Archive for July, 2005
The bullets might have come from the barrel of a London cop’s pistol, but make no mistake about it – they were delivered by Islamic terrorists. And before you go passing judgment on overzealous officers and a police policy that seems inhumane, try to imagine yourself in their shoes.
Or just wait a few weeks – when you are in their shoes.
Sooner or later, the terrorist bombings that have gripped London in a state of fear and anxiety will move further west, and it will be one of our own cities that faces a lethal decision on how to best protect its citizens. London police commissioner Sir Ian Blair has made his decision: ”Shoot to kill in order to protect.”
And despite a tragic mistake on a metropolitan tube train, the people of Great Britain support him.
I’ve struggled mightily with this issue since the failed July 21 attacks on London and the shooting of a suspected suicide bomber the day after. My first reaction to the news that a would-be bomber had been killed was one of strong support for the police. I applauded their heroism as they were quickly able to assess the threat of yet another suicide bomber and eliminate it before any more innocent lives were lost.
But my second reaction was different.
What if he wasn’t a terrorist? I wondered. What if he was running to catch a train, and not from the police? What if his thick winter coat on a hot summer day simply made him weird – instead of wired?
Friday became Saturday, and Saturday was Sunday before I finally heard the news. And each time I looked for it, I hoped to God I’d learn that the detectives had saved the lives of dozens of passengers, rather than taking one from an innocent civilian. When the truth was known, it was like a kick in the gut.
It’s sometimes easy to disconnect ourselves from a tragic story like this, because we’re not in London and we don’t know any Brazilian electricians who have been shot. It’s not in our backyard yet, so we don’t have to make the decision on what’s right, what’s wrong, and what goes too far when it comes to securing ourselves.
That’s why it’s so important to remember that London isn’t the terrorists’ final target.
There will come a time when it’s an American city, be it Washington D.C. or New York or Philadelphia or wherever. Bombs will explode and terrorists will be sought, and we’ll ask our police to find them and stop them. And when that time comes, we will all be forced to answer a difficult question.
The question was delivered by Sean Connery to Kevin Costner in ”The Untouchables,” as Connery’s grizzled cop lay dying, imploring Elliot Ness to finish the job against Al Capone.
”What … are … you … prepared … to do?” he spits through his final breath.
Well? What are you prepared to do? Are you prepared to support the use of deadly force against bombing suspects, the consequences of a tragic mistake be damned?
Or will you demand due process and civil rights, hoping against hope that one brave cop is able to tackle and disarm a would-be bomber before he detonates?
What are you prepared to do?
The image of an innocent American citizen lying in a subway car with a heavy coat on his body and five bullets in his head, guilty of nothing more than running from large men with guns who may or may not be policemen, is abhorrent. It’s hard to imagine the anger and frustration we would feel toward the men and women in blue who mistakenly pulled their triggers.
But the image of dozens of mangled, bloody bodies among the twisted wreckage of a train or bus is even more grotesque, and it’s hard to imagine the anger and frustration we would feel toward the men and women in blue who hesitated at the moment of truth and did not pull their triggers.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and we have to trust that those in our government and in our uniforms will make the right decisions for all of us. There would be no greater tragedy than to see a preventable act of mass murder carried out because public opinion made a good cop flinch.
What are you prepared to do?
Bob Frantz hosts ”Bob Frantz and the Morning News” each weekday on WSPD 1370 AM. He may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We give the most complicated concepts perversely brief, three-letter names:
If these elusive entities carried labels as long as their definitions are fluid, spelling bees would be mind-punishing marathons.
Art played a central role in my weekend. Friday, we drove to the Ann Arbor Art Fair, which was in Ann Arbor, and did feature art, but proved anything but fair. As we perused the scores of booths, admiring the watercolors, sculptures in everything from metal to wax, fabrics and other creations, a small coal of resentment began to burn inside me. It was incredible to view the stunning collection of human creativity; it was galling to observe the prices being asked for scraps of driftwood and paint on canvas.
I called it Painter’s Paradox; an opportunity to bring one’s art to the masses, while pricing it to the exclusion of all but the wealthiest. Price tags in the thousands were common. Price tags in the hundreds were the norm.
A great number of families walked the art fair, and I wondered what message the younger observers were taking away. The magnificent chance to share the wonder of art was beaten into submission by the will of commerce.
I do not wish all artists to be of the starving variety, but to make acres of art inaccessible to the average home seems elitist and counterproductive to the gifts these people have nurtured.
Did it cost that painter $5,000 to make her masterpiece of black triangles streaked with angry red slashes, or was she hoping to make 10 quick sales and vacation the rest of the year? I do not know; maybe Crayons are going on the black market for $700 each. Is there a man set up in Ann Arbor’s alleys, opening a trench coat to reveal Jazzberry Jam for $600, Magic Mint for $800, buy both and receive Crab Claw Red for just $300?
I enjoyed mental visions of walking back to my car after all the people had left the streets and driving over and through every booth, smashing the corrupt system to a pulp and forcing it to start over. I envisioned myself as a beret-clad revolutionary, grinding $6,500 oil paintings and $4,000 watercolors under the wheels of working-class justice.
More than a few times, my wife caught me humming a forced medley of ”Ride of the Valkyries” by Wagner and John Lennon’s ”Power to the People.”
Saturday, we visited the Toledo Museum of Art, which features super-sized colorful banners reading, ”Come on in to your museum” on the Monroe Street entrance.
I could feel my pallet, and my palette, cleansing.
What a wonder Edward Drummond Libbey and his wife bequeathed us. Picasso. Van Gogh. Pollack. Rodin. Warhol. O’Keefe. Scores more. All on display, and all for free. No admission charge.
The galleries hold enough works to enthrall one’s imagination and intellect for days. It’s overwhelming, trying to take it all in, this major, world-class gift. And while you can’t take any of it home to hang crookedly above your fireplace, the experience leaves you richer in ways a $3,000 tie-dyed mitten will not.
My impressions can be summed up with the simplest words.
Ann Arbor Art Fair: Bad.
Toledo Museum of Art: Wow.
Michael S. Miller is Editor in Chief of Toledo Free Press.
He may be contacted at (419) 241-1700 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
On paper, Cory Huber is a track star destined for greatness at the University of Cincinnati. The Maumee High School graduate holds a record of achievements two pages long, including the school record in the 300-meter hurdles and pole vault, along with team Sprinter of the Year as a sophomore.
“She was a team leader pretty much all the way through her career,” Maumee girls’ track coach Loren Burkey said. “She’s always been very much into track, and I think that helped the team out quite a bit because they see girls that are committed to doing something.”
As the Northern Lakes League champion in the 100-meter hurdles her junior and senior year and 300-meter hurdles also her senior year, Huber was a model of excellence for other hurdlers, according to Angie Sugg, Huber’s hurdle coach since she began participating in the event in the seventh grade.
“She’s definitely the fastest hurdler I have coached in 12 years, without a question,” Sugg said. “She is a tenacious athlete. She’s the kind of athlete that coaches really love having … She would spend hours practicing. I would have to kick her off the track as a freshman and a sophomore because she was just non-stop until she got it right.”
After successful freshman, sophomore and junior seasons, Huber’s senior season was not picture perfect. In the season’s first track meet, Huber pulled her left hamstring, a painful injury that can be debilitating for track athletes and one that held her out of the majority of the regular season.
“It was tough because it was senior year and I wanted to be good and go to States,” Huber said. “But I think it was a blessing because I learned from it and how to deal with it.”
During the weeks of physical therapy, Huber faced frequent questioning in school from teammates wanting to know when they would get their leader back.
She also began to realize her dreams of breaking more school records and personal bests would not happen.
“There were a lot of tears shed through that whole time,” her mother, Diane Huber, said. “She was so frustrated. She just wanted to get back and start running.”
But Huber overcame the untimely adversity, returning to the track a week before the Northern Lakes League championships. After placing first at the NLL and district meets and second at regionals by one one-hundredths of a second, Huber advanced to the state meet in Columbus. Attention from recruiters she expected to have all season also began increasing.
Soon after the state meet, where she finished 13th in the 100-meter hurdles, Cincinnati offered her a scholarship and a spot on its roster for next season. Huber signed her national letter of intent July 8.
“It was awesome how everything turned out, and I worked hard through it all,” Huber said. “But it was a struggle.”
Huber said what appealed to her the most about the University of Cincinnati was the family atmosphere of the team.
With only one other hurdler in the program, Huber said there may be an opportunity for her to contribute immediately.
“I took forever to choose a college because I didn’t know exactly where I wanted to go,” she said. “Cincinnati just came at the last moment, and everything worked out.”
The future Bearcat, who graduated in June with a 3.7 GPA, made the honor roll in every quarter of her high school career and was inducted into the school’s National Honor Society her junior year.
Huber also is an active member in Young Life, a Christian youth organization, and has an extensive volunteering background, having worked at St. Luke’s Hospital and the Northwest Ohio Development Center.
“I was pretty much well-rounded in every single way,” Huber said.
Charlie Daniels will rosin up his bow and play his fiddle hard when he brings his band to town at 8 p.m. July 29 at Harley-Davidson, 7960 Central Ave.
“We’ve played for the bikers for years,” Daniels said last week from a tour stop in Choctaw, Miss. “We play the same stuff for them. We do songs that people have a right to expect us to do, the songs they play on the radio and TV (“The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “Long Haired Country Boy,” “The Legend of Wooley Swamp”), and we do some new songs and a few surprises.”
His latest disc, “Songs From the Longleaf Pines,” was released in March. The gospel and bluegrass collection is the 45th release in Daniels’ career and is dedicated to Russell Palmer, who taught him his first guitar chord.
“My family always loved music, but we didn’t play,” Daniels said. “Russell came out one day with an old guitar. He knew two and a half chords on it, and we started from there.”
Daniels learned the mandolin along with the guitar and one year later picked up a fiddle at age 16.
“I don’t know which way my life would have went if Russell hadn’t come out with that guitar,” said the native of Wilmington, N.C.
Russell helped launch a legend known for his Southern music, Western attire, patriotic verve and spirited storytelling.
“I come from a time when the storyteller was revered. I didn’t see a picture on the TV set until I was 15 years old. We listened to the radio,” Daniels said. “You had to draw your own pictures. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and I always wanted to write even when I was very young. And I found I had a little talent in that direction.”
That talent is evident with the hits “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” “Still in Saigon,” “In America” and “This Ain’t No Rag, It’s a Flag,” which he wrote after Sept. 11, 2001.
“Patriotism is really strong in America. As much as I travel — coast to coast, border to border — I know this,” Daniels said. “I can’t speak for Hollywood or segments of the media, but as far as rank and file citizens go, people who get out there and get the job done, patriotism is very strong.”
Last spring, Daniels and his band showed their support and entertained American troops in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq and Germany.
“We visited one of Saddam’s palaces, it was incredibly lavish; This guy had like 200 of these things in the country. And so much of the country’s resources he used on himself and his family while folks lived in abject poverty,” Daniels said. “Our troops are very welcome in Iraq. I don’t know why the media aren’t reporting that.”
Daniels had the chance to sit in one of Saddam’s chairs. “I was trying to show as much disrespect as I could and still stay decent,” he said with a laugh.
Tickets for the concert are $27.50 in advance and $30 at the gate.