Swinging for the Fences

There's good news and bad news on kids.

Leaving aside for a moment any of the stories that kids do bad things, let's talk about bad things done to kids, and good things done for kids.

Those conjoined twins now separated. This is great stuff. Not long ago it simply couldn't have happened. If somebody tried to separate them it would have killed one or both. Now, snip-snip and bingo, they can lead normal lives.

That UCLA Medical Center is great. They took out my appendix going on forty years ago and didn't kill me and took care of my ten-year-old nice when she had a brain tumor and she's great too.

Now this is the great news set against the backdrop of bad kid news: We still don't know where Elizabeth Smart is; Samantha Runnion's short life and terrible end was a heartbreaker; the two teenagers in L.A. who managed to survive a maniac killer rapist long enough for some sharp witted sheriff's deputy to kill him and end the chance of him ever pulling any similar stunt again.

At just the moment when the bad news makes you want to say what's happening with this country, the good news makes you want to stand up and shout "Is this a great country or what?"

Personally, I can't sort it out exactly. Would we be better off if we couldn't do the really great stuff like separate conjoined twins, but we had the kind of country where the Samantha Runnion story just never happened? Where the Elizabeth Smarts of the world were never bothered in the bedroom of their own homes?

Are we the kind of people who could make such a deal with the devil: conjoined twins are forever conjoined, but Samantha Runnions never get kidnapped? Or are we the kind of country that is always swinging for the fences, always trying to have both when some demonic tormentor tries to make us make a Hobson's choice?

I'm swinging for the fences. I hope we can allowed conjoined twins the chance to look each other in the eye and somehow keep Samantha Runnions safe. And, as an added dollop of grim justice, always have the courage and the steady hand to make sure the kidnapper rapist of two teenage girls gets exactly what is coming to him.

That's My Word.

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