Reflections Blog

Reflections

Road Rage and the NRA

Recently, I was driving into town and came to a red light at an intersection between the road I was on and a major highway. My side of the intersection had four clearly marked lanes—one turning right, one going straight across the highway, and two left-turn lanes (which led into town). I had pulled into the rightmost left-turn lane because after I turned onto this major two-lane highway I needed to turn right not far ahead. To my left was a white pickup, which had pulled into the leftmost left-turn lane.

When the light turned green, I started across the intersection and began turning into the right-hand lane. Midway through my turn I sensed the white pickup coming uncomfortably close to my car. I glanced at this vehicle and saw that the driver was not heading into the left-hand lane, which he was required to do, but was heading into my lane. I honked my horn to let him know I was there, but he kept turning into the right-hand lane. I honked again but he ignored me, so I was forced to drive onto the shoulder to avoid a collision. Then, as he drove off, he turned and looked at me through his rear window and gave me the finger.

Although he was clearly in the wrong (Colorado Driver Handbook, p. 18), something about our encounter enraged him. I didn’t care about his rude gesture. My only thought was, thank God he didn’t have a gun.

Lance, We Hardly Knew Ya

Lance Armstrong’s colossal house of cards recently came crashing down during two well-orchestrated interviews with Oprah Winfrey on national television.  For the media, it was a ratings extravaganza fueled by the public flogging of a once-revered sports legend.  For cycling insiders, it was the lancing of a boil that had been festering for years.  And for many Americans and others around the world it was the humiliating discovery that the hero they had worshipped and cheered through one victory after another was a fraud, a little like learning that your favorite uncle is a crook and a pedophile.

What makes Lance Armstrong’s downfall so bitter for us is that we had elevated him to such stellar heights.  He was the celebrity cancer survivor, the solemn spokesman for defeating death. A fierce competitor, driven and strong, he exemplified what you could make of yourself if you were as focused and determined and disciplined as he was.  He created Livestrong Foundation, the cancer nonprofit that raised the hopes of hundreds of thousands of cancer sufferers.  He won the Tour de France, the granddaddy of cycling’s grueling races, seven consecutive times.  He was everything we hoped we could be if only we were more like him.

Empowering a Predator

Louis Freeh’s just-released report on the Penn State sexual abuse scandal leaves little doubt that the senior leaders at Penn State, including revered football coach Joe Paterno, were culpable by enabling Jerry Sandusky to continue his abuse of boys for over a decade. Assuming that Freeh’s findings are true—and we have no reason to question his integrity, or the thoroughness of his team’s investigations, or Sandusky’s guilt—then what we have witnessed is a colossal and egregious failure of leadership.

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