(Credit for the snappy alliterative title goes to Tim de Illy.)
I haven't spend so much time glued to the TV set since April 19, 1994, when our Federal Government willfully incinerated 75 male, female and youth off-shoot Protestants in an effort to get one pedophile to surrender.
(It was the largest number of murders by fire since The Bronx' Happy Land arson four years earlier.)
As most now know, shots were fired in midtown Big Apple at 9:03 am today, and television viewers in the tri-state area were suddenly deprived of their morning fixes of "The Price is Right" and "Let's Make a Deal."
Many hundreds of thousands of other viewers were seriously inconvenienced, but not me... anything I wanted to watch I'd DVR'd from last night, so I was good to go.
But when I got my mind around what had happened an hour earlier, I was unable to do anything other than sit there and flip back-and-forth between Channels 2, 4, 5, 7 and MSNBC.
What struck me most was how much the media types were able to say without telling us much of anything, because not only didn't they know anything, but anything they did report was revised within the next 15-20 minutes.
How many were dead... that stayed pretty constant at two from 10:07 am forward... how many were additionally wounded... eight or nine... and by whom... the suspected shooter or police... and what was it all about?
Had the suspect... dead on the sidewalk under a sheet... been fired yesterday, 2½ years ago or last year, and was he age 53 or 59?
Equally fascinating was the amound of on-scene video captured, not by news cameras, but cell' 'phones.
By 10:20 am, the future brother-in-law of one Summer resident of Westhampton Beach had sold his video "exclusively" to The New York Post probably for enough money to finance his upcoming honeymoon.
(Watch it... the quality wouldn't have passed muster with Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour. Not that The Post is the ne plus tultra of journalism, but this is what the craft has become today.)
At this writing, the only thing I want to know is how many bystanders were struck by "friendly fire." NYPD traditionally has some of the worst marksmanship in American law enforcement.
Each year SOP9, the "Uniform Annual Firearms Discharge Report," is released later and later because it takes that much longer for those who prepare it to massage the numbers ("Hit Percentile") into double digits.
That's right, anything less than 10% and it's sent back for more work... in the early '90s, NYPD began including police officer suicides, usually but not always "one shot, one hit," to improve the official figures.
NY Post reports that perp's pistol malfunctioned when he tried to fire on cops and that all nine bystanders were hit by NYPD gunfire.
O, and remember, "friendly fire" isn't!
I don't intend to sound like an armchair quarterback, but the motto Train Like You Fight, Fight Like You Train comes to mind.