Fear is ruining us

Mike Gallagher
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Posted: Dec 07, 2007 12:02 AM
Fear is ruining us

There were two incidents making news this week that reminded me of how we livein a ridiculous time. Common sense is gone; logic is in depressingly short supply. And we are completely and hopelessly surrounded by fear.

Fear comes in many forms. There was a time when we were all on common ground in expressing healthy fear together. We hated communism. We loathed big government and high taxes. We were afraid that our children weren't polite enough, that they didn't work hard enough in school.

Basically, we were never ruled by fear, we just understood it.

But now, thanks to angry activists and the ever-present threat of litigation, it feels like everything we do is dicated by fear, fear, fear.

God forbid someone sues us for serving coffee too hot or saying something construed as objectionable. Doctors stopped giving too much guidance for fear of malpractice suits. If someone collapses on the street, good luck in expecting a good samaritan to come by and administer aid.

And the pair of cases that had tongues wagging this week proves that we have plenty of reasons to fear every word we say, every action we take.

By now, football fans are well aware of the controversial New England Patriots/Baltimore Ravens game in the NFL this week. Ravens fans (and perhaps some fans of the Patriots) are convinced that a series of questionable penalties against Baltimore in the waning minutes of the game assured that cocky Tom Brady and his crew would squeak past the Ravens for yet another victory.

But it was what a Ravens player named Samari Rolle alleged was said to him by oneof the NFL officials on the field that made the ugly scene even uglier.

Simply put, the player accused the head linesman of calling him "boy."

And boy, are we off to the races.

The NFL promised a swift investigation. The invevitable arrival of Jesse Jacksonand Al Sharpton can't be far behind. This is a quite the racial episode.

The only problem is that the official, like the player who made the allegation, is black.

Anyone who can't envision an older black man who is getting screamed at by a younger athlete saying, "Boy, you'd better get out of my face" or "Boy, you're crossing the line here" is fooling himself.

If the official said, "kid" or "young man" or even "punk", not a word would have been said. But Rolle wants to make an impact here. He wants to lash out at one of those lying, cheating officials. And nothing stings more than someone being accused of being a racist.

Who wants to be labeled a bigot? No one. Not even a distinguished, respected NFL official who happens to be a black man and will now see his reputation tarnished by this loud-mouthed player.

Fear. It works. And it is used as a weapon by people who revel in the volatility of race-baiting.

The other incident that caught my eye was a police chase captured on video by a TV news helicopter. The bad guy led the cops on a wild, dangerous, high-speed chase. When this clown jumped out of his car and ran, it didn't take long for the police officers to catch up with him. When they arrived, they did what police officers have been doing for generations: they gave him a good old-fashioned licking. A few punches here, a kick there, all administered by heroic cops whose lives are constantly on the line and in this instance, were unneccessarily jeopardized by a jerk who tried to run from them.

But wait and see how this one will play out. The police officers will be reprimanded, the lawsuits will be filed, and the bad guy will wind up making money off of his criminal behavior.

Fear. Now the brave men and women of law enforcement have to be as afraid of a TV news copter in the sky as they are a murderous criminal.

We are wallowing in fear. It's everywhere. And it's ruining our country.

When we start standing up for what's right and what we know to be true, we'll be less fearful of the sue-happy, whiny, professional complainers.

The risk of not doing so should be the most fearsome prospect of all.