Every so often, big media gets their teeth in a story. You can tell, because they come up with an alliterative term for it. It's generally accompanied by a screen-filling graphic and some dramatic music. The latest one is being called "Tragedy in Tuscon."
It's generally a tragedy or giant oil spill of some sort that grabs their attention. I don't recall any fancy names being given to something good that happens. It's always "The Storm of the Century," a fire, flood or oil spill that gets a graphic and a catchy title.
This latest one is interesting on several levels. It involves a young, attractive female politician and a child - two things that the media eats for lunch. Add to it that the child is the granddaughter of a Phillies executive (and former manager) and you have the makings of a huge story.
Since television news struggles against the Internet on the best of days, they have dispatched hordes of reporters to Arizona to ferret-out every gory detail of the people involved.
The shooter has a high-powered attorney on his side. It's the same attorney who represented Ted Kaczynski, who became known as the "Unabomber." I suppose business has been slow for the past 15 years, and it must be nice to have a fresh crazy-ass to defend. That's why I could never be a defense attorney. Having an almost-unlimited supply of crazy bastards, I couldn't bring myself to summon-up an argument over why they shouldn't be taken out of society.
One thing of which you can be certain, as the media disseminates this story: Every photo of the shooter will make him look like a crazy-ass and every photo of the people he killed will make them look attractive. It's how the news is doled out, as though we need to be reminded that the shooter is a crazy bastard and the people he killed were innocent victims.
We haven't heard much about the other 17 people involved, partly because the story isn't that old and partly because they probably aren't children or federal employees. The things he is charged with are highlighted by "attempted assassination of a member of Congress" and the term "federal employee." So much for all men being created equal. When anything federal is involved, you're pretty much screwed, and held without bail.
To add to the mess, Giffords' brother-in-law is the commander of the International Space Station, and said that "these days, we are constantly reminded of the unspeakable acts of violence and damage we can inflict on one another." No kidding. Things like this are supposed to make us think and reflect. They do, for about a month, then we forget and go about our destructive business.
It didn't take long after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks for us to go back to calling athletes and actors "heroes" and making them out to be more than they are, which is glorified entertainers who suck a lot of money out of society. Now, we're supposed to reflect on "an unspeakable act," partly because of its impact and partly because of who was involved, and we're supposed to change our evil ways - or at least think about it.
But, it ain't gonna happen, and it's just a matter of time before the next tragedy that can be made into a catch phrase and we can be reminded of how despicable life can be sometimes, and how our own self-indulgent lifestyle and strange concept of freedom feeds into the very things we often find horrifying.
Or - we'll get a lot of snow and the TV news will struggle over which story is the lead.