The Herald Bulletin

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Columns

May 8, 2013

Primus Mootry: Observations on aspects of a fast changing world

I often use this column to share thoughts on a variety of subjects of popular interest. I do so knowing that I am totally responsible for my opinions, and with full knowledge of the fact that, should I happen to give some advice, readers are fully entitled to ignore it.

The Boston Bombers — Osama bin Laden once said that the purpose of terrorist acts against America was to scare us. Scare us so badly that we would spend ourselves into oblivion trying to protect ourselves.

So far over half a billion dollars have been spent in the identification, capture and nailing of the two young men who used pressure cookers to bomb runners at the recent Boston Marathon finish line. As the investigation continues, more millions — perhaps billions — will be spent.

Most if those new fortunes will be spent all over America. It will be spent by cities and communities seeking to protect themselves against similar terrorist acts at the thousands of highly public events that go on every day. Question: Is there some theoretical point at which we say, “no more?”

I don’t think so, and that is perfectly understandable. The problem is that, in a free and open society, there is no perfect way to protect ourselves from those who would do us harm. If that is true, then the terrorists will have won. And, as I believe Will Rogers once said, “Americans will be the only people who drive to the poorhouse in a Cadillac.”

Drones — you know. Those are the pilotless aircraft that can find you and send a missile right up your, er, nose while you’re out barbecuing. A friend of mine tells me his neighbor wears a football helmet to protect himself from a drone strike. I think that’s a bad idea. A football helmet could easily become shrapnel.

Civil War II? — this is serious, folks. A bunch of Americans think it may become necessary to launch a military talk on the U.S. government. They call themselves “patriots.”I call them fools. AK-47s don’t fare very well against drones and Abrams tanks.

Also, the best protection of American freedoms is, and always has been, an enlightened citizenry. Our battle is not against our government. It is against ignorance.

Cinco de Mayo — from what little I know, Mexico does not go overboard celebrating its battles against 1860s French colonial aggression. Still, among Mexicans in the United States, Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) has morphed into a full holiday with parades, mariachi bands, and programs to celebrate Mexican history and culture.

A Wicked War — that’s what a University of Pennsylvania scholar, Amy Greenberg, calls the 1846-1847 Mexican-American War. Although her scholarship has been called into question by many critics, the fact remains that this war was one of pure aggression by the United States.

It is the first, and perhaps only, war in which America invaded another republic solely for the purpose of acquiring their land. How much land? Try half of Mexico. And, isn’t it interesting how we persist in devising means to ensure that Mexicans must not enter the border states in the absence of clear rules and procedures?

It sounds like what my wife jokingly says to me: “What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine.” The only difference is that I love my wife.

Chafin’ Jason — the big news over the weekend has come out of the closet he’s been in for 33 years.  The handsome, 7-foot NBA center recently shared his feelings in an Oprah Winfrey NOW interview. He’s been chafing to get out of the closet nearly all his life.

Interesting. Although I have no problems with gays, I do have a problem with people who engage in deception for personal gain. Although I fully recognize the dilemma of “coming out” in a society where gays are vilified, part of the meaning of courage is to be unafraid to say and be who you are.

With public acceptance of gays on the increase, it is a lot safer today to “come out of the closet” than it was just 10 years ago. Before then, Jason Collins presented himself as a complete heterosexual, was engaged to a woman for a number of years to prove it, and kept his secret even from his own twin brother. Was it cowardice or courage? You be the judge.

Have a nice day.

Anderson resident Primus Mootry is a retired school teacher. His column appears Wednesdays in The Herald Bulletin.

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