One night in October 1986, CBS News anchor Dan Rather was walking down a Manhattan street when he was punched from behind and thrown to the ground. His assailant kicked and beat him while repeating, “Kenneth, what is the frequency?”

Apparently the strange event moved R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe, who said of the incident:

It remains the premier unsolved American surrealist act of the 20th century. It’s a misunderstanding that was scarily random, media hyped and just plain bizarre.

In 1997, based on a tip from a psychiatrist, Rather’s attacker was identified as William Tager. According to the psychiatrist, Tager, who was currently serving time for killing an NBC stagehand, blamed news media for beaming signals into his head, and thought if he could just find out the correct frequency, he could block those signals that were constantly assailing him. Hence the enigmatic inquiry.”

Oh, the hilarity. The art of entertaining explanation stymied by the illogical ravings of a madman. (And Tager.) Let’s let alone just how illegal it is for a psychiatrist to reveal his patient’s condition and beliefs to public ridicule, and focus on the details. This phenomenon, of the sadly insane believing that information is being beamed into their head, is an oddly modern one (Yes, I’ll reference Philip K. Dick’s pink laser beam from God again), a convenient explanation. Before that people heard voices and before that it was the voice of God Almighty.

Both of which any but a primitive faith-based community, seeking to cope with the mental stability of a member, would ascribe to pychoses. Yet merely because Tager failed to claim that God was talking to him, doesn’t mean we can’t claim it though – it’s just another little tool in the atheist’s kit for ridiculing religious arguments by replication – only the seemingly mad hear voices – perhaps they are all god – and if the voice of god makes the intermediary mad, how can we possibly obey or interpret accurately God’s diktats?

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