Okay, I'll admit it. I grew up in Garland, Texas. If you've seen the movie Zombieland, you might understand why I don't admit it very often. If you haven't seen the film, you should - it's absolutely hysterical, but that's the Pop Culture Diva talking and as usual, I digress.
Actually, Garland was a great place to live. It's a suburb of Dallas, close to all the action of that dynamic city, but far enough removed (at least in those days) from big city life to make the pace of life pleasant, to make the residents feel safe and secure. I went from the 4th grade through 12th in Garland schools. I was a Dashing Deb - that was the drill team for Garland High School. (I was younger and much smaller then.) On Friday nights, until my junior year, lots of the townsfolk went to the old wooden Williams Stadium to root for the Garland Owl football team. When the team played away games, the good citizens trekked in caravan fashion to the opponents' stadium, their headlights shining in the Autumn darkness. It was like a scene from the movie Hoosiers. But prior to the start of my junior year, a second high school opened and the magic of those Friday Night Lights was consigned to history.
Oh and by the way, Garland High School defeated Odessa Permian (the subject of Friday Night Lights) on the way to winning the state football championship back in the day.
I could have told anybody planning mischief in Garland, even the much larger more sophisticated town that it is today, miscreants would not be given a warning. They would likely be shot. It's Texas, for heaven's sake, proud proponent of the old west gun culture, where the good citizens were packing long before it was legal to do so.
Last night I was watching entertainment television (Marvel's Thor) when my iPhone chimed with an email notice. My best friend-girl (don't ask) in Dallas wrote to ask if I was watching Fox News or CNN because there had been a terrorist attack in Garland. So I left the mighty Thor (later, Chris) in favor of CNN.
To say I grew more livid by the minute as I watched the coverage is an understatement. I was horrified that a group called a "hate group" by some watchdog agencies staged an exhibit of images of the prophet Mohammed, including a cartoon contest anywhere at all, but they chose my hometown. The keynote speaker was a Dutch politician known for lambasting all Muslims and denigrating the Koran. What, is he related to the yeahoo preacher from down the road here in Florida?!!
According to CNN last night, members of the Tea Party were out front protesting against the exhibit. What does that tell you?
Didn't they learn anything from Paris? No, apparently not - the organizers had to tweak the nose of Jihadists everywhere, publicizing the event in all forms of media. Might as well have said, "here we are, come and get us, nyah, nyah, nyah..." Why don 't you paint a bullseye on your backs?
First before you get on your high horse, I want to say I totally support Freedom of Speech and all the other freedoms we enjoy in our great country. It is our birthright and one I will support with my life if need be.
What I won't do is offer the lives of innocent people. I'm grateful last night's attack resulted only in the attackers' deaths. It could have been, and has been elsewhere, much worse.
The developer of the art exhibit and contest was on CNN this morning, spewing hatred for Jihadists and daring them once more. She turned everything the CNN reporter said back to the reporter in a loud, strident voice, (an old debater's technique, one which attorneys are taught in law school). She complained she had to put up $50,000 for security. She's lucky it wasn't considerably more given the controversial nature of the exhibit. If you play, you pay, Sweetcheeks.
I have to wonder if the real purpose of this event was to cause an attack to keep the dialogue of hate moving forward...
Sorry, I'm cynical, I am a child of the 1960s.
So what lesson was reinforced for me by last night's events? If you want to risk your own life, that's okay. It's your right and privilege. If you don't care about the other lives you risk, you're committing a criminal act, aka known in legal circles as "depraved indifference."
Oh, and the final lesson?
DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS.