- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 12, 2002

Noble: Morgan Kay Beamer, for this week's awesome affirmation of life.Someone could tell Morgan that she needs to get a life. On the other hand, she just did. For now, she's totally dependent on her mom for support, and she doesn't do much more than eat and sleep all day. She's even been known to throw fits when she doesn't get her way. In fairness, Morgan is only a few days old.
Morgan's dad was Todd Beamer, one of the heroes aboard Flight 93 who died while attempting to wrest control of the plane during its September 11 hijacking. Mr. Beamer had as full a life as was possible for its 32 years, filling his minutes with unforgettable moments with his friends and his family, especially his two sons, David and Andrew.
His widow, Lisa, is still finding ways to adjust to the tragic change in her life and having to look after a newborn child won't make it any easier. Mrs. Beamer has already set up a foundation to take care of the other children who lost parents aboard Flight 93, and their days, like hers, will be filled with bittersweet reminders of what might have been.
Yet Morgan's birth represents an affirmation of sorts, both for Mrs. Beamer and for all of the individuals touched by the tragedy of September 11. As the lives tragically shortened that day serve as reminders of life's inevitable (and wildly uncertain) transience, the weddings and births afterward serve as reminders of life's hopeful continuity.
Morgan will certainly face some disappointments she's probably already heard the word "No." Yet she will also enjoy wonderful opportunities, and she will almost certainly be able to make some amazing choices. Entrusted with her father's solemn legacy, she now has all the opportunity in America to make her own.

Knave: Thomas Junta, for his terrifying taking of a life.
Someone should have told Mr. Junta that a "face-off" was not supposed to be a literal event especially not after the game especially not when the players are children.
True, Mr. Junta hasn't as of this writing been convicted of beating Michael Costin to death during their post-game altercation at the Burbank Ice Arena. But considering that Mr. Junta had at least a 100-pound weight advantage over Mr. Costin, his claim that he was only acting in self-defense while landing between 10 and 20 punches on his prostrate adversary would be laughable if the ending weren't so tragic.
Mr. Junta apparently forgot that hockey is a sport albeit one in which an acceptable level of mayhem is created by giving erstwhile heavyweight boxers hard wooden sticks with which to properly pummel one another. However, those hockey players who survive until the game clock expires usually know better than to push their aggressions into overtime.
That's not always true for parents of junior players. It certainly wasn't true for either Mr. Costin or Mr. Junta, both of whom put aside the duty of being a parent to settle a personal grudge in a personal way. Parenting demands a greater sense of responsibility.


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