August 23, 2005

Ignorance is Bliss

For the last couple of days, we've been inundated with the story of Thomas Herrion, the San Francisco 49er backup lineman who died after a game on Saturday night. He was 23 years old. And while this story is tragic - and don't get me wrong since it really is tragic - I'm not exactly sure why I've seen so much of this story. It, in various forms, is repeated over and over again - on the local and national news, on cable news networks, in the papers and all over the Internet. But for some reason, I haven't seen anything about Sgt. Nathan K. Bouchard (age 24), Staff Sgt. Jeremy W. Doyle (age 24), Spc. Ray M. Fuhrmann, II (age 28), or Pfc. Timothy J. Seamans (age 20) who died when an improvised explosive device detonated in Samarra, Iraq on August 18th. Nor have I heard much about Army Sgt. Todd Partridge who was killed on his second tour of Iraq last week. And I've certainly heard absolutely nothing about Army Spc. 4th Class Brian Derks, a 20 year old from Michigan who was killed while patrolling Baghdad. Come to think of it, we really haven't heard a hell of a lot about any of the 1,812 fatalities to date in Iraq much less the 13,877 wounded in action. But we sure have heard about a football player on a team with a payroll in 2004 of $63,033,817 and a median salary of $562,000. With numbers like that, I guess we shouldn't expect to hear about folks who only make, on average, $33,927 a year. Despite the fact that there are more of them (around 1,398,833) and they're fighting (and dying) for our country.

All facts and figures are freely available from the NFL, ESPN and our fearless leaders at the Pentagon who, despite the fact that they seem to have the judgment of a 10 year old hopped up on Twinkies and Ritalin, keep damn fine records.

Posted by Chris at August 23, 2005 7:31 AM

I ask this very same question about many of the "big" stories. Like the runaway bride. There are bigger and more important stories to report, but I think they require a little too much work! It's hard work being a journalist, ya know? Too many pesky questions to ask.

Posted by: Nicole at August 23, 2005 7:39 AM


I am clapping so hard at this post, Chris. THANK YOU!!!

Posted by: jen at August 23, 2005 7:40 AM

It makes me feel sad and guilty when I realize how YOUNG those soldiers are - nearly always, younger than ME.

One of these guys must have been from my state - I saw a headline blazoned across a newspaper 'Miss Soldier Killed in Action' - and yet we persist in being a red state, through and through. The blue specks, we're holding out hope.

Posted by: samantha at August 23, 2005 7:51 AM

Not to mention the thousands of mangled soldiers returning from war, alive because of improved battlefield medical technology, but amputees in their 20s. Or the PTSD that affects families and communities.

If you even try to wrap your head around the whole issue it can drive you to drink...

Posted by: Boutros at August 23, 2005 7:56 AM

You are absolutely right. I find it beyond understanding about our sports figures, their fame, notoriety, and salaries. Thank you for putting that in writing.

Posted by: cassie-b at August 23, 2005 8:17 AM


Posted by: Angelia at August 23, 2005 8:18 AM

Sad, they just go un-named, un-recognized... and their deaths fall silent on our ears. If their service is so "great" to our country, then explain to us, Mr. President, why their names mean nothing?

Posted by: Corinne at August 23, 2005 8:41 AM

Take a look at who owns the MSM (Main Stream Media). Then follow the money to who is making out like bandits in this War on Terror (Oops - isn't it a Global Struggle Against Extremism now?). Not hard to see why one would not want to report on the other. So they need to play up the diversions. I can't watch that stuff any longer. I get all the news I want from The Daily Show. Thanks Chris.

Posted by: Mike at August 23, 2005 9:01 AM

Excellent point.

Posted by: Fraulein N at August 23, 2005 9:05 AM

Yes,it's perfectly clear that the media and the government supports the troops. Of course, they support them by covering stories like that girl in Aruba and those missing honeymooners instead of our fallen men and women.

Although I think it's extreme to get your news from the Daily Show. Try reading, people. It's what we did all that work in first grade for.

It's always struck me as ironic that we avenge the deaths of Americans by sending more in to die. It's like getting revenge on the garbage disposal for eating your hand by sticking your other one down the chute.

Posted by: Sara at August 23, 2005 9:14 AM

It's frightening, to be sure. NASCAR is actually doing stuff for the spouses of the soldiers. I found out in an inflight commercial, but it might be something we blue "unpatriotic" people might want to support....

Posted by: alektra at August 23, 2005 9:24 AM


Posted by: Hazel at August 23, 2005 9:43 AM

I know that feeling. We watched 'Hotel Rwanda' this weekend, and while seeing the bravery, unselfishness, and kindness of the Paul (the hotel manager) was heartening and was horrific to see/hear what tragedies were occurring while we were tuned in the OJ circus.

Posted by: Junkie at August 23, 2005 9:44 AM

I guess no one expects to die on the football field, where soldiers do knowingly and willingly(at this point) put themselves in harms way.

Bashing what they are fighting for, and bashing their superiors, does them a huge disservice and makes what they were doing when they were killed seem so less important than it is. If all their deaths were covered to the extent this football player's was anti war rhetoric would creep into the articles. This would hurt their families, their fellow soldiers, their buddies, who are saddened beyond words but must still fight.

I know you are against the war but don't use their death as your reason to protest, don't tarnish their heroism to promote your own ideology. Its just wrong.

Posted by: Linda at August 23, 2005 9:50 AM

You make excellent points. The media's obsession with youth and money and power, especially during wartime, is, well, obnoxious. Thank God we live in an information age and can find the facts if we so choose to.

Posted by: Kris at August 23, 2005 10:03 AM

This post was an eye opener...good for you for doing the research... I knew I liked ya ;)

Posted by: JuJuBee at August 23, 2005 11:03 AM


Posted by: Stacy at August 23, 2005 11:08 AM

Thank you for this, Chris. I am so sick and tired of hearing about this football player who weighed 310 lbs. and died shortly after a game. It IS very sad, but why do I need to hear about it every morning while getting ready for work?

My views on this war aside, there are young men and women dying over there and we hear NOTHING of them except a brief snippet on the news. I live in a military region so we hear a bit more but even so, it's very limited.

Posted by: zanie at August 23, 2005 11:21 AM

I had this discussion with a friend last night. The media is just filling up space in our collective brain with garbage, all so we'll be distracted from the dead soldiers being shipped back in the middle of the night, or the countless amputees that no one talks about. It is, in a word, disgusting, no matter WHAT your view regarding the war is.

Posted by: Heather at August 23, 2005 11:52 AM

I second that. I think that is obscene. And I *heart* you for putting into words what I've been struggling to say for some time. Thank you.

Army Mom

Posted by: Ms. Q at August 23, 2005 12:02 PM

I was thinking the same thing about the insane and constant coverage of that girl who disappeared down in Aruba. Sad, yes, but warranting 24/7 coverage?

Posted by: Kathryn at August 23, 2005 12:07 PM

Wow! I'm so glad Canada stayed out of it. Initially I felt that we should assist our US neighbours, but wow - doesn't it seem so pointless?

Posted by: Marie at August 23, 2005 12:13 PM

Hi, delurking here... I've been reading you for quite some time via Sam, but I just wanted to say thank you so much for verbalizing this.

My husband is in the Army, and while he is not in Iraq right now (he is in Officer Training in GA) there is a great chance he will be not long after our daughter is born.
It has been a hard thing to accept.

Anyway, thank you thank you for bringing this up. It means a great deal to me-- to know that if something happened to my husband, that in some minds, he would not just be another number.

Posted by: bellabelly at August 23, 2005 12:45 PM

This war is so awful. The reasons we went over there turned out to be lies (anyone seen any WMDs?) and now the casulties are covered up and hidden in an effort to sweep the bad parts under the rug. People are dying every day now, on both sides and I simply can't see the point.

Posted by: Nic at August 23, 2005 12:59 PM

Such a hard thing - for who wants to look a soldier, sailor, or airman in the eye and tell that that they may die in vain, for a worthless cause? Or to tell that those grieving for the dead? Perhaps the day will come when we all realize that we have an incredible responsibility to our armed forces; that WE - not the generals, not the Pentagon - choose to put them in harm's way. When a democracy allows it's leaders to put the lives of our military on the line for a questionable cause, the blame is ultimately OURS for allowing that to happen.

Posted by: Jason at August 23, 2005 1:06 PM

I suppose it's because those of us who are paying attention are weeping silently.

So much death in the world these days.

Posted by: Autumn at August 23, 2005 1:54 PM


Posted by: Incredimom at August 23, 2005 3:12 PM

Amen, my brother.

I'm going to try to remember that, and the ones who come home forever changed from war, every time i see a "support the troops" sticker on the back of a giant SUV driving in front of me.

Posted by: jodi at August 23, 2005 4:24 PM

To me, it's sad when anyone that young dies. They were just getting started. Tragedy either way.

There is a big difference between someone who had something freaky happen while living his dream and someone who got blown up because he needed the money for college. BIG DIFFERENCE.

I guess the media can milk the football player for more. The soldiers just don't seem as tragic, do they? After all, they're just numbers to our government.

I've said some form of tragedy too many times. Now I have the BeeGees in my head. :)

Posted by: Bonanza Jellybean at August 23, 2005 4:48 PM

Right on, Brother! We need more people like you and me (and most of your readers) to tell it like it REALLY is!!!

And it's all a damn shame.

That's all I'm going to allow myself to say on the subject for now.

Posted by: ironic1 at August 23, 2005 7:23 PM

The "damn fine records" are damn fine records because it's the junior enlisted of the Army, AirForce, Navy, and Marines that compile and keep them. It's only the "fearless leaders" that get the credit.

My Hubs is coming home form over there in 26 days!!! yay!!!!!!!

Posted by: Deb at August 23, 2005 8:25 PM

Oy don't get me started! I think that it is so ironic that now after we voted in that clown AGAIN into the White House, now after we are stuck with him, now people are more against the war than for it. Now there are many states suing the federal government over the no child left behind law. Now we are investigating how the oil companies could be showing fat profits when the everage consumer can hardly afford gas for their car or oil to heat their homes. But we sure are SAFE from same sex marriage, and let's get those rabid right to lifers, because they are SUCH a THREAT to our way of life, yeah we may not be able to get around much and our schools may shut down, but THANK GOD we are safe from gays and those bleeding heart liberals who don't know GOD....yeah read all the sarcasm you want to in this comment because it's there. You and I think a lot alike Chris, one of the reasons I come back. And just for the record to any of you who may think all the comments I made above are factual, look up sarcasm in the dictionary. Oops that was bitchy wasn't it!

Posted by: Nina at August 23, 2005 9:40 PM

So right on.

Posted by: verucaamish at August 23, 2005 11:17 PM


Posted by: Jenny at August 24, 2005 12:16 AM


Posted by: Rbelle at August 24, 2005 12:43 AM

Chris, thanks for sharing their names. I "like" to know, I mean, I feel it's important.

Posted by: Heather at August 24, 2005 1:16 AM

we had a fatality in our family, can't discuss here

it was a big time problem but very little CNN was a disgrace

good post Chris...

Posted by: beautiful face at August 24, 2005 3:12 AM

(Hitting too close to home.)

Thanks for recognizing those who, even though they willingly and knowingly put their lives on the line, did exactly that with out any glory, honors or news coverage. The sacrifice men and women in the military willingly give is worth mentioning, over and over and over.

And how about some positive media coverage on all the good that is being accomplished by our Soldiers? When was the last time we saw that?

Posted by: myllissa at August 24, 2005 4:06 AM

Good eye on the pulse my friend. Keep up the realness here.


Posted by: melanie at August 24, 2005 5:18 AM

Thanks for posting this.

Posted by: Alison at August 24, 2005 8:47 AM

*Applauding* Like Bush doesn't give me enough reasons as it is for being a raging lunatic liberal.

Posted by: Pixie at August 24, 2005 1:28 PM

Thank you for recognizing our troops as my husband is one of them!

Posted by: Jess at August 24, 2005 4:04 PM

We have become sheep, being herded by the media this way and that.

Thanks for opening the gate and showing us the way out.

Posted by: Allan at August 25, 2005 11:44 PM

THANK YOU!!! I am an Army wife and friend of the four soldiers who were killed by the IED....They are so missed and I have to look all over for articles on their deaths instead of just turning on the's sad!!!!

Posted by: Sarah at August 26, 2005 12:33 AM

Hear F-ing hear!!! Gets me sooooo fired up!!!

Posted by: Amy at August 26, 2005 8:34 AM

hey man, awesome blog on 8/23. todd partridge was one of my very best friends. all of us here in iraq really appreciate people who recognize it when one of our buddies pays the ultimate sacrifice. thank you.

Posted by: Scott Morgan at August 28, 2005 2:02 PM

Gasp...thank you those who posted a note to Chris who knew the people mentioned! It is good to hear from you! All I know is that it feels like it did when I was a kid growing up with war...and I get frightened and appalled all over again.

Posted by: Gypsy at August 29, 2005 11:04 PM