Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Cinch Review

Freedom Tower becomes tallest building in New York City

Freedom Tower - 1 World Trade CenterBack in October, yours truly visited the Financial District in Manhattan and took some pictures of the rising structure which is now officially known as “1 World Trade Center” and reflected then on whether the originally-conceived name for the building, i.e. the Freedom Tower, might stick in general usage, despite the apparent effort to put that moniker in the past. I think there’s good evidence today that it is sticking. Take just the headline in the New York Post as a barometer: WTC’s Freedom Tower to rise higher than Empire State building today.

People prefer to use a name for something in the skyline rather than an address, and the people of New York will call it what they choose to call it. It’s not entirely clear to me why the owners (being the Port Authority of NY and NJ) chose to ditch the name “Freedom Tower,” but that’s what they did back in 2009. They did suggest that it was easier to get tenants by calling it “1 World Trade Center.” Did “Freedom Tower” seem too “in-your-face,” too defiant? Yet, “1 World Trade Center” was the name/address of one of the buildings that was destroyed on September 11th, 2001—the other one being “2 World Trade Center.” (In common usage, mind you, they were the Twin Towers.) Would you prefer to rent space or go to work in a building bearing the name of one recently destroyed by terrorists or in one bearing a new name? Go figure. Continue reading Freedom Tower becomes tallest building in New York City

The Cinch Review

Dog named “Doc” helps with post-traumatic stress disorder

Dog newsAn organization called “Patriot Rovers” based in North Carolina trains Golden Retrievers adopted from the pound to provide comfort and support to U.S. military veterans. One such (as reported in the Daily Advance) is named Doc Russell, after army medic Ryan “Doc” Russell who gave his life carrying out his duty in Iraq in 2007. The founder of Patriot Rovers, David Cantara, likes when possible to name the service dogs after fallen U.S. service members, when the families agree. The 11 month-old Golden Retriever named Doc lives with an Iraq war veteran named Ray. He comforts him during anxiety attacks and is trained to bark and lick his hand when he has upsetting nightmares. Ray, who’s suffered enormously from the after-affects of his war-time service, attests: “He has given me a whole new outlook on life.” Continue reading Dog named “Doc” helps with post-traumatic stress disorder

The Cinch Review

Bob Dylan to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

[Update: My brief take on how the ceremony went is here.]

Just announced today. Bob Dylan is one of thirteen people who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year, along with astronaut John Glenn, writer Toni Morrison, Israeli President Shimon Peres, and former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. It’s considered the nation’s highest civilian honor (matched only by the legislative branch’s “Congressional Gold Medal”). The ceremony is reported to be planned for “late spring.” Continue reading Bob Dylan to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Cinch Review

Suicide is a Crime Far Worse Than Bullying

Front pageI’ve opined in this space on this subject before, but today can’t help myself from doing so once again, in response to yet another highpoint in the swirling mass-hysteria that has seemingly engulfed so many over the concept of bullying.

An Iowa newspaper—The Sioux City Journal—generated a great deal of attention a few days ago when they devoted their front page to an editorial decrying bullying. It was prompted by the death of a 14 year-old Iowan boy. He had committed suicide, reportedly in the wake of being harassed and bullied because he had “come out” to friends as being gay. The editorial, like so many other columns and public declarations on the topic, extends great sympathy and pity to the suicide victim, while making no bones about blaming those who bullied him for his death, and blaming society-at-large for failing to spot what was happening and failing to halt the bullying.

Bullying is bad. It’s wrong to be mean to people. “Love your neighbor as yourself;” following that rule rules out bullying, and that rule should be followed. Kids who bully other kids should be called to account for it. But human nature—and especially juvenile human nature—being what it is, there will always be bullies, as there always have been. When someone kills him or herself, however, the bigger problem is surely the response to the bullying. We call someone who kills him or herself a “suicide victim,” for a reason. That person has taken his or her own life; he or she is a victim of his or her own act of suicide. It is the wrong response to any kind of bullying or indeed to any challenge that life throws in a young person’s path. It eliminates any chance of a positive change in circumstance. It wastes an entire human life. And it wounds those who knew and loved the suicide victim in ways that will never heal. It is simply a crime, and an awful one. This is why when someone threatens suicide that person can be involuntarily committed to a mental institution on that basis alone. Force is employed if necessary to prevent the crime from being committed.

Indeed, if you publicly threaten suicide, you will not be held up as a figure deserving of tearful tributes and poignantly-composed editorials. Why, then, when someone succeeds in doing it, should that person—now a corpse and so unable to hear any of the sympathetic words—be fawned over in this way? And more importantly, what is the message being sent to other kids who find themselves victimized by cruel peers? They are being told that if they do the same deed there will be front page stories, TV news features and memorial services in tribute to them, with everyone crying in pity for their terrible hardship and castigating the idiots who tortured them. I humbly suggest that this is not the way to reduce teen suicides. It is instead feeding the swamp of the potentially-lethal self-pity in which bullying-victims may be tempted to wallow.


Kids should by all means be taught—and I think by parents in preference to school officials—that there are ways of dealing with bullying. But they must also be taught that the biggest mistake is to make a bully or bullies the center of one’s existence—to give them that kind of power. Even in the age of internet postings and text messages, the old adage holds true, like so many old adages: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me. Time passes; even high school has an end. Above all else, kids must be taught never to even consider taking their own lives. It is not laudable. It is not a solution. It does not make you a hero. It is a crime, and one far worse than any juvenile insult.

It may in fact be the one truly unforgivable crime, at least in this sense: When you’re dead, it’s too late to say you’re sorry.