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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tazing, The American Canal, and a Lack of Consequences

On Sunday I sat down to watch 60 Minutes, something I’ve been trying to do more of to try to watch something a bit more worthwhile than most of the junk on television. That said, I’ll admit I was prompted to do it this week to see if Conan O’Brien was still crying about being given millions of dollars to leave a job he wasn’t any good at. He is, by the way.

But the story that came to mind Tuesday morning after I heard about the moron who was tasered for running onto the field at Citizen’s Bank Park was on the American Canal. This was the same morning that the front page of the printed Philadelphia Inquirer (yes, it’s still being published) reported that authorities arrested “a Connecticut man, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, in connection with the Times Square bombing.”

I’ll freely admit that the connection I’m about to make will be seen as a stretch by most. But as I listened to a number of people calling into 97.5 The Fanatic suggesting that tazing the kid at CPB was excessive, I couldn’t help but wonder how far the pussification of America is going to go.

The 60 Minutes story was actually suggesting that there should be safety devices installed to help people who have jumped into the canal to get out of the water if they get into trouble. Somehow it was tied to the Arizona law that will allow police to “stop anyone they like and order a check of their ID to determine whether the person is in the U.S. illegally,” according to the story. That nonsensical connection aside, the main point of the story was that because it has become so difficult to enter the United States people are using the American Canal – an irrigation system – to attempt to do so illegally, often losing their lives in the process, and that we, Americans, shouldn’t be allowing people to drown in our own backyard.

If this isn’t liberalism run amuk, nothing is. It’s simply ass-backwards logic. One so-called expert called the canal the most dangerous body of water in the country and the “most lethal killing machine in the country.” At one point one of the directors of the Imperial Irrigation District, which is responsible for the canal, was questioned about the lack of safety features. Reporter Scott Pelley was incredulous asking about measures that were approved but never installed and pompously said, “There doesn’t seem to be any sense of urgency here.”

Pelley’s tone made it clear that he had decided to chide the IID. I’d prefer to applaud them, except for the fact that they actually have installed some safety features.

As we come to the end of our first decade after 9/11, it truly boggles the mind that there’s still debates like these going on. I realize the timing was coincidental, but I don’t understand for one second the lack of an uproar over the 60 Minutes piece. Hopefully the lack of response is due to the fact that hardly anyone under the age of 70 watches the show. Within hours of averting a terrorist attack, apparently because the guy messed up the bomb, supposedly serious journalists are decrying the fact that our government doesn’t go out of its way to save the lives of illegal immigrants.

I received a comment on Facebook suggesting that because entering the country illegally is only a misdemeanor that the punishment shouldn’t be death. And it certainly shouldn’t be. However, suggesting that it’s somehow incumbent upon our government to keep these people safe is absurd.

The canal isn’t a lethal killing machine. That’s the type of statement that makes it difficult to support “liberal” positions in other debates. It’s just dumb. The canal is 100% safe if you don’t go into it. And if people do go into it, especially for the purpose of illegally entering the United States, they should deal with the consequences.

And that’s where this all ties together. No, I’m not comparing some dopey kid to illegal immigrants, nor am I suggesting that all illegal immigrants are terrorists. But what did all of the debate over tazing the kid lead to? Another idiot ran on the field on Tuesday night. This time it was a grown man who actually Tweeted that he was going to do it, and of course he wasn’t tazed because of the backlash from Monday night.

The bottom line is that we now live in an era where everybody is well aware that Americans are targets. If the American Canal makes it a little more difficult to get to us – which was completely inadvertent, by the way – we don’t need to be worried about fate of the criminals.

And, yes, maybe if we start by teaching our kids that their actions have consequences, they might not grow up to be journalists bemoaning the fact that this country has inadvertently become a little bit safer. At the very least, they might not be doing the same idiotic stunts when they’re middle aged.

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