Terrorism Means Never Having to Say Your Sorry

February 16th, 2006 Comments Off

I’ve been on the blogging equivalent of radio silence for several weeks now, waiting for my handlers to issue the code for me to go on active status. Last weekend was it: Vice President Dick Cheney shooting a 78 year-old man in the face with a shotgun. That was my signal. (Or, close enough: it was The quail flies at dusk, which is basically the same thing.)

Now, I know this important political issue of vital national security has been covered professionally and responsibly by the news media in a very measured way. I have nothing new to add. Except for an email exchange between my friend (and occasional SampleReality commentator) Stephen and myself:

Me:

I wonder if Dick Cheney is Jack Bauer [of 24] in disguise?

Stephen:

But has Jack Bauer ever shot someone by accident, hmm?

More to the point: has Jack Bauer ever wasted ammunition on someone he wasn’t planning to a) kill or b) torture?

Stephen is absolutely correct. And add to this that Jack Bauer has never had to apologize for killing or torturing (except for that unfortunate electroshock thing with his lover’s estranged husband in Season 4–but that was, like, totally a misunderstanding).

So Jack Bauer never has to say he’s sorry. But apologize is something Dick Cheney had to do.

Or sort of.

This is the closest Cheney comes to saying “I’m sorry. I did it.”:

“Ultimately, I’m the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry.”

Hello, Mother Goose! This is the cat that caught the rat that ate the malt that lived in the house that Jack built.

Lyrical beauty aside, this is the linguistic equivalent of saying, I only pulled the trigger. The gun did the rest. Or really, if you get down to it, it was the round, not even the gun that did it. (So it remains true: guns don’t kill people.)

And what’s with “I’m the guy who”–instead of simply “I pulled the trigger”? As my students pointed out today, that’s like saying, I just happened to be there. It could’ve been any guy. And it just happened to be me. Wrong place, wrong time kinda thing.

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Terrorism Means Never Having to Say Your Sorry was published on February 16, 2006 by Mark Sample. Mark's previous post was . His next post is .