Friendly Fire & Other Timely Topics
Anyway, I've always suspected that Americans are in a class by themselves when it comes to what is foolishly called "Friendly Fire." This suspicion first arose back in 1944 when I discovered that one of the most dangerous moments on a night patrol came while trying to get back to your own lines without being shot. Americans, it seems, live by the motto of the Old West, "Shoot first and ask questions later." It has been modified somewhat so now it is, "Shoot first and later find out who in hell you were shooting at."
In other words Americans are trigger happy. How many other countries even have a term for shooting or bombing or raining artillery fire on people on your own side? And calling it friendly fire is a real misnomer because to those on the receiving end there is nothing friendly about it.
But this week friendly fire was elevated to a new level. A group of FBI agents were confronting a lone bank robber who was begging them to shoot him dead. That's against law enforcement policy, needless to say, so instead one of the FBI stalwarts shot and killed another FBI agent. Friendly fire. As the saying goes, with friends like that who needs enemies?
Then there was the news about Ford Motor Company. Fourteen plants are being closed and 38,000 people laid off or given buyouts because Ford lost more than $12 billion last year. But wait, there's more. The company then paid its CEO $28 million plus perks. He worked four months. And people wonder why Toyota and Honda are destroying the American automobile industry.
In North Canton, Ohio, Hoover is closing down its original factory that sits in the heart of town. More than 800 people are losing their jobs. Those jobs are going to El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico. Mexicans are coming to this country looking for work. The way things are going it won't be long before Americans will be going to Mexico looking for work.
One more thing: out of loyalty to the company the citizens of North Canton named their high school Hoover. Years ago I attended a football game there and at halftime the fans stood up and to the tune of the Field Artillery Song everyone sang, "As the Hoovers go sweeping along." Does it need saying that that was back in the days when loyalty was a two-way street?
The Boston Red Sox were in the news because of having paid $100 million for a Japanese pitcher. It was heartwarming to hear that he did a pretty good job in his first outing.
But the capper for the news came from Ball State University in good old Muncie, Indiana, also known as Middletown U.S.A. They signed the womens' basketball coach to a new contract paying her $181,000. Only the president of the university and the vice president of business affairs make more. I'm sure this decision was heartily approved by all the professors because the players on the team say the coach treats them like she was their mom.
So that about wraps it up. I'm sure comforted by the fact that all our priorities are in order. Well, there is one more thing. I decided to run the spell checker and came up with some interesting results. Those Ford buyouts was replaced by buttocks. I guess receiving a buyout is a kick in the buttocks. And it wasn't heartwarming that the Japanese pitcher did well. No, it was heartrending.
In thinking over those changes, though, I wonder if that spell checker might actually be right.