Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Icepicks, Homeless and Human Nature

I was at a hardware store once. It was a Thursday. Or maybe not, as I've been in many hardware stores on pretty much every day of the week at this point in my life. But, it was a day and I was in a hardware store getting supplies for the smithy. As I approached the cash register a large oak and steel banded barrel caught my eye, and glittering within, in all their simplistic glory, where hundreds of ice picks. Simple, thick stainless-steel shafts honed to wicked points, each some four inches long, mounted and ferruled firmly to oaken handles. The sign on the barrel said "$1 Ea." and I was compelled to buy several dozen.
There are several city parks in Albuquerque where the homeless reside (as much as they reside anywhere of any permanence), and on a semi-routine basis various charities in and about the greater metro area will use one of these parks as a staging area for a mass feeding, blanketing, clothing of these unwashed masses.
I want to go to one of these, with a giant sack full of icepicks. And I want to start at the back of the soup line making my way toward the front handing one out to each person - "Here, have one, Lord bless ye and keep ye in your struggles, we're all praying", rinse, lather, repeat, until every last icepick had been handed out.

For the homeless, they have no ice. And I... I have no faith in any of the supposed nobility of the savage.
Or his ability to resist base amusements.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Warrior Falls

Like every day before, the officer wasn't late for duty. He sat in the Squad room, paying attention when he needed to, joking with his fellows when he didn't. He climbed into the seat of the car, and settled in for the morning patrol.
Sometime after breakfast, (coffee and a McMuffin for his partner, just a McMuffin for him,) and before lunch (he will wonder, later and only once, if it might have been good), the call comes in. Man with a gun, wife and children in the house. His partner flips an otherwise illegal U-turn he calls flipping a bitch, and puts the V8 Interceptor to work.
The scene is the chaos that finds its home in the heart of every warrior, its meaning and pattern apparent only in his mind. Shots are fired out the window. Tear gas is fired back in. The wife and kids come out. The gunman doesn't. The officer wonders how people can be so cruel to one another at times, doing that to their women, and their little ones. He thinks maybe he'd like to have a pup or two of his own someday, but doesn't have time for deeper contemplation. They're lining up, going in, he's got to go - All thoughts are on the door, the monster behind it, the monster with the gun.
They put flash-bangs through the windows as the great big man in-front slams the backdoor into a thousand splinters, a million motes of dust - Each one lit up for an instant by the flash of the 'bangs.
They're in, dust and smoke clouding the already hazy unlit room. The gunfire comes from within that haze, muzzle flashes - A cheap nine-millimeter, something that any other time might not have even fired. Call it fate, call it irony, call it tragedy, call it life. Gunfire in response, the solider, more reliable, fire of forty-five's and five-point-five-sixes, all well made, well maintained, as ready for action as he. But he's not acting anymore, he doesn't hear the return gunfire - One round, just the wrong side of the edge on his vest, has torn through flesh and bone and gone deep inside.
The Earth trembles when he falls.
He hurts when he breathes, but knows he must keep trying. He doesn't know where his partner is. Where the bad man is. He fights - To breath, to be loyal, to serve. It hurts, deep inside where it hasn't hurt since his heart broke once, when he was young, the last time he saw his mother.
His partner is there then, looking down at him, saying soft, soothing things, calling him "buddy". He likes it when his partner does that. The bad man is there too, but he's not standing up, or fighting. The officer relaxes a little now, but its still so hard to breathe and he has to breathe to make sure there are no more badmen.
His vision falters, he's going to sleep. Somewhere out in the growing blackness what might be a green field, and old friends, are visible. He blinks. The dust is settling in the room, but its all light and shadow.
They take his vest off, he feels them placing something over the wound. A needle sticks him between the ribs. Its easier to breathe now, but he's still so tired. He cant fight sleep anymore. He hears his friends calling him into the soft grass of the field.

I see him as they bring him out of the ambulance. One paramedic just picks him up off the gurney, and steps out into the harsh midday light. His blood runs down the front of the 'medics white uniform shirt, but that's okay. He's one of them, a compatriot, a force against the destruction they all feel chasing them - Chasing the world - a brother, a Warrior.
The other paramedic is holding the door open. Right of the door there is wall of his fellow warriors folding in behind the one carrying him as they go through the door. Tears are in their eyes. I can feel the reverberations in the Earth now, as I see them disappear within, and the Veterinary clinic doors close behind them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Fitna is an Arabic word which, though difficult to translate, refers in general to a schism, anarchy, upheaval, and etc. Specifically it alludes to times of trial of faith, or faith based war and strife.
It is also a title of a short film by Geerts Wilder, a Dutch politician, about Islam, and his belief that Islam is a threat to the way of life in the Netherlands, and elsewhere. It’s a very powerful piece, and should be watched by everyone – even defenders of Islam.

The reaction in the European press to Fitna has been overwhelmingly negative. Popularly and in government as well, efforts have been made to suppress Fitna, and discredit the views of Geerts Wilder. Advertisements against Fitna have been taken out in major Dutch newspapers, while the Dutch government vehemently denies any support with the film’s message or Wilder’s opinions.

I have no hatred for Muslims as a whole – Although I do at times have a profound disrespect, and sadness, for many of them – but I certainly have no love. And it is about more than just terrorism. There are plenty of Muslims who have no fondness for radical Islam, who do not worship at mosques inhabited by radical clerics, who do not give monies that end up supporting al qaeda. However, these same Muslims believe in Islam based education, and no more, for their children – An education which replaces science, history and real world knowledge with an ignorant and violent mythology. These same Muslims force their women to wear chador, perform female circumcision (a mutilation performed exhospitalis, without anesthetic or proper tools, of the vulva causing a lifetime of problems, including sexual difficulty and recurring [often fatal] infections), and believe in honor killings of women who reject these practices. No, they do not support terrorism, they do not blow up buildings – They simply cripple their children, mutilate their daughters and murder their wives. And they are demanding that their “culture” be allowed to flourish wherever they set foot, as if they are special and deserve privileges above and beyond those of others.
The only reason they must fall on their religion as a defense for the things they demand, is because the brutality and ignorance of their culture is so great that the laws and habits of most other cultures outlaw or frown upon many of their practices.
And some Muslims are none of the above – They are progressive, and have removed from their practice those barbaric traits. But so few of them are supportive of the calls to abolish extremist Islam wherever is arises – So many simply keep their faith silently, and seem unwilling to stand against those who would murder and destroy in the name of Islam. And just like all moderates of any religion, you must realize these are people willing to believe in part of a religion that advocates murdering rape victims, but only the parts they like. People willing to turn their backs on their faith, and their powers of reason, equally by trying to balance the two. Their rationality is thus, at best, suspect.

I’ve made my judgements, and I ask no forgiveness or permission for them. As I have said before, I am the enemy of everyone who opposes education and enlightenment – Particularly those who do so as violently and oppressively as fundamentalist Islam.
Watch the film. Watch other films. Judge for yourself the honesty and sincerity of Islam as a “religion of peace”, and the nature of those who defend it, and their reasoning.