And then I wrote...

by Dick Schilling, Editor Emeritus

... that American consumers of news are often accused of having a short attention span, and I think there is a lot of truth in that.
However, sometimes the news media cut short the dwelling on a story because a new story inserts itself.
Case in point was the suicide of Robin Williams.
Every news show spent many minutes on his death, with quotes from anybody they could get to comment.
The death of a young black man in Missouri at the hands of a white police officer knocked the Williams story out of the news. As of this writing, that shooting is still a lead story, after a week.
That’s despite some interesting developments overseas, which are temporarily taking a back seat.
Of all the things that Williams did, I still appreciated his role as Mork from Ork the most. I did not see some of his serious movies. I did see him as a guest on several shows, and he was “on” from the minute he was introduced, shotgunning one liners one after another. He was very funny.
But when I learned of his death, a line from Shakespeare in The Tempest came to mind: “I shall laugh myself to death.”
And that led me to recall what my instructor said in the university course on Shakespeare that I took. He said that in his comedies, Shakespeare often included a jester, or fool, or clown. And that careful reading of those plays reveals that the funny guy was often the character who moved the moral of the story along. That the jester was conveying Shakespeare’s message to a greater extent than the major characters.
Perhaps Williams’ funny stuff was similar.
I can’t comment on what happened in that shooting incident in Ferguson, MO because I don’t think we know. I don’t think anyone knows for sure with the exception of the officer who fired the shots, and we have not heard from him at this point.
It has been made clear that the officer did not know of the strong armed robbery which the young man committed just before that. But I wish someone would question whether or not the deceased young man might have thought that was why the officer was stopping him as he walked down the middle of the street with his buddy, who had witnessed the robbery. If they thought that was why they were being stopped, how would that have affected their actions, if at all? Did that occur to them? Did they talk about it? The friend knows, if he will tell.
I do feel there are factors on both sides which are keeping the violence alive, none more than the professional race baiters such as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is continuing his Trevon Martin screed of that case two years ago.
Will the truth about what happened end the bad feelings? Will both sides accept it? Don’t bet on it!