Thursday, February 18, 2010
I was walking through the reception area at work when I saw the news about a lone pilot's suicide attack on a Texas IRS building. At that time, the broadcast was reporting that the suspect's house was reported to be on fire and I was afraid that he had annihilated his family in the process, but later was heartened to learn that the lunatic had only killed one other person.
I didn't even bat a lash at the fact that someone had attacked a building with a plane; he's just another psycho with a grudge, you see them in the news almost every day, after all. If it hadn't been a plane at the IRS, it'd been a gun at the campus or a hunting knife on the bus...it's unnerving to think that I've become accustomed to murder and numb to any real shock when hearing of it, feeling instead only a mild sense of relief : "it could have been worse".
I should be horrified but I'm not. I'd be horrified all the time if I allowed commonplace events like mass murder or random , wholesale slaughter to bother me, and it would be pretty damned difficult to function if I were in such a state. The only surprise I felt is that death toll wasn't higher, the attacker had a long time to get ready but in the end he died the way he lived- a total loser. There are girls that are better suicide bombers than Joe Stack can ever hope to be.
A low bar.
Of course, the word 'hope' doesn't really apply to suicide killers, but I see a vast difference in the total hopelessness born of living in wartime conditions in a desolate,third-world setting and the total hopelessness of being able to afford to buy a private plane and a quarter-million dollar house such as the one owned by the Texas airplane killer. I'm glad I can't afford to live that hopelessly.
Meanwhile, my old job is in the news with this headline:
Census workers who did no work were paid
The article doesn't even scratch the surface. At one point I was the Help Desk Supervisor for a Help Desk that had no incoming lines and no personnel in the field to support, I had to have four clerks sitting in front of computers that didn't have internet access, waiting for phone calls from people that hadn't even been hired and trained yet- when the operation actually began, the software that worked the phones crashed , which reduced our calls to a trickle at best. We were getting paid to do nothing, but what were we supposed to do? Quit our jobs in order to save the government some money?
I mean, it wasn't long ago that we were giving billions to the banks, so just consider the extra Census jobs as a sort of "bail-out" for average people who are in hard times...the Census could be a great vehicle for developing a jobs growth plan if handled properly- jobs that did real stuff like rebuild our infrastructure - but instead it's just another political football, something else for lunatics to blame their problems on. It's a shitty job and it doesn't last very long, so don't begrudge the folks who do it...and it's better for the economy than unemployment.
It's a shame about Title 13, it really is.