I’ve spent the past couple of days thinking about the incident in Roseto where the local church carnival made the national news for a game where people shot foam darts at a likeness of President Obama holding a “healthcare bill”.

It’s important in these times of real problems and real dangers to not overreact to things so I thought I’d “sleep on it” for a couple of nights before writing about it.

Seventy-two hours later, I feel exactly the same way as I did the first time I heard about it: What the hell were they thinking? The game company manufactures the thing in the first place, then the parish church in little Roseto no less actually allows the game to be displayed, and then hundreds of people use it shooting at the heart and head of the President before some woman from NJ blows the whistle. That’s a new low, no not the game; well yes, the game, but that we here in Pennsylvania had to have the error of our ways pointed out by someone from New Jersey.

And don’t give me that guff about First Amendment rights. This has nothing to do with what is legally allowed and a lot to do with what’s right in a civilized society. What kind of example are we setting for our children? No wonder bullying and violence are up in school .

More thoughts on this subject in my latest column for The Daily Caller….

14 thoughts on “Upon Reflection…Pretending to shoot the President is not a game”

  1. Charlie Versaggi

    I totally agree, Pamela. The essence of this issue is rooted in our nation’s loss of a sense of civility. Most of our fellow citizens would be hard-pressed to define the term and all of us would find it difficult to find civility in action – be it on our streets, homes, work places, schools, government and, I hate to say, churches. In my library is a book from the late Dr. M Scott Peck (author of “The Road Less Traveled”) from 1993: A World Waiting to be Born – Civility Revisited. The book should be on the “required reading” list in every family. In the book, Dr. Peck addresses case after case of examples of incivility in action… followed by a section on his hope for the future. He carried that hope to his grave. Unfortunately, 17 years after publication, I see little civility in our society (other than the whistle-blower from NJ). Civility starts with each of us modeling proper behavior and leading by example.

    And you are correcct, this issue is not a “Freedom of Speech” topic.

    1. Charlie, thank you for your thoughtful and well-reasoned post. I’m so glad you reminded me about Dr. M. Scott Peck, his body of work, especially “The Road Less Traveled” made me a great fan of his. I’m going to revisit it.

      I simply don’t understand what is going on; as a society and culture we’re sinking to the lowest common denominator on all fronts. There are no positive examples for our children anywhere unless they happen to be fortunate enough to have parents who “get it”. Sports figures are selfish, greedy, and doing drugs; television is unwatchable unless you want to see the dregs of society insulting each other, and government has become a sideshow circus act. Hate to sound like an alarmist, but the words “Roman Empire” come to mind.

  2. “The essence of this issue is rooted in our nation’s loss of a sense of civility.” Totally true. I have read a number of Peck’s books I will look for that one. Ultimately, you can not take the civility out of civilization and end up with much more than anarchy. When do we start acting like grown ups again?

  3. Looking To Escape

    “No wonder bullying and violence are up in school.”
    Barack Obama doesn’t mind attacking others. Civility is not always his strong suit. Lies and distortions ARE the man’s stock in trade.
    As for the game, tasteless but not unique.
    Being civil will not work in a society with a million philosophical cleavages. Why can’t we all get along sounds nice but like Save 15% on your insurance in 15 minutes, it’s just a sales slogan.
    Looking at civilizations far older than America’s, civility between people who have deep divides in their views on life, civility can not be achieved. This is the final result of “diversity” and I expect things to trend far worse despite the occasional outbreaks of niceness in between.

  4. Bill,

    All we need to do is look at the nightly selection of television shows and who we’re holding up as “celebrities” to see how far away we are as a society from acting like grownups. I have hundreds of stations through my cable plan and some nights there is literally not one thing that is worth my time..out of over THREE HUNDRED channels. I find that a terrifying commentary on where we’re headed.

  5. Looking,

    I hope that’s not true. You and I so often agree, but your take on this sounds so cynical. I’m going to hang on to my belief in the better angels of our nature for a while longer. I think there are many people out there who think the world is going in the wrong direction and want to change it.

  6. Looking: I know that it is possible to disagree with =o being disagreeable. I have worked along side persons with whom I have deep disagreements with on life. Over the years I have grown to respect that others may see things differently than them but that it does not make them wrong or intolerable to me. Engaging persons with different perspectives has made me look deeper at my own views and beliefs and sometimes change my stance. The people on the right and the left for whom I have the most respect are people who can and will engage in such dialog. As far as civility not being achieved in societies with deep divides, we have at times accomplished it, not always, but at times. Respectfully, I hope you are wrong.

    Pam – I am a foodie and without a handful of cooking shows and news channels, I would only watch movies.

  7. Perhaps someone from Pennsylvania ought to go to New Jersey to point out the error of this entrepreneur’s ways:


    For those who do not wish to go to the link, it is a news story by the AP about a New Jersey Shore boardwalk carnival that featured Pres. Obama holding up a plate for people to throw baseballs at. That didn’t make the national news when it was introduced earlier this summer. But maybe no one complained.

    “AP – Operators of a Jersey Shore boardwalk game have removed a mannequin representing President Barack Obama.

    It has been replaced by effigies of former President George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton.

    ‘It’s just to show we’re not anti-Democrat or anti-Republican,’ Tommy Whalen told The Star-Ledger. He’s the manager of Lucky Leo’s where the ‘Walkin Charlie’ game debuted this summer.

    The game requires patrons to throw baseballs at plates held by the rotating caricatures.”

    1. Jake,

      I’m on vacation and have just gotten access to the internet which is why it took so long to get you up on the blog.

      Thanks for commenting, and “for what it’s worth”…I don’t agree with the NJ game any more that with the one in Roseto. It’s not about the politics it’s about the behavior. Allowing our children to throw objects at our elected leaders teaches disrespect and a subtle form of violence. There’s no difference between doing this and having an Iraqi throw a shoe at our President. And yes, I would feel the exact same way about it if that had happened to President Obama.

  8. Bill,

    Not to worry about your proofing abilities: I’m a professional writer and I’m the worse proofreader in the world. It really is a specialized skill which is why publishing houses pay proofers very good money.

    Thanks so much for you comments.

  9. Bill, your comment about civility is right on. People have become very egocentric and do not think about how their actions might affect others. However, I’m very skeptical that diversity is the underlying reason for this trend. It is true that diversity brings with it “philosophical cleavages” as you say. And, I too believe that this fact makes arriving at a consensus about a given issue more difficult. However, lack of civility is not unique to culturally diverse nations. One need only look at headlines from around the world to find horrific stories taking place in largely monocultural societies/countries. There are simply idiots in all societies who promulgate incivility. This is why we need to avoid knee-jerk, reactive measures that punish everyone for the actions of a few.

  10. Only Half As Dumb As You Think

    So…where was all the outrage over the books and videos detailing how to assasinate Bush?

    What about the FUNCTIONING GUILLOTINE at the Denver Obama Rally in October of 2008?


    Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    Phony, manufactured outrage and Hypocrisy.

    Oh, I forgot the Lectures…



  11. Looking To Escape

    “One need only look at headlines from around the world to find horrific stories taking place in largely monocultural societies/countries.”
    There are very few countries with monocultures. Japan, which is considered monoculture does have it’s discreet mini cultures. Northern Japanese view southern Japanese as a different kind of people. China is a collection of many different groups held together by strong arm government tactics.
    As for the United States you are seeing the last hurrah of America’s Vietnam War/Flower Power generation, agroup who expected to finger cymbal/chant the country into some sort great new age commune. All they have managed to do is leave a fractured society and hatred behind them.

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