When adults sound silly—and stupid
Commentary by Pat Murphy
Yes, kiddies, adults are fully capable of
sounding silly when abruptly thrust into the public eye and feel compelled to
open their mouths.
· Start with the leader of Arizona
Catholics, Bishop Thomas O’Brien, of Phoenix, whose car struck and killed a
pedestrian. O’Brien didn’t stop, he later said, because he thought he had hit a
dog or large rock.
O’Brien’s explanation was lame from the
get-go: before police tracked him down, the bishop had two days to examine the
windshield, half of which was splintered and caved in, which was certainly more
damage than an errant rock or dog could’ve inflicted. Even if a dog had caused
such damage, wouldn’t a compassionate prelate of the Catholic Church stop for a
poor animal he might’ve injured or killed?
The Vatican forced O’Brien, who faces a
criminal trial and perhaps prison time, to resign. Worse for O’Brien, he has the
reputation of covering up sex crimes by predator priests and stonewalling law
enforcement investigators. What a jury would swallow his dog-or-rock excuse for
· The other newsmaking hit-and-run
killer, Chante Mallard, of Fort Worth, spoke even sillier nonsense. Her car
hit a man so hard he crashed through the windshield and was left dangling over
the dashboard to bleed to death after she parked her car at home. Mallard
excused her behavior because (a) she’d been drinking liquor and using the
hallucinatory drug "ecstasy" for hours, and (b) was snockered and didn’t know
what to do while the victim’s life seeped away in her car.
Did she really believe a jury would excuse
her killing a man because she was wasted on booze and drugs—especially after
jurors heard evidence she (a) asked two friends to move the body to a park and
(b) she burned her car’s bloody front seat to destroy evidence? Her 60-year
prison sentence testifies to the jury’s disbelief.
· Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne jumped in
with his own silly rhetoric. After emerging as a candidate to become
administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Kempthorne hurriedly
boasted that his environmental record is good (it isn’t). Has Kempthorne
forgotten that President Bush doesn’t give a flick about the environment, and
just needs an unthinking lapdog at EPA to carry out pro-industry attacks on air
and water quality laws ordered by the White House, not someone claiming to be
simpatico to the environment who’ll stand in the way?
· Finally, honors for the most inane
disconnect from reality goes to American Teleservices Association executive
director Tim Searcy. When the Do-Not-Call law banning unsolicited
telemarketing phone calls was signed, Searcy insisted that unwanted calls during
the dinner hour are needed and wanted by consumers.
Oh? If consumers are so enamored with
unsolicited dinner hour calls, how come they raced to sign on to the Federal
Trade Commission’s Do-Not-Call registry at the line-choking rate of 104,000 per
hour for a total of 16.9 million registrations in the first five days?