While saner heads often prevail during discussions of vital issues, there's always one person we can count on to get it wrong: Bill O'Reilly.
Bill O'Reilly is a man of profound conclusions who speaks off the top of his head -- if not from his nether regions -- and comes up with fantasmic conclusions based either on fancy or his own Forget Factor.
A woman called O'Reilly, her voice shaking from nervousness or outrage at the media's wall-to-wall coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre. She implored Bill to change subjects for the sake of the families.
The essence of her plea was enough is enough; the families of the victims are suffering terribly, and they shouldn't have to be constantly reminded of their suffering.
The major flaw in her reasoning was her assumption that the families of the victims were sitting around all day watching the TV news. With the exception of those family members who might have wanted to learn every detail, most were grieving; were seeking solace with friends and family; and they were making funeral arrangements.
O'Reilly cut the caller off mid-compassionate plea, and told her they cover it because it is a story of "major importance" (amazingly he got that part right), and an event with "nation-changing" value that the media must keep talking about it (not amazingly...once again Bilge-O got it wrong).
Sorry, Bill-O. It's wasn't a "nation-changing event". Let's forget O'Reilly's lack of logic, he needs to go to a memory mechanic for a tune up. The V-Tech massacre occurred mere days short of the eight-year anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings, and will fall off the public radar as quickly as the tragedy in Colorado did.
Nothing of national import will change. Virginia, which reportedly has lax gun laws will enact a few new laws, but nationally...nothing will change.
Except for George Bush, whose press secretary -- on the day of the shootings -- interjected gun control into the mix to assure his gun-toting supporters their gun ownership was safe, politicians are running away from the issue in droves.
Gun control will only work up to a certain point. If the gun-controllers are talking about banning all guns, they have another think coming, because it would never work. To ban all guns, we'd need collective public amnesia that guns had ever been invented.
If all guns were banned today, it would take centuries for the ones we have to vanish. Guns are too easy to make; prison inmates have made them. Their only problem is getting ammo.
The only possible exceptions to the families who were not glued to the TV, might be the ones who want as much information as they can possibly glean to help them make some sense out of the senseless deaths of their loved ones.
Making sense out of the senseless is a fruitless pursuit. Of all the words spoken by the so-called experts on the whys and wherefores of a crazed person randomly killing 32 people was a guest on Keith Olbermann's Countdown.
James Fox, professor of criminal justice at Northeastern University said it all so succinctly: "There isn't much that we can do. We can try to reach out to the individual and offer whatever support we can. But the sad fact is that you cannot reliably identify these gunmen ahead of time. Hindsight's 20-20, and, sure, now everything is crystal clear.
I've taught for over 30 years at university settings, and there are a lot of students who have bizarre behavior. They don't make threats, they don't have overt signs that would lead us to arrest them. We may encourage them to seek treatment. But they're open campuses, and there's little that we can do."
We can debate endlessly about the media obsessing on one particular story to the detriment of not informing us about all the other stories of vastly greater import that we should be told to be an informed public. It's a good discussion to have and a much needed one.
Too many days go by where some of us beg for the instant media to tell us what is happening in Iraq, or the latest way the Congress is screwing us over, or -- more importantly -- what outrageous shenanigans Bush is up to.
V-Tech is an important story, but not as Bilge-O said, a nation-changing event.
If we want to talk about nation-changing events, here are a few examples: Bush lying us into war; Bush changing laws passed by Congress with an unprecedented number of signing statements; Bush's trashing the Constitution; virtually eliminating habeas corpus; voiding our participation in the Geneva Conventions; authorizing torture; not closing the boarders for security and to curb illegal immigration; holding people for years without access to legal representation; spying on Americans; allowing the drug companies to write prescription legislation; Bill O'Reilly being fired.
Now, those are Nation-changing events.