Life as an Extreme Sport

37 Minutes to First Degree

In what will certainly be hailed as a victory for anyone sane enough to realize that you don’t go around killing people for holding a different view, Scott Roeder was found guilty of first degree murder for the death of Dr. George Tiller. (Roeder was also found guilty of two counts of aggravated assault for threatening Tiller’s church congregation members after fleeing the church lobby, the scene of the murder.)

Roeder admitted that not only was the murder premeditated, but that he had planned it for over a year, and at times had considered other options, including cutting of Dr. Tiller’s hands with a sword. For his defense, he tried to turn his trial into one against abortion, proudly stating that he had killed Dr. Tiller “to protect the children” and that if he didn’t, “the babies were going to die the next day.”

Did he feel remorse after killing a man? No, he only felt relief, because he felt that the “danger” Dr. Tiller represented to the general public justified deadly force.

Contrast that with the heart-rending, emotional stories of women who traveled to Kansas to see, and often be treated by, Dr. Tiller. Read about their heartbreak as they faced wanted children with lethal diseases, often that would cause death before birth. Read about the cruelty they faced in the hands of protesters, the fact that they had to travel from states away to get the medical care they needed, and the compassion and warmth they received at the hands of Dr. Tiller and his staff.

Read about the deliveries, and the fact that the families were allowed to hold their child, given the choice of photos, hand and foot prints, of keeping the receiving blanket. Would the baby be named? What kind of funeral would they like?

Contrast this with the actions of a man who walked into a church, a sanctuary, pressed a gun to a man’s skull, and shot him at point blank range, and tell me who the real danger was.

The Unhealthiest City Has an Unhealthy Attitude

Jamie Oliver took a lot of abuse from locals when filming this show. It was amazing, and sad – people were arguing that they weren’t going to let a poncy Brit come in and tell them they couldn’t eat their good, wholesome, traditional foods. I was following the entire thing as it filmed, both via Jamie’s Twitter account, the tweets of locals expressing their outrage, and other media outlets where locals vented. I think the best thing I heard (with best being very loosely defined) was that Jamie was trying to force British food on people, and take away their all-American cuisine.

Newsflash: deep fried food is not all-American, nor is it healthy to eat at every meal.

Look, I’m a good gamer geek. I have done pizza for breakfast as much, if not more, than most (especially when I worked in software). But I’m not about to argue that deep dish pizza is a great breakfast every day. And that’s what really got me in this video clip – not the kid mistaking a tomato for a potato, or anything else. It was the deep-seated belief that it was tasty food, it was “traditional” food (how boxed food is a tradition, I won’t begin to contemplate), and that it was their food, so there was no way it was bad for them. The denial was, quite simply, amazing.

Somewhere, somehow, people got the idea that if it’s sold, it’s good for them, and therefore it’s okay to eat. (That many of these people are violently opposed to health care where the government tells them how to take care of themselves is just sad irony, given that they seem to have placed their full faith in the government to protect the food system – something that it does not do, and in fact barely even regulates.)

Michael Pollan has argued that we have become removed from our food traditions, and that what we eat today is food that our grandparents and great-grandparents wouldn’t recognize. Huntington appears to be a perfect example of this disconnect from food, health, and how we eat.