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'24' shouldn't apologize for storylines

I'm not exactly on the cutting edge when it comes to trends. I'm usually the last to catch on.

When I finally got the hang of the Hula-Hoop, everyone else was playing with Duncan yo-yos.

When I finally decided that the Beatles were cool, the rest of the world had gone to heavy metal.

When I finally got around to buying a leisure suit, the cool guys were selling theirs at the Salvation Army store.

You see how it goes. When a new trend comes down the track, I'm always the last to get on board.

That's the way it has been with the television series "24," which just started its sixth season on the Fox television network. I had heard people talk about it of course, some show in which every episode depicted an hour's worth of real-time activity in a season -24 episodes - made up a single day.

I never watched the show and had no idea what it was about. I knew there must have been somebody watching, though, because the star of the show, Kiefer Sutherland, is the highest-paid actor on television, making more money per episode than Drs. House and McDreamy combined, not to mention all those housewives who run around in their skivvies on Sunday night.

A couple of weeks ago I decided that I was going to watch "24," just to find out what all the fuss is about. I knew I needed to tune in for the very first show and I did.

Three minutes in and I was hooked. Jack Bauer, Kiefer Sutherland's character, is some kind of secret government agent and, let me tell you this, he is a man's man. He makes Dirty Harry look like he should be in front of the grocery store selling Girl Scout cookies.

Let's put it this way. If John Wayne were still alive, he might get cast as Jack Bauer's butler, if he were lucky.

I knew I was going to like Jack Bauer as soon as he escaped torture and certain death, while bound hand and foot, by biting through his captor's jugular. You don't see that every night.

Well, I'm not going to give away the whole season, but we are five hours into the day and so far Jack Bauer has escaped certain death twice, captured an Osama bin Laden-type terrorist (whom he befriended and turned into an ally), witnessed a nuclear explosion in a L.A. suburb and tortured his brother into giving up secrets about his dad's involvement in nuclear arms sales. And that's all before 11 a.m.

But I'm not telling you about my newfound infatuation with a television series to get you to watch it. It seems that this season's "24" is creating quite a bit of controversy around the nation and the world.

First, an FBI agent complained that the television show might "give terrorist ideas."

Oh, please. That's like the woman who keeps insisting that having Harry Potter on school library shelves will make witches and warlocks and Satan worshippers out of Gwinnett County schoolchildren.

Whatever mayhem the "24" writers think up for Jack Bauer to deal with can certainly be thought up by Islamic terrorists who have devoted their lives to destroying our society. They have the imagination. We just need to make sure they don't acquire the opportunity or the wherewithal to carry it out.

Others have dismissed the show as just another cog in the Fox network's "propaganda" machine. It's funny how times have changed. Nowadays if anybody shows America in a positive light or even hints that we are the victims rather than the aggressors in the current war against global terrorism, it's propaganda.

Well, now the show is under attack from the Council on American-Islamic Relations. They say that the show will cause Americans to fear and hate Muslims.

You see, in the show, most of the people who are plotting to detonate nukes, kill innocent people, crumble our government and destroy the American way of life are Muslim extremists.

They work with a lot of other bad guys, like former Russian agents, disreputable American traitors and well-meaning peaceniks who would rather give in to the terrorists' demands than risk fighting back. But the people at the center of the plot to destroy America are Muslim extremists and that has upset the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

CAIR, by the way, is a spin-off of the Islamic Association of Palestine, and is said to be associated with Hamas - a known terrorist organization. Three of CAIR's former employees have been indicted on federal terrorism charges. Its leader, Omar Ahmad, has been quoted in print - although he reportedly denies it - as saying that "the Quran should be America's highest authority" and that "Islam is not in America to be equal, but to be dominant."

Guess I'm not surprised that CAIR is upset at the way Jack Bauer goes after Muslim terrorists. He probably didn't like it when the media reported that all of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Muslim, either.

"24" is a good action-adventure show. Y'all ought to watch it. And I'm not saying that the evil portrayed on the show will ever come to pass, but I'm praying to God that it won't.

And while I'm praying that it won't, I'm giving thanks to the men and women who are putting their lives on the line every day to see that it doesn't.

Darrell Huckaby is an author and teacher in Rockdale County. E-mail him at dhuck08@bellsouth.net.

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