Captain Beatty’s Barbecue

     Fark.com is a website that collects random news stories from around the web and posts them all. The site specializes in highlighting wacky stories, and summarizing the stories with a snarky headline. For example, one of the stories has a headline “One of nature’s phenomenons, having withstood the test of time for millenniums, is destroyed by some bored teenagers with a crowbar.” Another: “Boulder County CO is on fire. Residents as far away as Denver reportedly getting a contact high.”
     Each story has a “tag,” a small graphic to display what kind of story it is. The phenomenon story’s tag is “sad,” the Boulder story is “scary.” The tags run from “amusing,” to “cool,” to “weird,” to “hero.” There’s a reason Florida is the only state to have its own tag.
     For some reason, Florida attracts more than its share of morons, homicidal maniacs, drunks, addicts, and all around dunces. It’s sort of like a concentrated version of California.
     Today on Fark, as on just about every other news site, there is a story about a church in Gainesville, the Dove World Outreach Center, that is planning on burning the Koran on 9/11 this Saturday. Oddly, the “dumbass” tag beat out the “Florida” tag for this story.
     After reading the “pastor’s” justification though, I’d say the “dumbass” tag is appropriate.
     Terry Jones told MyFoxOrlando.com that “it’s maybe the right time for America to stand up. How long are we going to bow down? How long are we going to be controlled by the terrorists, by radical Islam?”
     Um, where to start? It seems to me America has been standing up against Islamic terrorists and just about anyone in the Middle East it wants to since special forces troops were riding horses across the plains of Afghanistan eight years ago, certainly since the first soldiers crossed the Iraqi border in 2003. The Associated Press has put the number of Iraqi casualties at 110,600 deaths as of April 2009. The Health Ministry of the Iraqi Government counts 87,215 in four years alone (2005-2009).
     That’s not standing up to anything? Iraq would have never been invaded by the United States if 9/11 had not happened.
     Second, if you want to protest being controlled by terrorists, where were you when former president Bush was instituting a widespread secret program of surveillance in the United States, a program whose constitutionally is highly questionable, if not downright improper? I take it the pastor disagrees vehemently with travel restrictions, too.
     Finally, so burning a pile of books will protest radical Islam? There are about 1.57 billion Muslims in the world, give or take, about 22% of the planet’s population. It’s very hard to put a number on an organization like Al-Qaeda, but estimates vary from 1,000 to 5,000 or more members.
     So this “dumbass” wants to burn a holy book to protest the actions of approximately .000003184% of members of a particular religion. It’s asinine to think that only card-carrying members of Al-Qaeda are the sole followers of radical Islam, but even five million such adherents comes out to a staggering .003184713%.
     Nothing says “world outreach” like intentionally offending almost a quarter of the world. I agree, the “dumbass” tag fits perfectly. Sorry “Florida,” maybe next time.

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