There is some terrible misunderstanding that's taken place here.
Well that happens a lot when it comes to North Korea and Kim Jong-un.
Jeff Newman's father, Merrill is 85 years old and likes to travel to strange places in this world. That is why he was on a 10 day trip to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. He was scheduled to leave on October 26th, but right before take off a member of the North Korean military pulled him off the plane that was due to fly out of Pyongyang. It is the last anyone has seen, or heard of him.
The local authorities have confirmed they have an American citizen in custody, but have refused to release a name, because--you know--there are so many Americans not named Dennis Rodman be-bopping around North Korea at the moment.
The elder Newman's travelling companion, Bob Hamrdla, who was allowed out of the country, says the trouble may have started when Newman and his tour guide were interviewed by some North Korean muckety-mucks the day before he was detained. That would be the exact moment Kim's boys discovered Mr. Newman had served with the U.S. military on the Korean peninsula, during the Korean war. Sort of like the actors in the movie and T.V. show M.A.S.H. except, in his case, it was for real.
Newman's family has said he has a heart condition and needs daily medication. The Swedes, who represent U.S. interests in North Korea, have been trying to get the meds to him, but so far have been unsuccessful.
So, what is to happen? What would those grandiose, yet paranoid, clowns want with an 85 year old grandfather, who just happened to get assigned to a combat theater 63 years ago?
Let's go back to Rodman for a second. According to the self proclaimed "ambassador all around the world," he is putting together a team of retired NBA players in order to conduct a basketball exhibition tour next month in the DPRK. This, despite a state department warning to Americans not to travel there.
When questioned the other day about not only Merrill Newman, but the aforementioned, Mr. Kim, Rodman was quoted as saying, "He's (Kim) my friend first--other than that I don't give a damn what he does."
Why does the cynic in me think Dennis Rodman is going to solidify his diplomatic standing both here and abroad sometime next month. Of course he will. All he has to do is convince "his friend" to release frail old Merrill Newman while he is in North Korea playing hoops and yuking it up with the newly formed Central Committee of Basketball Exhibitions, or some other such thing. At that point, in his mind anyway, Rodman will have to be taken seriously, something that was severely lacking during his last few years in the pros. It is a personal insult he has publicly whined about. In addition, Kim, who not only possesses nuclear weapons, but apparently is as crazy as a wolverine on meth, will think he actually has a valid representative in the west--one who will have the ear of, not only the public, but the government of the United States of, by God, America. Indeed, who among us won't listen to Dennis Rodman when he comes home with Merrill Newman in tow?
Hey, as comedienne Judy Tenuta once said, "It could happen." And given the IQs of the parties involved does such a scenario sound that far fetched? I didn't think so.
Meanwhile, closer to home, we had our National Rifle Association moment of the weekend in Nashville, TN early Saturday morning. A country and western musician named Wayne Mills went bar hopping with some pals Friday night after attending a George Jones tribute concert. They ended up in a joint called the Pit and Barrel after hours. An argument ensued with the bar's owner because Mills lit up a cigarette in a non-smoking area of the establishment. Before it was done, he was shot to death.
The owner of the place, Chris Ferrell, has claimed the shooting was in self defense. Police are investigating. Charges have yet to be filed because, yes, Mr. Ferrell is licensed to carry a hand gun. I mean, let's face it, you never know when a deadly ass hole is going to assault you with second hand smoke in a closed bar. That's right. Stand your ground, baby.
With less than a month to go before the one year anniversary of the Newtown, CT shootings, Slate and @GunDeaths report 10,833 Americans have been murdered with guns.
The ambassador all around the world has yet to comment on the domestic carnage.
Obviously, more important things are on his mind.
sic vita est