After reading Murchison’s op-ed piece this morning, I had one question: when did he start writing for the Onion? Because that’s how his article sounded to me, like a satirical send-up of something that an out-of-touch, scared old fuddy-duddy would write. Now, I don’t wish to diminish the crime that he writes about. A woman was attacked for sport on the Katy Trail. The woman is a neighbor of Murchison’s. And I’m not saying this scenario doesn’t present some good grist for an op-ed piece. But Murchison’s conclusion is absurd. A little taste:
There’s a cultural breakdown going on, my friends, and I advise we start trying to put things right again as quickly as possible. … The circle of sunlight in which we live grows smaller. The darkness of the nearby forest closes in.
You’ve really got to read the thing in its entirety. He goes on to wonder whether there are any families left to impart values to children. And:
Any churches around? Any priests, pastors, youth leaders to set a moral example? Possibly not. Modern folk don’t react well to imputations that God — the old guy in the sky — has much to do with how the iPod generation lives.
I mean, this is satire, right? He’s pretending to be this scared old man, right?
Listen, what happened to this woman is horrible, depressing. But we’ve been doing horrible, depressing things to each other since we showed up on the scene, about 6 million years ago. Murchison yearns for a time when people were more civil, which he puts at about 40 years ago. Here’s a story from the DMN that ran February 5, 1967, under the headline “Policeman Shoots Negro After Attack”:
Police routed a Negro in the act of raping an 82-year-old white woman in the 1400 block of South Fitzhugh at 10 p.m. Saturday and shot the suspect, armed with a hunting knife, as he fled from her house.
The 34-year-old suspect was sped to Parkland Hospital with three pistol shots through his hips after he was felled during the foot race with Patrolman W.T. Mikel, and his dog Rex.
Horrible, depressing stuff, a man attacking an old woman like that. But a sign of cultural collapse? Reading that article from 40 years ago, I can think of at least one way our culture has improved since then.