Insulated by time and distance, I'm waiting
My father used to say: "Time was invented so everything doesn't happen all at once. Distance was invented so everything doesn't happen to you."
Maybe he read that, or maybe he heard it from some weary half-a-thief in the days when my father tended bar.
I've lived in some big cities, but I've lived the last 28 years of my life in Fall River, Massachusetts, a city that shares its size, racial makeup and withered industrial muscle with Kenosha, Wisconsin. I was a reporter in Fall River, and I'm a radio talk show host now.
My city has a good-sized crime problem, and an elephant of a heroin problem, but its very smallness makes you feel insulated from history. By the time the big issues get here, they're usually pretty tired.
"Once in a while, it's a great comfort to live in the middle of nowhere," I wrote on Sept. 11, after a day grimly "localizing" the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York City. "Muslim terrorists are not going to crash a plane into our city hall."
Time and distance.
Kenosha is pretty far from Fall River, but I don't have to go there to know what it's like. It's an unfashionable place, as cities this size are, a little grim, a little dopey, inclined to "he said, she said" political arguments among the city councilors.
And as the fire rises in Kenosha, I feel the heat.
Some kid, some pudgy little weasel I could have knocked down with a punch, shot a couple of people during the riots in Kenosha. He's white, so he was arrested without incident, and there is no doubt he will soon be pronounced "mentally ill" or maybe "troubled."
Knocked down with a punch? Naah.