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Stewart’s monologue for sanity

January 16, 2011
By KATHRYN SPIRA, For The Leader-Herald

With all the media and talking heads trying to make sense of last weeks shooting in Tucson, I was happy to see Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show," which aired Monday night, actually brought some sanity to the discussion.

Back when I was trying to pursue acting in California, a friend of mine was dating Stewart. I didn't get to meet him, but knew he was a rising comedian at the time. Little did I know he would become such a well-known comedian that even President Barack Obama would be interviewed by him.

So, when Stewart started his broadcast right after last weekend's events, he didn't try to be funny. In fact, he started out with a 10-minute monologue you could tell really came from his heart.

His monologue was really in the same tenor as his "Rally to Restore Sanity" in Washington, D.C. last summer. He specifically wanted to remind his viewers of the heroes of the tragedy, who were ordinary people doing the right thing in a terrible situation.

From all the media coverage I watched, many of those on the scene responded in the best way anyone could have hoped.

A new aide to Giffords apparently helped save her life by running to her, cradling her head and putting pressure on the wound until help could arrive.

A retired colonel, who was wounded, tackled the shooter and helped hold him down.

An older lady grabbed the magazine of bullets the shooter was trying to reload and probably kept more people from being shot.

Each of the heroic actions of these people should be highlighted much more than the crazy actions of one person now in custody. What I liked about Stewart's response was that he put the emphasis on the positive rather than the negatives of the situation.

It's hard looking back on events like the 9/11 tragedy or the Oklahoma City bombing without just seeing the awful consequences of the events.

But Stewart was able to focus on the positives so soon after the event in Tucson. To see his monologue, go to

My whole take on the Tucson shooting is overall sadness, but in the same vein hope in that so many ordinary people responded in such a great way in the middle of the chaos.

I can only hope you or I would respond in the same way given a similar situation.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at



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