Awake and Alert

I have now been blogging for the past month and for those of you still with me, or for those of you who have come a little late to the party, thank you. I try to read each and every comment that you take the time to make and trust that you will believe me when I tell you that I'm working every day to make this the best darn legal blog around.

The learning curve is tremendous. And no post I've done since I've started proved that point more than the post I did on Monday afternoon-- Memorial Day-- when I wrote about Kimberly Dozier and the attack that wounded her and killed two other CBS News colleagues. People are still commenting on that post four days later and the surprise for me hasn't been that people are passionate about the topic. It's been the fact that people have been so willing to stray far afield from the scope of the original post-- sorrow for fallen comrades-- to touch upon distant issues they feel they need to express. The lesson for me is that these blogs, and the posts which constitute them, are really gateways-- or maybe venues- into and through which these sorts of dialogues pass.

I felt this week, again, like the old character in those Saturday Night Live skits who would come up with a topic and then tell the guests "okay, discuss.... talk among yourselves." Do I care what y'all think of the quality of my posts? Absolutely. Do I care what you guys think about legal issues generally? Sure. Do I read your constructive criticism well so that I can improve my posts and give you the best value possible for your blogging time? Yes. But when I write about the law, or when I write about personal tragedy, do I care what you guys think about geopolitical realities as they relate to the war in Iraq? Not really. I'm delighted that you want to share those views via Bench Conference but, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, your political or military or religious views, polite or otherwise, neither break my leg nor pick my pocket.

What's truly amazing to me is the level of cognitive dissonance that goes on as you folks begin to respond to one another's comments. A sombre and uncontroversial post about death and injury to my CBS News co-workers turns to a discussion of the war in Iraq, and then to American foreign policy, and then to the Middle East, and then to race relations and on and on and on, often into ugliness. Die the person who posted the 50th or 100th or 150th comment really know or remember what I had originally written? Who knows. And, really, who cares.

In the meantime, Kimberly is getting better and may soon be coming home. When she first regained consciousness, even before she could speak, she immediately asked about her crew. When she was told they were dead, she cringed. Loyal and dogged, fierce and emphatic, even as she lays in a hospital bed. Meanwhile, she has a Purple Heart, courtesy of a soldier she befriended before she was wounded. As for our fallen colleagues, Paul Douglas and James Brolan, anyone who saw the pictures of the return of their caskets to Britain, or anyone who heard the remarks at their public memorial service, knows that the world is indeed a poor place today without them.

Have a great weekend. A safe and happy one. I'll catch you back here Monday morning.

By  |  June 2, 2006; 3:00 PM ET
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