On the discombobulating 3:55PM out of the City. I’m in the historic first car, in the jump seat so that I can see everything. My back is to the diesel engine pulling the thirteen car express away from the City and out to the suburbs.
Discombobulating because it’s been awhile since I’ve seen my absolutely favorite co-commuter, Dr. Jeckyl-Hyde. The Joe Torre look alike is looking fantastic. He just sat down and is reading a pamphlet or newsletter.
A bit of history for the three newcomers to this blog. Dr. Jeckyl-Hyde is a late-fifties or early-sixties aged man who has the strange habit of talking to himself out loud, but silently. Oddly enough, the people around him never seem to notice or acknowledge this singular, public behavior. We’ll come back to J-H in a bit. The train is still at the station. We have another five or so minutes before we leave.
Benched War Correspondent is here. Again, the fellow looks like an amalgam of Tom Brokaw, Stone Phillips, and Anderson Cooper. He looks like he’s much more comfortable in khakis and riding the roof of an interregional train in India or South Africa than as a commuter in the Midwest.
After the death of James Foley, he is not skittish, but antsy to get back out and report on ISIS, the Bashir Al Assad government in Syria, or even tension in Nigeria over Ebola. He looks at his cell phone, thinking, “I should be in Ferguson, or L.A., or looking for the missing girls in Nigeria, or somewhere, anywhere but here.” BWC looks out the window with sadness and frustration. I half hear him humming “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” as the train pulls out of the station.
Oh. Speaking of being somewhere else, the movement of the train has Jeckyl-Hyde kicking into full debate mode. He is looking out the window and whispering about something. His center-right, or RINO voice, has started with a question to his far right Tea Partied mind about the continued unrest in Ferguson, MO, just Northwest of St. Louis. He is trying to explain how the actions of one police officer have opened up a local problem, a problem that is an allegory to the ongoing racial tensions across the country.
The tea started boiling back in J-H, who is getting more animated at his reflection in the window. (Actually, it’s pretty bright outside, so whatever he sees are shadows of the commuters across the aisle reflected in the window.) His far right voice is equally frustrated at the residents of Ferguson. Why gather? Why riot? Why destroy property? He immediately understands that the officer used excessive force. Far right even understands how poorly local and state government has handled the aftermath, at least as presented in all the media outlets (the liberal left and the fair-and-balanced shops).
Why can’t all folk just follow the rules?
He fell silent – or at least stop being animated. I think because he just realized something. He realized that the shooting some seven days ago of Michael Brown was an example of government using excessive force over an unarmed citizen. This is, of course, the very same argument that the NRA uses in defending the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. If government takes away guns, then we citizens can’t defend ourselves agents an oppressive government. Given that logic, why haven’t the NRA advocated for the citizens of Ferguson, who are protesting peacefully, to instead take up arms against an oppressive government entity like the Ferguson Police, as the Second Amendment and the Founding Fathers intended?
“To secure these [inalienable] rights [to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness], governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed… Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” –Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776.
He is staring out the window, unmoving, silent, contemplating how he has quoted Jefferson, the Deceleration of Independence, and key bits of the Constitution, but only in the abstract and in the safety of his own reasoning. When legally and logically applying these “unalienable rights” to an actual event and the aftermath, it’s amazing that the USA hasn’t had a more violent history of government regiem change. He closes his eyes, and shivers.
Also here are R Kelly, Slats Grobnick, an Accardo hitman, Mary Louise Parker, and H.R. Haldeman. All are armed.
Happy Friday. Safe travels.