Too much too soon, too sad, too quickly.
The news out of Tucson is only days old, but already it seems as if we've known the place, known the major players, all our lives. Then the president of the United States arrives, and the mind goes on overload -- random thoughts in rapid order. Call them bullet points.
• Amazing what you can talk about when there's a grown-up leading the conversation.
• When you hold a memorial service at a basketball arena, there's a better-than-even chance that some of the people will cheer even when they shouldn't.
• This was a father speaking -- a father of young children. And this was as close as you've ever seen Barack Obama come to tears.
• "Gabby opened her eyes." He said it once, twice, three times, four times. He could have said it a dozen times and it wouldn't have lost an ounce of its impact.
• When you bring news of a miracle to a basketball arena, there's a better-than-even chance that people will go crazy.
• Looking presidential takes more than a fireplace and a flag.
• Watch for these words to find their way back into the conversation over the next few weeks and months: "Public servant." As opposed to, say, "Faceless government bureaucrat."
• From Charles Krauthammer on Fox News, after the president's speech: "I'm not sure it'll have a trivial effect on how he's perceived." He didn't look especially happy about it.
• "Blood libel"?!
• Did anyone else find it even vaguely unsettling that some of the first video out of Tucson on Saturday morning came from TV station KGUN? Remember how Washington's NBA team switched its name from Bullets to Wizards some years ago? Unless the TV station's owner is named Gunther or Gunderson or something like that, do you think it might be time to consider changing those call letters?
• Overused word of the century: "hero." Except when it's a perfect fit.
• Was there even one moment during the president's entire speech when John McCain, sitting there in the second row, said to himself, "This guy is good!"? Or even, "I wonder if I could I have done that"?
• Does anyone else find it more than vaguely unsettling that there's a special commemorative edition of an assault rifle out there that has stamped on it Congressman Joe Wilson's famous contribution to political dialogue, "You lie!"?
• You're opposed to gun control? Fine -- let's talk about bullet control.
• Can you really argue simultaneously that banning high-capacity gun magazines would be 1) absolutely pointless because a shooter can always insert another magazine; and 2) terribly restrictive?
• The difference between a standard-capacity ammo magazine and a high-capacity ammo magazine is almost meaningless -- until one of those extra bullets is headed toward someone you love.
• If I were putting together a group to campaign for tighter limits on gun magazines, I'd give serious thought to calling it calling it Bullet 17.
• "Blood libel"?! She really thinks she's the victim of a "blood libel"?!
• If civility ever catches on, what will cable TV do for programming?
• From the New York Times: "The White House did not comment on Ms. Palin's statement, but said the president did not intend to mention her in his address on Wednesday evening." Sounds about right.
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at email@example.com.
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