Idol Chatter

One of the more profound news stories of the day surfaced this morning via a clip on the MSNBC website and “The Today Show.” I was struck by the ugliness, the beauty, the comic relief, and the missing link. There was quite a bit of cultural revelation going on in this little incident.Ugly. In a Georgetown courtroom earlier this week, inmate Peter Hafer was appearing at a pretrial hearing with his attorney, Doug Crickmer. A they stood just a few feet from the judge and within arms reach of a bailiff and another man, Hafer suddenly cocked his right arm, loaded his body for torque, and delivered a brawny punch that knocked his attorney out cold. NBC shows the punch 11 times in the clip, including several in slow-motion and a couple in super slow-mo. If you only want to see it once, view it here.Beauty. Meredith Viera interviewed Mr. Crickmer after proclaiming the piece of the story that made this real news: “The attorney is choosing to forgive his attacker.” How wonderful! A news story about forgiveness! No lawsuit. No accusations. Perhaps it messes with your mind that the attorney is the good guy, but that’s the story. “As a public defender, the majority of my clients have a mental illness,” said Crickmer. “I don’t fault him or blame him or harbor any ill will.” Levity. Mr. Crickmer turns out to be the ultimate straight man, the master of the understatement. “I’ve got some bruising in the face, some swelling, a cut to the cheek, and they took a CT scan,” explained Crickmer, revealing nothing that can’t be observed by just looking at him. “He definitely one-shotted me.” When assessing Mr. Hafer, Crickmer noted astutely that “He’s got some anger management issues.” And regarding the County’s decision to assign another attorney: ““I definitely think there’s a conflict of interest there now.”Missing Link. I was thrilled to see a moral value being raised up as a news story, and the natural question from Viera should have been something like, “Where do you find it in you to forgive such a person, who’s caused this physical pain and perhaps future emotional pain?” or “This really seems rare; tell us about the process you went through to choose to forgive this man.”Our society needs to raise up the morals and values that were popular back when, well, we talked more about morals and values. While I praise MSNBC and “The Today Show” for bringing the story to light, I’m not sure we needed to see the punch 11 times, and I wish we could have learned more about his source, whether spiritual or otherwise. Mr. Crickmer got sucker-punched. The remaining question was, “Is he a sucker?”Here’s the “Today Show” clip:

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