For the record I’d like to say I don’t entirely disagree with Paul Shirley’s Haiti comments; but I’d also like to say that maybe he (like Pat Robertson) should have kept those comments to himself. One outrageous Paul Shirley Haiti comment, “Use a condom once in a while” demonstrates how one person tries to entertain yet inadvertently crosses the line of offense.

My dad always taught me to never kick a man while he’s down. In this case the ‘man’ is the country of Haiti, Paul Shirley’s comments which led to him being fired by ESPN is clearly a case of kicking a man while he’s down. Paul Shirley says he’s not going to send money to the relief effort in Haiti, it’s his prerogative after all, but why pile on a country that is suffering so much?

With the lackadaisical way Paul Shirley commented, “Use a condom once in a while”, he lost credibility for most of his other arguments which in some measure had merit. Of course conservatives give money to charity and help in times of disaster (despite what the left says) and it’s not a bad thing to ask that that money actually go to improve the lives of people, not just raise them back to their previous standards which might have added to their suffering. We wanted New Orleans rebuilt, just not back into the welfare state that it had become.

Haiti is a very poor country with a terrible government, poor infrastructure and because of those two things their inability to cope with a nightmare like the massive earthquake was magnified. But why would Paul Shirley say “Use a condom once in a while?” Does it have something to do with Haiti’s unusually high rate of HIV/AIDS? If so, what does that have to do with the country’s infrastructure and their ability to cope with a natural disaster? Like I said, entertainment crosses the line of offense.

I don’t think Paul Shirley’s Haiti comments were the most outrageous comments ever uttered; but when you’re dealing with such an emotional issue they just weren’t helpful. We can argue all day long about the merits of what Shirley was trying to say, and certainly I agree that the Haitians need to take personal responsibility for their own country. But the time for that argument was before the quake, and in days to come, not now while bodies are still being removed from the rubble.

Like Shirley, (although I have donated to the relief effort) I say make sure that when Haiti is rebuilt, it’s rebuilt better than it was. We have the ability to “teach” the Haitians to become a more responsible, self-reliant people. He had a point, but Paul Shirley’s Haiti comment, “Use a condom once in a while” assured that his audience left him. And the credibility of his argument left as well.