One man's view of the world, from the top of this great big rock somewhere in the middle of God's Country, with an eye toward freedom....or at least some way to get back down without goin' over the edge.

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Location: West Virginia, United States

Former U.S. Army, SPC E-4, Veteran of Operation Desert Storm. If you are or have ever been a soldier, you have friends in my house.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

O Flock, Where Is Thy Shepherd: Behind the Big Easy's Backyard Brawl

Before anyone says it...Awright, awright. I said I would try to steer away from being particularly political here in the future. Mea culpa, all right?

But then I saw this....and decided that acquiring a taste for crow would be a small price to pay for sharing it with my loyal readership (yes, all three of you).

And I am fully aware that, once again, I am arriving late to the party. Everyone who is anyone in the blogosphere with two working neurons to bang together has certainly done this one up already.
That does not matter.

If you have friends, relatives, or acquaintances who are unsure where they stand in the human race as people....refer them to the following article RIGHT NOW. No kidding. I mean it. Go get them. I'll wait. Read on when you've got 'em all gathered 'round. This is REQUIRED material.

DISCLAIMER: There's gonna be some rough language here, friends. I have chosen not to edit this out in the sections I have quoted, but to leave them EXACTLY as they were originally written. You have been notified.

As has happened so often, the tip o'the rock goes to the good ol' SNN for the initial hand-off. (What would I do without you, dearie?)


Ever wanted to say something so bad you could taste it...but you just couldn't find the right words, no matter how hard you fried your brain-pan trying?

Ever had the perfect concept for a valid, cohesive argument shoot into your brain like a fastball from the gods...but just couldn't make your mouth form the words the right way?

Well, I think I now know who to blame for that...Bill Whittle.
He's got just about every single damned one of them nailed up on a wall in his workshop. No lie.

Don't believe me? See for yourself.

This piece is arguably one of the most important, well-constructed, and above all BANG-ON analyses of human nature that I have ever laid eyes on.

Think about this for a few minutes, says Whittle. Forget about race, culture, class and status...just for a few minutes.

Let's talk, says he...about "Tribes":
Only a few minutes ago, I had the delightful opportunity to
read the comment of a fellow who said he wished that white, middle-class,
racist, conservative cocksuckers like myself could have been herded into the
Superdome Concentration Camp to see how much we like it. Absent, of course, was
the fundamental truth of what he plainly does not have the eyes or the
imagination to see, namely, that if the Superdome had been filled with white,
middle-class, racist, conservative cocksuckers like myself, it would not have
been a refinery of horror, but rather a citadel of hope and order and restraint
and compassion.
That has nothing to do with me being white. If the blacks
and Hispanics and Jews and gays that I work with and associate with were there
with me, it would have been that much better. That’s because the people I
associate with – my Tribe – consists not of blacks and whites and gays and
Hispanics and Asians, but of individuals who do not rape, murder, or

My Tribe doesn’t fire on people risking their lives, coming to help us. My Tribe doesn’t curse such people because they arrived on Day Four, when we felt they should have been here before breakfast on Day One. We are grateful, not to say indebted, that they have come at all. My Tribe can’t eat Nike’s and we don’t know how to feed seven by boiling a wide-screen TV. My
Tribe doesn’t give a sweet God Damn about what color the looters are, or what
color the rescuers are, because we can plainly see before our very eyes that
both those Tribes have colors enough to cover everyone in glory or in shame. My
Tribe doesn’t see black and white skins. My Tribe only sees black and white
hats, and the hat we choose to wear is the most personal decision we can

A little further down, he goes on about "colors" -- but not the ones you might be thinking about:

Let’s not talk about Black and White tribes… I know too many
pathetic, hateful, racists and more decent, capable and kind people of both
colors for that to make any sense at all. Do you not? Do you not know corrupt,
ignorant, violent people, both black and white, to cure you of this elementary
idiocy? Have you not met and talked and laughed with people who were funny,
decent, upright, honest and honorable of every shade so that the very idea of
racial politics should just seem like a desperate and divisive and just plain
evil tactic to hold power?

If such a thing is not self-evident to you, please get off my property. Right now. I should tell you I own a gun and I know how to use it. I assure you that the pleasure I would take in shooting you would be temporary, minimal, and deeply regretted later.

Now, for the rest of you, let’s get past Republican and Democrat, Red and Blue, too. Let’s talk about these two Tribes: Pink, the color of bunny ears, and Grey, the color of a
mechanical pencil lead.....

Further on, he references something he learned from a piece of work by LTC Dave Grossman entitled The Bulletproof Mind. Therein, three more Tribes are discussed: the Sheep, the Sheepdogs, and the Wolves:

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath--a wolf.
But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.
Bill takes the concept a bit further, using the example of 9/11 to illustrate that one need not necessarily be an elected public servant to be a sheepdog --- or vice versa:

Much has been said regarding how much more massive an event Katrina
is relative to lower Manhattan. But the fact remains that firemen went up the
stairs when people were coming down, and one ordinary group of people on an
ordinary flight on an ordinary day defeated the very best that the global terror
network could put together. Our ladies junior varsity squad whipped the living
shit out of their Super Bowl A-team over Pennsylvania that day, and they did it
because for one brief shining moment enough passengers on that airplane went Grey.

And in Louisiana last week the governor cried and the mayor blamed
everyone but himself, and half the country bought every single stinking Pink lie
about global warming and missing National Guard units and blamed the sheepdogs
while the wolves raped and pillaged and looted everything in sight.

Hundreds of New York firemen and policemen never came home, never came home, but New Orleans Police Chief P. Edwin Compass III said, of his men, "If I put you out on the street and made you get into gun battles all day with no place to urinate
and no place to defecate, I don’t think you’d be too happy either… Our vehicles
can’t get any gas. The water in the street is contaminated. My officers are
walking around in wet shoes."

Well, Chief, I’m sorry your men’s feet are wet, but getting their feet wet is part of their fucking job. New York’s Finest aren’t complaining about wet feet or places to pee because they died doing their jobs. They were sheepdogs.

This was followed in the text by a link to a video clip that you have to see to believe. It takes a bit to load, but it needs to be seen.
He also makes a point that apparently no Social Studies or American Government teacher in the country is telling our kids about anymore, if they ever really did....exactly how the escalation of response is supposed to work---and why:
A person of some modest education might have remembered that the
worship and adulation fostered after 9/11 was for the NYPD and the FDNY. No one
was buying FEMA hats after 9/11, because FEMA is essentially a mop-up agency.
It's the first responders, the local governments, that will determine if a city
will live or die. The State -- that means, the "governor"-- has the sole
authority to mobilize the National Guard, and the governor of the state of
Louisana was not only slow to do that, she turned down NG assistance from
several OTHER states as well. The President does not have the authority to drop
precious egg salad sandwiches from Michael Moore's missing helicopters. We do
this ON PURPOSE. We limit the power of the federal government, as those of us
fortunate enough to have spent time in Civics, rather than Self Esteem classes,
are aware. This is so that we do not develop a central power so strong that
eventually we end up with idiot inbred royals, or Presidentes for life, on the
face of OUR money.
Folks, there is so much more in this essay that fairly BEGS to be read by anyone who truly wants to know some of the real reasons why things went down the way they did in the first days after Katrina did the Big Easy....and, for that matter, why there is such a big difference between that and how things went down in New York around this time four years ago.

Read on, o faithful ones. And then ask yourselves:

If worse ever came to worse in my life....
If everything I knew were suddenly blown to ash, and the only thing left was the survival of my family and/or my community....
What would I become? That which I always thought I was....or something totally different?
How would I act? What would I do?
What tribe would I find myself in?


P.S. Several people who commented on this article also left appropriate articles of their own, bouncing the topic in other directions. Here's one that fits Bill's description almost seamlessly.