BREAKING: Local News Finds Local Nonstory That's Sorta Bin Laden-Related

| Wed May 4, 2011 1:58 AM EDT

You know a world event's really important—and really overreported—when actual headlines start looking like they're ripped from the pages of the Onion. Case in point: "Branson Man on Aircraft Carrier That Buried Osama bin Laden at Sea." KSPR, the ABC affiliate in Branson, Missouri (yes, that Branson, Missouri), would like to introduce you to the city's very own Joseph Sullivan. He's a twentysomething sailor who this very minute is serving on the USS Carl Vinson, the Nimitz-class carrier from which bin Laden's corpse was dumped into the deep Monday morning.

Mind you, Sullivan may not know anything valuable about the world's most famous sea burial. We don't know, since he hasn't Facebooked his mom since last Saturday. Also, he's one of 5,000 or so sailors on the ship, most of whom probably didn't even hear about the funeral until it was over. "He is (several) stories under the flight deck and his job pretty much keeps him contained below deck, " Sullivan's mother told the station.

So, we don't really know anything. Except, apparently, that the multibillion-dollar ship of war, with its fighter air wing, close-in machine guns, and entourage of frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and submarines could suffer an Al Qaeda revenge attack:

"I am hopeful they are 'now' on their way home," Sullivan's mom said. "It does elevate my concern slightly that they may become a target."

As a former sailor myself, I surely sympathize with the hazards of those young folks who go down to the sea in ships. As long as the terrorists stay away from Branson and Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, though, my mind's at ease.