Swickard: Contradicting ourselves many times over

© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself...” Walt Whitman
             We are living in times of contradiction and most people ignore these contradictions. Example: a major push is on to deal with head injuries in sports while television programs feature the biggest hits.
            Years ago, I went to Dallas to visit friends. They decided I should see the famous Book Depository from where Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John Kennedy November 1963. There is a tourist attraction where once an assassin perched.
            The level of security surprised me. Armed guards were everywhere. The money taker sat behind bullet-proof glass. We were herded through metal detectors while protectors watched.
            Maybe I got there at the wrong time but it looked like a crowd of Mom and Pop tourists to me. Then we took the elevator which only went to the sixth floor. Much of the exhibit was the story of the assassination of President Kennedy from the assassin’s point of view.
            It answered questions of how Oswald brought the gun up to the window where he fired. The older tourists were somber. I suspect the younger visitors didn’t have the personal emotional attachment to that time.
            I wasn’t the only person who was peeved at the people who stood in the southeast corner and looked from the assassin’s perspective down to the street below mentally sighting the rifle. It was when they said loudly, “BANG,” that I began to think the exhibit was ill-conceived.
            On our way back to my host’s house we stopped by the Irving Mall. I don’t know exactly what happened, but apparently just minutes before we arrived a gang fight broke out next to the food court.
            Some unlucky guy was just sitting down to a piece of pizza with his wife and two small children when he was killed by a stray shot. We walked in just after the smoke cleared. The security guards stood in groups looking like a bunch of chickens in a barnyard right after the farmer has culled out a couple for Sunday lunch.
            There were some people who lamented that there were not more armed security guards when the shooting occurred. With more people shooting the perpetrator might have been caught. But the armed guards were all back at the Dallas Book Depository.
            Since I paid my way into the Book Depository Memorial on the sixth floor I have the right to say that it should be razed like was done with the Cleveland apartment building when a man used it in the course of a cannibalistic crime spree.
            We Americans are contradictory. We celebrate a fallen president from where the assassin sat. The assassin should not be the attraction. And even better, it would be nice if they were able to change the local shooting gallery back into a shopping mall.
            And for heaven’s sake, don’t get me started on the lunacy of celebrating the outlaw Billy the Kid while completely forgetting New Mexico’s own Sheriff Pat Garret.