Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tragedy Isn't Funny: An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh

Hello Rush,

As a listener of yours since the late '80s, and a member for the past several years, I think you're going a little overboard on the astronaut.

I joined after the press was ganging up on you over your issue with painkillers. I didn't think it was fair, and I wanted to show my support.

Similarly, I think the story of Lisa Nowak and her actions this morning is really a tragedy. Captain Nowak is an Annapolis grad with a regular commission, three young children, and is at the pinnacle of her career as a test pilot and astronaut. Now, all of that is over. Regardless of the legal outcome, her career is ended and she will have to resign her commission because she can no longer be trusted behind the controls of a fighter aircraft much less in command of an aircraft carrier or in the Space Shuttle.

If she is acquitted of all charges, she will still be unemployable; no defense contractor or airline will have her for the same reason that the Navy and NASA no longer will. She will almost surely be court-martialed; if she is found guilty she will most likely lose her pension. Her marriage is most likely over as well. And, if she is convicted in a criminal court she will spend at least a decade in jail.

I don't know why Captain Lowak did what she did. I don't know what pushed her to act this irrationally. My point is, regardless of the reason this is a tragedy that has and will harm many innocent people, from the intended victim to the male astronaut to the Nowak children to Captain Lowak herself. The woman has lost everything. There's nothing funny about that.

Give the woman a break, okay?

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