Two stories collided in my mind today. The juxtaposition is remarkable.First, I read an FDA release on ''Mispackaged Hostess Mini Pound Cakes--Product may contain walnuts.''
There are contacts provided (Sandra Sternberg, Maya Pogoda 310-788-2850), full description of the problem: ''It has been found that some Mini Pound Cake packages may in fact contain Hostess® Carrot Cake which is made with walnuts. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to walnuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions if they consume Hostess® Carrot Cake,'' states of distribution, product and date codes. . .in short, every possible concern is addressed.
Though treated with the urgency of a dirty bomb alert, the first item in our juxtaposition--the FDA recall--is not going to hit you out of left field, for ''Hostess® Carrot Cake can be identified through the clear film packaging by its white cream cheese icing. Hostess® Mini Pound Cake does not have icing.''
And of course, everyone knows pound cakes are approximately yellow, whereas carrot cake is, well, carrot-colored, and has bits and pieces of things in it, as opposed to the smooth texture of pound cake.
Now, let's compare this daily spot-on job done by the FDA with the shoddy local police work here in our fair state:
The Miami Herald reports,
''Three years after being held at gunpoint, handcuffed and locked in a restroom at work, Dorothy Jean McReynolds was going to come face-to-face with the man police said threatened to kill her.
But an hour before she was to testify in a Broward courtroom on Monday, a man wearing a black-hooded sweat shirt and bandana over his face stormed into her Hollywood home and shot her in the head (''Hostage Victim Shot on Morning of Trial.'')''
Billy James Lewis, the man she was to testify against, was free on pre-trial release. Some time after Ms. McReynolds fatal shooting, he showed up dutifully for his trial.
Why was there no police escort for this witness on the day of trial against such a suspect? Are all extra police serving as buffers between warring Iraqis? What spotty protection we citizens have.
Ms. McReynolds is now dead, and her death is of the type which is most likely to befall the average citizen, yet we are misallocating such tremendous sums abroad because an overreaction to a discrete incident. And to my amazement, many of my fellow Americans still buy the ''one battlefield theory,'' as Richard Clarke called it.
That somehow, we are engaging al Qaeda in Iraq, and that they are following some kind of rules of chivalric battlefield behavior by only staying to one arena at a time. That it makes sense to lose 100 U.S. soldiers a month--not to mention those suffering disabling injuries, or the untold Iraqi casualties--because otherwise, we'd be losing 100 civilians a month here in the homeland. What hogwash.
Since it looks like we will be left short of policing funds and manpower for awhile, perhaps we can transfer some of the diligent FDA folks policing Hostess cakes over to FDLE to help out a bit.