No News

I won’t get the facts exactly right of course since my memory is shot and I don’t have the energy to "research."

But somewhere or other, a clerk at McDonalds rushes to the aid of customer who is just about to be shot, gets shot himself, in the process and now lies at home with a bullet still in him. He can’t afford to get it out because the company that insured that particular franchise said the clerk’s job description did not include rushing to the aid of customers threatened with a gun. Apparently the clerk should have exercised greater prudence.

In another part of the country, another stupid good Samaritan runs into a street to push two people out of the way of an oncoming vehicle. He saves the people, is himself struck and injured serious. Finally he is ticketed for jay-walking seeing as how, from where he was lying in the street, the ticketing officer concluded he had not crossed at an intersection.

Finally, and most horribly, somewhere in Georgia a man decides to bring his life to an end with the assistance of some others. He can no longer stand the pain of his cancer. The people are gathered and the time is nigh when the man decides to go downstairs to get a picture of his wife to put by his bed for his final moments of life. Downstairs he is arrested by cops who have gotten wind of what is up and have broken into his house. Talk about your basic gut wrenching moment.

I don’t know the point of these stories–which I believe largely true–except I wish I had never heard them and wish I had not broken my vow to never again read or listen to the news.

Hardaway Bone

Among the papers of a former Judge in North Carolina, one David Schenck, was found a document that has come to be called the “Autobiography of Edward Isham,” also known as Hardaway Bone, an alias.  Schenck defended Isham against a charge of murder.  He lost and Isham was hung in 1860 in Greensboro.

Isham was illiterate.  The judge, for whatever reason, however, wrote down Isham’s life story, and the document affords one of the few up close and intimate looks at the life of a unpropertied white person in the deep south before the Civil War.  There seems to be debate about the quality of life—for the unpropertied white person—in the south before the Civil War.  Some claim that most were honest, hard working and god-fearing yoemen. 

Those opposed to slavery tended to characterize the whole of southern society as corrupt and among the lowest of the low were unpropertied southern whites.  Isham’s story might lend support to their thesis.  The autobiography is short.  I read most of it, and it appears that all Isham did for most of his adult life was fight, beat up on people, wrestle, cheat, and lie in wait to kill somebody.  Authorities believe the document is authentic.  I find it difficult to get my imagination around Isham’s way of life.

Here’s a little bit of the document—to give just a taste of the flavor of Isham’s life:

They met at a grocery where we were all drinking. I had two pis­tols and two bowie knives. They fought and I kept the crowd off with my knife. Harmands pistol wouldnt fire and he then drew a bowie knife and cut Reeder very badly. Reeder then broke loose and ran and as he went I fired my pistol at him but missed him. We pur­sued him to the grocery but were shut out. Reeders friends came and we fled. We went out to John Borrows and got money and horses and went down to my old home in Johnston county leaving my wife. From there we went to Napoleon and then to Memphis, there to Paducah, being afraid we would be taken, then to Smithland. Here I fell in with "Jim Ingles" whom I knew in Chattanooga and we gambled together for awhile but lost all our money. I had but a half dollar left, and went to chopping to get some; but meeting a wagoner I went with him to "Nashville."

Apparently all Isham did was get in fights, then run away either from relatives of the person he had beaten up, or whatever law enforcement there was back then, and occasionally he would work.  And then he got hung for murder.  I thought Davy Crockett was a mean idiot, as based on my reading of his “autobiography,” but this guy takes the cake.  Nobody is going to write “The Ballad of Hardaway Bone,” though it has a nice ring to it.

Wait maybe here’s a bit:


One cold night down in Georgia state
No one knows the date or place
A woman let out a moan
And gave birth to Hardaway Bone
And he lived a life to tell
Of a short cut straight to hell
He lied and cheated and drank—that was his way
Until they strung him up that day
In Greensboro up in North Carolina State
1860 was the date….

 Well, that’s enough of that.

Under Pain of Perjury

I am paranoid to a fault.  Paranoia has and continues so much to permeate my subjectivity that really I am unable to see it or to see around it sufficient to characterize it.  I can say what it is not.  I don’t believe that aliens control my brain or things come out of the TV tube and infiltrate my brain.  I don’t even believe in conspiracy theories out of principle; conspiracy theories are just ways marchingof protecting one’s self from what I am paranoid about: the general malignance of both the human and the natural universe.

To think that a cabal did this or that malignant thing is to protect one’s self from the awareness that no cabal did it.  Rather if it appears that a cabal did it, one should understand this appearance as suggesting the operation of either social or natural laws that cause certain persons or entities to act so much like synchronized swimmers that they appear a cabal.  Human beings might protect themselves at least partly against these synchronized swimmers by making basic changes to the social structures and the fact that we do not or are incapable of doing so is that malignancy to which I previously referred as the source of my paranoia.

Once for example, I bought a car from my brother.  It was a Volkswagen and he had managed to put a significant dent in three of the four fenders.  We joked about ramming the untouched fender into a tree so that I might have a complete set of dinted fenders.  I paid about 500 dollars for it as I recollect as it had just received a new engine and I was getting my gear together for departure from Casa de Oro.  As I was going into register the car, somebody mentioned that I would have to pay 10% of the purchase amount to register the car.

That comes out to 50 bucks.  I couldn’t believe it and was fucking outraged.  I suppose I had the 50 bucks but I surely couldn’t spare it.  So I got my brother to sign a bill of sale that said I had paid a buck for the car meaning I would have to pay a dime at worst to register the car.  I stood there casually with my fake bill of sale and walked out with my car registered, and this horrible feeling in the back of my head that some people at the statewide level were going to seek me out, take me to trail, and send me to jail to make a point about such casual grifting of the government.  I imagined the trial and my poor brother trapped between having to perjure himself or say, yes, yes, in fact he paid me 500 dollars, the bill of sale was a scam.

 I do not exaggerate when I say this feeling severly trouble me at odd moments out of nowhere.  I was not ready like Raskolnikov to go to the authorities and confess my crime so that I might relieve myself of my guilt.  But I thought about such things.  In this fog, I tried to reason with myself and eventually came to a thought:  Now, why the fuck would they come after me for 50 dollars when it would cost them far more than 50 dollars to come after me.  This supplied me some relief of a rational order though it did not dispell the deeper fear since governments daily do completely irrational things like paying 200 dollars for a hammer or attempting to gain peace by waging all out war.

But to pit the value of my 50 dollars against the value of their efforts was a step in the right direction.  It allowed me to see I was chump change, gum on the bottom of a shoe, shit on the stick and so on.  In short I was worth nothing, a zero in short, invisible and non-existent.  Thus the paranoid seeks to get out of his paranoia by feeling people can see right through him…And thus are very well positioned to gain control over him by whatever manipulative means.

Yes, it’s true.  People are out to get me.

Capital Punishment

electric chair

Let’s see.  About 45 years ago I was in 9th grade.  We were bussed to a school called Mount Miguel, named after a nearby mountain called Mount Miguel because the high school I later went to had not been built yet.  I have no idea who Miguel was or why they named a mountain after him.  Coming from the south, we didn’t know anything about California’s Spanish heritage.  For a long time we pronounced El Cajon like L Ca-John and La Jolla like La Jolly.

About that time I became upset by the death penalty maybe because of my own murderous inclinations towards my PU’s (or parental units, as my brothers and I call our mother and father).  Also in the news then was this guy Ceryl Chessman; I must have read an article or something about him and how he had “reformed” in prison and written books and things like that.  Of course, I didn’t know if he had reformed or not; he was probably still the creep he had always been.

But that didn’t make any difference.  If the government was supposed to represent the people, then when the government executed somebody it was doing so as my representative, although I couldn’t vote, of course.  And it just didn’t seem right to me that, if the government was my representative, that I should be implicated in the killing of somebody I didn’t know or really didn’t give a shit about. I mean not only was the government doing something I didn’t want it to do in my name, it was doing so in a very impersonal way.

 I felt that if you were going to go about murdering somebody in that way that they should be allowed the dignity of it being personal.  I figured the governor should come in and shoot the guy.  How could a guy sit at his desk and know that somebody else was killing a guy that he could have saved?  Or maybe they should hold a lottery and some average Joe could be picked to shoot the guy in the head.  Or maybe one of the family members of one of the victims could do the job and afterwards they could jump up and down with joy, or whatever.

I think I started thinking about the impersonal stuff when I saw an episode of  “The Defenders.”  This had E.G. Marshall in it, who is now dead; and the guy who went on to be the father in the Brady Bunch—though I never watched that and may be wrong—who I think is also now dead.  They did an episode on capital punishment and they showed you the whole business right down to the final moment.  I mean the guy being executed did not have a chance at all.  He couldn’t run; he couldn’t fight back; there was not a fucking thing he could do, but sit there while they strapped him down and maybe pee on himself out of fear.  This was a human being and he was as helpless as a fucking dog.

So I got pretty scared because my PU’s really didn’t have positive expectations for me and my brothers.  It seemed to me that mostly they were worried that we would end up in prison or as sexual perverts.  So I guess I was thinking there but for the grace….

Hard to remember even that for a few years there in the 60’s capital punishment was illegal.

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