Well, I didn't get anywhere near the level of screaming that I was expecting, though I do believe I took almost everybody by surprise. I truly expected mass condemnations and the story to drop several points in the ratings. Instead I got no condemnations and no slip in the ratings. I know, ratings don't mean anything, but then how come all the cameras are on the losers at the Oscars to see if they swear?
Curiously, I had at least two readers suggest several chapters ago that I use this method to maneuver Carl into the White House. Is that a case of great minds thinking alike, or that there are people out there as equally disturbed as I must be?
It was pointed out that SAC (Strategic Air Command, the nuclear bomber guys) was disbanded at the end of the Cold War in 1992. Now it is part of the Air Combat Command. Fixed. Also, jets don't use avgas, but jet fuel. Fixed.
Could the 'football' ever be forgotten like that? Yes! It has happened several times, in fact.
One point of contention was three emails I got about the Secret Service. One of them was from a former agent, and the three took me to task over the thankless job of protecting somebody that more people than can be counted want to kill. I agree, it is not a job I would want, and the only person I could imagine taking a bullet for is my wife. Regardless, when I hear stories from responsible journalists about the excesses involved - and nobody can possibly claim that George Will is either liberal or trivial - I really have to wonder. I also received emails from a few people who have had contact with the Secret Service when they were protecting the President. One reported they were as polite and nice as could be asked, and the other reported they tried to take over his Canadian office until the Mounties could drag them away. I'm leaving this as I wrote it.
To those who thought Carl couldn't be that ruthless or cold, that has been his history from almost the first chapter! In school, when he got in fights, he didn't just beat up the bullies, he crippled and maimed them! Some of those injuries I described would leave people with lifelong damage. After Lieutenant Numbnuts told the narcos in Nicaragua they were Americans, Carl murdered them, and there is no getting around that. Likewise, rather than let his brother go, Carl murdered him as well. Carl doesn't leave an enemy upright, and has no compunctions about it. As Asimov also wrote in Foundation, "Never let your sense of morals stand in the way of doing what's right."