Posts Tagged ‘pride

25
Oct
08

More reasons to love Western Pa.

Every now and then, I get to read a story that re-affirms my decision to move back to the Pittsburgh area. Last night, it was a trio of purse snatchers that got busted in Allegheny Township.

Township police said Donald J. Truffa, 22, of Dime Road, Parks, and Sadie Jean Klingensmith, 20, of Allegheny Township, were in a getaway car waiting for a man to grab a purse in the Giant Eagle parking lot at Allegheny Towne Center.

Instead, an Allegheny Power lineman on a lunch break tackled mugging suspect Scott E. Caveglia, 21, of Gilpin moments after police say Caveglia threw 79-year-old Anna Marie Mottillo to the ground.

Now see, here’s what makes me smile: The guy coming to her rescue shows me the region still has a moral compass, as such — there’s still right and wrong. Taunting Browns fans is perfectly acceptable (and encouraged), but mugging an old lady — that’s just flat-out wrong. And while I’m sure most folks would agree that mugging old ladies is bad, the thing is that the average Joe in the region will still stand up to that wrong. The average person here won’t just denounce it, he’ll do something about it. I mean, when I was looking for the link to that story, I came across half a dozen stories about Pittsburgh citizens going after these purse-snatching types. I think there was one from a few years ago where there was a guy who was part of a mob that caught a purse snatcher and “roughed him up a bit.” When interviewed, the way he described the suspect’s getaway skills was something like, “Hell, even I caught him … and I’m slow.” Gotta love trash talking mobs.

I’m sure folks stand up to these other guys in other regions of the country, too. However, that’s not always the case. Anymore, it seems like someone just videos it with their cell phone to put on youtube or to sell to a media outlet. Someone else might call 911. But other than that, most opt not to get involved.

Now, I know the police always tell you to call them and let them handle it, because the assailant could be armed, and you could be putting your life in danger. But you know, if I see a young guy wailing on a little old lady, I’m taking the risk and pulling a James Harrison and leveling his ass (or even a Hines Ward … although it feels funny using a receiver reference for a crushing hit). Getting a chance to pound the crap out of him (“Stop resisting!” *POW*) would make that risk completely worth it — especially since the little old lady needed 11-stitches.

So good on ya, Allegheny Power lineman. My only regret is that you weren’t a Casey Hampton-sized lineman.

04
Jul
06

Independence Day

So, it’s July 4th. Independence Day. And I wonder how many people will take a second to sit down and reflect on what this day is, and why we celebrate it. I swear, most folks just think it’s one more day off of work, one more day that the mail doesn’t come, and a day that’s tradition is eating hot dogs and hamburgers while watching pretty fireworks explode.

It may just be me, but July 4th is a holiday that affects me on an emotional level–more than Thanksgiving, more than Christmas.

I’ll say it from the get-go, I’m proud to be an American. And I feel excessively lucky to be one. And really, why wouldn’t I? I belong to the longest running democracy in the world. And you can thank our founding fathers for having enough insight to take a look around, and say “we need to make our constitution flexible, amendable, if it’s going to survive the test of time.” Things that don’t adapt die out. Why do you think so many governments were overthrown every other day in the history of Europe? Our constitution is based upon a concept, not a man or a group. That’s why it’s still around.

Now, before some of you out there start blasting my blog with, “Well, I would be proud if it weren’t for [insert political statement here],”  or “Well, if G.W. weren’t in charge…blah blah blah…,” please think for a minute how lucky you are to be able to express that opinion openly. You’ve never had to live in fear that expressing your opinion openly would lead to your arrest, or some authority official coming to your door and arresting you for it. I know I know, here comes the “Well, in the Bush Administration’s occupation of the White House…” and “…look at the Patriot Act…” and all those conspiracy arguments. And it’s completely missing the point of what I’m saying.

Being an American means, by definition, that you MUST voice your opinion, good, bad or otherwise. If you don’t use that voice, the country suffers. It’s really that simple. If you feel something is horribly wrong with this country, you can form a group and talk about it, hash out plans for change, present them to your Representative, and if nothing happens there, you can still create a big enough stink through the media and the Internet to make sure your voice is heard. Yes, you’ll have to fight. Yes, it won’t be easy. But my God, do you know how lucky you are that you have this option at all?

And really, if you hate the government enough, you can change it. You have that power as Joe Citizen. Infact, it’s your duty to change it. Yes, it’ll be a long, frustrating fight. But it can be done without you having to pick up a gun or blow things up, unlike our forefathers during the Revolutionary War.

Honestly, look around you. Think for one second about what would happen if you would have been born in China. How many of you remember Tianamen Square? Or the end of Communism in the Soviet Union? Or even the recent voting in Iraq, where those people took the booths risking insurgent attacks? You don’t have to worry about that nonsense. You have the royal treatment. You have easy access to food, water, stable electricity, heat, 5-billion channels on TV, and all kinds of crazy shit right at your fingertips. All you have to do is focus on living your life on your terms in a country where tons upon tons of opportunity is right in front of you. Even if you’re poor, you have a shot to make something of yourself. You aren’t limited by a caste-system. The only thing that limits you here is you. Period. Wow, do you realize how many millions of people would love to be able to say that?

And then there are others who like to think of other democratic countries as some kind of magical land. “Well, in Sweden, blah blah blah blah,” or “In the Netherlands, I can get high and it’s no big thing!” And yet, the majority of these folks won’t get up off their butts, learn a different language, and head on over. That’s another beauty of this country–if you hate it so much, you’re free to leave. But I think you’ll find that all of these countries have their own little quirks that you won’t like. For example, there’s often a billion taxes involved. But if that trade-off is better for you, hey, fantastic. Go for it!

I’m not saying we don’t have our problems. We most certainly do. And other countries are struggling with those same problems, too. For example, most European countries have been wrestling with immigration issues for more than 20 years. And I’m not blind to our past. We’ve done a lot of stuff that we should never be proud of, but should always remember so we learn from our mistakes. From our participation in slavery to breaking every treaty we ever made with the American Indians, we’ve done a lot of things poorly. We’ve had growing pains. Just as every other country on the planet has.

I’ve never served in the military, but my family has a long tradition of fighting for the country, from the War of 1812 to the Civil War to World War II to Vietnam. And I, for one, still believe in my country, and am still willing to fight for it. So if you’re out at a family gathering tonight, and you see little Billy and Sally excitedly running around with sparklers as you sit with a belly full of hot dogs, hamburgers and beer–take one second–just one second–to pull your significant other closer, to take a deep breath, and think about how lucky you are to be right where you are.

Happy Birthday America. May you have many more.




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