Dorner had disappeared again. The Cavalier driver, Jack Chilson, had tried to pursue him but had grown afraid and stopped.
From just feet away, he had seen Dorner firing at the patrol car. He had seen the bullets punch a circle in the window the size of a paper plate.
He noticed Dorner had been wearing a heavy camouflage jacket and wraparound goggles. It looked like he had been grinning.
There was no eulogy or last words. The claw of a yellow CAT excavator dug into the corner of the Waffle House roof. With a crunch muffled by the rain, it all crashed down — the walls, the support beams, the fluffs of pink insulation.
The claw rose again and took its next bite. Chunk by chunk, the Waffle House became rubble.
The media has long had its struggles with the truth—that’s nothing new. What is new is that we’re barely even apologizing for increasingly considering the truth optional. In fact, the mistakes, and the falsehoods, and the hoaxes are a big part of a business plan driven by the belief that big traffic absolves all sins, that success is a primary virtue. Haste and confusion aren’t bugs in the coding anymore, they’re features. Consider what Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for the Huffington Post, told The New York Times in its recent piece on a raft of hoaxes, including Gale’s kerfuffle, a child’s letter to Santa that included a handwritten Amazon URL, and a woman who wrote about her fictitious poverty so effectively that she pulled in some $60,000 in online donations. “The faster metabolism puts people who fact-check at a disadvantage,” Grim said. “If you throw something up without fact-checking it, and you’re the first one to put it up, and you get millions and millions of views, and later it’s proved false, you still got those views. That’s a problem. The incentives are all wrong.”
In other words, press “Publish” or perish.
On the late shift, death was creaking doors and footsteps on shiny linoleum, the muffled thud of something falling off of a shelf down the corridor. It was the groans and whimpers of patients in other rooms carrying through the hallways of the ICU. It was the hand on the wall clock tick-, tick-, ticking, a chair back thumping against metal and breaking the silence in the room, the sunlight creeping deliberately across the floor and up to Susan’s blanket. It was the bubbling of a ventilator, the phlegm in her throat choking her snore while she slept, the warning sound of something beeping that hadn’t before, a light that started to flicker, a twinge of cold in the room. We didn’t know what death would sound like, or when it would come. We just knew that it would.
The meetings continued, relentless. Incomplete family after incomplete family came to see Feinberg, usually in his New York office. He asked his quiet and gentle younger brother, David, who runs the business end of his practice, if he wanted to begin sitting in on the sessions as a kind of emotional ballast, almost as a counterweight. “I was able to get through one,” David Feinberg says today. “I said, ‘Ken, I can’t do this.’ It was a woman, there were children, they had a photo album, they were all crying. I barely made it through.” Feinberg’s administrative and logistical right hand, a woman of pure competence named Camille Biros—they have worked together now for more than thirty years, since they crossed paths in Ted Kennedy’s Senate office—began taking her turn. “One stands out, this beautiful young woman, maybe twenty-one or twenty-two,” Biros says today. The woman was among the youngest of the September 11 widows, and she brought a lawyer and her young daughter to her hearing. She didn’t say much of anything during the meeting, letting her lawyer do the talking for her, and she remained almost oddly composed. When the session was over, Biros took her by the arm to walk her out, but instead the young widow walked over to the room’s long glass wall and its soaring view of Manhattan. She looked down. “They must have been awfully scared when they jumped from the windows,” she said, before she crumpled to the floor.
An entire country mourned, but here the news hit like a death in the family. Not just the sudden, incomprehensible loss of a president who embodied youth and vitality. But the murder of one of their own.
The boy from Brookline who learned to swim and sail on the Cape; who studied in Connecticut and Cambridge; who recovered from the war in Chelsea; who married in Newport; who knocked on their doors seeking votes in Everett and Charlestown, attended their VFW suppers and first communion breakfasts, captured their hearts with his wit and grace, his intensity and humor, his looks and charisma.
They knew him, loved him, worshipped him here. He was the first Catholic in the White House, and even more, an Irish Catholic descended from potato-famine refugees and pick-and-shovel laborers — his portrait on so many mantels. He was their president in a way he could never be anyone else’s.
The best shots remain airborne forever, in driveways and alleys, at parks and YMCAs, amateur imitations of Magic Johnson’s junior skyhook over the Celtics, Reggie Miller's turnaround against the Knicks, Michael Jordan's step-back versus the Jazz. They live in dusty old gyms like the one at Santa Monica High, where on a warm November morning, a 64-year-old former professor and Air Force intelligence officer strides across the key to the right corner. He glances down at the strip of hardwood separating the three-point line from the sideline and marvels at how narrow it is. Someone shooting from that corner would have only three feet to leap and land-not much room for a man who is, say, 6' 5” and wears size-15 sneakers. It's like asking a giant to do gymnastics on a wire. “This son of a gun sprints all the way back here, turns his body, gets his balance, takes his time and sets up perfectly,” the professor says. “He can't rush it. He has to follow through. And he does it all because he's done it a million times before. He's waited his whole life for this shot.” Then Gregg Popovich pantomimes the stroke that broke his heart.
- Lee Jenkins
Affleck: Robin wanted to get a taste of Boston. I remember thinking, This is a fucking mistake. I mean, you gotta remember Whitey Bulger was still around and running things. And then it just turns into a mob scene. Guys got really drunk and wanted to fight me because I had my hat on backwards.
Williams: I remember this guy came up with a heavy Irish accent, I couldn’t understand a word he was saying, and another guy, a Southie guy, said, “He wants to know where your private plane is.”
… the federal government, in an unthinkable development that we cannot even think about, partially shuts down. The result is a catastrophe of near-sequester proportions. Within hours wolves are roaming the streets of major U.S. cities, and bacteria the size of mature salmon are openly cavorting in the nation’s water supply. In the Midwest, thousands of cows, no longer supervised by the Department of Agriculture, spontaneously explode. Yellowstone National Park — ALL of it — is stolen. In some areas gravity stops working altogether, forcing people to tie themselves to trees so they won’t float away. With the nation virtually defenseless, the Bermudan army invades the East Coast, within hours capturing Delaware and most of New Jersey.
By day 17, the situation has become so dire that Congress, resorting to desperate measures, decides to actually do something. It passes, and the president signs, a law raising the debt ceiling, thereby ensuring that the federal government can continue spending spectacular quantities of money that it does not have until the next major totally unforeseeable government financial crisis, scheduled for February 2014.
And there are at least as many strategies for beer pong as there are for negotiating life itself.
Chanel’s fury mounts. She reaches for the same words every time, the kind that echo for days in Dasani’s head.
Dasani always gotta have the answer.
She think she special.
She think she some-fucking-body.
Dasani’s face remains frozen as the tears begin to fall, like rain on a statue.
The brain is a part of the body. It’s an organ. It’s a physical thing. Sometimes it breaks. Sometimes it breaks because you beat it against the inside of your skull so hard playing football,1 and sometimes — because it’s unimaginably intricate, the brain, way more intricate than even a modified read-option — it breaks for reasons that are harder to see. Your ability to chortle “boys will be boys” doesn’t mean that psychological abuse of the sort that Martin apparently endured can’t widen that kind of fracture. But then, does the cause even matter?
“I guess they’re just going to have to get over it.”
Getting over it, it turns out, hasn’t proved all that easy.
Since that night in January, Daisy has been in regular therapy. She has been admitted to a Smithville hospital four times and spent 90 days at Missouri Girls Town, a residential facility for struggling teens.
Last May, shortly after returning home from college, Charlie found his sister collapsed in the family’s bathroom, where she had ingested a bottle of depression medication.
It was her second suicide attempt in the past two years.
This boy, who had ended up in the other first-grade class at Sandy Hook Elementary.
This boy, who had hidden in the other bathroom.
“Oh God,” Jackie said, shoulders trembling, questions and doubts tumbling out as she tried to catch her breath. “Why did we wait to enroll him in school?” she said. “He could have started a year earlier. He could have been in second grade. He was old enough.”
Aging means losing things, and not just eyesight and flexibility. It means watching the accomplishments of your youth be diminished, maybe in your own eyes through perspective, maybe in the eyes of others through cultural amnesia. Most people live anonymous lives, and when they grow old and die, any record of their existence is blown away. They’re forgotten, some more slowly than others, but eventually it happens to virtually everyone. Yet for the few people in each generation who reach the very pinnacle of fame and achievement, a mirage flickers: immortality. They come to believe in it. Even after Jordan is gone, he knows people will remember him. Here lies the greatest basketball player of all time. That’s his epitaph. When he walked off the court for the last time, he must have believed that nothing could ever diminish what he’d done. That knowledge would be his shield against aging.
As he went, he felt the energy drain from his body. His kicks and strokes were weakening. The sun rose higher, and the skin on his face and neck began to blister and burn. Then, at the top of one swell, impossibly, he spotted the Anna Mary, less than a quarter-mile in front of him. Mike Migliaccio was standing on the roof, and Aldridge hollered with all the strength he could muster. He tried to throw the buoy up in the air to attract attention, but the boat was too far away. For the second time that day, Aldridge watched as the Anna Mary receded into the distance without him, and he began to contemplate the reality he’d kept at bay in his mind for all these hours, that no matter what he did, he might not be rescued after all.
Peterson was always the last to forgive himself, and he was suddenly lost in the tunnel. Again, it was all or nothing.
Officers raced down the narrow road. They found the silver truck parked near the gate. Earlier that day, Peterson had purchased a shotgun, and police found shells in the bed of the truck. About 25 feet away they spotted Peterson’s body. He was done flipping, finished flying, through fighting.
Larking, too, found his young friend changed in several ways on his return. Much more serious than he had been, Tamerlan insisted that Larking grow a beard, “to honor the prophet Mohammed.” Larking complied. He also pressed Larking to remove his wedding ring, saying that most Muslims did not wear gold, but Larking refused. The last time Larking and Tamerlan sat together in the rear of the mosque, Tamerlan once again mentioned the voices in his head. This time, as Larking recalled it, he seemed afraid.
“He said, ‘Someone is in my brain, telling me stuff to do,’ ” recalled Larking. “He said he was trying to ignore it but it was hard to do. Whatever it was he was being told to do, he didn’t want to do it.”