained men with guns to do maximum damage in the right environment. If only all those shoppers had been armed! I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops.
And if you haven’t seen it yet, you should check out this remarkable NYT photo blog of the massacre, with pictures taken by a staff photographer who was actually in the mall at the time of the shooting.
Speaking of shooting, I also strongly recommend this piece from the WashPost, about the life of shooting-rampage survivor, and of their loved ones. It is, what’s the word? Oh yeah: Searing.
“Thoughts and prayers and it ends there,” said Lori Haas, whose daughter was shot and injured at Virginia Tech. “I can’t do anything anymore with thoughts and prayers.”
“I’m learning that you have to be brutal with these people,” said Patricia Maisch, who wrestled away a magazine clip and disarmed the shooter at a 2011 event in Tucson where Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others were shot. Maisch took out a picture she carried of the six people killed at that event and set it on the table. “Now I show this to people and start getting graphic,” she said. “This is not a pretty death like you see on ‘NCIS’ or ‘Law and Order.’ This is six people murdered on the sidewalk on a beautiful Arizona day.”
“Bloody and scared,” said Bill Badger, who was shot in the back of the head that day.
“Oh, and by the way, loved ones aren’t lost. They are killed,” Haas said.
“Murdered,” said Roxanna Green, whose 9-year-old daughter was murdered at the event in Arizona.
“I just want to shake people,” Badger said. “If this was some disease . . . we’d be in a national emergency.”
“You’d see planes dropping medicine,” Maisch said. “Instead, it’s another day. It’s nothing.”
Also searing, but in a very different way: “Tomato Can Blues,” also from Sunday’s NYT, a story about a mid-Michigan loser MMA fighter and the tangled web he wove along the way to faking his death and holding up a store called, I am not kidding, Guns & Stuff.
It’s an entertaining kind of searing. I kept imagining Bunchy Donovan as the tomato can, and if you get that reference, fine, and if not, I’m not going to explain it.
And so the week begins. May yours be filled with smooth sailing and apple cider.