Live From Kansas

Hello ladies and gents,

Allow me to be blunt here and quick.  First, let me talk about the unfortunate, deadly, tragic and completely monstrous elephant sitting in the room.

The James Holmes story.   One 24 year old man walks into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado with three guns, 2 cans of tear gas and one goal.  Chaos.   He would later surrender to police and tell them he was the Joker.  Holmes also wired his house to explode if the police happened to crash his door.   He lined it with water bottles and a dangerously explosive liquid chemical.   Holmes opened fire in front of a movie screen at 1239 am while a packed house watched The Dark Knight Rises.   He killed 12 people.  He injured up to 71 people.  He officially wounded 40 people but ask the 6 hospitals in the area for the right count.   I don’t have it.  What I do have is a message.  It is that the world we live in is a mad one.   There are a lot of people like Holmes, who can walk into a room, kill strangers in cold blood and have no motive.   Unlike the Columbine shootings, he didn’t kill himself after he emptied his bullets.  He exited the theater, sat in his car and waited for the police to find him and arrest him.   When I think of Holmes, I think of John Doe from the movie Seven.   A man who is excited about the aftermath of his carnage.   Let’s get something straight.   The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t make   anybody pick up an assault rifle and kill people.   It just doesn’t work.  Movies don’t kill people.   People with trigger fingers complete the job.   Movies are meant to go deep inside us and leave a mark, but never drive us to kill.   Christopher Nolan, the cast and crew of DKR and Warner Brothers studios are appalled by this tragedy.   It was never their intention.   Nolan’s finale involves a masked terrorist, Bane, who plans to overthrow a city and burn it to the ground.  People will connect this to the shootings and its comically insane.   Holmes called himself the Joker, labeled “a agent of chaos” in The Dark Knight by Nolan and his writers, but that doesn’t work either.  Nolan’s work is fiction.  Holmes’ work is real.  I went to the Dark Knight marathon on Thursday night and enjoyed it.   I never carried an ounce of thought for a man walking into the theater at Chesterfield Galaxy and opening fire on us.   When I went to the gym in the wee hours of the morning, got on the Precor machine only to see the CNN headline, ‘The Dark Knight Massacre”, I was appalled and shocked.  I immediately thought about the people sitting in that theater, 20 minutes into the movie, comfortably lifted away in escape, carrying little thought that their life would be changed forever in seconds.   Bullet hole or not, James Holmes affected millions of lives Friday morning.   His acts changed things.   His work mirrors one of the villains in Batman’s world, but the chilling reality that Holmes work existed in the real world will make everyone weary from now on when they enter a theater.  Holmes wore a gas mask, bulletproof vest and all they could see were his eyes.   The kiss of death in their eyes.   When the planes hit the towers, I immediately thought about the people on the plane and the ones on the floor of the towers that were hit directly.   I try to put myself in their shoes and I visibly shake.  It’s that reality of relative thinking.   The thing that won’t be talked about the next few weeks are the fact that Holmes didn’t have a motive but had a plan.   He carefully planned this out over weeks.   He picked a crowded spot, full of kids, and with a movie carrying a theme of anarchy.  People will underestimate and fail to give Holmes enough credit because of what he did.   We will blame the movies, the mothers who took a 3 month old to the movie, the theaters security, and everything else instead of giving Holmes the credit of defeating our defense and taking lives.  People didn’t want to give Osama Bin Laden credit either.  They wanted to make up conspiracies, blame our own government and make up wild stories in order to avoid giving credit to the bad guy.   Remember, a great bad guy is one who succeeds.  Holmes is the ultimate bad guy.  He did something horribly memorable.   He won’t be forgotten.  He will be remembered for this crime long after the chemical injection takes the life out of his body after a guilty verdict puts him on the metal slab.  Give the man credit.  I will.   He will lose the battle but he will win the war.  The most chilling part about it. He isnt talking and clearly seeing his plan play out. He had response times, weaponry, the ability, and his calm cool collected demeanor only says one thing. He is enjoying the aftermath of chaotic murder. He didn’t kill himself like the columbine shooters did. He is enjoying this.  There are no good things about him but he isn’t a coward. He’s an evil man with an evil plan.  Any person who can take random lives without feeling anything is colder than most. He will stand trial, get the injection and exit this world.   You think this will make future murderers pause before committing a crime?  Get real.  Unfortunately, it will only give confidence to them. A lesser man would have been caught in the lobby or failed to fire at a person. James Holmes did the ultimate deed and he will pay. Any future followers won’t think twice. Security can be heightened but it won’t stop future tragedy. It’s a horrible reminder of our fragility.

One more thought on the Aurora shootings and I will shut up. Movies go deep into our minds but they don’t make us kill. We make the choice. Go watch Dark Knight Rises and enjoy it. It’s the best I have seen all year. Don’t be afraid to go to the movies.  The Colorado shootings remind me of my favorite Ernest Hemingway quote. A tragically bittersweet note. “The world is a beautiful place and worth fighting for.” I believe in the second part.

On to Lighter News…

The Dark Knight Rises deserves every dollar coming its way.  Christopher Nolan’s finishing touch to the trilogy is a brilliant caper to a serious reinvention.  It is the best I have seen this year.   For my full review, head right here.\

The Cardinals beat a hot Cubs team 4-1 behind another great starting performance from Kyle Lohse and a monstrous home run by Matt Holliday, who continues to hit like a mad lumberjack.   Holliday hit the longest blast in Busch Stadium III’s history at 469 feet.  Lohse threw seven more solid innings, improving his record to 10-2 and his ERA dropping to 2.72.   Here is what Lohse has done in his last 10 starts.  He is 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 67.1 innings.    In 122 innings, Lohse has only allowed 4 home runs.  He deserves at least three more wins.  Lohse owes the Cardinals a solid final year in his 4 year deal because he choked up the first two.  People think he sucks or that he is overachieving.   I say he is cutting it even in a contract pursuit.   Make that money!  Lohse is getting it done and coupled with Lance Lynn, is making the absence of Chris Carpenter a non factor in 2012.  The starting pitching is doing the job in July.  The bats have let the team down and tonight platted 4 runs early and held on.  Jason Motte has 21 saves in 25 tries.  He hasn’t blown a save in a month.  He completed the 9th inning with only 6 pitches.   Tonight the Cards gained no ground on The Pirates or Reds, but they played a complete game and got contributions from the whole team.  Starting pitching, timely hitting, good defense and a solid job from the bullpen.   May I have another tomorrow night?

The hot temperatures aren’t going away.   The forecast for the rest of the month is VERY FUCKING HOT.   If you can’t handle it, stay home.  If you go out in it, stop bitching about it.  I worked in heated conditions for the last 10 years of my life.  At some point, you just tell yourself the heat has won and deal with it.   Argue about gas prices before the weather.

Writing this from my KC post.   I love coming out to the in law’s because it is so quiet out in the country.   Off the beaten path in DeSoto, Kansas, nobody knows me and there are no trains, cars, parking lots, noisy kids or much of anything going on.   If this is God’s country, I may just buy one of his books.  I like a departure every once in a while.  I call it upsetting the established order of a life.

St. Louis Rams 2011 1st round draft pick Robert Quinn was charged with a DWI this past week.   Athletes will never understand that when they join a national sports team, their behavior must be appropriate.  Whether they like it or not, they are role models and need to behave.   Think of it this way.  If I get a DWI, the damage is internal for the most part.  I get a fine, a slap, bad looks and a gray cloud over my head.  It blows over.  When a known athlete and sports figure like Quinn makes a big mistake, the headlines spread across the city and kids start rethinking why the men coming to their schools telling them to do right is drinking and driving.   They become hypocrites for believing in athletes.   Quinn’s mistake is downright pathetic.   Talk to Leonard Little and ask him about regret Mr. Quinn.   I have zero sympathy for people who drink and drive.  I did it once and swore to never do it again.  You could kill somebody if you drink and drive.   Quinn will learn a harsh lesson in privilege.

Also, don’t blame the guns for Colorado’s tragedy.    Guns are not responsible for killing people.   Once again, people are.  Unless I am mistaken, guns don’t go off unless they are triggered and aimed at a target.   The gun haters will run the gauntlet on this tragedy and they have no merit.   Remember, give credit and blame where it is due, and that is with James Holmes alone.  I know how to fire many guns.  9mm, 45 magnum, 12 gauge shotgun and an assault rifle.  That doesn’t mean I am going to walk into a theater and kill people.  I carry that choice because the world we live in is driven by choice and that alone explains the murders.

I am feeling my age and taking the toll.   One of the things I admired about The Dark Knight Rises was Nolan’s willingness to show Bruce Wayne/Batman in a crippling older state.   Fighting crime comes with pain and damage.  When we see Wayne 8 years after the events in The Dark Knight, he is using a cane and has become a full recluse.   He has no cartilage in his knees and carries tons of scar tissue, including some in his brain.  I admired that because in every other comic book adaptation, the heroes feel no pain and live on no matter what.  In Nolan’s world, Batman collects scars along with dealing them out.   I am beginning to feel the wear and tear on my body.  There is fluid in my left elbow which may require a cortisone shot or orthopedic surgery.  My knees can’t stand to bend down for more than 5 minutes.   My right shoulder sends shooting pains across my chest when I do the incline bench press.   I have been relegated to repetitions and that is fine.  Every body has a limit and I am hitting mine.   If I play a doubleheader in softball, my feet and back let me know it because I play it all out.   I haven’t been kind to my body for the last 14 years so I expect some pain but at 30 years old, I am becoming an old man.  I don’t think it is too soon but it sucks all the same.

I have hit my limit.  It’s time to shut it down.  My kid is getting up in 5 hours and I need to get a few hours of horizontal rest.  The road is calling my name tomorrow for a run so my legs need rest.   All together, I am going to start life all over again in a few hours so the writing will stop…for now.

Thanks for reading this and come back again.

-D. Buffa

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