In Monday’s New York Times, “This Land” columnist Dan Barry filed a chilling recreation of last week’s shootout at the Pentagon, which left two Pentagon Force Protection Agency officers wounded.
Representative sample, depicting the shooter as the latest in an unbroken line from “[t]he Army doctor who opened fire at Fort Hood” to “[t]he man who flew a plane into the Internal Revenue Service offices in Austin” to “[t]he professor who killed three colleagues in Alabama because she had been denied tenure.”
Here was our next active shooter, mentally disturbed and with an anger that had metastasized into a justification to attack the Government, often the catch-all phrase for the oppressor, the deceiver, the denier of dreams. In this view, it seems, the Government is made of paper, concrete and whispers.
The arrows on the signs above him pointed this way and that, for the buses and trains that serve the region’s busiest transit hub, right beside the Pentagon. Instead he followed the arrows pointing to a Pentagon entrance, where Government police officers of flesh and blood stood outside
Barry’s description of one of the wounded officers, Jeffery Amos, included this background information:
Officer Amos, 46, is a husband, a father of three — the youngest a girl of 5 — and a product of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. He served in Kuwait with the Air Force Reserves during the first Gulf War, then worked for 11 years as a police officer in New Orleans, where he patrolled broken neighborhoods in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
His own house, in New Orleans East, took on five feet of water, while the homes of his relatives in the Lower Ninth Ward were destroyed. Aunty’s house; gone. Gramma’s house; gone.
Not to get technical about it, but that should read:
Aunty’s house: gone. Gramma’s house: gone.
Not to get clinical about it, but is a colonoscopy in order?
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Dan Barry also had an excellent piece in Sunday’s Times headlined “On the Bow’ry.”
OPEN the door to a small hotel on the Bowery.
A small hotel, catering to Asian tourists, that used to be a flophouse that used to be a restaurant. That used to be a raucous music hall owned by a Tammany lackey called Alderman Fleck, whose come-hither dancers were known for their capacious thirsts. That used to be a Yiddish theater, and an Italian theater, and a theater where the melodramatic travails of blind girls and orphans played out. That used to be a beer hall where a man killed another man for walking in public beside his wife. That used to be a liquor store, and a clothing store, and a hosiery store, whose advertisements suggested that the best way to avoid dangerous colds was “to have undergarments that are really and truly protectors.”
THE building at 104-106 Bowery, between Grand and Hester Streets, has been renovated, reconfigured and all but turned upside down over the generations, always to meet the pecuniary aspirations of the owner of the moment. Planted like a mature oak along an old Indian footpath that became the Bowery, it stands in testament to the essential Gotham truth that change is the only constant.
It only gets better from there.