Monday, April 15, 2013

On Boston, And The Shitty State Of Our Media

I need to rant about this while it's still fresh in my head. This is my catharsis...sometimes I have to just get this stuff out so I can clear my head and move on to something more productive.

I started running in 2003 when, in our family's self-flagellation ritual, I stepped onto the scale before Thanksgiving dinner to record my weight. We always weigh before and after to see who eats the most. I stared incredulously at the number.


At five foot six inches, 200 is not a number you want to see related to your weight. Life's tough enough when you're short, but short and fat (and balding!) is a recipe for disaster! And so I started running.

I did 5Ks in 2004, 10Ks in 2005, and a half marathon in 2007. I figured that I would peak there, but I work with a lot of runners, one of whom is an 'ultra-runner' - he has run 100 mile or 24-hour races dozens of times. He's done the Leadville 100 eight times (maybe nine, I forget). It's hard not to get caught up in the spirit of the thing when you're around people like that.

So I ran my first full marathon in 2011 - the Colorado Marathon in Ft. Collins, CO - and I finished in five hours and 46 minutes. I was slow, I was in agony for the last 7 miles, but I finished and I swore, now that I had done a full marathon and could check it off the bucket list that I would never do another one.

In 2012 I ran the Denver Rock & Roll Marathon. I trained harder and finished in 4:52, much improved over the previous year, and was in much better condition when it was over.  I almost immediately registered for the next one.

In 5 days I'll be running the Salt Lake City Marathon. I'm 40 pounds lighter than I was in 2003, and a good deal faster than I was last year. On April 7th I finished a 1/2 marathon in under 1:55, which is no small feat at age 43. I'm primed and ready for this race.

And then come the events in Boston today. As a runner, as a marathoner, I know what it takes to train for a marathon.  I've run more than 500 miles and spent more than 85 hours on the roads training for Salt Lake. I'm expecting to come in about four hours and 20 minutes - or an hour and five minutes slower than what it takes for a 43 year old man to qualify for Boston. That's what makes the Boston Marathon so special. For many people it's the culmination of years of training, countless injuries overcome, thousands of miles logged, many, many disappointments and setbacks until finally, there's that race where everything goes right, and you earn your ticket in. And that's just to get there.  Once you're qualified to run the race, then you have to begin training for one of the most historic and toughest courses the sport knows.

So for many people, running in Boston is the culmination of a lifetime's effort and more often than not it's the only time they're going to get this chance. Every person on that course has that thing in common - they all did the work, they all made the qualifying time, they all know what it means to run on those streets. There's a solidarity among runners at every event, but at Boston, they all had to do more than just register and pay a fee - they had to earn their entry with blood and sweat. In that, they're all equal. It's about as apolitical an event as you can get.

So to hear that Wolf Blitzer has already speculated - in the absence of any evidence whatsoever - that 'Patriots' may be behind the bombings galls me to no end. We must not rush to judgement about any Muslim (Ft. Hood, anyone) who is involved in terrorism, but every time something happens, the media - Brian Ross with the Aurora shooting, now Blitzer in Boston - have no compunction about politicizing the event and smearing the (take your pick - Tea Party, the GOP, Patriot organizations). I'm sick of it.  Almost simultaneously, while Blitzer is bashing on Patriots, I'm hearing (and this is unconfirmed) that they have a Saudi national in custody who was seen putting backpacks in place where the explosion happened - yet Blitzer doesn't mention that.  It may well prove false, but the link to 'Patriot's Day' involvement probably will as well. He should just say they don't know who did it, or why, and leave it at that. Each and every time the media has blamed the Tea Party, or conservatives, or whatever their term for someone on the right is at the moment, they have been incorrect in their assumptions. And, when the facts become known, they never, ever report on the reality and are never held to account.

Nidal Hassan - Muslim, tied to Islamic fundamentalists (Obama: 'don't rush to Judgement')
Faisal Shahzad - Pakistani national, trained by the Pakistani Talibab (NY Police Chief: 'it could be a lone wolf terrorist and not an organization')
Jared Loughner - registered Democrat. (Sarah Palin made him do it)
James Holmes - registered Democrat, Occupy Wall Street supporter (reported falsely to be a Tea Party member)
Adam Lanza - registered Democrat (reported falsely to be an NRA member)

Don't get me wrong - I really don't care about their political affiliation because evil is evil, regardless of the cloak it wears. But if it's worth mentioning that there may be some minute chance that it was a Tea Party member, or an NRA member, etc. who did something horrible, then it's equally important to mention it when it turns out they're Democrats, or Occupy Wall Streeters, or Muslims, you know, just to ensure that they got it RIGHT. At least that would be important if there was a shred of integrity left in our media, but there isn't. They flack shamelessly for the democrats because, well, most of them ARE democrats. It's getting to the point that I can't stand to even watch half of the TV channels because they're so anti gun, anti religion (anti Christianity, anyway), anti traditional values, anti Constitution...well, anti ME. I'd say I've lost all respect for journalists, except that there ain't that much respect there to begin with. It's so pervasive at the networks that it's even corrupted the shows I watch, like Hawaii 5-0 which featured a 5 minute rant by Dan-o when a gun shop owner was a caricature of everything the media and progressive pols make gun owners out to be. I turned it off, wrote a scathing note to CBS and have never watch the show since - and that's a shame, because I think McGarrett is pretty cool, and that Kono is easy on the eyes. In any case, by dropping this show I've gained back an hour of my week.

On the plus side, as I've stopped watching the shows that piss me off, I've found more time for writing, buying guns and ammunition, and stirring the pot on Facebook.

And running, which I'll be doing for (hopefully) about four hours and 20 minutes on Saturday, with my head held high but with a heavy heart for those who, after Boston, will never run again.