Sunday, November 3, 2013

Death at Los Angeles International Airport, Prayer, and Getting a Grip

Death at Los Angeles International Airport Friday morning is still in the news. It's not surprising that Transportation Security Agency officer Gerardo Hernandez is still dead; or that Paul Ciancia was charged with murder.

(From KTLA5, via Los Angeles Times, used w/o permission.)
"A Transportation Security Administration agent was killed and several other people were wounded when a gunman opened fire in a Los Angeles International Airport terminal Friday morning."

Ready for Heaven: Or Not

Being Catholic, I think there's a point in praying; and praying for folks who have died. Prayers for the dead isn't 'normal' in American culture. I've heard that quite a few Catholics have 'gone native,' and abandoned the practice.

Most of us aren't ready for Heaven when we die. That's not a criticism of "those people over there." I'm aware of how imperfect I am: and only have a few decades, at most, to get ready. Happily, there's a sort of spiritual ICU for folks who aren't perfect when we die. (Catechism, 1030-1032)

That's not an excuse to misbehave. My understanding is that it's a lot easier to sort out my soul while I still have a body: and I need all the leverage I can get, and that's another topic.

I believe that some folks get fast-tracked after death. We've tracked, verified, and canonized quite a few of them: the Saints. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 828)

Not all Saints are martyrs, by the way. Tomorrow we'll be celebrating the death of Saint Charles Borromeo. The folks who shot a cross he was holding may have been aiming at him: or not. Firearms weren't particularly accurate in 1531, and that's yet another topic. Charles Borromeo survived an assassination attempt, not the 1531 incident, and finally died of an infection. Still more topics.

Anyway, for Gerardo Hernandez:

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon him.

Guns, Schools, and the Yellow Peril

I'm glad that the man who apparently killed Gerardo Hernandez is still alive, for quite a few reasons. I'll get back to that in another post. Then again, maybe I won't.

Details about Paul Ciancia, the accused killer, started coming out Friday. Quite a few news sources said that he went to an all-boys Roman Catholic school in Wilmington called Salesianum School.

One of the articles I found put that fact in the first paragraph. Others placed it in the eighth, ninth, or 10th paragraph.1

This is definitely not the sort of "former altar boy" news reporting which until recently seemed to assume that serving as an altar boy was the first step toward a life of crime.

It may take generations before many of America's self-defined best and brightest learn that many Catholics are not drunken Irishmen, Italian criminals, or uneducated slobs.

I'm hopeful, though, since America's national government finally made restitution to families who had been rounded up because of their ancestry. I think I understand why President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 in 1942: but I also think it was a very bad idea.

Even better, it's been generations since national and state policy has openly addressed fears of "yellow peril." Granted, we've got new problems: or new variations on ages-old problems, and that's - what else? - more topics.

Living in a Big World

I'm not going to rant about the presumed evils of all-boys schools, Catholic education, or trusting people whose last names don't sound British. That would be silly: and wrong.

We live in a big world. Oddly enough, that leaves less room for folks who want everyone to be the 'right sort.' I've harangued about this off an on over the years:

Getting a Grip About Altar Boys

Crazy ideas can be fashionable. Eventually, enough folks notice that the crazy idea they learned in school, or read in the papers, or heard on a talk show, doesn't match reality. Sometimes the process is fast, even by American standards. Sometimes it drags on for generations.

In the case of "former altar boy" news stories, it helped that some diligent chap stepped back and glanced at the big picture. This paragon noticed that nearly all young men in some neighborhoods had been altar boys at some point. The usual fractions became criminals, got into Congress, or lived productive lives. Even more topics.

Still more related posts:

1 Excerpts from the news:
"Sources: Alleged shooter hated government, 'New World Order' "
Doug Gross, CNN (November 2, 2013)

"Paul Anthony Ciancia was a newcomer to Los Angeles -- a 23-year-old Catholic school graduate and son of a popular Fraternal Order of Police member back in New Jersey...."
(1st paragraph)

"New Jersey police: Dad called, worried about Los Angeles airport suspect "
Kathy Matheson and Michael Rubinkam, Associated Press, via The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee (November 2, 2013)

"The young man suspected of carrying out a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport had sent a sibling a text message mentioning suicide, leading their father to seek authorities' help in finding him, a New Jersey police chief said Friday....

"...Ciancia graduated in 2008 from Salesianum School, an all-boys Roman Catholic school in Wilmington, Del., across the Delaware River from Pennsville, the school said...."
(9th paragraph)

"Suspect in LAX shooting apparently had suicidal thoughts before attack" (November 2, 2013)

"The man suspected of killing a Transportation Security Administration employee and injuring at least six people in Friday’s shooting at Los Angeles International Airport apparently had suicidal thoughts before the attack, authorities said....

"...The suspect graduated in 2008 from Salesianum School, an all-boys Roman Catholic school in Wilmington, the school said...."
(10th paragraph)

"Paul Ciancia, of Pennsville, held in Los Angeles Airport shooting, comes from 'good family,' police chief says: UPDATE"
South Jersey Times, via (November 1, 2013)

Suspect Paul Anthony Ciancia, from a screenshot of CBS News' Twitter feed; via South Jersey Times,"A longtime resident of this Salem County township led his father to believe he would take his own life before opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle and killing a Transportation Security Administration officer at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, police said...."

"...Ciancia, a longtime township resident, did not attend Pennsville schools, Pennsville School District Superintendent Dr. Michael Brodik said. A 2008 graduation list for Salesianum High School, a Catholic school in Wilmington, Del., includes a Paul Ciancia...."
(8th paragraph)

"LAX shooting: Gunman targeted TSA officers, wrote anti-government note"
Dan Weikel, Scott Gold, Richard Winton, Brian Bennett, Joel Rubin, Joseph Serna, Ari Bloomkatz, Samantha Schaefer, Kate Mather, Matt Stevens, Jill Cowan, Alicia Banks and Laura J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times (November 1, 2013)

"A composed, solitary gunman shot his way into Los Angeles International Airport on Friday morning, killing a transit security screener and injuring at least one more before being wounded by police and taken into custody. The incident was over in less than 10 minutes, but caused chaos at the world’s sixth-busiest airport and disrupted thousands of flights across the nation.

"...A classmate of Ciancia’s said Friday that the suspected gunman was a loner and had been bullied at his private high school...."
(8th paragraph)

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.