So, for those of you who don't know this, I reside in Minneapolis. Probably about 2.5 miles from where the I-35W bridge collapsed yesterday. So, needless to say, I've been monitoring the news on this event constantly since 6 yesterday. I don't have any close friends who were hurt in the incident, some I haven't heard from, but I have no reason to believe anyone I know was hurt. But this is the kind of event that brings some things home at a time when constantly reading the news and keeping up to date can begin to desensitize an individual. People in the city are shaken up, the traffic is a complete disaster, and it is the only news available in the city. Even the sports page of The Star Tribune and The Pioneer Press today were about how the Twins thought it would be best to keep playing last night so they didn't further congest the roads.
But, briefly, there are two points that this event has really driven home, two points that many people in Minneapolis/St. Paul have been talking about, and two things that people across the world reading about this event should try to learn from it as well. Though these are the kind of things that seem to resonate because you feel involved, because it is only miles away instead of on your TV or computer.
Yesterday morning, before the bridge fell, in Baghdad, an ice cream parlor was bombed killing at least 20 and injuring countless more. Now I'm no expert on the geography and consumer market of Iraq, but I would guess, with confidence, that there are not a whole lot of places to take the kids, or ice cream parlors for that matter. Why can't we put the destruction happening in Iraq into perspective? This is bullshit. 20 dead at an ice cream parlor? Fucking kids were there.
Second brief point (that again may not need a lot of explanation, I'll let you fill in the gaps, and one that might answer questions from point one). I've never been a big fan of President Bush, but if you happened to catch his full speech this morning addressing the situation here you may have noticed that he is a tactless, heartless bastard. He spent about a minute and half actually mentioning Minnesota (and in the short span managed to say that he spoke with Governor Pawlenty and Mayor Rybeck and mispronounced both of their names, which leads me to believe he did not speak to anyone this morning but the devil). He then proceeded to spend the rest of his time demanding that the Democrats of congress push through his spending bill, because that was going to help Minneapolis. I know that this is how politics go, and that he certainly has an agenda, he's the president, and this is no revelation, but really... The spending bill has nothing directly to do with Minneapolis and that was completely tactless. During his speech the people of Minneapolis and St. Paul were booing. Waiting to hear from friends they couldn't get a hold of because phone circuits here have been jammed and there is lots of confusion. But since the only thing the news was covering this morning was Minneapolis he needed to get his spending bill some airtime anyhow.
None of this is a revelation, but the world needs perspective and our president needs some tact. I'm too close to all of this to really digress, or try to pull together a point, but these were things I heard discussed often today at the coffee shop where I work. Things that have been on the mind of people from the area today. If nothing else maybe the people of Minnesota will finally decide to cut Norm Coleman out of our lives after Bush's display of indecency today.