My Word for October 24, 2001

For a moment, it seemed like I was in a time warp.

I looked up, and there was O.J. Simpson on TV waiting for a verdict from a jury. The verdict was read live, and O.J. was found not guilty again. He sure can charm those juries. He's gained weight, but then so have I.

Man, do I miss those days. Times were simpler then. You only had to worry about one outrage at a time. Today, we've got to juggle so many. Okay, O.J. Back to your golf. Okay, America. Back to your anthrax and war.

I guess the O.J. connection is there if you look for it. O.J. divided the nation along racial lines, and we may be close to that again with the anthrax story in Washington.

When anthrax was found in a letter to Sen. Tom Daschle, we had people in the massive Capitol dome hyperventilating. Hundreds of Capitol workers — largely, but not entirely white — got tested and got Cipro. Even the D.C. police dogs got tested. They're neither white nor black.

But it turns out, nobody thought that the largely — but not entirely — black postal worker corps had much to worry about. Sure, you have to wear a rubber suit if you're around anthrax, but those cheap envelopes you buy for 39 cents a box, they'll hold the stuff in … no need to test the people that handle them.

When two postal workers died from anthrax inhalation, it became clear that the D.C. police dogs got better care than some people.

I know nobody did this to the postal workers on purpose — nobody but the terrorists, that is — but the Congressional leaders, white and black, Democrat and Republican, are going to have to think a bit harder from now on.

Why wouldn't you consider an anthrax-laden envelope's path through the postal system as a line of potential infection? Considering all the bashing around the average letter gets, who wouldn't think it would be flattened with force and puff out whatever was in it?

Is this what we pay all those geniuses in the national science centers for? Hello, CDC? Hello, NIH? Hello, rocket scientists? This one was a no-brainer for a lobotomy patient. Yes, I know ... nobody did it on purpose, and I believe that. I don't think it's a partisan thing. I'm not blaming the Democrats, and I'm not blaming the Republicans. I'm just asking our smart guys do a little more thinking from here on out.

We'd like to get back to the dopey days of O.J. normalcy, when the smart guys thought things out and the rest of us could busy ourselves with mindless matters. I know that's not going to happen soon, but most of us aren't up to speed yet, so we'd like the smart guys to snap to attention and do their jobs. Thank you.

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