The Memorial Debacle

Yesterday, there was a pep rally memorial service for the victims of the shooting down in Arizona. I've gotta say that I have never seen a memorial service quite like that one. And I think I'm glad that's the case. It was, um, odd from the get go. I didn't think that you would need to remind people at a memorial service that they were there because people had died, but that might not have been such a bad idea yesterday. Seriously, who are you people?

I should have known something was not quite right when I saw the picture below that my friend Scott had posted on his Facebook page. Let's take a look.

Now, Scott didn't caption this or anything, so I was left to my own devices (which are few and far between these days) to figure out what in the world was going on. It appeared that they were getting ready for some sort of a sporting event by putting a T-shirt on each and every chair in the arena. Nope, turns out that they were getting ready for the memorial by putting a T-shirt on each and every chair in the arena. Because nothing says "We're in mourning" like a new shirt to commemorate the event. I knew that group T-shirts were popular for large family reunions, but here's to hoping that they never catch on for memorial services.

The place was packed. I mean packed. And while that surprised me, what surprised me even more was the number of cell phone cameras and regular cameras that people kept holding up to take pictures. It was beyond odd. I've been to a fair number of memorial services and I've definitely been to more than my share of funerals (it's what happens when you grow up in a family full of oldsters) and while I don't remember them all, I am fairly confident in saying that there was NO photography going on at any of them. NONE. I am also fairly confident in saying that if someone had tried to take pictures at either sort of service, one of the family members of the deceased would have either knocked the camera out of the moron's hand or just simply attacked the moron. There's no guarantee that it wouldn't have been both, but there is a guarantee that it would have been one of those.

Who does that? I don't care who you are or what the circumstance is, who does that? Who takes pictures at a memorial? I don't think that I'm alone in thinking that it is incredibly disrespectful, but if I had been in attendance, I obviously would have been in the vast minority that thought so. But if you think that taking pictures at a memorial was bad, allow me to show you that some folks thought that it was perfectly fine to bring signs to the memorial. Behold!

And then there was President Barry. I'm not blaming him for any of what went on when he was talking. He looked very uncomfortable when he walked out to speak at the memorial for several deceased individuals including a 9-year old little girl as the place went completely bonkers. People were clapping and cheering and taking pictures and hollering. It was the weirdest thing that I think I have seen in a long time. It wasn't a sporting event, you dimwits! It was a memorial! Who gives a fat rat's ass if it's President Barry coming out to speak? You don't clap and cheer! What part of that don't you understand?! He wasn't campaigning! You people were supposed to be mourning! You people were supposed to be in need of healing! You people were supposed to be aware of the circumstances that brought you to the place where the President would be speaking to you! And yet in spite of all of the things that you were supposed to be aware of, y'all still acted like a bunch of idiots. It was disgraceful is what it was.

And while I don't think that it was President Barry's "fault", I am a little bit surprised that he didn't at least frigging say something to address the inappropriate behavior by most of the crowd. I don't think that it would have been out of line at all for him to have said something to the effect of "Thank you, but let's remember that we're here to pay our respects to those who lost their lives the other day and I think it would be better if all applause was held during this ceremony for mourning." And I can't imagine why he wouldn't have said something. He did look uncomfortable, I'll give him that. But I guess that maybe it stroked his ego more than it make him feel kind of oogey.

I put a lot of thought into how I felt about this whole ordeal. At first, I was conflicted in the sense that there are some people who do not want their funeral or their wake or their memorial or whatever it is to be a somber occasion. Had that been the case in this instance, I suppose that all of the cheering (no matter how odd it may have seemed) would not have come across as reprehensible. But that wasn't the case. The people who were there who lost their family members were distraught. I don't know that I would have been able to contain myself if I had been one of them when the cheers erupted from the stands. I think I would have had to leave because I would have felt that those who were cheering were not there for the same reason that I was there and that I was clearly outnumbered. And I don't think that I would have been able to stomach being in a room with a bunch of softheads trying to get a good picture of President Barry on their cell phones while I was still completely devastated at the loss of my loved one.

I wish I could explain what in the world went on in there, but I can't. I'd really like to be able to ask those that were cheering what in the world they were cheering for and why on earth they felt it appropriate to do so in the given venue. Since it seemed to be a sporting event-like atmosphere that most of those in attendance wanted it to be like, maybe they shouldn't have put a T-shirt over every chair and instead put them inside one of the T-shirt cannons that they use at NBA games and give everyone their shirt that way. Then they could have a big wildcat mascot or something come out and do a little dance. And don't forget to send out a bunch of concessions vendors so that folks don't get hungry or parched during a memorial service. Good Lord, people. Seriously, what in the world is wrong with you? Throughout this entire ordeal it has seemed as if people's perspectives have been completely skewed. And sadly, the memorial debacle was no exception.

Focus, people! FO-CUS! For cryin' out loud...