My first reaction when I heard the news that St. Bernard Parish sheriff deputies were using a photograph of my colleague Lee Zurik for target practice at their rifle range was every bit as inappropriate as the act itself.
I laughed. I mean, you have to, right?
After all, this has to be some kind of joke, some kind of funny-ha-ha, not funny.....sick.
But, on second thought – and third, ad infinitum – I realize it was, in fact, sick, absent any funny at all, ha-ha or otherwise.
You have to wonder whose bright idea it was to say one day at the firing range: Hey fellas, today we're going to shoot the face off a TV reporter – a reporter who, by the way, investigated some of us for potential voter fraud last year, but that's merely.....coincidence.
It all lends new meaning to the term: "Target" of an investigation.
Now that's funny-ha-ha.
But still: Nobody thought to say: Boss, do you think, well....never mind.
Pass the ammo.
And yet, some folks still don't seem to appreciate the gravity of a prank like this. After Fox 8 News anchor Kim Holden's disclosure of this sordid affair this week, some observers weighed in on the station's Facebook page with a dismissal to those irked by the matter to "get over it."
To those folks, I offer this analogy:
In place of Lee Zurik's photo, insert one of your mother. Your spouse. Your child – their faces all shot out by deputies training high-powered firearms through the middle of their foreheads.
I ask: If a citizen used images of law enforcement officials for target practice, would this constitute some sort of homeland security threat?
Would St. Bernard Sheriff Jack Stephens offer an apology with a caveat that there was nothing "sinister" about the incidents – yes, it happened more than once – and let that be that?
Oh.....and an order that pictures of "celebrities" no longer be used for target practice.
Comforting news, no doubt, to Justin Bieber.
So we're all to be satisfied that, once again, the lurid actions of some local cops were motivated not by hatred, but by stupidity.
With this knowledge, I – for one – will be able to laugh myself right to sleep tonight, under the shotgun-blast shredded banner that once said: To Protect and To Serve.