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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Some Thoughts for Keyboard Warriors and Coaches

Someone more clever than I said we are a fast food nation. And in the last few days it's been proven that we demand our heroes served up quickly, too.

From a keyboard in New York or Northern Virginia our brave and our analytical wag their fingers at the dead and the living who appeared to have lacked the bravery and coolheadedness they would have likely had when a maniac walked into their classroom and wordlessly began shooting. They reference United 93 and troops in Iraq, as if by merely pointing to the actions of those men and women they are somewhow brave by association. (Yet somehow, they've never quite found their way to the recruiting office to fight in a war they are so passionate about.) They feel that in the aftermath of a tragedy, they can bring more to the national discourse by calling the dead 'wilting lilies' than celebrating their lives.

These keyboard warriors and coaches do not brook delays, and within 48 hours of a senseless and sprawling tragedy, demand to be tucked in with bedtime stories of knights on white horses and superheroes. When they hear of only one at the outset they whine like children sent to bed without cake. Perhaps if they had waited for more than a few days, as students shot multiple times decided it was more important to heal than spill their stories to an impatient lunatic fringe, they would have read of the bravery of young men and women who blocked doors and rushed the shooter and shoved classmates into closets in the hopes that at least their peers would find some safety. And yes, they could have read that sometimes in an instant, a 20-year-old must decide whether he wants to choose a desk under which to hide, in the hopes that he might live to be married, to have children, and to fulfill a life of promise, or at the very least, to die in a spot of his choosing. That sometimes, gasp, life is not like a movie.

No, these keyboard warriors and coaches have no time for that. They've got important decisions to valiantly soldier through today in this fast food nation of ours: Quarter Pounder with Cheese or Big Mac for lunch?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brava! Well said.

1:14 PM  
Blogger HomeImprovementNinja said...

In NYC, when the Guardian Angels would come accross a guy with a gun, they would all charge him at the same time. They trained for this, and it worked only because they ALL did something together, that individually would've gotten them killed. If any of them did it alone, it would mean death.

When someone is shooting at you, the natural response is to run awy or take cover. Everyone (including me) likes to think they would be a hero in that circumstance, but when I was in a club in NYC about 15 years ago where someone got shot, I ran for the door just like everyone else. I didn't think twice about it and would probably do exactly the same thing if (God forbid) it ever happened again.

And it doesn't take long to reload a glock (less than 2 seconds if you practive). So saying they could've charged him when he was reloading is idiotic.

1:16 PM  
Blogger WiB said...

Thank you.

If it were possible for me to think more highly of you, I would. And the SO for that matter, considering the previous post.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Sweet said...

Well said Brunchie.

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Daddy-O said...

If only these "keyboard warriors" could read what you wrote!

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I don't really understand...

6:39 PM  
Blogger honeykbee said...

A bold and harsh statement, but necessary. Wilting lilies!? !??


2:08 AM  
Anonymous GBF said...

Brunch bird I've been reading your blog for a long time but I don't like to comment because I know you are friends with the people who attacked me. Please distance yourselves from them. You have a lot beautiful gifts and you should let your beautiful gifts be shared with the world without the tainted stain of your sexist and bigot friends. I support this boycott because of what they did to hurt me so bad. I hope you understand girl. I love you girl.

3:20 AM  
Anonymous The Last Man said...

This post is insipid pabulum. (Do you, as a "Keyboard Warrior," have the courage to read on?) It's outrage for the sake of outrage. It's emoting for the sake of eloquent hysterics. How you got from Big Stupid Guy's post to yours is hard to figure. Sure, it sounds poetic, grandiose, and even sweet, but it is incoherent and as a response, irrelevant.

It’s natural to raise the question: why, in a building full of hundreds of students, were 31 killed by a man who carried pistols? You may not like the answer – clearly, you don't like the question -- but to get from that to the authors wanting heroes served up like fast food is not comprehensible, at least not so far as BSG's post is concerned. There is much squawking in your post about the hypocrisy and fear of the ominous other "they," even much projecting about "Keyboard Warriors and Coaches" (Project much?) but, honestly, it reads like bad satire. If you were not so somber, self-righteous and self-important, Brunch Bird, I'd conclude that this is second-rate material cut from The Onion.

Hiding under desks? Pushing tables against doors? Crawling into closets? In what era other than our narcissistic, passive one would those actions be defined as brave? You or I may or may not make the same choices, but whether you or I would decide to save our own skin in such a horrific situation makes us no less cowardly than those that actually did. Such lack of courage is understandable and forgivable. It is natural. It is common. For precisely these reasons it is not heroic. If all societies could create heroism in every citizen, there would be no such massacres on this scale. This in no way lays judgment on those that escaped, other than to say they were not heroic. And the problem with this is, what, exactly? Do you honestly suppose that some would wonder about heroism or the lack thereof if it were not painfully conspicuous by its absence? (Heroic stories are quick to be published. That you can do no better than your examples is what raises the question.) That some are genuinely concerned about more than just “the dead” is too much for you to take. Easier it must be to assume those with whom you differ are not merely wrong, but immoral. Your response is not reasoned argument, it's just vilification, but so sincere, to you, it must be just. You can do no better than bluster and revile.

You can celebrate the lives of those dead all you want, but it's no stretch to say that had more been willing to put the lives of others above their own (my own lofty definition of brave and heroic, I confess), there would have been less dead to glumly celebrate. As an aside, how long are you entitled to celebrate these lives before such questions can be raised, I wonder? My own hunch is that you use this appeal to sympathy as a means to stifle dissent and to intimidate others into grieving how you deem proper, so you can comfortably bury your head in the sand and feel good about your very public statements of grief, while demonizing those that don’t share your worldview. How dare you suggest that your way of grief and path to understanding is the only way to make sense of what is ultimately senseless?

So, while you honor the passive, those who refused to put themselves in harm’s way (however legitimately), please leave the serious thinking to those of us who can hold more than one uncomfortable thought in our head at once, who can compose rational thoughts above what our emotions dictate: that we mourn those that were brutally murdered while we mourn that more was not done by fellow students to halt the butchery. So while you glibly take pot shots at those that honestly and openly wonder about their own courage before contemplating the courage of others, please pause to re-calibrate that moral compass of yours, the one that calls hiding under desks, in closets, and those that decide to live to marry while a killer kills those who never will courage.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Brunch Bird said...

A reasoned and not-at-all histrionic addition to the discourse, thank you. You honor me by doing even better work here than you did on your own post yesterday on the matter. You seem to have a lot of hate in your heart. I'm praying for you, friend.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Static Cling said...

"This week at Virginia Tech, we saw a glimpse of humanity at its worst, and we also saw humanity at its best. We learned of students who risked their own safety to tend to wounded classmates. We heard of a teacher who used his body to barricade a classroom door, and gave his life so his students could escape through windows. And we saw the good people of Blacksburg embrace victims of this tragedy and help their neighbors endure, and heal, and hope."

- President George W. Bush
radio address, April 20, 2007

Cowards, indeed.

5:32 PM  
Blogger BSG said...

I never claimed that running wasn't the natural response, Brunch Bird & Homeimprovementninja. I said it wasn't the heroic one. And that you, your friends and I might not be capable of more than pissing ourselves in a similar situation wouldn't make us any more heroic than the myriad students who chose to run, hide & jump out of windows instead of charge a lone gunman. Or hell, throw a chair. Something, for crying out loud. Anything. Mind you, I'm coming from a good place: I think it's tragic that more people died than perhaps would have, had someone perhaps had a sack that day.

1:41 AM  
Blogger inowpronounceyou said...

Incredibly well said, Brunch Bird. To point the finger and say "you shoulda" is just a sad, sad statement. And, quite honestly, the people that say it are usually the least likely to actually do anything.

Except to say what someone else "shoulda" done.

1:23 PM  

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