Copyright © 2003 Henrietta W. Hay
Hot Town: Summer in the City...
Think it's hot? It's so hot the headlines are almost melting off the
papers and it's not just because of the weather. After all we have
Kobe, the killing of Hussein's two sons, three nuns headed for prison,
a guy getting into the New York City Hall with a hand gun, and Jessica
Lynch coming home a hero.
The story that has used far and away the most ink is that of Kobe
Bryant. Only two people know what really happened between Kobe and the
young woman in Eagle county, but it looks as though everyone in the
world has an opinion. As Diane Carman wrote, "At this point the
verdict is irrelevant. The damage is done. Denver District Attorney
Bill Ritter says he 'absolutely' believes that what's happened to
Bryant's accuser will discourage reporting of sexual assaults." For
generations the traditional response to a rape complaint was, "I wonder
what she did to deserve it." Gradually women have won the right to be
believed, and have been reporting sexual assaults oftener, including
women at the Air Force Academy. In this case the media frenzy will set
the cause back no matter who is guilty. Justice will be hard to
I hope they have a speedy trial.
The other big story of the week was of more importance to the nation,
but took second place in the publicity race. Huge headlines announced
the death of Hussein's two sons, Odai and Qusais. But there have been
enough questions about accuracy of news from Iraq that we do wonder
whether they really got the right guys. The U. S. military released
grisly photos of the bloodied and battered bodies in an effort to
eliminate skepticism on the part of the Iraqis. Fortunately, the
Sentinel and the two Denver papers did not print them but they are all
over the TV screen. Skeptical Americans need some proof too, but those
pictures hardly provided it.
Three Catholic nuns were sentenced to up to 41 months in prison. My
first impulse was to say, "Right on, sisters." But yes we are in a
nation of law, and yes, they are troublemakers. They learned from a
master, Philip Berrigan. But the damage they did to the missile silo
was minimal and the blood they shed was their own. They demonstrated to
make the point that weapons of mass destruction are immoral. Their
passion and sincerity are desperately needed today. Will the world be
safer because they are in prison? As a friend of mine commented, that
is the human dilemma. How do we know where to draw the line?
We had one happy story to think about in the heat. PFC Jessica Lynch
came home in a Black Hawk helicopter from Walter Reed Medical Center to
a huge celebration in Elizabeth, West Virginia. "It's great to be
home," she said as she spoke to the thousands who came out to greet her
and give her
a hero's welcome. We all watched the films of her rescue from the
Iraqi hospital where she was being held prisoner. The original story
out of Washington of her injuries was not exactly accurate. She did not
go down shooting, but she was injured in the line of duty. And as she
proudly says, "I am a soldier in the United States Army." She deserved
her hero's welcome.
It didn't receive major headlines, but it hit front pages. A man walked
unchallenged into the City Hall in lower New York with a hand gun, and
shot and killed his companion. This is less than two years after
9/11. I would have expected security in that building to be at least
as tight as that at Walker Field.
And to cap it off I caught the tag end of a story on TV -- no headlines
-- that showed 48% of Democrats in a special poll picked Hillary for the
nomination in 2004. Hope it stays hot.