Monday, March 27, 2006

Wild in the streets

Comes today the news that the immigration/border issue is once more a headline, as thousands of protesters have taken to the streets again. Many of these people are illegal immigrants, emboldened by the government’s total failure to take any sort of meaningful action to close the border. Please note that I say “government” here, not “the administration”. Securing our borders should be a national security issue of bipartisan concern. Instead, Those People are doing their best to politicize the issue, and use it as a launching platform for more attacks on President Bush. Hearing the She-devil of The Usual Suspects saying something disingenuous about the new immigration bill “criminalizing Jesus” was particularly insulting to this little Christian marsupial. But then, considering the source, I have to ask myself: “Did you expect anything better?”

As for President Bush, I am crossways with him on this issue. I like President Bush. Elected as a sort of caretaker for the office in 2000, Mr. Bush has grown into a real leader since the events of 11 September. He has a good heart, and a moral steadfastness that is sorely lacking among most politicians, especially Those People. That being said, I must stipulate that support for a politician does not, and should not, imply suspension of the thought process, denial of perceptions, and blind obedience to whatever edicts may conform to the party line. The border should be closed. Period. This notion of an amnesty for the invading horde of the reconquista, euphemistically disguised as a “guest worker program”, is ludicrous. What is more ludicrous is the fact that preceding administrations, both Republican and Those People, have ignored illegal immigration for the last thirty years. There were plenty of laws already on the books dealing with illegal immigration before this new, controversial bill. The problem is that no one was enforcing those laws in any meaningful fashion.

The president today is saying that illegal immigrants should not be seen as a threat to the nation’s identity. That raises some questions with me: If, as the president says, they’re here to share in the American dream, why are all these protesters waving Mexican and Salvadoran flags? If they’re serious about wanting to be part of the United States, and will even take to the streets to make this known, shouldn’t they be waving American flags as they march?

Don’t even think of making a comparison here with people from Dixie who still fly the Confederate flag. Our flag was long-ago hijacked by Klansmen, skinheads, Nazis, and other human filth. Numerous court challenges by Sons of Confederate Veterans have not resulted in even one restraining order against the desecration and misuse of the Confederate battle flag—which, by the way, should properly be displayed in square, not rectangular form. We true Southerners fly our flag to commemorate our heritage, and the sacrifice of our ancestors. If folks from El Salvador, Mexico, and other places want to display the flags of their national origin for the same reason, then by all means, do so. The white trash who appropriated the Confederate flag as a symbol of their racist rubbish have ruined its meaning in the minds of many people in America. When you have thousands of people taking to the streets in Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, and elsewhere, waving Mexican flags and screaming that they have a right to stroll across the border as they damn well please, it looks more like an invading army than concerned citizens and people fleeing poverty and oppression in other lands. Will those ubiquitous Mexican flags come to symbolize something sinister and unworthy, as the perversion of the Confederate flag has come to stand for?

I still think ICE—which now incorporates the old Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS]—is missing a good bet with these demonstrations. With between seven and eleven million illegal immigrants already in America, those demonstrations should be cordoned off, and every participant should be checked for personal identification, and/or a green card. I’m not saying the demonstrations should be suppressed; all legal citizens of the United States have the right to speak their minds in the public square. That’s what this country is all about, which is why people are dying to get here from the rest of the world. Just as the protests must be peaceful, and possibly require municipal permits to take place, certain fundamental rules must apply. The same is true of immigration. The notion of lawbreakers, and their enablers, marching in the streets to protest enforcement of the laws they have already violated is mind-boggling.

7,000,000 – 11,000,000—lots of zeros, huh?

If a family of illegal immigrants somehow climbed Scorpion Hill and showed up at my door, I’d bring them in, feed them, and let them hide in my basement apartment until they got organized and could find a place of their own. That’s called humanity; not hypocrisy. I’d also advise them on the best way to apply for legal citizenship as soon as possible. When they left to join the prolific Hispanic community in this area, I’d wish them well, and admonish them that I am not running a station on the modern Underground Railroad, so, no references to your friends, por favor. So I violated the law against aiding illegal immigrants; so what? A case like that is a “What Would Jesus Do?” moment. The cynical employers of illegal aliens, who can arguably say that they’re “helping” the immigrants through exploitation by giving them jobs at substandard wages, are the people who ought to be going to prison, not the parish priest who gives sandwiches and coffee to the innocent. I trust that, for the most part, the enforcers of the new immigration laws will be able to discern between doing what’s right according to the law, and doing the right thing according to decent moral precepts.

The crux of the matter is national security. Some sinister individuals have already been apprehended along our borders. Their motives for sneaking across were dubious; not the straightforward desire to flee the corruption and poverty of our neighbors to the south. Let us not forget that the chap who sought to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2000 by detonating a bomb at the Los Angeles Airport [LAX] was caught trying to cross the border from Canada. There are miles of tape and film footage of groups and individuals crossing our southern border. It may sound melodramatic, but one has to ask: How many of these distant, murky people caught on tape are terrorists of one sort or another? How much anthrax or VX gas can you fit into a single backpack? Atomic demolition munitions [ADMs]—the so-called “suitcase nukes”—have existed since the late 1950s, albeit under strict military control.

In 1993, a high-ranking member of the Russian Mayfia offered to sell a small nuclear device to an undercover ATF agent. Vast quantities of conventional weapons, purloined from the disintegrating Soviet military, had already been purchased by the BATF in that sting. In 1996, another member of the Russian Mayfia, nicknamed “Tarzan”, was arrested while arranging the purchase of a Soviet submarine by a Colombian drug cartel. Smuggling was about to reach new heights, so the feds dropped the hammer before the deal was completed. I am not making this up; I saw it on The History Channel.

30,000 nuclear warheads still exist today. Most, but certainly not all, are under the control of Russia or the United States. Seven countries officially belong to “The Nuclear Club”: America, Russia, Britain, France, Pakistan, India, and Israel. Argentina, Brazil, Iran, North Korea, South Africa, and Taiwan have active nuclear programs, and are knocking at the door. Readers here are intelligent enough to do the math and figure the odds on something Very Bad happening in the future. It’s not a matter of “if”…it’s a matter of “when”.

If any of the components and/or participants in this coming mega-9/11 are found to have crossed into America across our wide-open border, that Mexican flag waving so proudly today may indeed come to stand for the kind of evil which is associated with the old Confederate battle flag.

To paraphrase the late, great Ronald Reagan: “Mr. Bush, build up that wall!”

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Thanks again to my constant readers.

There may come a day when I am not able to grab you figuratively by the hand and thank you for reading this modest blog. The new super-secret technology tells me that there are readers from Indonesia to Japan. I appreciate all those that peek, as well as those who comment.

I never thought that I'd have such a worldwide influence. UPI started as a joke, and the yells of a bitter old man without much to say. I owe a great deal to my readers, and will try to do better by you.

Paul Harvey said it best: "Stand by for news!"

News from T-shirt Hell

There is much sick stuff at T-shirt Hell, a proud sponsor of United Possums. I buy their stuff, especially the "crippled" tees. The second ex-wife may have put me into the wind because of irreverance. Having a sense of humor about disability was apparently prohibited. I married a Democrat.

This is not for children. Parents who monitor their kids' activities on the Net should be advised, and act accordingly. The rest of you should be ashamed.

Go here: or click the link.

Friday, March 17, 2006

"Erin go bragh!"

St. Patrick’s Day began in America in 1762, or thereabouts. It was regarded as a Thanksgiving-type day; church in the morning, and a family supper to follow. Now, it’s all about people of dubious heritage drinking green beer and staggering around in bacchanalian reverie.

The original St. Patrick’s Day dates back to 800 A.D. It falls during the season of Lent, in the Christian tradition, but dates back to the pre-Christ traditions of the Druids.

Along about the time St. Patrick was beginning to be recognized again, among the Irish immigrants in America, a Polish sailor jumped ship in Ireland. He married an Irish girl whose parents had grown up in Wales.

Their child became a captain in the British Marines. He made several trips to America, standing guard over Irish penitents being shipped to the New World at the behest of a fellow named Ogelthorpe.

That captain became enamored of the promise of the New World. Unlike Old Europe, there was nothing that couldn’t be done, in the new land of America. All that was required was a strong back, and a vision for the future.

The captain filed his resignation papers, and jumped ship in slower motion than his daddy. He brought his family to America, and moved north from the fever-swamps of the Georgia coast to the central plateau of South Carolina.

The family flourished at their frontier outpost. They interacted successfully with the Native Americans, and inherited even more land because of a tribal chief’s prophetic dream. They obtained their wealth by kindness, not conquest.

That family went on to establish a backbone of American society. Not a dynasty, like the Kennedy clan, the captain’s children went on to build America. The descendants of that hybrid Polish-Irish soldier grew with America; they propelled the Revolution with Francis Marion, served on both sides in the War of Northern Aggression, and stood for America in the Spanish-American War, War I, War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the current war on terror. An enemy of America does not want to fight the Irish.

When the bugles are not sounding, those descendants of farmers and miners are out plowing our pastures, or standing in classrooms, that no one may forget. We built this country. We will not let it fall to ruin because of political correctness or theological madness.


“Ireland lives forever!”


I love the new super-secret technology! In the last 48 hours, I've learned that I have readers from Japan to New Zealand.

I thank my constant readers. You don't comment, but you peek. It's often "" instead of the incisive world events or satirical commentary that I'd like, but y'all drop by. I apologize for the egocentricity of the blog, but the power of it is intoxicating. As the comic book guy said: "I must learn this power for good."

There will come a day.

Until then, stand by for news, and thank you for the peeks.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"May I see your papers, please?"

President Bush's approval ratings are at a record low. The war in Iraq has dragged on, thanks to the temporal nature of the terrorists. If you listen to, and believe, the Usual Suspects and the New York Times, he can't do anything right. Everything is his fault, including vagaries of the weather.

Well, I have some blame to affix. Mr. Bush, you missed a good bet the other day. Since you're determined to turn America into a police state, you should have hammered that protest in Chicago.

Dropping the hammer was actually the job of the local authorities, who did nothing because of the stigma of Mayor Daly. It's a response to the '68 convention protests, but it would have been a hoot to watch. There was a reported 100,000 people in the streets protesting the alleged "police state" that will be created if the government takes action on illegal immigration. The "She-devil" from New York has used that phrase: "police state".

I've never been a big fan of the police. Stewart Copeland's okay, but that Sting guy chaps my...

Seriously, the only time I'm crossways with the police is when I get busted driving my Corvette at 110 in a 65 zone. I keep forgetting that our local 4-lane isn't the German autobahn. I'm not happy with my collection of traffic offenses, but I broke the law, and the law won, so I live with the sanctions for speeding.

When all those people took to the streets in Chicago, the locals, ICE, and anyone else taking part of their pay from the Ministry of Homeland Security should have been part of the hammerhead. Like 10,000 lawyers on the bottom of the the ocean, it would have been a good start. With the Illinois National Guard for back-up, they should have sealed off the side streets on that protest, and moved in, asking simply for identification from every participant. I'm sure the traditional "green cards" would have been useful for those of Hispanic persuasion. I'm not a "racist profiler"; this white Southern boy has done more than most to move in the direction away from racism. That dog won't hunt, if the card is played, to mix metaphors.

What a field day ICE could've had, though!

People come to America because we're the last, best hope of humanity. Several posts back, when I was picking fights, I said that someone who doesn't care is second-most dangerous critter only to a father with hungry children. 'Tis true; when I raised my pups, I would've killed to obtain food for them, if we'd lived in some Third World hellhole. We were blessed, because great-great-grandaddy Captain Duncan Possum resigned from the British Navy and settled here...legally. Land grant from the king, and all that. My children didn't have to grow up in poverty and starvation. I don't fault anyone for wanting to come here, or doing whatever has to be done to get here. I have been personal witness to an Arizona horror story about crossing the desert "for the sake of the children", as the She-devil would say. It's darkly funny; people say they hate America, but they'll die to get here.

The key word here is "legally". I'm a scofflaw; ask any State Trooper who patrols the highway between Atlanta and Young Harris, where Senator Zell lives. I break what I consider to be minor laws; those applying to speed limits on open highways in the middle of the night. The troopers have their duty, so I sigh and take the consequences when I blow a radar zone.

Illegal immigrants have blown the radar. Sorry, gang, but those cameras, motion detectors, and angry livestock owners have you busted.

There is a legitimate national security issue at stake here. There is a difference between a father with hungry children, victimized by the corrupt government of his home country, and a devoted jihadist lugging an atomic demolitions munition on his back, across hundreds of miles of inhospitable terrain. However, they are both guided into America by the same coyotes...people who make their livings by the exploitation of those they purport to serve. Service to breaking a law is not a service. Killing my people, even the Yankees, isn't an option. Those ancestors earned the right to shove Yankees around; you ain't there by a long shot.

By all means, come here. Do the paperwork, and cope with the interminable frustrations of the federal government. It isn't easy to get into America. My ancestors slaughtered the "Indians" [read Native Americans, a.k.a Injuns] en masse, as they resisted the influx of white people with a questionable agenda. It's St. Patrick's Day; many of my Irish forebears comprised the cavalry that massacred them Injuns.

Those ancestors earned me the right to say "Injuns" by committing their atrocities against those who opposed them. I personally earned a tribal name by standing up in court for them Injuns. My president is crossways with me, when he speaks of an open border and amnesty program for "guest workers". I'm sorry, kids, but the party's over.

The border should be closed, now. If it takes the automated machine gun nests of the Soviets on the Western Wall, so be it. If it takes the minefields of South Africa, so be it.

Mexicans are beloved to me, and not in a patronistic sense of Third World children that need my Big White Daddy care. If this was 1917, I'd be trying to retake their country. Bottom line: people should not have to flee their country because the government is corrupt.

How many of those limousine liberals actually fled to Canada? If I break the law speeding in my plastic car, I get the hammer. If someone commits a federal felony, like border violation, they are chum in a catch-and-release program that is more merciful than fishing on Nottley Lake.

It would have been interesting to ask for green cards in this gang in Chicago... Is law-breaking so popular that I can take to the streets, knowing I'm a crook, and protest the authority that should be busting me? Look for more of this, as Those People embolden the disenfranchised.

At the risk of sounding like one of Those People, my president is right, the troops are untouchable, but...

I am crossways with my president about this border/amnesty thing. I'm a simple man: Close it, and have the mojados line up.

I'm beginning to build a resentment, as they say in AA. My president knows about AA and spirituality; has he forgotten it in the daily rubbish of the great office he obtained though sobriety and the vaunted "hard work"?

"Reductio ad Hitlerum" Just because Hitler had an idea, that doesn't make it a bad one. In this case, it's good and simple: close the!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Profanity and veracity mail from some flounder, as Bullwinkle used to say to Rocky:


Way to exploit the tragic death of the Reeves'

Shall I write a 2000 word essay about Christoper Reeves because I saw Superman?

What about allowing stem cell research? Where do you stand on that issue, f---nut?


--Posted by Roger Doger to United Possums International at 3/12/2006 08:23:29 AM

Roger Do[d]ger, I don't mind you calling me an exploiter, but if you had two brain cells to rub together, you'd realize that your comments would have a longer shelf life here if you eschewed the profanity. I suspect you are the "Anonymous" author of the other comment that had to be deleted from the Superman post. That succinct comment flat-out called me a liar, and I would have let it stand on the merit of its content, but it contained a profane expletive.

“Eschewed” means “left out”, knucklehead. Profanity is usually a sign of an insufficient vocabulary. It is also efficacious verbal shorthand when you hit your thumb with a hammer, or fall down a flight of stairs. When used sparingly, it can emphasize a point by its shock value to your interloucutor. Gratuitous overuse is a sign of ignorance.

Georgia is a right-to-work state, meaning you don't have to belong to a union. That makes us enormously popular with Hollyweird as a place to shoot movies on-budget and on schedule, as opposed to wasting time and money on union arrogance and overpricing. I am fortunate to know several local people who are liaisons with the movie and TV crowd, and during the late ‘80s and most of the ‘90s, I was employed in various technical capacities on a number of films and television productions. I also had a day job and a family. I won’t run the whole résumé here, but the list includes “Glory”, “Gettysburg”, and the remake of “The Last of the Mohicans”. (See if you can find a common theme in these movies.) Turner Entertainment, headquartered in Atlanta, also produced a number of TV-movies during this time, and Terrible Ted is the Executive Producer of “Gettysburg”, which started life as a TV project, but grew into a theatrical-release monster. “The Rose and the Jackal” was produced by Turner Entertainment, and turns up on Ted's channels occasionally.

Civil War reenactors are also very popular with movie producers. We have our own uniforms and equipment, we provide our own horses for the cavalry, we already know the drills and formations, and we take orders and direction well. We look better and perform better than a crowd of vagrants collected on Ventura Boulevard and outfitted with polyester uniforms from Central Costume. Hiring us for any period-piece movie saves producers a great deal of money, and they live and die by the bottom line.

As I said, I don’t mind you calling me an exploiter or liar. If you doubt the veracity of the Superman anecdote, please explain your assertion. It was a minor incident. The train stopped, everyone dusted off, and we all went “back to A”. The tree limb was cut, and the next take went off without a hitch. Christopher Reeve was a warm and personable man, and always had time for the little people, of which I am one. I wrote the post as a eulogy from someone who met him exactly once, in his prime and enjoying what he was doing. How is this "exploitation"?

As for your question about stem cell research, I’m for it. I’m not going to jump into the whole abortion issue here, but I have personal reasons for supporting stem cell research. Doubtless you’ll call me a liar again, but I have spent the last 5½ years in a wheelchair, as a result of an accident of my own. It didn’t involve horses, and I am spared the agony and frustration of quadriplegia, but I have a pretty fair idea of what the disabled go through. To be born disabled is one thing; to be crippled in the middle of a normal, active life is, I think, twice as bad. I have the hope of walking again without assistance from stem cell research, but I fully embrace the hope it offers those who do not share my good fortune.

I suppose this stance will make me a hypocrite as well as a liar, since I’m a conservative Libertarian. I have, in fact, been castigated by some of my conservative friends, because stem cell research is linked to the abortion issue. The short version is: I think it’s possible to have the research without depending on the corpses of babies murdered for the mother’s convenience and disposed of as “waste matter”. It’s odd, but those conservatives managed to express themselves passionately, and take me to task, without uttering a single profanity.

I can cuss like R. Lee Ermey in “Full Metal Jacket”, and frequently do in the privacy of the Possum Den. When I’m in the company of strangers, or what we used to call “mixed company”, I find suitable synonyms, or keep my pie hole closed. The Internet is certainly “mixed company”, and for whatever reasons, children may find their way onto this blog. I have used a relatively mild expletive exactly once in over 50 posts on this site, to make a point, and it was buried in the text. I make the rules, so I can break the rules. There is only one real rule here, but it’s categorical: no profanity.

“Categorical” means “without qualification; absolute”, Roger. Night school for completion of that GED is ready when you are. See if you can come back and explain why you’re calling me a liar and exploiter without cussing. If you do, I promise I’ll leave your comments up for the world to read and judge on their merit.

If you keep cussing, be advised that the administrator’s view of this blog includes a little trashcan icon next to each comment. I can promise you that comments containing profanity will end up there. Cussing at UPI is like lighting a cigarette in church because the sermon's just isn't done.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Life on horseback.

I ain't shutting down UPI. That would give too many people too much satisfaction.

I once got swatted off a horse by a peach tree. The thing was just there, where I wanted to ride through.

I wonder how many times Jack has spilled that bike of his. The CDC says horses are five times more likely to kill you; a motorcycle is a machine that obeys commands...a horse has a mind of its own.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Day Superman Saved My Life.

A long time ago, I made a movie with Christopher Reeve. It was a knock-off for Turner Entertainment, something called “The Rose and the Jackal.” It concerned the life of Elizabeth Rose Greenhow, a Confederate spy, and Alan Pinkerton, the godfather of the U.S. Secret Service. Elizabeth Greenhow drowned at a young age; Alan Pinkerton went on to become a legend.

Christopher Reeve played Alan Pinkerton. An early segment of the movie is a highly dramatized (read: fictionalized) account of an assassination attempt on the newly-elected president Lincoln during a train ride from Baltimore to Washington, DC. The segment involves extensive gunplay on a steam train.

My job, in the grand scheme of things, was to load black-powder handguns and hand them to Superman. It takes a few moments to actually load a black-powder firearm, and my job was to be sure that “Mr. Pinkerton” did not run out of six-shooters during his gunfight aboard the train.

This segment was filmed aboard the Stone Mountain Railroad, a clever recreation of an 1860s railway. At their peak, the operators of the Stone Mountain amusement park featured a Western town reenactment, including a climactic walk-down gunfight. By the time we got there to film the movie, only the train survived.

One detail that fascinated me was the vibration coming off the boxcar, which is the first car behind the steam locomotive. When I asked, a crewman opened the door and showed me the diesel unit that hides inside the car, and actually pushes the rest of the train. The steam locomotive is a sham; a put-on. The boxcar pushes the train.

For this little job of work, I was employed to hang from a lineman’s belt from a ladder on the side of this boxcar. From there, safely out of the frame, I would pass handguns up to the star of the picture, Mr. Reeve. Like Hopalong Cassidy, he would have a six-shooter with twelve or fourteen shots in it.

As is usual with such productions, the greenskeepers prowled the set, and hacked down any tree limbs that might interfere with shooting. This time, they missed one.

The train was moving flat out, 35 or 40 miles per hour. I was fastened to the ladder, and watching Superman shoot it out with the bad guys. My sole job was to make sure he didn’t run out of shootable pistols.

Suddenly Reeve yelled “Look out!” He snatched me against the ladder, breaking my nose. The train locked down. People were screaming “Cut!” all over the set.

The greenskeepers had missed a tree limb. It was coming right at my head, at whatever speed the train was moving. I would have been killed, if Superman had not seen it coming.

One of the delights of filming this movie was horseback riding with the stars. Chris Reeve was an accomplished rider, brought his own horse, and I enjoyed my five minutes as a wrangler who got to share the trail with him.

I’ve been tossed from a few horses, but when I heard the news about Reeve’s accident, I was horrified. I sent a letter, not expecting a reply.

Dana Reeve wrote me a wonderful letter. She assured me that her husband remembered me, and she even managed a joke about not crashing any more horses, and watching out for choo-choo trains.

Both of these precious people are gone now. I never had the honor to meet Mrs. Reeve, but I’ll never forget the day Superman broke my nose.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Regarding Raising Children

Even though the previous post had no particular point, I am perpetually amused by it. Having been shot in the back by bad guys, and having been to dark zones in the pursuit of dark deeds, I never cease to be amused that one of my children came closest to canceling my ticket.

The previous post is a legacy to their old man. Rembember the night you sought to shoot your daddy in the back.

You, too, will be old some day. The follies of your children will chase you.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Raising children

Kids don’t respond to discipline the way we, as parents, wish they would.

Time was, your parents laid down the law, and you took it with as big a grain of salt as you could swallow, and obeyed the parental edict.

Being a hybrid of Neil Young’s “Southern Man”, and Lynrd Skynrd’s “Simple Man”, I longed for a boy child in the days of my parenthood. We’d hunt, fish, and work on old cars. The tradition would be fulfilled.

Instead, I got girls. Two gorgeous gals, who have their Ma’s looks and my legs. That’s a good combination; much better than my looks and their Ma’s legs. We never got to the hunting, fishing, and old cars stuff, but in hindsight, it doesn’t matter. My kids are precious and unique, and I’ll kill for them in a New York minute if it’s called for.

I don’t have to defend my girls, because they are more ferocious than I can hope to be. They are perfect examples of why the Injuns left the torture of captives to the women.

Some of my faithful readers have raised kidlets on their own. We read Dr. Spock and the other “experts”, but it eventually comes down to making it up as we go along. You try and raise a child with a sense of what’s right, and hope that you were correct in assigning that value judgment.

Here’s a cautionary tale for you parents still rearing them young pups:

Laura is the older. She was 16 at the time this took place in the ‘90s. She was turning into quite the “mall rat”, had just gotten her own car on the matching funds deal, and was looking to explore her newfound maturity.

So, on a weeknight, she announces that she’s going “to the mall”; ostensibly to take in a movie. Homework is done; all is in order… no reason for the parental units to raise objections.

Mrs. Trot and I both nodded assent, but a minute after Laura left the house, my scalp began to crawl. Something wasn’t right. I called for Mrs. Trot’s car keys; my old Corvette was too easily spotted in traffic.

I zoomed off after my errant child. I caught her on the entrance ramp to T--- L--- mall. She pulled in, found a parking place, and approached the entrance to the mall. She did not actually venture inside. Instead, a car pulled up, and she hopped in.

I followed this car to a house that appeared bereft of adults. I am not so old and burned-out that I can’t recognize a party in progress, nor know what kids that age get up to. Our children continually fail to realize that we have been there before them, and have done what they think is breaking new ground.

Laura was drinking a beer when she went into that house. Whatever went on inside, I don’t want to go there. I went home and waited.

Along about midnight, Laura turned up. Like Archie Bunker, I was sitting my Laz-Y-Boy chair, waiting.

“How was the movie?”


"And it ended at…?"

Caught in a lie, we blush now.

“It was cool.”

“Who were them kids you went off to _____Something Blvd. with?”

Here come the waterworks; daddy, you ain’t supposed to know this. Daddy knows everything. I am two steps ahead of my children, no matter what.

I grounded Laura. Too big to spank, I told her that she would not be going out for fun and games at the local high school for the next few nights. No Corvette, no rented limo for prom night. And that was the big forthcoming date.

My daughter’s response was to go into her mother’s purse and locate a .380 pistol. I gave her ma the firearm, and taught her how to use it, so that the women in my life will be safe.

When they were both of an age to understand what I was doing, I laid my firearms collection out on the carpet of the family room, invited the girls in, and asked if they had any questions about daddy’s toys. The idea was to pre-empt questions and curiosity about firearms. I offered then and there to teach my daughters to shoot. Laura refused; Lindsey can match me every day on the range with a .40 handgun.

I grounded Laura for lying to me. No ‘Vette, no prom, no date. She ran into the bedroom, and located her ma’s pistol in her purse. My baby daughter rushed into the family room, and sought frantically to work the safety catch off the pistol. I am no fool, and was rushing out the door when my baby girl appeared with a firearm. I have a natural aversion to firearms, even when wielded by my children.

This was before I got hurt. I still had full use of my legs. It was 200 yards to the horse pasture in back of my house, and a 3-strand barbed wire fence to get into that pasture. I was fast back then; I covered the distance in record time.

Laura fired four or five times at me. Her mother disarmed her, and asked “What the hell are you doing?” I cleared the pasture fence by several feet, and was running for the treeline. There was a five-acre horse pasture out back, and I cleared that fence in a single leap. Bullets being ignited somewhere behind you can have this effect.

Younger daughter Lindsey can outmatch me with a handgun. That kid’s a natural; I need a lot of range time to get into the X-ring with such fluid motion.

On this particularly strange evening, Laura, the one who didn’t care for firearms, went into her mama’s purse and fetched out that .380 semi-automatic pistol. I’m sure the gun-control advocates can find an argument in here that possession of firearms in the household can lead to crimes of passion.

Hey, I’m proud of my kid, that she had the passion to draw down on me. I outran her fumbling with the safety catch, and her mama disarmed her and called her attention to the error of her ways before she shot her old man. No one got hurt, and she was properly remorseful in the aftermath.

Laura is grown and married today. Her husband is also a fair hand with large-caliber handguns; such proficiency is a prerequisite for marrying my daughters.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Little Acts of Mindless Terror

I meant to get to what follows sooner, but a broken tooth made me feel like Dustin Hoffman doing the Q&A scene with Laurence Olivier in “Marathon Man” the last few days. You know the scene: “Is it safe?” “What?” zzzz! “Is it safe?” zzzzzz! “Is what safe?” zzzzzz! “ARRGH!”

Even if you’ve never seen the entire movie, chances are you’ve seen that clip. It’s taught in film classes as a perfect example of horror deriving from the mundane.

That’s a good segue into the real point here. I was feeling particularly truculent when I composed my last muttering. The latest act of terrorism in Iraq, coupled with the sectarian violence, worldwide “cartoon riots”, and the lack of reasoned response from the so-called Muslim leaders, had me more disgusted than usual. I issued a rhetorical challenge from the safe haven of Scorpion Hill, a real place in north Georgia. I’m the easiest guy in the county to find; all you have to do is stop by the sheriff’s department and ask for my street address.

Someone signing in under the ubiquitous moniker “Anonymous” posted some gibberish in Arabic script in the comments section on the last post. Before I even had time to run the comment over to Alta Vista’s Babel Fish online translator, my pal Camojack [see links for “Uncommonly Sensible”] had decoded the comment as nothing more than a cut-and-paste of some mundane news story about Dr. C. Rice.

“Anonymous” in this case is not as anonymous as he’d think. My presumption is that the posted comment, initially incomprehensible to someone not literate in Arabic, was intended to provoke fear and paranoia in me as a response to my belligerence. The implied threat of violence, via a fatwah, was supposed to make me feel remorseful, and prompt an apology for calling the Islamofascists out. Sorry, Liger, it ain’t happening. I am too unimportant for a team of assassins; besides, they prefer women, children, and the unprepared.

Like the bombing of the Golden Dome mosque in Samara, it was another act of terrorism. The scale of the terrorism is a matter of degrees, not intent. Al Qaeda paints upon a large canvas; a juvenile Leftist sociopath can do no better than screwing around on a semi-private blog. Al Qaeda has a worldwide theocratic agenda; the Arabic poster here, whom we’ll assume is Liger, has no better purpose than to attempt to provoke someone of his parents’ age, out of the usual adolescent growing anxieties of “look at me!” Okay, kid, I was provoked, but not in the way you intended. I thank you for provoking me to think beyond the sophomoric cuteness of your little jibe. You, and those you support, and support you, have become the terrorists. Let’s look at this:

The purpose of terrorism is to create terror. You don’t need a Master’s degree in political science to know this; it’s that simple…really, it is! When people are fearful, or at least uneasy, in their everyday lives, they are much more amenable to proposals from those who would otherwise be dismissed as crackpots. This is how entities like Al Qaeda and the Democrats flourish. Discontent is nectar to the bozos on those buses.

The best way to create resonant, long-lasting terror is to strike at the mundane; to make people feel uneasy in their everyday activities. Was there anything of nationwide import on 11 September 2001, before the first jetliner struck? Those people at the Pentagon and in the World Trade Center were at work, drinking coffee, or lighting up their computers, or whatever, when their world effectively ended. The coming nuclear event will catch thousands more engaged in the course of their everyday activities. The best way to paralyze the American behemoth is to make its denizens afraid to go to work, or to the grocery store, or to leave the kids in day care. The terrorists know this. The Super Bowl was safe, not only because of its intense on-site security, but because it’s an annual event, not an everyday activity. There might be immense propaganda significance to a mass slaughter at such an event, but in real-world terms of long-term effect, such an event would be meaningless. It would not paralyze the national economy, it would not reduce the infidel population by any meaningful degree, no land is captured, as of old, and as horrible as such an event would be, the most likely long-term effect would be a galvanization of America as a whole against this psychopathy. Admiral Nagumo, right after the attack on our naval base in Hawaii, was right about awakening the sleeping giant. We sensed this once; not since Pearl Harbor has America been so outraged. What has happened to our national attention span? Is 9/11 now nothing more than a commercial re-development plan, with a PC "Hate America" museum thrown in for the $8.00 hamburger profit?

No; small acts of terrorism, striking horror from the mundane, are much more efficacious. If I’m afraid to take the subway, because someone blew up the subways a while back, then the terrorists win. If I’m afraid to go in to my job in a skyscraper, because the terrorists blew down some skyscrapers a while back, then the terrorists win. If I’m afraid to fly, because the terrorists used jetliners to blow down those skyscrapers, then the terrorists win.

If I become afraid to post my thoughts on the internet, because the terrorists might want to silence me as an infidel opposing my dhimmitude, then the terrorists win.

A hallmark tactic of Those People is to silence their opponents through intimidation by any means necessary. Silence is truly golden to those who have no alternatives of their own to propose. When the current administration fails to respond quickly and firmly to its critics, it is playing into their hands. I was raised on the Southern tradition of the source not being deemed worthy of reply, but in the wider world, that isn’t viable.

My mutterings here are by no means a scheduled routine, although they have become a comfortable part of my life as an emotional response to the mundane input of the world spinning ever more rapidly around me. In my mind’s ear, I hear Don Henley singing his take on Dylan Thomas: “I Will Not Go Quietly.” The point here being, in spite of disparities of Christian teachings, I do not want to interfere with or dictate terms of other people’s faith, expressions of opinion, or way of life. The truly beautiful part of democracy in the wider sense, and the thing that makes all people yearn for it, is the inherent right to be left alone by everyone else, if that’s what we desire. If I want to hang on a tree limb over the Grand Canyon screaming “Give me all the nuts or I’ll kill you!” that is my right. If I want to do this every day, then the folks at the diner will become accustomed to it, and look out every morning saying “There goes Possum to do his screaming.”

If a bomb lands in the middle of town, or a bunch of jihadists leap out of a van and hose the diner with automatic weapons screaming “Silence the possums or else!”, then the town will live in fear and tell me collectively to shut up. I’ll hole up on Scorpion Hill and start cleaning the Remington and the shotguns. The routine is disrupted, and the folks in town might consider Osama to be “reasonable” when his limo pulls up and he says he can make everything better if only…

An act of terrorism does not have to be as overt as blowing down a building, or blowing up trains in Spain. Part of the terror tactic is inducing silence where the everyday is concerned. If opposing voices can be silenced, then radicalism sounds reasonable. The blogosphere has changed everything, but if even a little tiny blogger can be silenced, then the terrorists are one step closer to winning. If a normal routine of life can be disrupted or altered by an act of terror, then the terrorists win.

There are no more retractions at United Possums International. I made a few in the past; the past is just that. If I’m wrong, I’ll say so. Admitting I’m wrong is getting harder by the day—having other people who can’t find their butts a flashlight and both hands tell me I’m wrong don’t make it much easier, either. Nevertheless, if I’m way off, by my lights and conscience, as it’s called, I can be had.

Being a cripple, I still ride my lawn tractor to the mailbox, a quarter-mile away, in good weather. I don’t carry .40 Mr. Browning with me, although a public issuance of a fatwah might change that routine. I will not change what I say, nor will I alter the constricted routine of my life, because of the implied nonsense of some terrorist wannabe. The pranks of children carry no weight, unless it’s cleaning toilet paper out of the trees.

When some child posts a cribbed bunch of Arabic gibberish here in an attempt to make me alter my opinions, or solicit an apologetic response, then that child needs spanking, and what the commies called “reeducation.” That child has become nothing more than a common terrorist.

There are enough acts of mindless terrorism in the world. There is a horror tale about Palestinians strapping a murder belt onto a mentally-challenged 14-year-old child a while back, and telling him to walk across the border into Israel. (The border police thankfully defused this kid, and took him into merciful custody.)

I am digressing, as is customary. The short version: I will not shut up. I will not go quietly. To attempt to shut me up is futile, and the act of attempting it is an act of terrorism, even if it’s just a Stupid Kid Trick. As for the fear and paranoia part: I don’t scare easily. Not heroic; I’m too old… I don’t care. That trumps heroism and martyrdom every day. A guy who doesn’t care is the most dangerous thing in the world, next to a hungry father who needs to feed his children.

Environmental and situational awareness should not be ignored for everyone else; neither should our normal lives be affected by that constant notion that there are people out there who'd rather see us dead. Abnormalities should be monitored and reported to proper administrative authorities; overt acts of violence should be met with overmatching response from ordinary citizenry. Terror breaks terror. If every average citizen carries a sidearm, and burns down a terrorist with a -47 before they can storm the mall, then we win. Don’t shoot Reverend ____ in the back, but arming America ain’t an unworkable idea. Half of us have guns already, and the rest can find one in fifteen minutes.

Nonetheless, the daily routine, whether it’s taking the kids to day care, going to your job, or just picking up the prescriptions and groceries, should not be altered or abandoned because there are sinister psychopaths and their myrmidons out there who want to kill or enslave us. A prank will not dissuade me from mouthing off, but I strongly suggest that ["Anonymous"—Liger? That you, kiddo?]—consider the implications of abetting terrorists by being a wannabe, no matter how small or thoughtless. Ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse in court. The small stuff adds up. And, going back to my Confederate tradition, if some terrorist says “Shut up!”; consider the source. Don’t be a little terrorist, like one of those ‘50s kids wanting to be an overbaked baby on ‘50s TV: (“Gee, mama, terrorism is cool! I want to die before I’ve lived!”) Live in the 21st century, and see your parents for what they are. Better still, look out at the big, bad world sneaking up behind to bite you. I am the Wizard of Oz: “Pay no attention the that man behind the curtain.” We wanted better for you...

There is no monopoly or certainty of righteousness here. As my cooler peers used to say so many decades ago: “Party on!”

Don’t be a little terrorist. Remember what Queen Victoria said: “… I don’t care…don’t do it in the road, and frighten the horses.”