You do know that the preferred method for aborting a launch is to blow it up?
The Shuttle is an amazing achievement, but what a lot of people (both the public, and others within NASA) have forgotten is that space travel is dangerous. Every mission is a learning process.
This IS the passing of an era. With no replacement vehicle, the US is screwed if Russia takes the hump. Should it have been retired? After 30 years, there's no shame to it. Should they have been planning a replacement? Absolutely, and shame on NASA for dropping that particular ball.
It's only funny until someone gets hurt,
Then it's bloody hilarious
It is the mark of an educated mind, to entertain a thought without being seduced by it.