The ‘serves them right’ society (5×8 – 9/21/11)

Serving them wrong; serving them right; Minnesota and the homeless vet; a son, a father, and a secret; art and junk.


1) SERVING THEM WRONG

The two American hikers — one of whom has Minnesota roots — who’ve been held in an Iranian prison for two years, are being released today. They, along with a third companion, were arrested while traveling in Iraq, accused and convicted by Iran of spying and entering the country illegally. Good for them, good for their families who have had to live two years wondering about their children and siblings. Surely, any parent can understand.

And yet, this comment, posted recently on Huffington Post, is fairly typical of many that have accompanied this story:


They had teaching jobs in an Arab country. IMHO anyone stupid enough to teach in an Arab country and go sightseein­g is not the brightest bulb in the box. I heard for their next vacation they were going to the border of N.Korea to find a Korean take out, and after that going to Mexico to take pictures of the drug cartel.

“Good. Maybe it’ll knock some sense into them,” a NewsCut reader said when the pair was sentenced to 8 years in prison, apparently unaware of the irony.

True, young people — and an old one or two — do some pretty dumb things, but 8 years in one of the world’s most despicable prisons is a poor parenting technique.

We hear this “serves them right” mentality often when someone is stranded in the wilderness. “Serves them right,” for going there in the first place, the charge goes.

We heard it when young people were dying in the streets in violence in Washington, DC years ago, we heard it when homeowners in the Red River Valley valiantly struggled against the river for several springs.

Nancy Eshelman, who writes a column for the Harrisburg Patriot-News, wrote a 2010 article about the cancer death of her son, acknowledging he’d served time in prison for a motorcycle DUI that a left a man dead.


But he was my son, my baby, and I treasure every minute of these past months. After 56 days in a hospital, he spent his remaining time in a hospital bed in my living room. We reminisced. We watched mindless TV; celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas. We said, “I love you.” He said “thank you” more times than I can remember.

This week she wrote back to the people who wrote her to say “serves him right.”


Car crash? Why was the victim on the road at 1 a.m.? Bet the driver was drunk. Oh, it was a woman. Probably texting.

Mayor makes an announcement on the city’s finances? Did you see her hair-do? Her brother’s a criminal, you know.

Someone murdered in the streets? Well, he shouldn’t have been out there. Probably buying drugs. Serves him right for living in Harrisburg.

House flooded? Well what kind of idiot buys a house in a flood plain?

Some time today or tomorrow, some mother is going to be able to hug a son she hasn’t seen for two years. A father is going to try not to cry, and fail miserably.

Just for today or tomorrow, that humanity ought to be good enough for all of us, if only to remind us that we still have some.

2) SERVING THEM RIGHT?

Tom Cabral is a Yankees fan in Massachusetts whose job is serving court papers. This week his love of the Yankees, hatred for the Red Sox, and his day job combined. He served child support papers on the pitcher who was starting that night for the Red Sox.


Cabral didn’t bother to hide the fact he is a Yankees fan. In fact, he proudly wore a Yankees shirt while he served (Erik) Bedard the papers.

“When I walked in I was like, I’m a Yankees fan, but I’m not trying to (give you a hard time),” Cabral said. “I told him that and said, sorry, I’ve got to do this. But he said it was no problem. I handed him the copies of all the documents and he signed them.

“(The Red Sox) legal department was joking with me about it … they were saying, ‘That’s why you’re so adamant about doing it today … you’re a Yankees fan.’”

The starting pitcher lasted only 2.1 innings in a Red Sox loss last night.

3) MINNESOTA AND THE HOMELESS VET

Veterans account for about 8 percent of the U.S. population. Twelve percent of those who are homeless in this country are veterans. In St. Cloud yesterday, officials met to try to figure out how to solve the problem in Minnesota. And it’s a heck of a problem.

“We’ve had more than a 300 percent increase over the last four years of new veterans that identify themselves as ‘homeless’ or ‘at-risk of homelessness,’ ” Health Care for Homeless Veterans Coordinator Ellen Dinsmore said in today’s St. Cloud Times.


“It took a near-death experience for me to get some mental health (care), which I did through a private organization, and eventually I was funneled into the VA,” said (Tim)Gordon, a Vietnam veteran.

Gordon told the audience at Thursday’s community meeting that he “self-medicated” for 35 years, which led to his homelessness. James Leach shared a similar story; he was addicted to pain pills, which he said led to him becoming homeless.

“Pain pills led to other things like alcohol and cocaine and marijuana — anything I could pretty much get my hands on,” said Leach, an Army veteran who became estranged from his wife and children.

“I may be clean for four or five months and then I’d fall off the wagon. And then finally one day, it took my own daughter to say to me, ‘You will never see your granddaughter until you clean yourself up.’”

Minnesota is also having a difficult time finding jobs for returning vets, the Star Tribune reports today. The unemployment rate for vets here is twice the national average, a statistic somewhat more shocking because Minnesota’s unemployment rate overall is below the national average.


“You run into sergeant majors and lieutenant colonels who did 26 years in the military and have college educations, but yet you see them at a job fair looking for work,” said Jeff Holmstrom, a 33-year-old staff sergeant in the Minnesota National Guard who spent months job hunting after returning more than a year ago from his second deployment. He had volunteered for that tour in Kuwait because he couldn’t find work. “That’s how bad it is out there.”

State officials can’t explain why the unemployment is so high for veterans in Minnesota, although one expert in the story says it may be the Minnesota’s National Guard units are mostly infantry units rather than logistical units. There aren’t a lot of private sector infantry jobs.

4) A SON, A FATHER, AND A SECRET

For the last few months, a gay soldier has been posting videos on YouTube about his life in the military as the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell neared. He didn’t show his face or reveal his identity. Yesterday, the policy was eliminated, so the airman, now revealed as Randy Phillips, called his father to reveal he’s gay.

The video is now posted on the It Gets Better website. So is this one, made by 14-year-old Jamey Rodermeyer of Buffalo, NY.

The young man started high school three weeks ago. He killed himself on Monday.

5) ART AND JUNK

Isn’t this a lovely piece of artwork that was unveiled in southern California to promote a film that opened there yesterday?

JUNK_ART_BEACH.jpg

Here’s how it was made…

Bonus: It’s all becoming clear, the Netflix-apologizes-by-splitting-in-two announcement was actually the work of cartoonists:

netflix_comic.jpg

Check the whole strip here.

(h/t: Greg Walz)

In other online news, Facebook changed its design today and the initial response has been fairly negative. If you’re using Google+, you can find me here.

TODAY’S QUESTION

World leaders are gathering this week at the United Nations, where the General Assembly is in session from now until December. Today’s Question: How should the United Nations change to become more effective in promoting international peace?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: President Obama is scheduled to speak at the United Nations General Assembly today. We look at what to expect from his speech and discuss some of the top items on the agenda for the annual meeting.

Second hour: Christians, scientists debate the existence of Adam and Eve. The show is based on this NPR story from last month.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: International relations professor Michael Barnett discusses the United Nations controversy over Palestinian recognition.

Second hour: A Chautauqua Lecture about the economy, by David Brancaccio of APM’s Marketplace.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: President Obama and Speaker Boehner retreat to their corners. Tommy Thompson comes out swinging in Wisconsin. A new book takes shots at Sarah Palin. And Pennsylvania Republicans propose to reshape the arithmetic of the electoral college The Political Junkie Ken Rudin joins host Neal Conan.

Second hour: The military after “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

  • bench

    another RE: SERVING THEM WRONG,

    “You’re complaining that the Vikings lost again? Serves you right for still being a fan…”

  • bench
  • Paul

    The real irony in the coverage of the hiker case is not the “it serves them right” vibe, but from the inability of Americans to see that what the Iranians have done in this case is no worse than what the U.S. government would do if roles were reversed. If 3 Iranians were hiking in Canada and strayed into the U.S., they’d be thrown in Guantanamo (or worse), never given a trial, and waterboarded daily for the rest of time. Why should we expect better treatment for our citizens abroad?

    Bob says its too harsh to hold these hikers in “one of the world’s most despicable prisons.” Compared to what? Abu Ghraib? Am I really the only one who sees this irony?

  • Bob Collins

    Did I miss the story somewhere of the three Iranian tourists in Canada that ended up in Gitmo?

  • Paul

    Bob – Yes you did. It’s just that in the American media, they were called “enemy combatants” instead of “tourists” because that’s what our government told you to call them.

    The fact that the Iranian government labelled the 3 hikers as “spies” instead of “tourists” seems no more or less preposterous than many of the “enemy combatant” designations made in the last 10 years.

  • Bob Collins

    So the enemy combatants were in Canada, arrested by the U.S. and put in Gitmo? But they were actually tourists? Got a link?

  • Bob

    Bob, I think what Paul is trying to do is compare how these tourists in Iran were treated to how people who fly while being brown-skinned are treated. Not to difficult to decifer Paul’s intentions here.

  • Alison

    Bob, the key word you missed in Paul’s statement – If

    \\ If 3 Iranians were hiking in Canada and strayed into the U.S.,…

    And he’s right. Our actions with alleged enemy cobatants were despicable, as were/are our procedures for ensuring a fair trial for those in Guantanamo.

  • Paul

    I know you’re not obtuse enough to be missing my point. I’m not referring to some specific story. The point is that the U.S. has repeatedly incarcerated foreigners for no reason, often indefinitely and inhumanely, and/or convicted them on phony charges. Google “Jose Padilla” if you want more on that. Background on extraordinary rendition and habeas corpus would help too.

    A foreigner’s intentions (especially from a country hostile to one’s own) are often a matter of perspective. Whether Iran believes these hikers were really spies, I have no idea. But they could believe it (even without evidence) just as sincerely as our government believes in its “enemy combatant” designations. If you want to tell me that all the U.S. govt’s indefinite and chargeless incarcerations at Gitmo are justified, then maybe you are more obtuse than I thought – or worse yet, a gov’t shill.

  • Bob Collins

    //I know you’re not obtuse enough to be missing my point.

    I’m not. But you’re asking me to see irony, and irony can’t exist in a hypothethical.

  • Bob Collins

    //Bob, the key word you missed in Paul’s statement – If \\ If 3 Iranians were hiking in Canada and strayed into the U.S.,… And he’s right. Our actions with alleged enemy cobatants were despicable, as were/are our procedures for ensuring a fair trial for those in Guantanamo.

    But unless you’re saying it serves the hikers right since the U.S. is holding people in Gitmo, it’s kind of an irrelevant point to the post. The original point wasn’t about the Iranian justice system, it was about how we process certain events such as this.

    My guess is there are many people who say “serves ‘em right” to the concept of holding people in Gitmo, just as there are many people who say “serves ‘em right; if he didn’t do this, he did something else” to the Troy Davis execution.

    If you’re saying it *doesn’t* serve them right, then what’s the big conflict here?

  • Alison

    Hypothetical, Bob? Really? Paul’s story about hikers wandering across the Canadian border may have been, but aren’t there plenty of non-hypothetical examples of the US unlawfully detaining foreign prisoners without trial and treating them inhumanely?

  • Bob Collins

    //how these tourists in Iran were treated to how people who fly while being brown-skinned are treated.

    And do you think there are people who think “serves ‘em right” to people who are treated a certain way because of their skin color.

    If so, then isn’t that part of the “Serves ‘em right” society?

  • Disco

    I won’t say that it “serves them right.” But it is not exactly a secret to any educated person in the world that Iran is not a friend of the United States. And it follows that Iran would probably not be a friend of American people.

    We still haven’t heard why they crossed the border into Iran. Now, I’m curious about Iran too. It looks like a beautiful country, notwithstanding the politics. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going hiking anywhere near there, and certainly not without a very good GPS device, and I wouldn’t get within 50 miles of the border. I don’t trust Iran. These guys could have had much worse things done to them than a few years in jail.

    My conclusion is that they were either (A) stupid or (B) looking for trouble. Possibly a combination.

  • Bob Collins

    //the US unlawfully detaining foreign prisoners without trial and treating them inhumanely?

    So, are you saying that a “serves ‘em right” mentality towards the hikers ought to be more acceptable because the “US unlawfully detains foreign prisoners without trial?”

    Or are you saying we should be more accepting of their treatment because the US treated its prisoners the same way?

    If it’s the latter, well, sure. So noted. But that doesn’t have anything to do with the original post, which doesn’t have anything to do with what may serve US right.

  • Alison

    Bob, I wasn’t addressing the “serves them right” aspect of your post. I was responding to your apparent disregard for the word “IF” in Paul’s post. I went on to agree with Paul’s assertion, regardless of whether his point pertained to your purpose in posting what you did. I was commenting on comment, which I believe is allowed here.

  • Bob Collins

    //My conclusion is that they were either (A) stupid or (B) looking for trouble. Possibly a combination.

    Man, it took us 16 comments to finally get there. About 14 more than I thought it would.

  • Bob Collins

    //Bob, I wasn’t addressing the “serves them right” aspect of your post. I was responding to your apparent disregard for the word “IF” in Paul’s post.

    I saw the “if.” What I was looking for was the irony that I was invited to see.

    There would be irony here if I’d also written — or someone had said — the people in Gitmo… serves ‘em right — at the same time pointing out the unfairness of a serves ‘em right mentality before the hikers. But, of course, I didn’t do that.

    There might be hypocrisy in the official statements of U.S. officials, but again that really has nothing to do with the point of the post.

  • Alison

    \\So, are you saying that a “serves ‘em right” mentality towards the hikers ought to be more acceptable because the “US unlawfully detains foreign prisoners without trial?”

    \\Or are you saying we should be more accepting of their treatment because the US treated its prisoners the same way?

    Neither. The acts by both countries are despicable and immoral. Neither justifies the other. I disagree with “Serves them right” mentality, to address your orignal post. Both countries, Iran and the US should be subject to intense international pressure for their violations of human rights.

  • Disco

    @Bob

    “Man, it took us 16 comments to finally get there. About 14 more than I thought it would.”

    Tone is not well-conveyed over the internet. What exactly are you saying here? Wild guess: you don’t agree with me.

  • Bob Collins

    No, I neither agree, nor disagree. I’m saying in terms of the humanity of their situation — and the others highlighted — it doesn’t matter why they were there, nor how stupid they may or may not have been.

    Take the people in New Orleans as an example. When they’re standing on top of their roof, in which they punched a hole to escape the Gulf of Mexico, is not really the time to debate whether they deserved to be rescued. Rescue ‘em and tell ‘em how foolish they were for living where they were living later. But for now, get them off the roof.

  • Disco

    “… it doesn’t matter why they were there, nor how stupid they may or may not have been.”

    Well, fine, it doesn’t matter (according to you). Are we supposed to feel sorry for them?

  • Disco

    “Take the people in New Orleans as an example.”

    That’s a bad example. Katrina was a natural disaster; this was not. They willingly and/or stupidly walked into the hornets nest. Either way, now they’ve been rescued. What would you have wanted to see done differently? Should the United States have begged and paid for their release?

  • Jim Shapiro

    I’m concerned that these three college educated individuals apparently weren’t real clear on the concept of a war zone.

    It serves no one right to be imprisoned for a dumb mistake that harms no one but themselves, but calling them on said dumb mistake is not inappropriate.

    They became expensive pawns in a game of realpolitik that could have turned out a lot worse, and for people other than themselves and their loved ones.

    If they have any sense of humility, they will donate profits from their inevitable books to establish an institute for the teaching of common sense at their alma maters.

  • Bob Collins

    //would you have wanted to see done differently? Should the United States have begged and paid for their release?

    You’re confusing the post with an analysis of U.S.action and foreign policy when I’m actually doing little more than holding up a mirror to ourselves. We are unable to separate the humanity of someone’s situation from the analysis of said situation.

    Forget about the hikers if that contributes to the confusion, take just about any human situation in which people shrug their shoulders, and you can recognize the same dynamic.

    We compartmentalize these things in order to avoid facing the moral and ethical questions.

    If someone with cancer is homeless and has no health care, we’ll say, “shouldn’t have smoked when you were in your 20s.” While that might be a fair point, it distracts from the immediate situation and moral and ethical questions we’re required to ask of ourselves.

    We don’t like that.

    What’s particularly interesting to me is that the one area where I notice you almost NEVER see this is when a soldier is killed. You never — well, almost never, the Internet is full of people who would if I searched long enough — hear people say, “Oh, well, that’s what you get for joining the Marines.” Now, maybe they feel that way, but they’re able to understand the humanity of the situation enough to know an inopportune time to reconcile result, action, and consequence with that humanity.

  • mb

    The “serves them right” attitude comes from the distance between the commenter and the subject. Nobody would tell their next door neighbor of office colleague that they deserve to serve time in an Iranian prison not have their house washed away.

    The lack of personal connections enables people to expose the hyped up judgmental side of themselves, without any accountability. Just like in internet comment boards.

    People are not coarser these days, it’s just more visible now on the interwebs

  • Alisonm

    \\I’m actually doing little more than holding up a mirror to ourselves

    Paul was holding up a mirror too, Bob. It was just a different mirror than yours. I didn’t realize that we were only allowed comment directly on the point that you were trying to make. That never seemed to be a requirement here before. Is it?

  • Bob Collins

    //I didn’t realize that we were only allowed comment directly on the point that you were trying to make.

    No need to go nuclear.

    I was trying to reconcile Paul’s point with the original post. He — and you — are more than free to make comments related to the original posts.

  • Disco

    @Bob

    I understand what you’re saying. We all do. I just think that this is one example where these people really should have known better, and are probably glad, since this whole thing could have turned out a lot worse. When we feel that they should have known better, it dampens our empathy for their situation; you aren’t getting around that.

    Maybe this is a good time to ask how you felt when Steve Irwin (the Crocodile Hunter) was killed.

    Am I horrible if I HAVE had occasional thoughts of “that’s what you get for joining the Marines knowing that we’re engaged in two perpetual voluntary wars?”

  • Fritz

    “I went on to agree with Paul’s assertion, regardless of whether his point pertained to your purpose in posting what you did. I was commenting on comment, which I believe is allowed here.”

    What is “allowed here” remains a question. If these pieces are written only to coerce readers to respond in one uniform manner, then you should say so. If Paul perceives what you wrote in another way doesn’t he have the right to post it? Or is this a controlled commentary. (I am beginner to believe the latter)

    The title “Serves em right” begins the piece with a negative attitude, (depending who you are.)

    “They became expensive pawns in a game of realpolitik that could have turned out a lot worse, and for people other than themselves and their loved ones. ”

    I would leave it at that.

  • Bob Collins

    // that this is one example where these people really should have known better

    I’ll bet they knew better within a couple of seconds of the time someone pointed a gun at ‘em and said ‘come with us.’. (g)

  • Bob Collins

    //If Paul perceives what you wrote in another way doesn’t he have the right to post it? Or is this a controlled commentary.

    This is a really interesting thread. Of course it’s not a controlled commentary. If it were, you wouldn’t know anything Paul has to say.

    What you’re seeing is a give-and-take of assertions and defense of positions. That’s the way it is here.

    That’s often uncomfortable. But as long as people aren’t calling each other Nazis, and racists, and Socialists, it shouldn’t be a problem.

    //”They became expensive pawns in a game of realpolitik that could have turned out a lot worse, and for people other than themselves and their loved ones. ”

    I think those are corrects facts already in evidence, yes.

    So, anyway, if a hiker goes to Montana and gets lost in a snowstorm, should we rescue him or her? (g)

  • Alison

    \\free to make comments related to the original posts

    So are tangential thoughts not allowed? There have been a lot really interesting and valuable thoughts posted tangentially on your blog over the years. I understand your need for some control over what is posted, but I appreciate a good healthy discussion.

  • matt

    Johnny come lately to the conversation here but the people saying “serves them right” are not the people that are responsible for saving/not saving, teaching a lesson or the other required activities. They are observers and commentators acting appropriately in that role. In the end the hikers did not deserve time in an Iranian prison (assuming that they were not spies…they were convicted by a legitimate govt so that must mean something right?) and their families did not deserve to have them taken away for a long period of time – but they do deserve our comments.

    Public scorn is an importatnt tool that has been left in our little tool box for two decades now and should be used as needed. Public scorn of the hikers, for doing something stupid that has affected so many people and cost someone $500,000, is very appropriate. “Serves them right” maybe a stupid way of phrasing disapproval and the commenters may need some public scorn as well.

  • Disco

    “So, anyway, if a hiker goes to Montana and gets lost in a snowstorm, should we rescue him or her?”

    Do you really need someone to answer that question for you? Especially in light of the discussion here?

    It is not the same thing!

  • Jim Shapiro

    Disco -

    “Am I horrible if I HAVE had occasional thoughts of “that’s what you get for joining the Marines knowing that we’re engaged in two perpetual voluntary wars?”

    Nope.

    But personally, I feel more compassionate, albeit more pain, when I recognize that these young soldier pawns are victims of a powerful lie.

  • Bob Collins

    // Especially in light of the discussion here? It is not the same thing!

    In a literal sense, I guess that’s certainly true.

  • Bob Collins

    //Public scorn is an importatnt tool that has been left in our little tool box for two decades now and should be used as needed.

    Well, it’s been two years. How much is needed here?

    The original point is that the scorn substitutes for compassion. At some point, don’t you have to figure that these folks did something stupid, that they know they did something stupid, that they’ve been told they did something stupid and that the appropriate response for at least one day should be, “welcome home, kid,” without needing the “but”?

    //Public scorn of the hikers, for doing something stupid that has affected so many people and cost someone $500,000

    The sultan or Oman, probably.

  • John P.

    It seems to me that “serves you right” is just a natural extension of the era of “Personal Responsibility”. There seems to be a movement to remove all “Ponzi Scheme” government supports. You’re on your own, I’m in it for me.

  • matt

    the appropriate response for at least one day should be, “welcome home, kid,”

    There is merit in that and some will choose that for their public commentary. My focus will still be on the absurdity of national borders. We still imprison people in this country (not hypothetically either) for crossing an imaginary line to come here and work. We have advanced far enough where we publicly condemn people for discrimination based on factors beyond a person control such as race and gender but still think the lattitude and longitude of the place where you were born is a legitimate reason to put someone in jail.

  • Disco

    “…the appropriate response for at least one day should be, “welcome home, kid,” without needing the “but”?”

    I would argue that many people DO feel this way, despite your seemingly impenetrable cynicism.

    “In a literal sense, I guess that’s certainly true.”

    Smug much?

  • Disco

    “…but still think the lattitude and longitude of the place where you were born is a legitimate reason to put someone in jail.”

    That’s what IRAN thinks. Iran has NOT advanced. The Iranian government doesn’t have the same values as Western governments. And along those lines is what I’ve been bloody arguing during this discussion. You’re correct that it isn’t right to jail these people for what they’ve done. But Iran is more concerned with scoring political points against the United States, and has been FOR THE PAST 32 YEARS.

    The shark doesn’t care about your feelings when he bites your leg off.

  • Bob collins

    No need to repeat the woman from Harrisburg.

  • matt

    But Iran is more concerned with scoring political points against the United States, and has been FOR THE PAST 32 YEARS.

    So if they had been Canadians or French Iran would have let them go? Not sure about that. Good thing we didn’t milk the story the whole time trying to score points against Iran. Good thing we don’t go around sabre rattling and fear mongering about the menace of Iran obtaining nukes.

    I wonder if the same percentage of Canadian illegal immigrants in the US are sought out, imprisoned and deported as those from Mexico/Central America…

    I get rooting for the home team but they are all playing the same sport.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Matt -

    “My focus will still be on the absurdity of national borders….”

    I’m a One World guy too, (no, I don’t have any black helicopters),

    and I certainly concur that no one should be jailed for crossing a border in an attempt to better their and their loved ones’ situation.

    That said, until the world and its inhabitants becomes more enlightened, borders – imaginary and real – can serve to tell us where we are safe/our behavior is legal/accepted, and where we are at risk.

    Knowing that, we are then free to take calculated risks.

    Knowledge equals freedom.

  • Sue

    Are there not plenty of places to go hiking/sight seeing that won’t include the possibility of being thrown into jail in as a possible spy in a hostile country to the US?

    I have heard the Iran/Iraq border is is absolutely beautiful. However knowing the political realities and my differing world views, it is not somewhere I would choose to go hiking and sightseeing – or encourage my family to explore.

    Do I have compassion for them? Yes, and their families too. It would be horrible to think of my children suffering in an awful and abusive jail and not knowing if they will come home alive. It is a horrible reality of traveling in a different country with different ideals of law and order.

    The idea that all people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity is a US perspective. I certainly feel strongly this about this but we must teach our children that many other countries do not feel all people deserve these basic human rights.

    Again, check out Glacier National park. I hear it is beautiful this time of year.

  • CHS

    I’ve read a lot of discussions on NewsCut, and felt my blood pressure rise more than once in doing so, but I have to say that this display today leaves me feeling kind of sick. I haven’t seen a single viewpoint that isn’t pushing an alternative agenda behind the discussion of whether or not a situation “serves them right.” So much cynicism and not even veiled criticism of the politics of these situations completely misses the point that could be expanded upon here; which is that no matter what, we all will find ourselves in situations that we shouldn’t be in due to choices we have made. Some of these situations may be more dramatic than others, and some may be easily avoidable, but no one can tell me that they haven’t found themselves in a situation that didn’t require a bit of grace and humanity on the part of someone else to get out of. So, being that we’ve all been the recipient of the good will of someone else, are we ready are we to be the provider of the same to others?

    Seems that today the answer is, depends.

  • KRJ

    I thought the statement of:

    //Just for today or tomorrow, that humanity ought to be good enough for all of us, if only to remind us that we still have some.

    would have been enough for people to step back be OK with others’ points of view. But once again the internet can amaze me by how people react.

    I think the statement is a very nice correlation to the thought that “I can love someone without loving their actions”.

  • matt

    @Bob Collins,

    BTW I did notice another cartoon over at TheOatmeal.com that dealt with irony and people being a stickler over it. It was funny.

    @CHS,

    I agree very much with your sentiment but like real estate the internet is all about location. You are going to get political wrangling at this site. At ESPN.com if they are discussing this they probably would find a sports angle, at whatever the newscut equivalant is in Wisconsin they probably found some way to connect Scott Walker to the discussion and at RickPerry. com they want to bomb Iran with vaccines. That doesn’t mean that other discussions don’t happen here (REM is good example) but libertarian nutjobs like me can find an anti-govt angle on any story, John P is still upset that Paul Krugman thinks social security is a Ponzi scheme, etc.

    I would bet a dollar to a donut (a saying that has lost all meaning due to the meddling Fed…see?) that everyone of us would give them a hug if we were at the airport when they got off or would have thrown in a few bucks if someone passed the hat for bail.

  • Bob Collins

    // at whatever the newscut equivalant is in Wisconsin

    I’m shocked at the very thought that Wisconsin is even capable of such a thing.

  • Grace

    // at whatever the newscut equivalant is in Wisconsin

    I’m shocked at the very thought that Wisconsin is even capable of such a thing.

    Posted by Bob Collins

    “Cheese Cut”

  • Jim Shapiro

    Matt – “everyone of us would give them a hug if we were at the airport when they got off.”

    Speak for yourself.

    “Deer in the headlights/ we’re all one/the world is a beautiful place” syndrome is highly contagious.
    :-)

    CHS – take a chill pill/vaccine. The discourse has been civil and intelligent, and several people have mentioned compassion. Hope your day gets better.

  • Paul J

    Bob,

    Still pondering the Montana hikers scenario….

    Do they happen to be Iranian hikers who strayed over the border from Canada?