Monday, May 02, 2011
I was somewhere over Minnesota I think.
I was on the Mariners’ charter flying back from Boston. It felt a little eerie considering this worldwide nightmare began on an airplane – several actually, with my dear friends David & Lynn Angell on the first one. On the other hand, there was something very heartening about looking out the window and seeing the vast reach of this great country.
How I got the news: I was watching the ESPN Sunday Night baseball game when they announced it. I’m used to hearing Walter Cronkite deliver major news, not Dan Schulman, Orel Hershiser, and Bobby Valentine. And it really took me by surprise because they cut to them in the booth after an inning (I had just turned it on moments before, having watched two episodes of CALIFORNICATION) and Dan Schulman said, “In case you missed it. There is big news today.” So I’m figuring it’s something like Albert Pujols hit for two cycles or the Dodgers were just sold to Oprah, and instead it’s “Osama bin Laden has been killed and the U.S. has the body”.
Like everybody, I then switched to a news channel – quickly skipping Fox, quickly skipping Geraldo. Just an informal survey and a real small sample size but 70% of the folks on the flight watched NBC.
I thought the President’s speech was eloquent and powerful. And I thought, how much more gravitas it had than Donald Trump’s version if he were president. “Osama bin Laden – you’re dead”.
After the speech when it was clear there was no more actual news, I turned back to the baseball game. The big crowd in Philadelphia was chanting “USA! USA!” Word of bin Laden’s death swept through the stands. Probably every fan in the stadium received a text. But you looked at the faces of the ballplayers and they were clearly confused. Why was everyone chanting, “USA! USA!”? They had no way of knowing the news. Getting texts and tweets during games is highly frowned upon.
Clearly Osama bin Laden is just a symbol. The War on Terrorism is far from over. But I always wondered why if you can read my license plate from outer space you can’t find this guy in ten years? Now they have. And in heroic fashion.
Hopefully this will be enough so that Jack Bauer is finally pardoned and can go on and live his life.
By Ken Levine at 5:20 AM