The Moment

4|19|10: Virginia

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What if someone scheduled a Washington protest and hardly anyone came? Those who did would be inundated by press coverage, that's what--provided they were clever enough to pack weapons. The scene on a sunny Potomac River bank--where a few dozen gun-toting supporters of the Second Amendment found themselves nearly outnumbered by cameras, and reporters literally stood in line to interview the organizers--was an exquisite morsel from today's hot-button media cookbook. Take one tired culture clash (gun control). Add a dash of comfortable stereotype (white dudes with drawls and holsters). Boil over heat from outraged bloggers. Serve it up as news. Meanwhile, far away, tens of thousands of troops carried their guns through harsh and hostile precincts, observed by few, if any, of the overstretched journalists who chronicle our wars for dwindling audiences. Hype is easy; honor is hard. Being glib earns a mint these days. The reward for guts is yet another deployment. Our undeserved good fortune is that some nevertheless still choose to be serious.