Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Gun Runner Walks Into a Bar...


Movies and novels are fictionalized accounts of how the real world operates and most people accept this. You won’t find too many people trying to take the plot of a movie or some book and making a lifestyle change so as to fit that particular model for success. We pay for a ticket, we zone out for a couple of hours then we return to reality and our normal lives, such as they are, and we realize as much fun as it sounds, no one is going to fly through the air on a bike with an alien in the front.
Yet there he was. Calvin was one of the regulars at bars in Valdosta, and he wasn’t a bad person, just someone who was habitually depressing.  He was a kill joy, a buzz kill, and there was no happy event Calvin couldn’t throw a cold wet blanket over. That was bad enough in and of itself but Calvin liked guns. Calvin, who was in his med- twenties, wanted to be a gun smuggler when he grew up. You can see where a man who is doom and gloom all the damn time, and who likes guns, might not be someone who has a lot of friends, don’t you?
The first rule of business is advertising. Let’s say you’re selling donkeys. I don’t know anyone who does sell donkeys, or why someone would wake up one day and decide to sell donkeys, or really, why anyone would buy a donkey, but if you were selling donkeys you’d tell people that was what you did for a living and I would suppose, unless you just didn’t think it was something you would want to talk about at parties, that you would talk about selling donkeys at parties. But to talk about selling Ak-47’s  and other weapons to drug dealers in Mexico and how much money there is in that business is more than a little odd. Yeah, if you were a woman looking for some action at a party you might choose a gun runner over a used donkey salesman, but then again maybe not. Maybe someone who could talk to a nun for two minutes and have that woman ready to open her wrist in a bathtub full of rubbing alcohol while smoking meth rather than listen for another two minutes wouldn’t be someone you’d buy a gun, or a donkey from, or for that matter, go home with after a party.

This made Calvin worse.

Had it not been for a woman named Heather maybe Calvin would have faded into obscurity and my past, never to be heard from again. Heather was a vivacious and well meaning woman, who was also built well enough to drawn the attention of most men, and even chronically depressed men, like Calvin. One night at a local bar Calvin was telling Heather of his plan to build up a reputation with the local gun dealers, slowly edge his way into the illegal guns trade and then make a fortune selling guns in Mexico.  But at that very moment, some old song came over the speakers, “Secret Agent Man” and Heather began singing it to Calvin. Instantly, three or four more other people caught on, and suddenly a dozen people who had no idea what was going on, starting singing the song simply because the cute chick was singing.


That pushed Calvin over the edge

In his mind, Calvin suddenly saw himself as some walking joke.  This was true to some extent, but no one should take his own dreams too seriously, or too lightly. But it was his dream and by Dog, he would show us he could sell guns to the Mexicans with the very best of them. Calvin went on a full scale blitz to find someone, anyone, anyone at all, with the right connections, and he scoured the bars in Valdosta looking for someone who might know someone who was selling large caliber automatic weapons to drug dealers in another country.

You see this coming, don’t you? What do you think would happen to someone who was advertising their services as a gun smuggler to every drunk who could or would talk guns? Sooner or later, that sort of talk is going to attract the attention of law enforcement.  An undercover cop offered to sell some illegal guns to Calvin and he drained his bank account to buy the guns. He never made it out of the parking lot with them. Calvin, by looking to buy illegal guns had become exactly what he had always wanted to be, and that was someone who traded in illegal guns. But the downside was he never got a chance to sell them. Yet when the FBI got involved in asking him about his activities, Calvin told them he was more afraid of his underworld contacts than he was of the law. In a scene right out of the movies, Calvin stood his ground against  ratting out his sources, and when they offered him a deal to walk away with probation, Calvin, in his one moment of gun running glory, clammed up on them.
Calvin’s public defender lawyer freaked. The government at that point had no reason to make any deal with Calvin and they didn’t. His eleventh hour after sentencing recantations fell on deaf ears. He had been out on bail, telling people the Mafia would kill him if he said anything, and that was all the law heard when it came right down to it. Calvin had finally gained the notoriety that he had always wanted. But the sentence was ten years plus.
Calvin served seven years in a federal prison for living fiction. I had moved away from that part of the world when he got out, but someone called me to tell me Calvin had returned to Valdosta. He got a job at a lawn care service but was still as depressing as before, but with a reason this time around. Calvin stopped talking about being a smuggler but the stories he told about prison…

Take Care,
Mike

Cardless and Clueless


As happy as I may be that someone found my wallet, looked at my driver’s license, found my name and address, called information, and tracked me down to tell me he had found it, I still had to kill my credit cards. He turned them into Customer Service at a store, and they had my wallet for over thirty minutes. My faith in human beings is restored somewhat, but at the same time, there is just no way to knowing what happened in that thirty minutes.  I do know now I can go from standing in my living room to Valdosta Georgia in less than thirty minutes.
To say I hurried a bit is like saying Custer had a bit of an Indian problem. I knew if I could get there quick I could have the cards dead and any damage undone before something weird happened. The woman at the counter seemed indifferent to the situation, but there have been more customers who have been ripped off by cashiers than hackers, I would think. A friend of mine had a cashier steal his credit card number to pay her light bill. You would think that would be enough information to have her arrested but the bottom line is they could prove she stole the number or that she paid the bill. She did get fired, however. Whee.

I had three cards, two credit cards and one ATM card, and believe it or not, it took the entire drive home to kill off all three. The Master Card, which was the first to die, took a while because you’ve got to go through all the press one if your blood type is B negative, press two if you are now ready to come to our headquarters with an Uzi and finger cramp, press three for Lithuanian language background music with screaming dwarves. When you finally get the menu to cancel the card, you do get someone you can speak with reasonably, or at least I did. It blew him away someone turned in my wallet and refused to take the money as a reward. Honestly, that happens more often than not in South Georgia. No matter what else you may think of this place the people here are mostly very honest. Most of us grew up poor here, and stealing is something that really hurts other people. I’m not saying we’re all this way, but enough of us are to make a difference in the world we live in. It’s the world we choose to live in.

The Discover Card was easier by far to kill off and the woman walked me through my last transactions, as did the Master Card guy, but I had to ask him to do it. I told them what I had bought, when I had bought it, and everything else wasn’t legit. Neither card had been used in the last hour. The Discover people had the best security by far. I had to answer some questions about my past that wouldn’t have shown up on a statement, and they wanted to know what I had set up on automatic payments and they wanted to know security questions and stuff like that.

My local bank’s ATM card wasn’t that much of a hassle but at the same time, their jump through hoops pressing numbers got on my damn nerves. There should be a kill switch on these things, and fortunately, Discover has an answer to that problem. For a small monthly fee they’ll kill your cards for you, all of them, all at once, if you lose your wallet. They also are sly enough to offer this to people who have just killed their cards.  In the thirty minutes I had lost control of my two credit cards and ATM card, nothing at all had happened to me. In the following thirty minutes, I had to go through all sorts of weirdness just to make sure nothing else would happen to me.

And yes, I do realize I am exceedingly fortunate.

There are a half dozen or so services I use that go on my cards automatically.  I nearly never carry cash at all. I haven’t written a check in years.  Most of the things I buy are charged to my Master Card because it’s associated with an airline, and I get one bill a month for everything I buy.  It comes directly out of my checking account. Now all of that is gone for a few days and I have more cash money on me right now than I have had in quite some time. I bought groceries with cash. I’m going to have to buy gasoline with cash, and that’s going to suck. I’ll have to go in to pay for it now.  I can’t remember the last time I paid cash for gas, really, I can’t.

This is a reality check, no pun intended, as to how much I rely on those cards to survive. Just a simple trip into town to get cash was an experience. To their credit, no pun intended, my local bank reacted with great alacrity when I told them I needed cash because my card had been compromised. I told them I had already killed the card via phone but they checked anyway. The woman’s reaction to the two words “lost card” was pretty impressive. She was reaching for the phone before I could explain what had happened.


I was one of the last people in America to get a credit card. I was also one of the last people in America to put everything on it, and go cashless. Now, with money in my pocket, I feel ill at ease. There isn’t a plan B here. If I run out of money I’m just screwed now. I have to wait until the bank opens up Monday to get more money or I have to use a check. It’s really a very odd feeling, but I do remember when this was how I once lived.

I just hope they send the new cards soon.

Take Care,
Mike

Thursday, March 29, 2012

George Zimmerman's Defense, a Man's Point Of View


Trayvon Martin weighed one hundred and forty pounds. George Zimmerman weighs  two hundred and fifty pounds. Zimmerman claims Martin attacked him so he was forced to defend himself with a gun. This will go down in manhood history as the “I’m a pussy” defense.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I am the Spaghetti of the Serengeti.


At one I wake up and look at the clock to discover it’s  one. One is a damnable time to be awake when I want to be asleep, but then again, is there ever a time anyone has wanted sleep and that time not been damnable? Sleep escapes me. It flees from me like a first date who just discovered the man her best friend set her up with thinks dental hygiene is a tool of Satan. It flees from me like a little kid who has just tossed a baseball through the bedroom window while mom and dad were planning more kids. Sleep flees from me as if it were some drug were I to take too much, I might be cured of weird analogies. 

The drugs are there but I do not take them. At one the very best I can hope for is to get another three hours, nearly four maybe, and I cannot go to work stoned. It’s a never ending cycle for some people; drugs to help them sleep and drugs to keep them awake because they take drugs to make them sleep. I have a meeting at ten, which is nine hours away, and I wonder what I’ll be like when the people I am meeting with show up. The disconnect button was left on earlier in the day and I fear the correlation I am now forming in my brain in regard to that button.

I went to the grocery store and it seemed like I was always in someone’s way, or they were in my way, and if I stopped someone else stopped behind me, peering over my shoulder, looking past me as if I had just blocked vital food supplies, or someone stopped in front of me, and they were blocking vital food supplies.  I was disconnected from the hive mind, that thing someone and I were talking about Saturday over tea.

The theory is that people in the city or people in general when they’re thrown together in a public place, will subconsciously develop a set of rules for traveling past one another, and around one another. This theory does not, I repeat does not, apply to people in cars in traffic. See! The cars give people a sense of disconnect so it doesn’t work in traffic. I have that sort of shell around me sometimes, and I think people realize it. The disconnect button gets pushed and suddenly some eighty year old woman cuts me off at the cashier with a snarl. She’s pumped on Geritol and got a fresh set of Depends on.  She’s got her AARP card out and this woman is getting a discount on something, now, dammit.

This makes sense, you know. No, not about the Geritol but that too might be true. Some of us do not play well with others and it’s not like people drift back and forth in between the two groups. Maybe some camouflage better than others do, but in the grocery store I feel my grip on sanity begin to fade as people keep getting in my way, or I in their way. Could the theory be working, and one part of the theory is some of us simply do not get it? Could there be people who cannot slip into the V of the flock? You’ve seen those schools of fish where they all turn at the same time? This works because larger fish can’t single any one of them out, and if there is a disconnected fish, that is the one who gets eaten by the mackerel. That’s what’s going on in the middle of the grocery store; these people want me to be mackerel bait for the betterment of the species. The herd animals leave me to stare off into space as the lions are watching and waiting for some genetic anomaly to kick in and leave some cat food on the plains of the Serengeti.

It’s two by the time I finish that last sentence and I wonder why I bother to go to bed at all. The dogs couldn’t live with a normal person, I am certain of that. I wonder if they wonder if their human isn’t in some way damaged, or deranged. I don’t yell at them or hit them, but I wonder if they can feel that disconnect that I have with people, and I wonder if they attend to me so because they realize they are my only hope for a family of my own.

That, too, is part of it. I never wanted a human family of my own the way some people do. I knew a woman who lay on the ground and cried like a child when her pregnancy test was negative. She wanted a child so badly I think she would have stolen one if she and her husband had not finally conceived. I’ve never gotten that either, never had the urge to procreate, and I have never understood those people who have.

At three I give up on sleep, and I give up on this. I’ll finish it much later, but now I’m going to feed the mutts and get ready for what promises to be a very long day.  The coffee pot’s automatic timer kicks in and Lucas wants out. They are trained to get up when the timer goes off even if they’ve been up with me for hours. I have to wonder how much like me they are when they do this, and I’m running on autopilot, certainly, but to what degree?

Almost nineteen hours after it begun, this comes to a close. What is this? Why is it? How many other people write disconnected essays late at night and wonder why they cannot sleep? Why am I not falling down to rest instead of trying to make the last part of this, whatever it is, make some sort of sense? Is that what I get instead of sleep, free passage in Aisle Three, and  2.7 kids? I feel very disconnected right now from everything human, except for this.

Take Care,
Mike

Monday, March 26, 2012

Joan of Arc and a Sub Shop. ( Make It Toasted! )


Before Joan of Arc was burned at the stake one of the charges against her was she had worn men’s clothes in public. This is just a very severe case of social contract getting out of hand but think about it…where you work, or shop, if a man showed up wearing a dress and facial make-up then it would be a little weird. The actual value of a man wearing a dress isn’t at all different than a woman wearing a dress, but how we react to social aberration defines what people can or cannot do without some sort of negative response on our part. ( Yeah, I’m ignoring the heresy thing, but haven’t I said enough on that already? )
Cell phones piss me off. I won’t use one when I’m talking to a cashier or wait staff, and I won’t use one when I’m driving in traffic. There isn’t a law against using a cell when in line at the grocery store, but I think it’s rude to carry on a conversation on the phone when dealing with live people. So even though I think it is okay to talk on the open road and that is illegal, I don’t think talking while interacting with a cashier is okay, however it is legal.
Perfume pisses me off. If someone outside of your personal space can smell you then you are wearing too much. If someone outside your area code can smell your perfume then it’s time to stop buying the gallon jug of kerosene mixed with chemical scent sold by a celebrity who wouldn’t be caught dead in the places it is sold. But this doesn’t make it illegal, mind you, just irritating to me.
Moreover, my sense of social and moral outrage depends a lot on my mood. On those days things are going well and I’m happy I am less outraged by the social injustice of improper cell phone usage and perfume wearers. On those days things are going poorly these things piss me off. I give you Monday, March 26, 2012 and a few observations of a day.

If I bring my lunch there is a higher risk that someone at work will want to socialize with me and I won’t be able to write during lunch. If I go to a sit down restaurant and eat I won’t have enough time to write during lunch. I can get fast food but I hate that stuff. There is a sub shop that is less than wretched, it is close, and they have good service. I can get in and out of there, eat my lunch, and still get two hundred words down, and maybe more.
Now, I am all for getting what you pay for and getting what you want. Yet here we go. A young woman on a cell phone is in front of me. She is wearing too much perfume. And she is holding a piece of paper. If you want a quick lunch do not get behind someone ordering for other people. Worse than any of this the woman is downright rude to the man trying to make her multiple orders. She wants a very exact amount of all things on each of her orders. “Naw, naw, that’s too much” or “more than that, Boy” and with each of her demands, in between the conversation she’s having on her cell phone, she raps on the glass partition angrily. She wants mayonnaise not on the sandwiches but in little plastic containers on the side. And then the person she’s talking to changes an order and doesn’t want tomatoes. She wants one sandwich with the bread toasted, but nothing on it, and the stuff that would be inside wrapped up in plastic, and the mayonnaise and mustard in little plastic containers, so she can make the sandwich for breakfast tomorrow. All the while she’s rapping on the glass partition and treating this guy like he’s a moron for not understanding the multiple orders. I’ve dealt with him before and he’s competent and friendly but she’s pushing him the wrong way. She pushing me the wrong way, as well as the customers behind me, who are all beginning to see her as someone who is killing off their lunch hours, too. I take my gum out of my mouth because it now tastes like her perfume, and I drop it into her purse while she’s demanding the guy cut each sandwich into four pieces and wrap them all up individually. There are two guys in suits who are now beginning to exhale loudly and fidget. The guy making my sandwich, knowing I have exact change, helps me leapfrog her in the line and the other guy takes a credit card from the suits and also bypasses the woman. It gets more interesting when the woman tries to pay with a food stamp card and has to call to get the PIN.
She begins the conversation for the PIN with “Who dis? Who dis? Go get Tilly, go tell Till come to the phone now!” and I sit down in a booth just to ride this one down to the ground. I have to see how this plays out. This woman has come to this restaurant with complex and confusing orders, demanded extra everything, made the help here jump through hoops, and now she can’t pay for the order, which she is trying to pay for with a food stamp card. No one says anything to her, but if looks and body language could kill…
I watched as the woman had to scrape up enough money to pay for her order and argue loudly with whoever it was she was speaking to on the phone. I cuss like a drunken sailor, in private, but this woman is just plain foul mouthed. She then took the argument into the parking lot where she stood beside her car with the door open, effectively blocking the parking spot next to her as well as the one where she had parked.
So here are a few questions; what if anything, has this woman done wrong, and on the outrage scale, how bad is it? Another question is this one; the two guys in suits, the three guys who work behind the counter and the woman are all the key players in this. Did you ascribe any race to any of these people given the information I gave you? Do you think the irritation in the scene you could feel would be higher or lower, depending on race? Did you at anytime feel like I was making some sort of racial statement before you got to this question?
Generally speaking, the more disenfranchised a person feels in society the less likely that person is to feel obligated to operate within the social contract. Remember the old jokes about women drivers? What very few people realize is those jokes were predominately about white women drivers because back when that joke began to emerge, there were very few black women drivers, and their race was a much bigger problem than their gender. Is that a true statement? Is it still true today?
I have no idea what it is like anywhere else, but Southern language skills are terrible. I cannot imagine if the two men in suits were looking for an employee, if they would have considered the woman as a prospect, if for no other reason, she sounded as if she was fired from the Snuffy Smith comic strip for not knowing English. It’s an incredible piece of irony that Georgia would make a law mandating English as the official language of the state and its school system fails so utterly to teach it, and its citizens have a disdain for the language as a rule.

Joan of Arc demanded a change in the way things were, created a change, and was invited to a bonfire for her troubles. The Sub woman, of unknown social and racial origins, demanded petty things from a sandwich shop, and here we are now, trying to connect the dots. Do we create an underclass of people who feel so disconnected from the norm they just do not see the inconvenience they cause other people, or is it they are all just selfish parasites who have a sense of entitlement? How do you feel about putting this woman somewhere between those two extremes? Where would you put her? I suspect that people like Joan of Arc rise in history because people do not question the ways things are. One day, things are the way they will be until someone changes them.
I think we’re there, right now.

Take Care,
Mike

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The War Dream. Part Two.


It’s like being a leaf on a tree, or in a hot air balloon, or maybe it’s like being dead. I don’t think being dead is like anything at all and the idea of ghosts or spirits is an idea worn totally out like a wheel spinning forever and going nowhere at all. But I see the small campfire, and I see the men, and I see the earth below me, and I sink into the scene as if it were a movie that my mind has made for me to play a part in. I’m an extra here. I have no speaking parts. I don’t move in front of the camera to take orders or run in panting to deliver some message from the battle.
I lay against the shattered remains of a chimney and I do not care about the soot. I can feel the grime on my face from a hundred days of war with no time off for civilization. No clean clothes, no real food, no sort of sanitary conditions in any regard for nearly four months. Some of the men talk about how the fleas and mosquitoes and the lice start to give up on a man after a couple of weeks without bathing. There is no chance to take a dip in any of the creeks we come to because twenty thousand men make a mess of everything when they descend upon a valley or take up in a forest. We eat everything that is alive or that was.  Men from the woods know what can be eaten and whole plants are pulled up by the roots. Bird nests are robbed of their eggs or their fledglings. I saw a man eat a sparrow raw, with just its head pulled off and the feathers plucked.  We have scorched the earth of all living creatures to feed ourselves and our waste piles up as monuments to the glory we once sought. We are a monster making our way towards another monster to fight for the rights of Hell.

It’s odd the detail, the things I see here that a movie couldn’t show. There are men here who have never worn shoes or boots before. They wouldn’t own a pair if they were given the choice because bare feet are better footing than boots. The soles of their feet are thick and leathery. They make fun of those of us who desperately need footwear and these are the same men who are nearly immune to the cold. They live in the open much better than the rest of us, and they are better shots with their rifles, too. These men carry weapons that are patched together from a war seventy years long dead, when their forefathers fought not for the nation but to save themselves from war. Pick the winning side and make sure the winning side wins, is the old joke they tell but now it is wearing thin. These are men who have begun to reach their limit in this war. Some have melted away already, never to be seen again. There is no real effort to catch deserters now, and there are too many of them anyway.  Men don the bloody uniforms of the recently killed and limp South to get away. The story of three brothers who pretended to be blind, with one who was faking being half blind, is told again and again. These stories are spoken in hushed voices lest an officer wander up at the wrong moment, or a stray Sergeant who might be fraught enough to try to instill discipline on a dying army could arrive. These are men who have run out of miracles and almost out of bullets.

There is a raid and some volunteer so they can slip towards the north in the dark without being seen. Surrender alone and they might feed you. You might pass for a Union soldier if you play mute. They might pass you by and you can make a new life there, where towns aren’t burned and fields aren’t blasted.  You could find the widow of a dead man who needs a field hand and you could start all over again. One man out of ten on this raid slips away in the dark. Half will return to camp and claim they got lost. The truth is known; they just lost their nerve to go on, or get away. The other half will try to escape in the dark, and if they are found they know they’ll be shot by either side, but they have to try something. Men try to hide in holes like animals but after four months of fighting they smell worse than death. They’re found out and they die in the holes, like animals, but at least they get buried.

There’s a joke that has been going around since ’62 that the wild pigs that follow us taste better than those that follow the enemy. They’re wily animals, staying well far enough away so they don’t get shot at or eaten, but near enough to close in after the battle. “Pig Stickers” is what some men call their knives because it is the last weapon you’ll have to keep them off of you if you’re wounded.  At Sawmill Hill they put the wounded in a cave to keep them safe and the back part of the cave was filled with pigs hiding from the war. The battle pushed the line past the cave twice, but when they went to get the wounded all was left was the eye glasses and teeth and some bones.  Some of the men think the pig stories are lies made up to keep men from crawling off to die, but I don’t think dying men would get lied to like that.

Sometimes you’re where you are because that is where you wound up. Say what you want but every man getting ready to go on the raid knows it’s an act of desperation and each one knows the war is already lost. Each one keeps fighting for his own reason, and maybe for no reason other than this is where he is. You might argue with that and you might be right. But this is where I am, and I cannot leave. I can’t help but wonder how many of us are like this.

Take Care,
Mike

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The War Dream


Time stopped. I remembered being back at home and waiting for the war to start. I remembered how it felt when I heard the horses coming, and I knew they were coming for me. I wanted to go so badly. I was the oldest, nearly fifteen, so it was my place to go. It was my duty to go. Pa didn’t want it, and Ma threw a fit, but this was what I was supposed to do. This is what had to be done. Rickfield was leading a group up to Virginia and he, the old man himself, came for me. I would even get a uniform, and maybe a new rifle.
The first battle went hard at first, then Jackson led us forward and it seemed like the war as over already. A man could walk around the field and pick up any rifle he wanted. There were new boots on some of the yellers that gave up. We didn’t think about robbing the dead, but later on we did just to survive. That first battle, that first day, if only we had lost; I wish I had died in battle that first day, thinking we had won, and there was nothing to stop us from marching right into Washington, if we wanted to.

They never stopped coming. No matter how well we did against them there was always more. They always was well fed and they always had bullets and boots. We’d pick over their dead and there would be pocket watches and crosses around their necks. The uniforms were new and clean. We were dressed in rags and dead men’s boots. Every year it got worse and worse. When Vicksburg fell we knew we had been cut in half. Then it got to where a man couldn’t talk to another about what was heard about the war. But we didn’t have to hear to know. All we had to do is look at who was living and who was dying.

We went on a raid and marauded a wagon train. There was more food there than we had seen in months. There were blankets and powder and there was medical supplies as if the war was just starting for them. Their  mules was better fed than our officers. We stuffed bread into our mouths as we herded the train back to our lines, but I knew then we had lost the war. You could see it in the eyes of the men who scrambled around trying to get to the hard tack and bacon. This train had gotten took because the Yankees weren’t scared of bringing things in close to us now. They could lose this much and it was nothing to them, and it was everything to us. They even had jars of pickles in their train and all manner of food we thought had been quit made. It was like watching buzzards the day after a battle in the Summer the way we went after that food. The officers tried to get us off of it but what are you going to do with a thousand starving men when there’s only enough food for five hundred? Men ran off the line when they heard the word “food” and when the attack came there was a mob of us not an army.

I saw it, in the end, and I wasn’t surprised at all. They let the train get taken from them. They knew how bad off we were, and they knew when them groceries hit the line no man would stand to post.  They had followed the train back in and now they poured cannon fire into where their own wagons stood with our men swarming over them.  They hit the lines in a dozen places at once and we held them in ten. Even as caught as we were, as starved as we were, as weak as we were, it almost didn’t work. They had to come in fast and light, and very nearly, we held. But there is no nearly in holding. You either win or you lose, and I got back to the line and watched them charge a hundred yards away, at the left flank, and I saw our men running again. Some knew it was far too late to do anything about it. Atlanta lay behind us and if we ran we would be fighting in Georgia next. But there were so many of them, and the shells were landing all around us. I picked up my rifle and ran.
Running gets easier. The first time is hard and you know you’ve left men to die, but you go anyway. You fight the next battle saying you won’t run again, but you do. You get to know other men who run, and you stay close to them so you can have somebody to run with. You’ll stop running sometimes long enough to fire once, maybe twice, to keep them from following close, but sometimes a man will stop running, to die fighting, and he will.

The sound of cannons was where we ran to, knowing if we made it close enough they wouldn’t chase us into that, but we didn’t make it. There was more and more and more of them. We got to the edge of the woods to see them taking the guns out on the hills. They had come in hard and with more than we could have thought possible.  The first bullet damn near took Willis’ head off. I ran back into the woods, but I knew it was over.

They was using us for target practice.  There was four of us, then three, then Calvin and me left. We got down in a shell hole and they stood back and laughed as they shot at us. They took turns, yelling and hollering when they got close, or one of us got hit, and I could feel the bullets hitting close as I hugged the ground.  Calvin got hit and he jumped.  They peppered him good for it, and I pulled his body over closer to where I was, and I wondered how much longer it would take. They opened up good then, and I wondered if they were trying to cut him to pieces to get to me, and I could hear the bullets hitting Calvin, and then one tore through him, and then another.

Time began again and I could smell nothing but blood and fear in the hole, if it could be called that. I stuck my head up to get a quick look and there was a dozen or so of them standing looking back at me, but none of them were shooting. I started to stand up, to try to surrender, then one of the dozen or so guys did this odd little dance, swaying back and forth with his arms. I couldn’t figure it out, and they all broke out laughing. I heard a twig snap and realized it was a ploy, but I couldn’t get turned around quick enough. The bayonet caught me in the right side and I screamed. I felt in all the way inside of me, more of me than I thought there ever was, and I was louder than I thought I could be.  Time slowed down again, to a crawl, and I heard them knifing and sticking other hold outs and runners as I bled out, and died.

Take Care,
Mike

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Murder of Trayvon Martin


Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. Martin was unarmed when he was killed. Zimmerman followed Martin for an undetermined amount of time before the shooting, this after being told by the police not to do so. These are the facts in the case and no one is saying these facts are in dispute.

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that one when one human being shots another human being in public with these facts undisputed there is going to be an arrest 99.99% of the time. You simply cannot follow someone around and then shoot them and expect to be treated as an innocent victim, yet here we are.

Let’s take race out of this totally. Let’s say that race doesn’t exist at all. Let’s give Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt and assume Martin’s race was irrelevant.  So what the police are saying is that anyone could be shot by anyone else, with equal liberty, justice, and freedom and not be arrested in those exact circumstances?

This is the precedent law enforcement wants to set? Because if it is the gutters will flow with blood because anyone can shoot anyone for no reason at all, other than they have decided the other person is a threat. They can follow a human being, hunt that person, and kill that person, even after the police tell them not to, is that where we’re going with this?

But let’s not give Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt. Let’s go with the crime and see what happened and why. How big a part did Martin’s race play in this? How much did his age play into this? What about his gender? Young, black and male are the three crimes that Martin seemed to have committed in the eyes of George Zimmerman. He followed Martin and then he killed him.

The Florida “stand your ground” law allows for a person to defend themselves against anyone else who might be threatening that person. So, if you think someone is a threat you follow that person? Hmmm, there goes someone who might be a threat to me, the cops have told me not to follow that person I feel threatened by so I’ll follow that person and shoot that person.

Is this how we, as a society, will define self-defense?

But once again, let’s take all defining characters away from Martin and dress him up nice. Let’s say he was a ten year old white girl. Or a seventy year old Asian man. Or a red headed woman who was dressed in a hoodie yet was unarmed when she was shot dead.

Young. Black. Male.

Martine went three for three in the looks like your life isn’t worth as much to the cops as other people do list.

At a minimum, Zimmerman should answer in court for this. He should have to explain why he killed someone else. Is that too hard to understand? Let’s hear his side of the story, in public, in a courtroom, and let Zimmerman be judged by a jury of his peers.
George Zimmerman denied that basic right to Trayvon Martin no matter how this case is looked at or by whom. Now, it should be, will be, demanded, that Zimmerman answer for what he did. If he defended himself against a threat, let him go into a courtroom and say so.

It is wrong for law enforcement not to arrest someone who just killed another person, in public, after being told to stand down.

This is wrong, people, it is wrong for one man to play cop, play jury, play judge, play executioner and then play the victim.

It is wrong, very wrong, for anyone to remain silent now. For when the life of someone is taken unjustly then we are all threatened. If Young, Black and Male is enough to get you killed then how long before that list expands, like it did when Hitler rose to power?

If you think this an exaggeration then speak to the parents of Trayvon Martin and let them tell you how it feels to live in a country where their child was murdered and nothing was done.

Do something.

Take Care,
Mike