As I sat down to begin this blog, a small murder of crows swooped over my house, performed a noisy, whirling circuit. Two landed on the skylight on my roof and were dramatically silhouetted as they strutted and pecked. The opaque skylight formed a canvas, and the birds, an interesting, even beautiful, composition.
Nonetheless, their scratching and pecking interfered with my concentration. I went to get the thingy-ma-bopper I use to brush cobwebs from my ceilings, planning to thump on the plexiglass right under their feet, to scare them away. But by the time I returned, the crows had flown away.
Likewise, the scratching, pecking, and cawing over the Florida would-be-Quran-burning preacher has faded. You can’t say no harm done, as the news reports deaths in Afghanistan as a result of protests against the burning-that-wasn’t. Still, I was happy he backed down.
When the media first brought this guy to our attention, however, and when everyone from General Petraeus to Secretaries Gates and Clinton saw fit to address the situation, I was a bit peeved. For heaven’s sake, the man’s estranged daughter says he needs psychological help. He’s just one crazy, misguided person, a guy way out on the edge. Why, I asked, was anyone paying attention to this man? That he could command, for a few days, the attention of the world, including high-placed members of our government and military, seemed ridiculous. And it is. It seems we’re always getting distracted from the real problems of humanity by this kind of nonsense, and I resent it.
But it’s sort of like listening to a bunch of damned crows, clattering about on the roof. No one can ignore it.
And so General Petraeus, Secretaries Gates and Clinton, President Obama, Imam Muhammad Musri, all had to become involved in order to subdue this guy. But they did get involved, and it apparently worked. The preacher decided not to pursue the Quran-burning, now or ever. He says he feels that God has told him to stop. Seems to me it was people. Better yet, people being grown-ups, facing the situation, were able to turn the preacher around. My instinct, which was to ignore the crazy voice, was not the right one. Once the media had blown this thing up, it could not be ignored.
Today, there are no crows on my roof, and I haven’t seen a single one in the sky. But they’ll be back, with their cacophony of caws, their clattering and thumping attempts to tear the shingles off my roof. I’ll have to make another decision, whether to ignore them, or fetch my thingy-ma-bopper and scare them off the roof.