There are some comparisons you just don't make.
You never compare a tragic event to 9-11 and you never suggest someone's circumstances are worse - or even equal too - than those suffered by a war veteran.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton opted to throw common sense to the wind last week by comparing recent public Minnesota Vikings missteps to the challenges faced by war-scarred veterans returning to civil life.
I don't think he meant to offend anyone with his poor choice of words and he's since publicly apologized, but once the cat's out of the bag, it's hard to wrestle it back in.
Allow me to set the table before you try to digest. The governor, in a state that's working to keep the Minnesota Vikings happy, came out on Minnesota Public Radio, trying to make excuses for the highly publicized poor behavior and illegal actions by the team players, most recently by superstar running back Adrian Peterson.
Here is a sample of his conversation.
"Idle time is the devil's play. It means that young males who are heavily armored and heavily psyched as necessary to carry out their job are probably more susceptible to being in bars at two-o'clock and having problems. It doesn't excuse it, it just says this probably comes with it.
"Shake one of their hands and you know that this is someone who is not your ordinary citizen. They're heavily armored, heavily psyched to do what they have to do and go out there. It's basically slightly civilized war.
"Then they take that into society. Much as soldiers come back, they've been in combat or the edge of it and suddenly that adjustment back to civilian life is a real challenge, and that's part of the reality. ..."
Sorry to disagree governor but these are football players, who are paid huge salaries to play a game. At the end of the day, they shower, change into their $2,000 suits, and head home to their high-priced homes and pampered lifestyle. After some rest in their own bed, it's off to practice and film, some weight lifting, a good meal and a night on the town.
The soldier, after navigating the combat zone, complete with sniper fire and roadside bombs, returns to his base in the middle of hell, showers, catches as much sleep as possible, shares a quick bite to eat and goes out and does it again day after day, while his family lives on food stamps and battles to make ends meet back in the States. When the soldier finally returns stateside, after months away from home, he hits the floor every time a car backfires, and has uncontrollable flashbacks that create terror and panic.
I certainly see where one might mistake the two.
The governor was trying - poorly I might add - to make excuses for a group of adult adolescents who make bad choices in a society that tends to overlook their moments of blunder and stupidity due to their athletic gifts and celebrity. I get the point he was trying to make, but while we have soldiers under constant threat - not from a Jared Allen sack, but from a limb-removing bomb -- it's a very ignorant comparison to make.
War is hell. Football is a game.
Out of respect for every individual who has served or provides service today, please don't confuse the two in the future.