Baked Beans Marketing

August 31, 2012 § 4 Comments

So, then I says to Earl, “Earl, how do you think we can sell all these damned baked beans?”

He pondered it for a second. Then, we both looked at each other with the same knowing expression.

After one trip out-back and 30 minutes of stacking, we were done.

What is the moral of this story? Some of you lawyers display the same level of care and intellect in your office marketing schemes. Humorous? Yeah, maybe. Disturbing? You bet.

*Picture taken by me in the Commissary (military grocery store) at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Rights reserved (whatever the hell they are).

UPDATE: Just so you know. This groceryiffic display has three key elements:

  1. Baked Beans
  2. An Outhouse
  3. A banner encouraging you to “Celebrate.”

Indeed.

Bill Nye – Driving The Caddy, With Science

August 28, 2012 Comments Off

Occasionally, I have cases that I sell with logic. Science, if you will. I trust that my arguments are more logical and reasonable than my opponent’s.

Similarly, I have some cases that I try to sell with far flung ideas that rely upon faith–the ability to connect two unconnected things with a hunch or unproven theory. Occasionally, the hunches and theories used to facilitate connections are borderline insane. I gotta do what I gotta do in the interest of representing clients.

For the former, I welcome logical, scientific thinkers as jurors who will analyze the facts in a cold, calculating, logical fashion.

For the latter, I’m looking for true believers. Scientists need not apply.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that scientists are wrong for the latter. They might be completely right, from a certain perspective. They just aren’t good for my case.

Even when I’d rather they stay home from jury duty, I tip my hat to their abilities and perseverance.

So, here’s to my favorite scientist of the day for being a true teacher–smart, learned, and gutsy. To say something like this in today’s social climate, you’re every bit a man in my book. Bill can drive the caddy at his will and pleasure.

It’s All In The Timing

August 24, 2012 Comments Off

My clients come from all different backgrounds. Each has a decidedly unique case with equally unique considerations and priorities. However, some things are still the same between all of them. Regardless of the type of case, the  client, their professional status, or their financial situation, they fall into several categories with respect to timing–the moment at which they choose to seek counsel.

Early Risers: As soon as they smell the slightest hint of investigation or administrative/nonjudicial/judicial action, they call. They know they need someone who knows the process and options, and they want to make fully educated decisions. They give us time and, more importantly, opportunities. Wonderful folks, these early risers. You eagerly accept such astute and thoughtful clients.

Papers-In-Hand Congregation: These potential clients were in denial during the investigation, but now they have something in writing saying “We’re thinking about doing something bad to you, you have X days to respond.” They call while sitting in their car after having the papers served upon them. This isn’t a horrible situation for a lawyer. After all, there is time, just not as much as you’d want in a perfect world. In general, we give these clients the benefit of the doubt. Not wonderful, but OK. You smile and accept their case.

First Hearing Crew: The most serious adverse actions have some sort of preliminary or initial hearing. The same goes for some administrative matters. Members of this crew realize their predicament after stumbling-through the first legal proceeding. They are stunned, realizing that they and/or their appointed counsel are completely outgunned by the well-resourced government team. We sympathize with members of this crew, but we also chastise them for wasting a great opportunity for discovery and its bargaining chip status. These calls make you a bit red in the face, but nothing severe.

11th Hour Posse: The call is both amusing and alarming. It arrives late on Friday. “Sir, I am facing trial for _____. My lawyer hasn’t called any witnesses. He won’t call me back, and I don’t know what is going on.” I inquire, “When does your trial start?” They reply, “Monday, Sir.” I truly feel for these pathetic souls, but I’d consider myself incompetent to represent them given the dearth of time to prepare. I wish them well, but I also wish them goodbye. These calls give you a slight headache and uneasy feeling in your gut.

The Appellaters: These guys know they were screwed–by their lawyer, the prosecutor, the judge, the jury, the court reporter, their mom, and the janitor. Trial already came and went. Now, they need someone to unscrew the trial. They just know that, if they appeal their case to an appeals court, they will win. They believe an appeal to be a retrial. They become irate when you tell them that it is not. Someone told them that zealous argument by prosecutors creates harmful error. After the call, you suffer severe headaches.

The Geriatric Appellaters: These are the same as The Appellaters, but at least 20 years elapsed between conviction/appeal and their call to you. They tout new evidence that, when considered by the court, will easily overturn the conviction. The evidence? A statement, written by them. As a lawyer, you sigh and try to gingerly extricate yourself from the call. A significant percentage of these also suffer from federal agents following them to the supermarket, the NSA bugging of residences, and a host of other conspiracies. After the call, you consider suicide.

Is This Really What We Expect?

August 22, 2012 § 2 Comments

Do we really expect our high schools to create hordes of one-trick-ponies?

Recent conversation between a friend and I:

_______________

Friend: I heard the high school football games here are cool, you should come with us.

Me: I’ll already be there. My son plays.

Friend: Really?

Me: Yes, he starts on offense at tackle. He played every down in the first game.

Friend: But, I thought he played clarinet.*

Me: …

_______________

*Yes, he does play clarinet, and baritone saxophone, and bass guitar, and rhythm guitar, in addition football and baseball. He also scored a 33 on the ACT. I find that none of these things exclude the others.

Fund My Education; Pay More Taxes

August 21, 2012 Comments Off

Look, people. If I’m going to use my GI Bill for this program, you need to pay a whole lot more taxes. Work more harder.

That’s My State, And My Law School

August 20, 2012 § 4 Comments

Chad Gaddie is always quick to remind me of dubious honors achieved by my Kansas peeps, especially those who matriculated from the University of Kansas. He, being a University of Missouri graduate, must dedicate part of his workday to such endeavors.

Today, he hit a seam of Mizzou fan gold–courtesy of Congressman Kevin Yoder, KU undergrad and law alum. Via wikipedia:

In August 2012, it was reported that during a fact-finding trip to Israel, estimated to have cost $20,000 and funded by the American Israel Educational Foundation, a group related to AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group, Yoder, after a night of dining and drinking in a Tiberias restaurant, stripped naked and dived into the Sea of Galilee in front of other members of Congress, along with their families, and staffers.[17][18] In a statement to Politico, Yoder confirmed the report, and apologized to his constituents for any embarrassment he might have caused. The FBI investigated the incident to see if any inappropriate behavior occurred, but no formal allegations have been made.

But, really, who wouldn’t want to swim naked in the Sea of Galilee, especially if you were voted one of the “Hottest Freshmen in Congress?” Am I right? Of course I’m right.

On a related note, I’m pleased to know that the FBI is spending time and resources to investigate this matter.

An aside: It should also be noted, given UA’s recent decision to profile some of the more noteworthy voters in America, that Congressman Yoder holds both a vote as a citizen and as a member of Congress.

Potential Voter Profile of the Day: Mamie Sonnier

August 19, 2012 § 3 Comments

It’s about time to start profiling the type of people who are eligible to vote in the upcoming election. They offer a rallying cry, with their intrepid wills, firm beliefs, and unquestionable logical skills.

Today, we salute Mamie Sonnier for her firm stance against the biblical beast. (Note: the video at this link is mandatory for all readers).

How do we know about her? Sadly, the Moss Bluff, Louisiana school her child attends decided to utilize bio-scan technology in order to expedite the lunch processing for more than 1000 kids in the district. This particular scanner is called a “palm-vein scanner,” utilizing infrared technology to check the vein layout of the scanee to make an accurate identification. The technology is designed to facilitate more accurate billing and tracking for the crowded district. Principal Caldarera addressed the need for the new system:

“We are so large,” said Caldarera. “With an elementary school, they all come through line, and most of them eat here. It would make us more efficient and more accurate. We’ve had parents complain in the past, because they felt like their children weren’t eating, that we assigned them a charge for the day, and they might have been right.”

Ms. Sonnier knows better.

“As a Christian, I’ve read the Bible, you know go to church and stuff,” said Sonnier. “I know where it’s going to end up coming to, the mark of the beast. I’m not going to let my kids have that.”

Huh? Well, OK. I’ve watched “Deliverance,” you know go to WalMart and stuff. So what’s the deal?

Luckily, C-Net did some investigating to find an answer as to the problem with scanning palms for vein layouts. It appears to be from Revelations:

If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives his mark on the forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.

It appears from the first linked story that she is not the only appalled and enraged parent.

So, there you go, one of the many fine, accomplished, and insightful potential voters for this fall’s election. Happy polling!

Oh, one more thing (H/T to friend-of-Unwashed-Advocate Columbo), just remember this the next time you choose to deride other religions for their crazy, illogical, faith-based interpretations.

 

They Earn More Than You

August 17, 2012 § 8 Comments

Another anecdote. No real point. Maybe something to learn, depending on how you see it.

In 1999, I was in Bosnia as part of the NATO Stabilization Force (SFOR6). While deployed and receiving “hazardous duty pay,” it was a pretty cush assignment. Unlimited food. A great gym. No bills. What more could a young Lieutenant ask for?

Well, quite a bit, actually, but that’s beside the point. Overall, we were living a comfortable and rewarding existence. Bosnia was recovering from a horrible civil war and we were there to help maintain peace. I liked it. I even tried to extend my tour.

One day, a fellow Lieutenant and I were waiting for a meeting to begin. As I looked to the Major sitting to my left, I noticed something shiny inside his uniform cap. As I continued to look, I realized that the shiny stuff was tin or aluminum foil.

The Major, from a New York Army Reserve unit, worked in a civil affairs outfit.

Per some unwritten rule, I immediately alerted my buddy. We were perplexed.

We were also brash, for better or for worse.

I inquired.

“Hey, sir, I notice some shiny stuff in your hat. What’s up with that?”

“Well, Lieutenant,” he spoke with one of those Frasier-Crane-style educated voices, “you know how we have a bunch of satellite dishes pointed toward the sky in the southwest US?”

Recalling a picture I saw of a line of dishes pointed at the sky, I replied. “Yes, sir.”

“Those are sending waves into the air in hopes of reaching alien life forms,” he replied.

I interrupted, “You have stuff in your hat because of satellite dishes in Arizona?”

“No Lieutenant, that’s not logical.” His Frasier-Crane-voice became more Frasiery. “You see, aliens are doing the same thing to us, but they are more advanced, and they access data in our brains…”

“Sir…….I……,” I stumbled. I heard my buddy suppress a laugh to my right.

“Buildings shield most of the rays, but outside I need the aluminum foil to deflect the alien rays and keep them out of my brain.”

An amazed glance was shared with my fellow LT. This matter required investigation.

What followed was a series of questions by my buddy and I to ascertain the extent of the crazy. It was a wonderful distraction from otherwise mundane duties.

Once back at the office, we gleefully reported our discovery to the rest of the crew–when we weren’t disabled by uncontrollable laughter.

After recovering, stomachs still aching from convulsions of laughter, we broke it down by the numbers. What we found was disturbing, annoying, laughable, and sad.

  • Military customs and courtesy dictated that we call this man “Sir.” To do otherwise could be a punishable offense.
  • We were two ranks below him (First Lieutenant – Captain – Major). We would not be eligible for promotion to his rank for approximately 8 more years.
  • His pay was nearly $3000 per month more than ours.

The Freedom To Have Balls

August 16, 2012 § 2 Comments

It seems the Consumer Product Safety Commission (a group of appointed bureaucrats) believe that they can control your ability to have balls. If they had their way, they’d take your balls and never let you have them again. Even though everyone who has balls is warned about what they can do, the CPSC believes that the dangers that balls present to the general population outweigh our freedom to choose whether to have balls in our homes and offices.

Please do something to preserve our god-given and constitutional freedom to have balls. Click here.

H/T to Radley Balko

Posnanski on Paterno

August 16, 2012 Comments Off

One of my favorite authors of our time is Joe Posnanski.

In my most fervent sports-loving years, he wrote a sports/sports-human-interest column for the Kansas City Star. Almost daily, I read stories he wove about human nature and personalities in sports. He didn’t worry about making friends, but he didn’t seek to make enemies, either. He just called it as he saw it–just what you want a newspaperman to do.

Then, this favorite author wrote a book about one of my lifelong heroes, Buck O’Neil. You should buy it. You should read it. Twice.

A couple of years ago, Joe moved to State College, PA to begin working on a book about Joe Paterno. Late into his research and writing, he observed the adulation and worship of Paterno in late-October and the the first 4 days of November 2011. Then, on November 5, 2011, he watched the entire Paterno world implode.

He had access to all the inner circles and researched the story that changed the direction of his book while dodging the various tornadoes ripping across Penn State. In a few days, his story will be released.

Frankly, I can’t wait.

Hints of the book’s tone are already being disseminated in interviews with Posnanski and columns leading to the book.

“This is the story of a man named Joe Paterno, who in his long life was called moral and immoral, decent and scheming, omniscient and a figurehead, hero and fraud, Saint Joe and the devil. A life, of course, cannot be reduced to a single word, but …”

But … what? That was my book. There was the bloated superhero of Nov. 4, the savage villain of Nov. 5 … and I searched for the human being in the middle. I believe most of us live somewhere in the middle.

I suspect I will never have a more difficult task as a writer — I’ve been told by several authors that no biographer in American history has had a book change so drastically in the course of reporting. I suspect that’s not right, but it is right that I was feeling my way through the dark. I was pushed and pulled, accused and derided, and that wasn’t much fun. There were hundreds of questions, none of them with easy answers. But I had come to write a true book. That was what mattered. I have done my best to do that.

His style is not that of a novelist. Rather, his newspaper roots betray themselves in all of his writing, but that doesn’t denigrate the effectiveness of his words. I hope the same for this upcoming work, and that he holds true to the lessons learned from Buck O’Neil.

More than anything, I hope he continues to ask the questions that most neglect to pose:

Nobody would argue — and certainly my book does not argue — that the good Joe Paterno did in his life should shield him from the horrors of his mistakes. Some would argue, especially in the white-hot emotion sparked by the latest revelations, that Paterno’s role in the Jerry Sandusky crimes invalidates whatever good he might have done. My book does not argue that either. My book, I believe, lets the reader make up his or her own mind. When people ask me if Penn State was right in tearing down Joe Paterno’s statue in light of the Freeh Report’s conclusion, I ask a different question: “Should they have built a statue to him in the first place?” When people ask me if the NCAA was right in unleashing draconian penalties against Penn State, I ask a different question: “Should they have held up Joe Paterno as a paragon of purity and virtue for more than four decades?”

Much Abdo About Nothing

August 10, 2012 Comments Off

English: Photo released by the U.S. Army shows Pfc. Jason Abdo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naser_Jason_Abdo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember the kid who was AWOL (Absent without leave) from the Army and caught hatching a plot (and moving forward with it, evidently substantially) to bomb a restaurant frequented by soldiers from Ft. Hood? His name is Naser Abdo. Today, he was sentenced in federal court to a long, long time in jail. I’m posting thoughts/opinions to a couple of frequently asked questions from email, based on my cursory review of media reports.

  • He was tried, convicted, and sentenced in federal court, not military court.
  • While the military was likely kept informed as to his status, I doubt they had any other role in the court proceedings.
  • He went AWOL from Ft. Campbell, Kentucky after an Article 32 investigation (military equivalent to a grand jury) recommended a General Court-Martial for alleged child pornography found on Abdo’s government-issued computer.
  • I anticipate that the military will take no further judicial action, but they will take action to administratively separate him with some form of less-than-honorable discharge. I would be surprised if this process has not already substantially progressed. Information about administrative proceedings against him will be protected by the Privacy Act.
  • According to what I read, he applied for conscientious objector status and was granted a discharge  on that basis. However, the CO discharge was paused due to the court-martial charges. I highly doubt this process will be resumed. Rather, the Army will pursue a discharge based on misconduct.

White Cadillac: Chuck Wepner

August 10, 2012 Comments Off

Here’s to the type of guy that I grew-up admiring.

They were blue-collar types.

I remember Paul Langley, a friend of my father who worked in auto body repair (before masks were mandatory) and WWII B-17 tail gunner.

I remember Bill Kabus, a farrier who could solve any livestock/farming problem in my hometown. His hands were huge. In my memory, his knuckles were the size of golf balls. I spent hours watching him ply his craft.

I remember Al Korber, a farmer from Kansas who always had a joke, even about the two fingers missing from his right hand (courtesy of a hay-baler). He never complained. He loved every moment of his life. After all, life is too short to do otherwise.

None were perfect, but that’s not a good enough reason to forget them. You never heard of them, but that doesn’t make it right. None are alive today, but if lifespan were determined by toughness, they would all be immortal.

Here’s someone you should have heard of: boxer Chuck Wepner. He had everything that those men did. Blue collar. Tough-as-nails. Enduring. Moxie. Fearless. Vibrant. Flawed.

For the Korbers and Kabuses and Langleys of the world, we’re granting a seat in the Caddy to Chuck Wepner.

Gold Gloves Champ.

New Jersey State Heavyweight Boxing Champ.

“I’ve been a survivor my whole life…if I can survive the Marines, I can survive Ali.”

Took Ali just a few seconds shy of 15 rounds in 1975, and knocked him down in the 9th.

United States Marine.

Blue collar.

Rocky.

If Your Criminal Practice Doesn’t Make You Happy, Try Inedible Animal Byproduct Law

August 5, 2012 Comments Off

The military criminal defense community is an extremely fractured and decentralized one. This explains why I’ve never heard of the “well-known” attorney featured in this article at the Army Times. Of course, I qualify as a “lesser-known” or “least-known” military lawyer, so I must bow to his earning of the title. My last court-martial was a year ago this week, and, while the result was overall favorable to our side, I haven’t had a trial since. Competition for the few-available clients who are capable of adding civilian counsel to their defense team is fierce and typically goes to the well-known folks (or those who are adept at search engine optimization).

Essentially, this well-known practitioner made a name for himself as a military criminal defense lawyer, representing several high-profile defendants for the better part of the last 20 years.

Now, he is out, frustrated. Left for the land of greener pastures as in-house counsel for a corporation specializing in the disposing and/or recycling of inedible animal byproducts for the food industry. It really doesn’t matter what the corporation does. He is now in the safe, secure, and allegedly happy environment of in-house counsel. According to a couple of articles I’ve read, these lawyers enjoy a high quality of life, whatever the hell that is. I have yet to see an in-house job that pays less than my average yearly take.

As his reason for leaving the military CDL community, he cites frustration with the rules and procedures of military justice–particularly recent changes in the field of Sexual Assault. He commends those who continue in the military criminal defense community, even calling them “heroes” for doing the “Lord’s work.”

I don’t buy this. My opinion, as worthless as it is, is that he found a comfortable, relatively BS-free job and jumped on it. Free from soliciting clients. Free from continuously earning business. Free from dealing with the frequent calls from individuals who have “just a few questions” or “just need a little direction” or “need a consultation.” He is now rid of bargaining cases with 26-year-old prosecutors who lack perspective. Someone else issues his W-2, and he doesn’t have to groan at every expense deduction. If it is a busy month, he gets paid. If it is a quiet month, he gets paid the same.

Many of us criminal defense practitioners complain when laws tighten the screws on our current and future clients. Some of the laws are just. Others are reactionary BS. Many fall somewhere in-between.

We thrive in an environment where we take rules, bend them to our favor, run around them, or work within them in a manner that benefits our charge. Sometimes, we succeed. Many times, we fail. While the goal is always to achieve success, sometimes we must settle for the door prize of failing brilliantly. When we can, we change rules. When we can’t, we do everything possible to get a good result.

It is frustrating and heartbreaking while also being rewarding and heartwarming.

We love every moment.

I’m sorry that he stopped loving the moments, but I can’t blame him for wanting something that causes fewer gray hairs. Just don’t blow smoke about it.

H/T to Army Scott

US v. Hasan: To Beard, Or Not to Beard

August 4, 2012 § 6 Comments

Major Hasan has been found guilty–of contempt.

It seems that Hasan, for religious reasons, chooses to sport an impressive (by some standards) beard, and the military judge in his case is none too happy about it. To date, Colonel Gregory Gross has held Hasan in contempt of court and excluded him from a few pretrial hearings (though allowed him to view via VTC and communicate with his counsel).

So, Hasan loses $1000, the punishment for contempt, and he faces the possibility of being shaven by force prior to trial. Just so you know, he still receives full pay and benefits as he awaits his trial.

Note: There is a procedure for receiving religious accommodations in the military. It requires a bit of bureaucratic maneuvering, but it is possible, as a few Sikh soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are allowed to wear full beards. I think another also wears a nifty camo turban. To my knowledge, Hasan has not applied for an official accommodation.

Now, I’ve appeared before Judge Gross on a couple of occasions, served as one of his part-time magistrates, and observed him in other cases when the defense counsel who worked for me represented their clients at courts-martial. My experience is that he is generally mild-mannered and fair. While he didn’t always rule as I wished, I never perceived that he was a government hack, nor favoring any particular ideology.

Considering the scrutiny that the Hasan case will receive on appeal (assuming he is found guilty and sentenced to death), it will be interesting to see how the judge proceeds as the trial nears. If you read the linked Time article, you’ll see that scholars have differing opinions as to how the judge should respond.

It will also be interesting to observe the level of client control exhibited by assigned defense counsel.

Calley Revisited

August 2, 2012 § 15 Comments

I thought of this while reading a post at Popehat regarding the persuasively named “Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.” OK, now say it 3 times, FAST.

Yet again, it is an attempt by Congress to do something that probably started with good intentions and ends with further proof that they are not skilled at evaluating 2nd and 3rd-order effects of laws.

The Popehat post does a good job of addressing the flaws of this act, and I have nothing to add.

Instead, I want to address humans. I want to address clusters of humans. I want to look at what they believe, and how they behave. I’ll do it with an anecdote. No punch line. No unified theme. Just a story.

I’m reminded of LT William Calley. Starting in 1992, his name has been mentioned in my presence several times a year for the last 20 years. From ethics classes to Law of War seminars to casual conversation, the lessons of My Lai were repeated again and again. Let’s start at the end, via Wikipedia:

After deliberating for 79 hours, the six-officer jury (five of whom had served in Vietnam) convicted him on March 29, 1971, of the premeditated murder of 22 Vietnamese civilians. On March 31, 1971, Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment and hard labor at Fort Leavenworth,[9] which includes the United States Disciplinary Barracks, the Department of Defense‘s only maximum security prison.

There you go. He was the Platoon Leader during the infamous My Lai Massacre. Of this horror, he was the poster child.

OK, let’s break it down.

Premeditated Murder x 22: Check

Life Imprisonment: Check

That makes sense, right? Plus, the individuals deciding the punishment were all senior officers in the Army. Five of them served in Vietnam. Per the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he was sentenced by the same jury that found him guilty.

While I’m decidedly on the defense side of the fence, the sentence makes sense, and the jury was certainly more informed than any of us will ever be.

In 1971, many were outraged, but not how you might expect.

Check this out:

Many in America were outraged by Calley’s sentence; Georgia’s governor Jimmy Carter instituted “American Fighting Man’s Day” and asked Georgians to drive for a week with their lights on.[10] Indiana’s governor asked all state flags to be flown at half-staff for Calley, and Utah’s and Mississippi’s governors also disagreed with the verdict.[10] The ArkansasKansasTexasNew Jersey, and South Carolina legislatures requested clemency for Calley.[10] Alabama’s governor George Wallace visited Calley in the stockade and requested that Nixon pardon him.

After the conviction, the White House received over 5000 telegrams; the ratio was 100 to 1 in favor of leniency.[11] In a telephone survey of the American public, 79% disagreed with the verdict, 81% believed that the life sentence Calley had received was too stern, and 69% believed Calley had been made a scapegoat.[11]

How would you feel if officials from throughout your state came to the aid and support of someone who did the same thing today in Iraq or Afghanistan? Remember, the 6 men who sentenced Calley were all senior officers, all had previously served as Lieutenants in their younger days, and 5/6 of them were combat veterans. They deliberated a long time and based their decision, presumably, on both the facts, any and all aggravation, mitigation, and extenuation while juxtaposing the whole shebang upon their own experiences as junior officers.

Immediately after the sentencing, President Nixon ordered Calley from confinement in the Disciplinary Barracks to house arrest. He remained there for about 3.5 years until, after a messy Habeas fight, he was released, a free man.

From there, he remained in Columbus, Georgia where he worked in a jewelry store.

Attending the Infantry Officer Basic Course in 1996, my fellow-Second-Lieutenant-classmates and I endured many ethics classes mentioning the My Lai Massacre. After all, we were all preparing to be platoon leaders just like Calley was. The massacre was a subject rich with talking points and lessons.

My instructors, however, took it a step further. They called one of Calley’s jurors to speak to our class. Long since retired, the Lieutenant Colonel started his lecture abruptly.

Listen Lieutenants. I want to make one thing clear, William Calley is a convicted MUR-DER-ER!

He smacked the podium with his large hand for each syllable in the word murderer. While I’m sure he understood his role in teaching a valuable ethics lesson to us noobs, it became clear that this crusty, retired officer was releasing years of anger, frustration, and bewilderment on the 120 butter-bars in the lecture hall that day.

The fact that Calley, on that July 1996 hot, Georgia day remained a free man chapped the Lieutenant Colonel’s ass.

His lecture continued for approximately 45 minutes. Each time he said murder or murderer, he smacked the podium in honor of each syllable.

I’ve taken many lessons away from that lecture. While one of those rules is “don’t lecture angry,” I think he pulled-it-off. It was effective, strong, and I remembered it.

So, when you are wondering why individuals and groups do things today that, to you, make no logical, ethical, or legal sense, look to our history. Look to1971 and the collective leaders of Arkansas, Kansas, Texas, South Carolina, Utah, Indiana, New Jersey, and Georgia. Look to the actions of George Wallace, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon. Richard won reelection as president handily. Jimmy won a few years later. They did this by gaining support from lotsa people.

What makes you think that our collective perceptions and beliefs are more superior now?

Where Am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for August, 2012 at UNWASHED ADVOCATE.