September 4, 2006

Describing This Murder as ‘Tragic’ Is Pathetic

Filed under: Immigration,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 9:15 pm

I have tried to resist commenting on this Mason, Ohio murder story. Since the linked story appeared, two suspects have been identified, and one has been arrested.

After all, the story is local, it’s not within the primary scope of this blog, blah blah blah.

I’ve given up holding my tongue, or keyboard as it were, because I’m hung up on one revealing word in the report on his murder:

MASON — Friends and former coaches describe Kevin Barnhill as a fun-loving, hard-working young man who loved life.

“Anyone who knew him liked him,” said Gary Wirsch, a former assistant basketball coach at Little Miami High School, where Barnhill graduated in 1997.

Wirsch had remained close to Barnhill, known at Little Miami as a competitor who set the school’s career scoring record, which stood until last season.

But his life ended tragically on Saturday.

Mason police were dispatched about 2:30 a.m. to an area near the Mason Bowl at 763 Reading Road on a report of a man carrying a baseball bat. Officers didn’t locate the man, but Patrolman Matthew Burdick discovered a man lying on the ground next to nearby Hamilton Security Products with what appeared to be life-threatening injuries.

Sure, if you want to look at it very narrowly, you can describe Kevin Barnhill’s death as having ended “tragically” — “dreadful, calamitous, disastrous, or fatal.”

But “tragically” is in this case is a whitewash word. Kevin Barnhill’s life ended violently and brutally:

Mason police responded to reports of a man with a baseball bat at the Mason Bowl, 763 Reading Road, at 2:30 a.m. Aug. 26.

Instead, police found Barnhill lying nearby with stab wounds, Cope said.

At least one stab wound was in Barnhill’s chest, according to a report by Mason Police Officer Aaron Yeary.

Barnhill was still breathing when police found him, about a breath every 10 seconds, according to Yeary’s report.

Police and responding emergency medical services crew, however, were unable to save Barnhill. He died at the scene.

“Tragedy” is a car-crash word, a “died of cancer” word, a “bad things happen to good people” word. This isn’t to say that Kevin Barnhill wasn’t a hero in his life and how he lived it; from all appearances, he was at the very least a good and decent man, probably one of those everyday heroes who never gets recognized. So when an apparently good and decent man is struck down with a knife and a bat in a parking lot, calling it a “tragedy” equates murder with being struck by lightning. It puts being cut down by thugs in the same classification as dying of a heart attack. It treats violent crime as just another “one of those things” things that happen from time to time.

In a word, describing Kevin Barnhill’s death as a “tragedy” is “pathetic” – one more small but telling sign that the people who we rely on to give us information will not call out the evil taking place in front of their eyes.

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UPDATE, Sept. 11 — In response to the commenter, I didn’t actually substitute my suggestions for describing the killing of Kevin Barnhill in the post, so here they are:

  • Kevin Barnhill’s murder was an atrocity committed by people who need to be locked up and have the key thrown away, or worse.
  • Kevin Barnhill’s murder was an evil crime against a good person.
  • Kevin Barnhill’s murder was a wicked act that cries out for revenge.

As I said, calling Kevin Barnhill’s murder or the 9/11 massacres “tragedies” minimizes the evil of the deeds carried out against the victims.

I hope that’s clear, and my heart, and my prayers, go out to all who knew him, loved him, and miss him.

UPDATE, March 6, 2007: Since this post is getting visits from well-wishers and mourners from time to time, I want to let them know that police and Crimestoppers are still actively looking for the participant in Kevin’s murder who is still at large. Also, see these posts for my thoughts on the pitiful follow-up by the local media:
- Sept. 18, 2006 — Illegal Immigration Hits Home in Warren County
- Oct. 22, 2006 — Illegal-Immigrant Crime in SW Ohio: Willful Blindness Is a Big Part of the Problem
- Jan. 27, 2007 — Illegal Immigration Update: The Stories, Government Action, and Media Letdown (Part 1, Mason Council and Enrique Torres)

Positivity: Labor Day, Its History, and What It Means

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:11 am

From the Department of ….. Labor:

The History of Labor Day
Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

“Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country,” said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. “All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man’s prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day…is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation.”

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.