Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Oddest of Priorities

It has been over two years since the one and only time the word "Kardashian" has appeared in a column here, which means that well over 400 articles have left my pen without having to have invoked the name of the first family of celebrity-sans-talent.  I include Kanye West in that, at least until he learns his native language to a second-grade level.

So it was with curious eyes that I came across an article in this morning's news, to the effect that Connecticut law enforcement apparently had some curious priorities.  This message was tweeted out by the police in the town of Glastonbury, which I assume tweets out every one of their arrests for reasons that probably escape all of us.

I'll present the tweet in its entirety so that you can have the facts, and just the facts:

GLASTONBURY MAN ARRESTED FOR DESTROYING KARDASHIAN SELFIES BOOKS. On 3/6/17 at 1530 hours, a 74-year-old Glastonbury man was arrested by warrant for Criminal Mischief 3rd Degree, stemming from an incident that occurred on 10/13/16. The man is accused of spreading a red liquid all over some Kim Kardashian books. The books, titled "Selfish" contained large-print photos of Kim Kardashian's selfies. Six copies of the books were destroyed in the massacre and could not be revived. He also left a lengthy note (that he took the time to type out) explaining his dislike of [Miss] Kardashian and people like her. After being booked he was released on a $2,500.00 non-surety bond.

OK, it wasn't a tweet, it was a Facebook post, which I didn't know until I got suspicious on reading character #141 and clicked the link to it.  I don't think the medium is the message in this one.

You had to be a bit startled at the use of the term "massacre" by actual government officials, a word usually reserved for the death of you know, actual living things.  In fact, a few things startled me, including the obviously tongue-in-cheek concept that the books could "not be revived" and the term "large-print photos."  The term "large print" refers to the point size of the font used to present alphabetic letters.  The term "photos" refers to photographs (duh), which are not words and, in the case of Miss Kardashian, likely words of few syllables each.

In fact, as I read the post over and over, I have to think that the writer intended sarcasm throughout.  Connecticut has, after all, had a real massacre in one of its public schools.  The idea that books that had had red liquid spread on them and "could not be revived", well, I get it.  The post was meant to be sarcastic.

But there was one part to it that should indeed get our attention.

This 74-year-old man was indeed arrested and charged with a crime, "criminal mischief 3rd degree", and was held and subsequently released on a $2,500 bond.  Presumably he is free now, given that the "crime" was done in October, he left a note there at the time, but only in March was he actually arrested and charged.

My best girl pointed this out to me on reading the article and chuckling a bit, but then thought on it a bit more.  "How come", the missus asked, "this old guy gets arrested for putting ketchup on a few books of Kim Kardashian pictures, but the American flag gets stepped on and burned all over the place by those idiot protesters and that's perfectly fine." 

Think on that for a bit.  Somewhere either in our legal system or in the selective enforcement pattern of the police forces across the USA, the moral equivalence levels have tilted to where we protect pictures of Kim Kardashian, taken by Kim Kardashian, with legal enforcement that we do not provide to the American flag and levy on those who burn it?

OK, sure, I get the fact that the books were the property of a store, and that we shouldn't be going into retail stores and pouring red liquids on the store owner's property.  My son's retail store having been broken into and robbed this week, I'm acutely sensitive to that.  The guy should have been charged with something, or at least made to reimburse the bookstore owner the cost of those books, even though he did the world a small favor.

But so, then, should those who burn our flag.  And this "case", such as it is, does us the favor of pointing out the rather unequal protection and the absurdity with which we protect flag-burners -- or, for that matter, the burners of anything in the course of protest where burning is prohibited -- under "free speech" interpretations.

I hope you see what I'm driving at.

Copyright 2017 by Robert Sutton
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