by Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter 12/2004

Saddam Hussein has been captured. One of the most evil beings ever to walk the face of the Earth, a man solely responsibly for genocide, unspeakable atrocities, torture and war crimes is in custody, and the top news story every day after the capture was the SNOW?

It’s no joke, it’s not funny. Exactly one day after Hussein’s capture, EVERY local news station led their news program not with details about Hussein, or reaction around the world, but with the big snowstorm coming our way.

The story of Hussein’s arrest, an event of tremendous historical magnitude, a true Christmas present for all freedom loving people around the Earth, a source of pride for the American military, a real step toward ending terror, was absolutely no match for an impending Boston snowstorm. Oh, the news mentioned the capture, but the BIG story was the snowstorm heading our way.

All night, every half hour, the news stations presented storm updates. And I swear this is true, one of the news anchors actually said, “We’ll have much more on all the school closing and snow fall expectations, and of course, the Saddam Hussein capture, at 11.”

Y’know, I’ve written more than my fair share of “This is New England, it snows here” columns, but the events of the past week really angered me. Where is the sense of priority? Or for that matter, the reaction that this generation’s Hitler is in Allied custody? For decades this madman has been terrorizing the world, invading his neighboring countries, killing and torturing thousands and threatening annihilation. The local news couldn’t devote more than a few minutes to this incredible story?

Who cares about the guy who couldn’t buy a shovel at Home Depot? Who needs to watch more footage of the snowplows plowing snow? Must we suffer through yet another interview with a driver on 128 who says, “Yeah, it’s slow going” and the reporter who tells us that the sand trucks will be out all night? Do we really need yet another reminder to keep batteries in the flashlights?

Yes, a snowstorm affects our commutes, school/work schedules and safety, and we do need some information – how much snow should we expect – what schools are closed – should we delay our commute? But that’s about it. Around here, it is not BREAKING NEWS every time a storm hits.

The real lead story is that thousands of our soldiers will spend Christmas overseas in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq or God knows where, away from loved ones, in service to our country and each of us, protecting our freedom and way of life.

Have you thanked any of them lately? Sent them a card? An email? Wrote a letter to the editor just to say thanks? Talked to their families? Have you prayed for them? Have you called your local news and asked them for more interviews and stories with local heroes and less focus on the nonsense and silly snow stories?

This Christmas – and for that matter, until they all come home, try to be a little – just a little — less distracted by all the media nonsense and snow stories, and remembers the actual breaking news, the genuine lead story:

Despite a great victory last week in Saddam Hussein’s capture, the war continues, our soldiers are still in harm’s way and sadly, some might not be coming home. More soldiers are deployed every day.

To all our soldiers, near and far: THANK YOU. Your service honors us. God bless you and keep you safe.

And to everyone here in Foxboro, sleep well, for your real Christmas present is that our military’s best and brightest are protecting all of us, and that’s a much bigger story than yet another new England Christmas snowstorm.

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