Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What station do they put on in jail?

You don’t have to be in the news business to want to know more from a story than it delivers. Case in point: The fellow who walked into the Walmart Supercenter in Lilburn, Georgia, shortly after noon today. He walked to the sporting-goods department, picked out a nice metal bat (safer than today’s
wood ones
, after all) and toted it to the electronics department. He proceeded to smash 29 flat-screen TVs costing more than $22,000. Lilburn police want to know why.

By now, hours later, he might well have talked. But coverage of the event—it even hit the Associated Press wire service—missed one point that would have made the piece infinitely more interesting. I want to know what was playing on all those TVs. The way I see it, after, there’s no saying he hadn’t passed the electronics department on the way to the bats.

Had he been a disgruntled employee, that fact would likely have made it into the story. (Nobody, I mean nobody, takes it well to be relieved of his gruntles.) At age 23, he’s too young to be a career repairman of traditional CRT TVs who couldn’t make the transition to flat-panel sets. If he’s an Atlanta Braves fan, there are worse things than finishing seven games out of first place—just look at the my team, the Mets. And with spring training days away, the 2010 season’s not far behind.

No, given the state of television today, I think the answer could lie in what was playing on all those TVs. Sure, it could have been an action-packed movie on DVD. But what fun is that? I prefer to ponder, from a Wednesday program guide for Lilburn, what could have pushed him over the edge shortly after noontime. Was it a verdict on Judge Hatchett? Did he see his own wife, sans him, on Wife Swap? Did he, like Everybody, Hate Chris, too? Was it about what isn’t airing on C-SPAN?

I also want to know whether he intended to hit just one TV and—from the same concept governing Christmas lights—thought that if he smashed the first one, they’d all go out.

There’s one possibility left, and it’s one that every man alive comes to understand at some time in his life. It’s the fun, the sheer delight, of smashing things. Hmmmm….