Sometimes, it's all in the timing.
Take the case of Assemblyman Steve Katz (R-Yorktown), who is seeking re-election. Recently, via Twitter and Facebook, Katz announced a fundraiser that was to include drinks and dinner, and oh yes -- a live SWAT demonstration and a chance to shoot an AK-47.
You're reading correctly.
The guns and grub event -- which cost $200 a plate -- was held Tuesday at the Paladin Center in Carmel, a training facility where tactical security methods are taught. And on her own Facebook page, Katz's wife, Nicole's profile picture features her smiling and holding a rifle, an implied reference to her husband's fundraiser.
A celebration of guns, in the name of raising campaign funds? Let's couple this with the fact that the gun-toting dinner occurred just 11 days after 12 people were killed and several dozen more injured after gunman James Holmes picked off victims during a late-night showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo. The timing of this event makes the fundraiser seem even more heinous.
In an interview with News12, Katz maintained that at his fundraiser, all use of the weapons was simulated, and the evening's "entertainment" was a demonstration of the kinds of training that take place at the Paladin Center. Katz also stressed that plans for his event were made long before July 20, when the Colorado shootings occurred.
But it's funny how life's randomness can change the best-laid plans. And when things change, it sometimes requires us to adjust our timing. That may have been what Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) was thinking, since he backed out of being one of the dinner's headliners.
In the wake of the Colorado tragedy, it's completely callous for a politician to sponsor an event glorifying guns. Maybe in a few months, we'll have become a little more numb about the movie-theater shooting, and maybe then, dinners featuring AK-47s won't be so off-putting. But for now, it's just tasteless. And hurtful to the memories of the victims.
While timing is important in everyday life, it's particularly important to comedians, where spot-on timing can either break or make a joke. Comedian Dane Cook's stand-up comedy act at The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles last week included a mention that "The Dark Knight Rises" was such a poorly done movie that audience members were likely asking to be shot. "Shot."
Get it? It's supposed to be a joke. Except it's not funny. After several loud groans, a couple of people in the audience laughed and a few even applauded. But there was an initial awkwardness that centered upon the fact that joking about such a tragedy is simply in poor taste -- and it's bad humor. Sure, laughter can sometimes be good medicine, and it's sometimes particularly cathartic during stressful times. But that can only happen in time -- and at the right time.
Gayle T. Williams, a journalist for nearly 30 years, lives in Greenburgh. She's an editor at Consumer Reports. The opinions expressed here are her own.