March 17, 2005


FREEZE! I JUST HAD MY NAILS DONE! (Ann Coulter, March 16, 2005)

How many people have to die before the country stops humoring feminists? Last week, a defendant in a rape case, Brian Nichols, wrested a gun from a female deputy in an Atlanta courthouse and went on a murderous rampage. Liberals have proffered every possible explanation for this breakdown in security except the giant elephant in the room — who undoubtedly has an eating disorder and would appreciate a little support vis-a-vis her negative body image.

The New York Times said the problem was not enough government spending on courthouse security ("Budgets Can Affect Safety Inside Many Courthouses"). Yes, it was tax-cuts-for-the-rich that somehow enabled a 200-pound former linebacker to take a gun from a 5-foot-tall grandmother.

Atlanta court officials dispensed with any spending issues the next time Nichols entered the courtroom when he was escorted by 17 guards and two police helicopters. He looked like P. Diddy showing up for a casual dinner party.

I think I have an idea that would save money and lives: Have large men escort violent criminals. Admittedly, this approach would risk another wave of nausea and vomiting by female professors at Harvard. But there are also advantages to not pretending women are as strong as men, such as fewer dead people. Even a female math professor at Harvard should be able to run the numbers on this one.

Out of violent rampage, a parable of faith and calm (Patrik Jonsson and G. Jeffrey MacDonald, 3/16/05, The Christian Science Monitor)
She has become an overnight hero, an instant celebrity in a media age when the nation seems to need something to feel good about. Ashley Smith, the blond waitress with the calm voice and seemingly infinite poise, has become Jessica Lynch with a crystalline memory and perhaps a less choreographed narrative.

Her tale, for the moment, has become the most celebrated seven hours in America - a hostage tale that's sparked conversations from water coolers to the evening news.

For a country used to getting things done with overwhelming force, it was a humbling lesson in Peacemaking 101: how a young mother talked down a troubled man with courage, levelheadedness, and faith in prayer after he had allegedly killed a judge, a court reporter, a sheriff's deputy, and a customs agent.

In a nation grown weary of violence, it offered a reassuring lesson that every now and then people can steer even the most dangerous events to a better end. "At this point in time, to avoid this thing becoming even more crazy, it wasn't a question of who was right or wrong, but how do we get this thing taken care of, managed, so nobody else gets killed?" says Robert Benjamin, a veteran conflict negotiator in Portland, Ore. "And her deft touch, unstudied as it was, was quite frankly a moment of brilliance."

In some ways, she epitomizes the many Americans clinging to the edge of the middle class, working multiple jobs, making mistakes, finding loss and redemption, and enduring tragedy, all while looking for wisdom and comfort in self-help books and Scripture.

Still, she has faced uncommon tragedy: Four years ago, her husband was stabbed in a fight and died in her arms. In the following years, relatives have told newspapers, she allowed men to walk all over her, and some of her friends and family have described how Smith had not quite gotten her life together, and that her mistakes and problems had piled up.

But thrust into a deadly drama, bound in duct tape, Smith spotted a book she'd been reading - the evangelical bestseller "The Purpose-Driven Life" by Rick Warren - and asked her captor if she could read some excerpts.

The idea that her calm stemmed from trust in divine Providence has already hit American pulpits and tapped the nation's growing evangelical streak, providing a boost reminiscent of how Pfc. Jessica Lynch's story bolstered the country's morale in the early days of the Iraq War.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 17, 2005 2:05 PM

Perhaps Nancy Hopkins would care to escort Brian Nichols.

After all, Ashley handled things pretty well, didn't she? But Ashley doesn't fit into Nancy's world, eh?

Posted by: ratbert at March 17, 2005 3:13 PM

Add Peggy Noonan's transcript of Ashley Smith's story in this morning. It's great - I've already emailed it around.

Posted by: pj at March 17, 2005 4:54 PM

Let's hope the Ashley story doesn't turn out to be as "spun" as the Jessica Lynch story.

Posted by: Steve at March 17, 2005 5:41 PM

When PC trumps function, society has gone mad. In NYC, people die in fires because the women firefighters aren't strong enough to lift unconscious people out of buildings.

The 19th Amendment was a mistake.

Posted by: at March 18, 2005 9:27 AM