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Be Frightened

Posted by Rick · May 26th, 2006 · No Comments

Why should you be frightened? Because that’s what “they” want.

It’s hard to know these days whether “they” in the last sentence is the Bush Administration, which repeatedly uses the news of horrible terrible things that might just possibly happen somewhere in the universe, maybe, if everyone isn’t properly behaving. And properly behaving, of course, means leaving the Administration alone to do whatever it wants, whether that is collecting your phone records (and millions of others, but you really only care about yours, right?), or mounting cameras around the towns in which you live (to keep you safe, of course, because the world is suddenly such a scary place!) to watch “just in case” there’s a crime.

Or maybe the cameras are just to remind you that anything you do could end up on the news, where you will be used to help keep other people scared.

“They”, of course, might be the “news” media. Having learned from the Bush Administration the value of scaring people, and having realized just how well it keeps folks tuned in to their stations, everything that happens these days which might possibly maybe somehow sorta turn out to be a harbinger of horror gets tons of airtime.

Case in point: Sometime this morning, someone might have heard some gunfire at the Blackburn Building in Washington, D.C. Could it be terrorists? Should you be terrified?

Whatever you do, just keep watching the news. We don’t really know what happened, “they” repeated for the entire hour I sat at the club this morning, trying to read over my breakfast and their breathless “newscasting.” We just know that someone thinks they heard gunfire. Two people in a heightened state of fright after this had gone on for some time (and just, apparently, as it was about to die down [no pun intended]) said they may have seen a gunman in the gym there.

On the other hand,

It certainly is calm and controlled at this point…. The police do not seem overly concerned that there might be a gunman loose at this point. — Reports of gunfire, gunman prompt Capitol lockdown (May 26, 2006) CNN.

Said the Chief of Staff of one Representative:

I’m guessing it’s a car backfiring or balloons popping. — Reports of gunfire, gunman prompt Capitol lockdown (May 26, 2006) CNN.

It might not be a car backfiring, or balloons popping. It might be that someone slammed a car door very hard.

Just in case, though, you really should be frightened and glue yourself in front of the television.

And don’t forget to ignore whatever else may be going on in Washington.

UPDATE (Post time: 1:30 p.m.): Bob Marcotte tells me that CNN is now claiming the “gunshots” were not a backfiring car, popping balloons or slamming car doors. They were worker’s tools.

Oh, those evil scary workers, frightening people without cause!

UPDATE (Post time: 5/27/2006, 9:30 a.m.): Well, thank goodness the “news” organizations stayed on top of this for all those hours. Otherwise, people would never have been scared at all. Turns out the “gunshots” were probably air hammers being used by workers repairing an elevator. If the “news” hadn’t made sure that this was a high-priority story for so long, American citizens would not have been kept on a state of high alert and we might never have known that an elevator in the Rayburn Building was well-maintained. Thank you again, “news” organizations!

Categories: News Reporting


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