Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Penny Toss

Last night, a rerun of 'Mythbusters' was on testing the myth that tossing a penny off the Empire state building could kill somebody. It turns out this is old tale that many of us have heard is false. The maximum speed a penny generates from a fall is around 65 mph, and due to it's lack of mass, it hurts but doesn't really break the skin. Think of people surviving being hit by a baseball thrown at a much faster speed all the time.

My point is that most people don't know that. They believe the myth of death by penny. In response, many people go to the top of the Empire State Building and fling pennies off the side. What kind of mentality does that require? It's the equal to thinking you are firing a loaded gun, but it turns out they were blanks. It would be tough to prosecute in a case like this, but in many people's minds this is casual attempted murder.

Our concept of right and wrong are extremely twisted in this world whose rules are changing faster than we can digest. We can accept that a man who kicks in somebody's door, rapes an old woman, and stabs her to death deserves to spend at least life in bars.

If a man is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths by manipulating intelligence, knowing that he is about to create suffering on a large scale, we call him Mr. Vice President. That is the civilized thing to do.

A few months back, a well known "centrist" member of the media named Mort Kondracke suggested that it might be a good idea if there was ethnic cleansing in Iraq. If all the Sunnis were slaughtered, there might be some peace. Perhaps there is something wrong with my moral clock. I find thoughts such as his repulsive. We can be fairly confident that he didn't lose too many friends in D.C. for saying such a thing.

It's as if he was just flinging pennies off a tall building.