Shock Value: Sending A Powerful Message from Cape Cod and Beyond
By Greg O?Brien, Codfish PressIn this day of shock value shooting from the lip, many on Cape Cod and beyond are sending a powerful message. We hear it every day in the Cape Cod Times, The Boston Globe, on radio, television and the electronic pages of Cape Cod Today. Some messages are good; others are best left alone. Whatever the sound byte, we?re all ears.Across the bridge, Boston Juvenile Court Judge Paul D. Lewis sent a long overdue powerful message days ago in setting a $250,000 bail for a 12-year-old accused of carrying a gun in the South End. One round of the loaded Smith & Wesson .38-caliber-handgun had been fired, police said. ?These kids don?t take responsibility for anything,? Lewis told The Boston Globe. ?They?re fearless. It?s out of control.? Added Mayor Tom Menino, supporting the hefty bail, ?You have to send messages that we?re not going to tolerate guns on the street.?A Texas jury a week ago sent a deafening and fitting missive to the drug-maker Merck & Co., awarding a stinging $253 million settlement to the widow of a 59-year-old triathlete who had been taking the company?s trendy painkiller Vioxx before it was pulled from the shelf after a study reported that it doubled the risks of strokes and heart attacks after 18 months of use. The widow?s attorney argued that Merck had hid the risks.?Respect us, that?s the message,? Derrick Chizer, a juror, told The New York Times.The U.S. Senate, looking down the barrel of the trigger-happy gun lobby, showed little respect late last month for young children and law enforcement officers harmed by firearms. The Senate, by a 65-31 margin, approved a National Rifle Association-sponsored bill to block most civil lawsuits against gun makers and dealers whose weapons are used in crimes. The bill, supported by 14 Democrats apparently gun-shy to take on the NRA, would dismiss pending lawsuits. Advocates?wink, wink?had argued the bill was a national security issue, ?saying lawsuits brought by municipalities and individuals threatened to bankrupt the firearms industry at a time when the nation is fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,? according to a Los Angeles Times report.Greased through the Senate chamber with little public notice on the eve of a month-long recess, the vote points to a disturbing political reality: don?t take on the NRA if you want to remain in office. Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?Finally on Wednesday, ending a recent volley of in-your-face communiqu?s, a federal judge in Pittsburgh ordered a school district to readmit a 14-year-old student who had been expelled for writing violent, profane and threatening rap lyrics. The judge ruled the lyrics did not amount to ?true threats? against the school and were protected by the First Amendment, according to an Associated Press report. States one of the songs, ?And the word of mouth is that I?m carrying guns/ Now that I?m comin? for you?what the (expletive) you gonna do. I come double with the pump tons of slugs that will punish you.?In defending the student, the leftist American Civil Liberties Union proffered, ?If you could punish on words alone without looking at context, you could wipe out the entertainment industry, and certainly rap music.?Not a bad thought at that!Can you hear me now?