Fast and Furious

Too Many Tragedies

Too Many Tragedies in Too Short a Time Frame

It seems that flags have been at half mast for so long— beginning with the Dallas police shootings—that one no longer knows which disaster is being commemorated. With the 24-hour news cycle, the shootings are coming fast and furious, and the border between events is being blurred.

When one big news event happens, it triggers a news orgy in which the particular story fills all the news time until it is abruptly replaced by the next disaster. I cannot help but think that all the breaking news stories work on the minds of disturbed individuals, making them think that a mass shooting would be a good idea.

I don’t think the perpetrators do it with suicide in mind, but, hey, their minds don’t work all that well anyhow. The San Bernardino shooters, for instance, thought they could stage a getaway. If one is unable to reason well, one gets a certain amount of magical thinking going that, once “the point” has been made, an escape path is possible. Killing multiple human beings with a Bushmaster, however, is so traumatic that it isn’t likely that the shooters could waltz out of the slaughterhouse they have created.

So I never ask why the flag is at half mast any more. It might as well always be at half mast. I wonder if the person who raises and lowers the flag even knows.


La Bandera Oficial

The Official Flag of Argentina

The Official Flag of Argentina

Today, Martine and I went for a walk on the spectacular campus of Pepperdine University in Malibu. It was a hot, but crystal-clear day with clear views toward Catalina and Palos Verdes. What was different today was a display of some 3,000 flags, mostly the stars and stripes. I guessed that they represented the students on campus and their country of origin. Instead, it was a commemoration of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, in which 2,996 people died. The non-American flags represented the country of origin of the victims of the Al Qaeda terrorists.

Toward the end of the display, I stopped by a flag of Argentina. At the same time I felt sad for the Argentinian victim of the attack, I felt a warm glow in anticipation of my upcoming trip to Argentina and Chile in November.

It was Manuel Belgrano who designed the flag in Rosario in 1812 during his country’s war of independence from Spain. It was officially accepted as the nation’s official flag at the Congress of Tucumán on July 20, 1816, complete with the stylized image of the sun. An alternate ornamental version of the flag is minus the sun.

At one point last week, I fell afoul of a clique of rabid Little Englander trolls by suggesting that this flag should by rights be flying over the Falkland Islands. I have since decided to moderate my enthusiasm for all things Argentinian and cede the archipelago to the Brits.