Monday, January 10, 2005



Just Saturday I was posting the first-hand account of a helicopter pilot flying relief missions into Banda Aceh from the USS Lincoln. Yesterday, one of those helicopters crashed. Luckily, no deaths, though there was a broken ankle and a dislocated hip.

Just like firefighters and cops, these guys, even though they're getting paid, are going in and doing the right thing. I don't know what today's military chopper pilot takes home after taxes (nor even what a New York firefighter or a Seattle cop bring to the bank on payday), but I'll say this: If their salary was pro rated based on what someone like Brad Pitt or Jennifer Aniston make per hour, this country couldn't afford to pay them.

Meanwhile, back in New York, an off-duty veteran of George Bush's War was shot dead by a punk -- apparently for having accidentally bumped into the punk's girlfriend. (Thank God for the second amendment.) If you're the kind of cartoon liberal that Rush Limbaugh's drug-fevered brain seems to believe are real, you might say that it was probably the Army sergeant's fault; he joined the Army because he was naturally belligerent and not able to think for himself. Who knows, that may even be the case. But the more likely case is that the guy who did the shooting is the same kind of punk who comes from the same kind of environment that says it's better to shoot somebody than to be dissed, no matter how slight the perceived insult might be. (Can you say "Ron Artest"?)

Meanwhile, despite what happened to Sgt. Terrence Balkinsson, and despite the tragedy of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, the dead remain unrecovered and the living remain unrecoverable.

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