Rookie Jersey City Police Office Melvin Santiago was assassinated on Sunday responding to a call at a local Walgreens. Yesterday, over a 1,000 people lined up outside a funeral home to salute an officer who gave his life in service to a city in the hard, urban core. Officer Santiago was 23 and — during his wake — was promoted to the rank of Detective and given the Medal of Honor in death by the Mayor of Jersey City.
“Kill Your Parents” was a rallying cry of 1960′s America. We were embroiled in an unpopular war in Vietnam, the world was fighting to change with hope-through-force, and the liberal campus of Columbia University in the City of New York was embroiled in one of it’s worse moments in its history during the Spring of 1968.
Surprise and imagination can be both wonderful experiences and dangerous concepts. We’re trained early in life to find surprise in the world around us, usually juxtaposed against the wilds of nature. We are often encouraged to “think outside the box” and to reimagine reality in ways that can fundamentally change the way we view the world and our role within it. Nothing is out of reason. Everything is possible.
Two alarming animal things happened over the weekend, and the conflation of the dual mendacities against human nature leads us to recognize we are not really a wholly civilized world where the weaker among us in the animal world are cared for and protected as we expect them to care for us.
First, Marius, a two-year-old Reticulated Giraffe, was killed by the Copenhagen Zoo — the very entity vested and sworn to protect him — and he was fed to lions because Marius’ genetic stream wasn’t special enough to earn continued living:
The cause of death was a shotgun blast, and after a public autopsy, the animal, who was 11 feet 6 inches, was fed to the zoo’s lions and other big cats.
Administrators said they had decided to kill Marius, who was in good health, because his genes were well represented among the captive giraffe population in European zoos. But that explanation did not satisfy animal rights activists who had mounted a furious last-minute campaign to save him.
There’s a new living meme I’ve been closely watching as it achingly creeps into an everyday reality because of economic compression and the new relativism of the repression of the American Dream for a growing generation of born scavengers.
I’ve been cautiously observing the new momentum of young people moving out of big cities and into small, rural, villages — or their parent’s basement — where the rent is cheap, the food is affordable, and the quality of life is quiet and unsubstantial.
At a time when these young people should be at their maximum earning potential, they are instead in “retirement mode” and collecting welfare subsidies and banking the goodwill of the generation ahead of them. When it comes time for them to pay back the deed, they will be able to do so because they were never in the earnings game in the first place.
I watched President Obama speaking live on television this morning from the Mandela tribute in the Soweto, South African rain, and I felt for him as he struggled against the weather, a bad public address system, and what seemed like a restless audience hoping for him to move faster through his 30-minute monologue so they could get on with their day:
“To the people of South Africa — people of every race and every walk of life — the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us,” the president said. “His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy.”
“It is hard to eulogize any man — to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person — their private joys and sorrows; the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone’s soul,” Mr. Obama said. “How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice, and in the process moved billions around the world.”
We have a national crisis with self-indulgent performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the USA. Our national anthem is being mangled by bad taste and poor singers when presented at the beginning of public sporting events.
What used to be a revered practice with hats off and hands held over hearts has now become a gross performance opportunity for a sub-par singer to take our anthem and mangle the melody in order to “show off” just what a wide-range they do not have.
The problem none of these horrible performers realize is that they cannot sing in tune, they fumble out of key, and they are ruining a closely beloved song that should never really be sung live in public because it is too easy to ruin the song with an awful, cat-strangling, performance.
The effort should not be in the song attempt, but rather in the respect we provide the song by allowing it to be heard plainly and properly as intended.