Wednesday, February 07, 2007

No longer the hero

AOG, Madrid

Navy Capt. Lisa Marie Nowak is, (was)? an astronaut and a mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
Today she was arrested on battery and attempted kidnapping charges after allegedly trying to subdue Colleen Shipman, her romantic rival for the affections of astronaut and US Navy Commander Bill Oefelein, with pepper spray and abduct her from a parking lot at Orlando International Airport. The image below is her mug shot. How low have the mighty fallen?

Apparently both were "in a relationship" with Mr. Oefelein.

Nowak, who is 43 and married with three children (and has been an astronaut since 1996), has been charged with battery, attempted kidnapping, attempted burglary to a vehicle and destruction of evidence. Police have recommended Nowak be held without bond. She is thought to have travelled over 9,000 miles in order to murder the proverbial "other woman". Although in her case, she herself might be the "other, other woman".

This is the link to the story as told by CNN, who have been following the story.

There are a few occupations left from which we hear precious little about. Dictator is one of them, as is hand model, nuclear scientist and palace majordomo. But none of these is one which small children would choose as a life path. Perhaps Dictator.

However Astronaut is one of those professions small children dream about. So do the not-so-small children.

Since its inception, no one has looked upon this profession with anything but awe and respect. Amazingly, up until today, astronauts and their personal lives were largely off-hands for the general public.

Not anymore. Today the veil was lifted and astronauts and their personal lives, as it were, were brought down to earth. They were humanised. Granted, for all the wrong reasons, but today we saw human drama and tragedy in a group of people so removed from mainstream life that any information, positive or negative, is welcome. And ridiculed and talked about and everything else. But, collectively, we all lost something today.

The cynics amongst us will say things like "they are people after all", "what did you expect?", "those crazy americans". They will be right in thinking so. However....all I know is that I will go to bed tonight with one less hero in my mind.

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