P.T. Barnum never said, “There’s a jackass born every minute.” Then again, the legendary showman lived before the age of television and the even more recent advent of the mobile video team that arrives at the scene of breaking news to bring viewers events as they unfold.
Another one (jackass, that is) made his debut today at the Mall in Columbia in Maryland, where, as LU staff reported earlier, there was another senseless shooting. So far, the death toll remains at three and, judging from incoming dispatches, is blessedly not likely to rise beyond that. The motive behind the violent act, which took place in a food court, is yet to be determined, as are the identities of the victims and the gunman.
But for now the spotlight is on the lone face in the crowd, not of the shooter, but of the idiot who saw an interview on CNN with Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon as an invitation to his 15 minutes of fame. You can see him in the background, mugging pathetically for the TV camera. He stands out vividly from the rest of the crowd, who wear somber expressions, by dint of his goofy ear-to-ear grin. When you watch the video of his performance, your level of disgust is likely to rise.
Joe Concha at Mediaite invites the reader to engage in a thought experiment:
Now imagine being a family member or friend of someone you know was at that mall at the time of the shooting. You tried reaching out to them via phone, via text, to make sure they’re OK. But you haven’t heard back yet, and your mind immediately jumps to the worst.
And then you see “Scarf Guy” doing a jig while having a chuckle with someone on the phone. You then see another (much taller) gentleman casually waving to those at home as well. If you’re me, you start to really wonder if anyone even cares about these kinds of arbitrary acts of violence anymore.
Are we really that immune to indiscriminate violence? Do we even reflect and ponder what it must be like if a son, daughter, mother or father is watching at home not knowing if their loved one is alive or dead, and has to be subjected to absolute idiots who are just happy to be there so they have a story to brag to their friends about later?
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