The Squawkers

You know the type…They’re the folks that seemingly love to draw people into an argument, feeding off the negative reactions of those around them. They’re the self-appointed guardians of intellectual superiority, with the supernatural ability to be the judge and jury of the hopeless sinners left in their proverbial wake. I like to call them “The Squawkers”.

In my experience, there are four main types of this particular species. These four types can include all spectrums, ideologies, and political parties.

Type #1 is the race baiter. The race baiter, normally a hard-left liberal, will typically turn any argument that even remotely includes someone of any particular minority into an accusation of racism against the other party. This type doesn’t care if the target is part of the imagined slandered race or not. In their rose-colored world, anyone that dares disagree with them on race-related matters is automatically stamped with the “RACIST!” label and is summarily relegated to subhuman status. It doesn’t matter if the target is interracially married, with mixed-race children, living in an integrated neighborhood, with close friends from India, Brazil, Abu Dhabi, and the South Pole. That target is the scum of the earth. They’d have to be because, well, it’s just too much effort to find more than a couple of brain cells to put together to make up any kind of intelligent argument to prove otherwise.

Type #2 is the free speech denier. This type, like the race baiter, eventually reaches an intellectual wall, at which point the “You’re denying my freedom of speech!” card is tossed on the table. No matter how many times or different ways you explain that someone has the right to say something but that they maybe should use some self-restraint in what they say, you’re automatically slapped with the free speech denier label and intellectually shipped off to Neverland.

Type #3 is the lack o’patriotism claimer. This particular type, usually a hard-right individual politically-speaking, thinks anyone against war for any reason at all must hate their country with an unbelievable passion. Why, those folks are dope-smoking, flower-in-hair wearing, pinko-commie, pansies who ought to be living in a commune somewhere in the wilderness of Canada!

Lastly, type #4 is the hater…This is probably the most widespread type and isn’t relegated to just political issues. If you think REM sucked rocks and you’re glad they broke up yesterday, then you’re a hater…OK, I’m just kidding on that one. Anyway, this label is quite frequently used when someone disagrees with something like gay marriage, abortion, and other social issues. If you’re against gay marriage, you’re an anti-gay bigot. Think abortion should be outlawed? Well, then you must hate women and want them to die in a back-alley abortion performed by an unqualified doctor with an infected coathanger. And don’t even think about opposing universal healthcare, you hating hater who hates!

Do you get the point? It’s so easy to fall into the trap of shutting down the intellectual response in favor of the emotional. Yes, emotions play a part in almost any discussion. Many people believe passionately about certain things and I believe it should always be that way. It doesn’t bother me if someone passionately disagrees with me. I respect it when someone will argue with me, defending their point when they clearly believe in what they’re saying. It shows me they care. However, it can be taken too far as described in the four types above. These are the folks who go overboard and allow emotion to override everything else. There’s room for both logic and passion in my world.


Revisited – 9:11: A Personal Reflection


I wrote this for last year’s 9/11 anniversary and, since it’s been getting so much traffic on my blog recently, I thought I’d bring it back again this year. I can’t think of anything more appropriate anyway. This is in memory of those who perished on 9/11, almost ten years ago to the day. May God bless the families who will relive that day.

In the four years since I started blogging and only really two years blogging on a regular basis, I haven’t really even thought of putting my own words about my memories of 9/11 to paper…Or to screen, in this case.

However, earlier today on the way home, I listened as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was interviewed regarding his memories about what happened back in 2001. When asked about what memory was most etched in his mind from that day, he recounted the painful memories he has of being close enough to the two devastated towers to witness trapped World Trade Center workers leaping from the wreckage and flames to certain death near or over 100 stories to the pavement below. The picture you see above is of one of those desperate souls who perished that day.

On 9/11/2001, I was at work in downtown Indianapolis on the 17th floor of what is known as the “Gold Building”. There are several buildings considerably taller than the Gold Building but it stands out due to its gold-colored windows, causing it to distinguish itself from other buildings in the Indianapolis skyline. Shortly after 8:45 AM, Deb, our office manager hurriedly moved through the office saying something about an airplane striking one of the Twin Towers in New York City. I guess at the time we were certainly a little stunned but it had probably not dawned on anyone just yet that a terrorist attack was under way. We had a small, portable black-and-white television set that Deb had set up in her office as the news played, informing us of what was going on.

Honestly, after hearing about that first plane crashing into the tower, I don’t remember much detail of what we learned over the course of the next hour or two. I do remember hearing about the second plane and realizing that it was now certainly no accident and then we heard a little later on about the plane striking the Pentagon. By this time, there was little work being done as we all tried to keep track of more pressing matters.

Then we heard about another plane possibly heading towards Washington on a similar mission and, shortly thereafter, crashing in Pennsylvania. By this time, I remember feeling pretty numb, the kind of feeling you get hearing about the unexpected passing of a loved one or receiving bad news from the doctor.

Also by this time, emergency responders all across the country were preparing for the possibility of similar attacks occurring in their own localities. We were told that we could go home if we wanted. I didn’t see much point in staying since there weren’t many, if any calls coming in to our support department, so I decided to head home.

After arriving home nearly 45 minutes later, listening to the news on the radio the entire way, I planted myself in front of the TV and watched in stunned silence the news coverage of the events of the day being played on nearly every channel, including many of those that never covered the news. That’s pretty much all I did for the rest of that day. I honestly don’t even remember if I went to work that next day, which would have been a Wednesday. I think I must have but it’s mostly a blur by now.

Listening to Giuliani’s account of what he experienced that day, I wept as I thought of the despair that those people in the towers must have felt that day. I cannot even begin to fathom how hopeless that must’ve felt to be trapped on the floors above the initial devastation. I’ve found it horrifying enough to have had dreams where I was falling and the helplessness I felt from it, to say nothing of actually falling to certain doom. What must the man in the above picture have been thinking in his last few seconds alive, knowing that he would not wake up to see his family the next day? What of those who made last-second phone calls to their spouse or child, knowing that the person on the other end of the call would soon be without their husband, wife, father, or mother? What went through the minds of those responders who rushed fearlessly into the soon-to-collapse towers in the hopes of saving maybe just one more person?

One of the sights I remember from that day as I looked east out the windows of the 17th floor of the Gold Building was that of a rainbow circling the sun. I’d never seen anything like it before and perhaps my mind and/or eyes were just playing tricks on me. I don’t even know if something like that is possible but I took it as a sign that, despite the evil that had occurred that morning, much good would or could come from it. Time really did seem to stand still that day.

May God bless and heal the families of those who lost their loved ones on 9/11/2001.