Saturday, January 13, 2007

Our Daily Bread: Shawn Hornbeck, Ben Ownby; Sgt. Tommy Vandling and April Johnston; Prostitution in China

The Saturday newspaper is usually thin on material, but you can find engaging human-interest stories on the op-ed page.

Shawn Hornbeck, Ben Ownby found
Four years ago, Shawn Hornbeck disappeared at age 11. Police shockingly found him Saturday after successfully tracking down a second boy, Ben Ownby, who was abducted several weeks ago.

Prostitutes and beggars in China
I find Post-Gazette reporter Dan Fitzpatrick's civic boosterism nauseating but his recent series on Chinese-Pittsburgh connections was very very cool. Today, he published his observations on Shanghai - from the incredible carnival of consumerism to the Victorian poverty of modern China.

Sgt. Thomas Vandling obituary, by April Johnston
On January 1, Sgt. Thomas Vandling was killed in the Babil province, south of Baghdad. The manner of his death - a roadside bomb - was not valiant. Sgt. Vandling was an ordinary victim, which is to say a loving friend and consummate patriot. April Johnston eloquently memorializes her friend, Tommy Vandling in this story published by the Fayetteville-Observer and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
It's become too easy for my generation to argue the politics and strategy without personally feeling the impact of war. Since this war is fought by an all-volunteer army certain groups bear the burden more heavily than others.
Another reason we ignore the personal loss is because we don't see it. Today, community is ephemeral. Never before has one generation had so many opportunities in education and the pursuit of wealth yet the technology to stay connected. We leave our hometown and frequently do not return, choosing to forge new bonds with people we are closer to in ideology and temperament. We are physically farther from the sacrifice made by people still living in the places we grew up in.
War will always punish one generation, one class, one sect, or one family more than another. It behooves no one - pro or anti-war - to ignore that.


Anonymous said...

How was his death not valiant? do you know that he put himself over the damn bomb and saved the other three people in his hum-vee. your a fuckin dick head for sayin shit about him, if it was your friend or brother you wouldnt have said he died not valiantly. I just wish people would think before they opened their mouth about things that they know nothing of. If you dont have feelings you could atleast be considerate of other peoples cuz Tommy Vandling ment more to me than you will ever know and I'm sick of reading all this bull about him.

CapitolMAN said...

Valiant: displaying valor.

Death in war is not always glamorous. It can be heartbreakingly ordinary like the all-too-common IED casualty.

You clearly didn't read my entire piece or you'd have seen that in the next line I call him a 'consummate patriot' and 'loving friend.'

The story did not say he died when he drove his humvee over top of the bomb. If he did, as you say, then I would certainly call his tragic death an act of valor.

Anonymous said...

Alright so like I said before, dont say shit when you don't know what your talkin about. Tommy Vandling is my older brother, I know how he died unlike you and everyone who else who feels the need to give their opinions. You dont know have the right to comment on my brothers death when your probably to much of a coward to put your life on the line for your country. He was there on his own free will, he was there on his second deployment, he went back to help because he loved doing that for people. And don't ever question how I said he died again because I KNOW thats how he did and it pisses me off to read wat you idiots write about him. He could have easily drove to the other side of the road and killed his passanger and friend but no, My Older Brother put himself over the bomb to save himself and his friends but it didnt work out that way and my brother was the only person who got hurt in the accident. So my brother did die valiantly, he was not an oridinary victim, he was my brother and one of my best friends so you have no right to say anything about him. and of course he was a patriot you idiot, he was in the damn army fighting for you and your freedom to write things like you do. Of course news doesnt say everything that happens over there and how he died exactly, they never do so stop acting like you know what happened you fuckin retard.

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