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Doug Giebel: Yes, Virginia. No News Is Good News

Yes, Virginia. No News Is Good News

By Doug Giebel

Dear Virginia,

You asked why Mum and Daddy will not let you watch the evening news on television, and though you may be too young now to understand all of what we have to say-- someday when you are a grown-up person you will appreciate what we have done and thank us for it.

Frankly, we had not given those evening news broadcasts a second thought until recently when they were showing the bombed-out buildings in Lebanon and Israel and watched workers digging through the rubble searching for bodies. You turned to us and asked if these were more pictures of the World Trade Center after Nine-Eleven. Then one of the reports showed the lifeless body of a poor little child just about your age, and we realized that you were not old enough to know what was happening in a land so far away.

You see, Virginia, the blasted piles of rubble may have looked to you just like the World Trade Center, but they are not the same, not the same at all.. The World Trade Center buildings were very tall, and inside them was conducted some of the most important business of the world. On the other hand, the buildings in Lebanon, for example, are (or were) much smaller, and they are merely places where the people live (or lived). As you could see, they are not nice houses like ours.

It is difficult now for you to be aware of the fact that the people who lived in those Middle Eastern buildings are not like us. But they are not like us, any more than their homes are like ours. They have different beliefs from ours, and they do not think the same way we do. And when they lose their homes or their businesses or their children, it is not equal to when we lose something as magnificent and important as world-famous places such as the World Trade Center or part of the Pentagon. Frankly, dear, there is no comparison.

Because you are a very small person, we know it is not good for someone your age to see injured or dead children on the living room t.v., even if those children are not as beautiful as you are, or because they will grow up lacking all of the advantages that we will give to you. Just always remember that when those children die, their parents don't care the same way about them Mum and Daddy would feel if we were to ever lose someone as precious as you.

Right now the world is engaged in a big, big struggle to make sure that the good people win out over the bad people. And these are not people who can be reasoned with, because they are not capable of just sitting down, the way we do at the dinner table, to discuss problems and work them out without having to attack one another. About all they've ever known or cared about is how to blow up somebody they don't like. And we all know that is not a proper way to resolve differences.

But it is going to work out for us, and all because you called something to our attention just as if you were a big person. You made us recognize what was happening, and that was that there is way too much bad news on television, news so bad that not only children but also big people would be much better off if they didn't spend time having to look at it.

So, dear Virginia, you have done us a big, big favor, even if you can't understand it now. Yes, you will not be permitted to watch the evening news programs, but to make you feel better, we have decided that your parents, too, would be much happier if we joined you and didn't watch those awful broadcasts, too.

As Shakespeare said, "Knowing too much can be a dangerous thing."

Thank you, sweet Virginia, for getting us to see the light. We are so very, very proud of you.

Your loving

Mum and Daddy.


Doug Giebel is a writer and analyst who lives in Montana. He welcomes comment: dougcatz @

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