By: Charles G. Slepian, Esq. Founder, The Foreseeable Risk Analysis Center.
Political candidates are attracted to person-to-person campaigning among the voters. They want to be seen in neighborhoods where voters live or work; advance teams frequently spend time looking for opportunities for appearances at outdoor events such as ball games, amusement parks, resorts, parades or major public events for their candidate to attend, be seen and develop personal relationships. An in-person visit to a community center, where questions are taken and answered by a candidate can, and often does, provide an edge for the candidate who takes the time to show up, especially over an opponent who has appeared elsewhere but doesn’t make it to your street.
I have been trying not to dwell on the daily media reports of America’s slide into chaos. However, cable and network news, talk radio and a parade of television commentators draw me like a duck to water. I, like so many others who were addicted to print media for hard news, now get more of my news electronically; and I get it live, in color, and with the spin to fit my mood by anticipating what my chosen commentator is going to say. With the “On Demand channel” I can even decide which version of the lead news story of the day I want to believe; all I need is the time to compare the commentators on the competing news channels.
When Hassan Malik Nadal, an active duty U.S. Army psychiatrist awaiting deployment to Iraq from Fort Hood, Texas, was found guilty of shooting and killing 13 soldiers and wounding 32 others, the federal government labeled the shootings workplace violence. They denied customary awards, such as Purple Hearts to those killed or wounded in action. The government’s decision was found offensive to many Americans given the shooter’s avowed support for radical Islamic causes. Public opinion caused the Department of Defense to reverse itself and ultimately award Purple Hearts to those who earned them at the hands of a terrorist at Fort Hood. The Foreseeable Risk Analysis Center agrees with the awards ultimately made to our troops and only regrets that the decision to award needed to be based on public pressure. In addition to the Order of the Purple Heart awards, the victims have become eligible for medical care and disability benefits for their combat injuries. It took 5 years for the White House and Defense Department to honor the nation’s debt to these soldiers.
Born and raised on the streets of New York City, I had always thought of myself as a New Yorker through and through. But then at the age of twenty-nine, I was sent to Oregon for a few days as part of my job working for New York City mayor John V. Lindsay and my attraction to the state quickly became an obsession. Forty-seven years later and back in New York after living in Oregon on and off for more than four decades, when I hear Oregon mentioned on the national news, I stop in my tracks and my focus is entirely on what is being said – as it was today when I heard of the shooting on the campus of Umpqua Community College in the middle sized (by Oregon standards) community of Roseburg, Oregon, with a population of twenty-thousand. Once again I was an Oregonian and my community took precedence over all else going on around me. I am in large measure what New York made me yet there is enough remaining to make me an Oregonian too for Oregon is the place where I intend to return-someday.
The World Trade Center clean-up has come to an end ahead of schedule. Public mourning of the killed at “ground zero” is over. Americans across the country are trying to put the 9/11 tragedy behind them.