Jun 12 2011

Reform School – Marianna, Florida

Published by under Historical,Opinion

When I was a kid growing up in St. Petersburg, Florida this town was an almost bucolic and idyllic place to live. In the forties and fifties it was a sleepy little fishing/tourist town that doubled in size each fall as the winter visitors migrated from the north to escape bitter winters. Here they enjoyed white sand beaches, a mild climate and many good seafood restaurants. In the spring they returned and the town was again ours.

Life was good and time passed in a slow, leisurely Southern way.  As kids we enjoyed fishing and swimming it was interrupted seasonally by the necessity to go to school. Remember this was before air conditioning became the norm and many of us found ourselves sleeping through boring classes to the drone of huge fans placed in the puke green painted walls of our class rooms. It was still a small town and we all knew each other.

It was a time when people still believed in “spare the rod and spoil the child”. More than once my friend Tom and I were hauled into the dean’s office to receive our “whacks” for some infraction or another. Though it hurt at the time, and was no where near as what we got at home, we gained an odd respect among our peers after each incident.

But then, in the 50s and 60s there was a real evil that those of us who were discipline problems faced. It was spoken about in hushed tones and not a lot was known first hand. Just rumors. Rumors about a place called Marianna and what happened to boys who were sent there. The stories were enough to scare many of us into grudged compliance. Not a bad thing I guess. It worked for most of us.

Then one of us was sent there. From this point on I am going to refer to the friend who was sentenced to the reform school in Marianna as David. It is not his real name, but I have not talked to him in years and I know he still lives here. I don’t want to inflict anymore pain on him by revealing his true identity.

I grew up in a neighborhood blocks from Crescent Lake. Down the street from me, in the alley behind us, lived David and his family. David’s dad was a successful businessman. But he was a mean drunk who insisted that dinner be on the table when he got home and that the whole family wait until he got home before they ate. Often he wouldn’t leave the local bar until late in the evening and when he got home he was more prone to violent behavior than dining with his family. Parents in the neighborhood soon began referring to them as white trash and warned us to not associate with them.

David was a good kid. He was also tough as nails. When he reached his teens he decided he’d had enough abuse and if his father hadn’t arrived at home by nine pm he would leave and find a place to sleep under the old banyon tree on Crescent Lake. Often he would go right from there to school the next morning. It was noticed by his peers that David appeared to have a hygiene problem. He often went days without a bath because it was not safe to return home. He began skipping school and staying away from home for days on end. He ultimately ended up in juvenile court and was sent to Marianna as a chronic runaway.

David was a couple years older than I. Several years later I ran across him working in a garage not far from home. I was home on leave from the Army and my car needed repairs. When I saw him I asked him, what was it like? David looked me in the eye and said, “you really don’t want to know.” He went about his business and fixed my car.

Now when I think back to those days growing up in Florida I can’t help but remember David. How his peers unfairly judged him with minds incapable of wrapping themselves around the circumstances of his life. We were innocent and he had experienced things we couldn’t comprehend. We judged him by our standards against a yardstick that didn’t allow for circumstances we never had to experience.

What am I trying to say here? Well I think we should go back in our lives and re-evaluate some of the judgements we made as kids. Peer pressure is a strange thing. Often it is the peers who don’t know what the hell they are dealing with. Marianna School For Boys was an abomination and we have no right to judge those who were sent there.

Fortunately the Florida School for Boys at Marianna has been abolished. The terrible legacy the school passed on will no longer harm anymore young men. Yet, those who had the unfortunate experience of attending that hell on earth, live with it every day. I believe those alumni who survived and returned to society carry scars that will never heal. I also believe that they should be compensated for the evil and cruel punishment they received at the hands of a corrupt government system and the sadists they employed to enforce it.

David, you and your family are in my prayers. Today I admire your resilience and ability to reenter the mainstream of society and become a successful, contributing member of society. And I don’t think the Boys School at Marianna had a damn thing to do with it. You did it all by yourself.

For more information I invite you to visit this website.

 

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Apr 04 2011

America Hasn’t Won A War In 66 Years

You can’t win a war without first declaring a state of war exists. The last time the United States Congress exercised their obligation under the Constitution was in December of 1941. Since then they have avoided the commitment by passing the buck and forfeiting their right as set forward under Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution.

Korea was the first conflict Congress abrogated their responsibilities on. Americans were tired of war and still recovering from the Second World War. But the government had a desire to engage in another conflict, without making a commitment to win. Why? Perhaps it is because they realized that many people became extremely rich off the war profits made during the Second World War. Essentially they were doing exactly what President Eisenhower would warn the people about years later. The Military Industrial Complex was too profitable to abandon. War, death, destruction and human suffering generated tremendous wealth to those who knew how to harvest it. We suffered 33,686 battle deaths, along with 2,830 non-battle deaths during the Korean War and 8,176 missing in action.

A by-product of these two wars was a second Industrial Revolution in the United States. Factories were upgraded and technology advanced. It was the industrialist who benefited from the war, while the American people bore the brunt of sacrifice. War was good for the economy and we did it ourselves.

Then along came Vietnam. Another opportunity to increase profits. And like Korea before it, we went to war with out a declaration. We were never attacked by Korea or the Vietnamese people. Of course they trumped up an excuse with the Tonkin Resolution, but we know now that incident was as bogus as the sinking of the battleship Maine off the coast of Cuba. It was just an excuse to rev up the war machine again.

Vietnam was the war of my generation. Most of us realized early that we weren’t meant to win. The government did everything they could to prolong the conflict, but we were forced to fight with one arm tied behind our backs. It wasn’t until the American wearied of all the bloody news footage on television every night that its unpopularity brought an end to that conflict. The government could no longer justify sending our youth into the meat grinder that was Vietnam. The ironic fact is that after Tet of 1968 we had virtually broken the back of the North Vietnamese Army. They were unable to recover from the toll of that campaign, but by then the people back home demanded we withdraw. Vietnam was a war we could have won.

By then the congress realized that they had to do something to take the heat off them. They knew that they hadn’t done their duty as dictated by the U.S. Constitution, yet they didn’t want to face the political toll another unpopular war would raise. So they did some fancy footwork and came up with the War Powers Resolution of 1973. The War Powers Resolution gives the President the right to commit troops to combat with the stipulation that Congress must be notified within 48 hours. Logically, at that time the Congress should decide whether to declare war or not. But, no, these weasels added that the President could keep these boots on the ground for an additional 60 days, allowing 30 days for withdrawal.

So what has happened? First off the War Powers Resolution is probably not even legal. Second, every time it has been used the President has kept our troops in combat far beyond the legal limit set forward in the Resolution. The Congress has allowed their Constitutional power to Declare War to be usurped by the Executive branch.

Since 1973 we’ve been involved in many military adventures across the globe. Bosnia, Somalia, Gulf War and now Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The conflicts we’re mired in the middle east are unwinnable.

Attacking Iraq after 9/11 made as much sense as us attacking Mexico after Pearl Harbor. There were no Iraqis on the flights of 9/11. Yet the President flexed the muscles of American might and attacked the sovereign nation of Iraq with the intention of overthrowing its elected leader. It is true Saddam Hussein was a tyrant and evil man, but he never attacked us. We chose to interfere with government of Iraq.

Meanwhile, the hotbed of terrorists in Afghanistan, where the attacks of 9/11 originated enjoyed relative immunity. They continued to train and grow strong why we sacrificed our young soldiers in the mess that was Iraq. Then when we finally concentrated on Afghanistan we began killing everyone. The civilian casualties in both Iraq and Afghanistan are staggering. Is it any wonder both these ancient nations want us to leave.  All we’ve done is make enemies.

Now we find ourselves aiding the Libyans in their Civil War. What the hell is that all about? Again a President has taken it upon himself to commit us in another armed conflict in a place we have no business being.

The unbelievable cost of these conflicts is overwhelming. While Congress pours billions of dollars into these wars they expect the American people to go without. The pressing economic problems we are experiencing right here in our homeland could be erased almost overnight if we would simply get our asses out of these worthless wars. Instead of addressing unemployment, social security solvency, and national health care crisis we are blowing up villages and spending money we’ve had to borrow. It is time we began to look out for ourselves.

We need to bring the troops home. Let these warring middle eastern tribes settle their own problems. We have our own problems at home. We should station our troops on our borders and stem the flood of illegal aliens that are invading our country and devouring our resources and jobs. We should quit sending billions of dollars every year to countries who hate us anyway. Let them fend for themselves, after all the industrialists have outsourced most of our jobs to these third world countries already. They should be able to afford to take care of themselves.

We should quit getting into fights we cannot win.




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Dec 14 2010

Not All Casualties Names Are On The Wall

Jerry Hill St. Cyr – October 1952-October 2010. Vietnam Veteran. Casualty of war.

Not all casualties of war come home in body bags. Many return home traumatized by the action they experienced in combat. Many who came back from Vietnam faced open hostility from their previous friends and neighbors. They learned to quietly live with their experiences and not share them with others who had not faced the same trials.

For many, like Jerry, they sought help from the VA to deal with their illnesses and demons. But rather than getting any real help with problems stemming from PTSD and Agent Orange, they got the run around. Jerry was denied the care he earned as a combat veteran over and over.  For thirty years he filed claim after claim to no avail. He had several heart surgeries, the result of damage done by Agent Orange. He suffered from PTSD, living a nightmare that did not go away as time wore on. It was like they were just waiting for him to die before they would give him the care he deserved. Jerry was not alone, this is a legacy that not only Vietnam veterans have had to face, but even those serving today. They are finding promises made are not kept by a nation that has cast them aside after their service was done.

As time worn on after his war, Jerry married, had a family and did his best to support them. But PTSD and health issues plagued him. He had trouble holding jobs and was often too ill to look for one. A few years ago he was finally able to secure a small pension from the VA. Not enough to support himself without help, but enough for him to put a roof over his head and a little food in the refrigerator.

Jerry became an advocate for veterans. He was active in the VFW and AMVETs where he found kindred spirits. For years he worked through these organizations to help better the lives of all veterans. He did this even as he waged his own battle with the bureaucracy of the Veterans Administration that was established to help, not ignore the needs of those who serve and have served.

Several years ago he began having neurological problems. He lost the use of his legs and became housebound. The VA misdiagnosed him time after time. They did little to help. Then in July the paralysis began to spread. He ended up having no control over his body and needed help with the simplest of tasks. All the while he kept after the VA and kept applying for disability. Finally, after he nearly died, the VA ran some more tests and determined that he was suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease. The same illness that had killed his father years before.

The Veterans Administration determined that he was indeed 100% disabled. They approved his disability. Two days later he died.

Not all casualties of that terrible war have their names inscribed on the Wall. If they did it would completely encircle the city of Washington, DC. Rest in peace my old friend and brother.

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Apr 03 2010

Right Wing Extremist Hate Groups On The Rise

guns

Early in the Obama administration Homeland Security and other intelligence gathering organizations warned of a dramatic rise in right wing extremist groups. Many ultraconservatives objected and claimed it was an attempt to stifle the people’s first amendment rights. They also claimed that it was the first step in violating our second amendment rights by laying the groundwork to confiscate the arms of the citizenry. Meanwhile people began showing up at conservative and Tea Bagger’s rallies carrying weapons in a display of supporting their rights. Things began getting even uglier as the congress began debating health care reform. Suddenly town hall meetings became a battle ground where right wingers shouted down civil discourse and basically denied those present the opportunity to exercise their own first amendment rights.

It came to past that these self proclaimed patriots began openly advocating sedition and the overthrow of a government that was duly elected by a majority of American citizens. They talk of secession and armed resistance. What kind of patriot plots and plans for the violent revolt against a legal change of power in the government? Meanwhile, the GOP silently ignores the threat and continues their lockstep march to resist any positive change in this country. Any attempt at passing legislation that would benefit all the citizens of this country are thwarted in the favor of their corporate masters. The sore losers have become the party of NO.

Well, come to find out the warnings of our intelligence organizations were correct. The rise of right wing militias and hate groups have flourished and grown in the past year.

At least 10 death threats have been leveled against members of Congress since the health care vote. Windows at four district offices or county party headquarters have been shattered with bricks.

A gas line was severed at the home of the brother of one Democratic congressman from Virginia, and a man was arrested for making death threats against Republican Minority Whip Eric Cantor and his family.

And Monday, nine members of a Michigan-based anti-government militia group called the Hutaree were charged with conspiring to kill law enforcement officers. (Source : CNN)

All the while members of groups like the Tea Baggers continue to foster anti-government sentiment and encourage their followers to resist any attempt to implement change. As they have become more vocal we’ve seen dramatic increases in their numbers. Republican radical like Sarah Palin fan the flames of these nut jobs by coining rethoric like, “don’t back down, reload” and others claiming to have politicians “in their crosshairs”. The entire movement has come up with another word being coined to describe them. They are now called Hatriots.

Today’s Hatriots are potentially even more dangerous because of their ability to recruit and radicalize people via the Internet. They have proliferated in an environment where fear and hate are used to pump up hyperpartisanship — including elected officials raising the specter of secession and talk radio hosts blurring the line between losing an election and living under tyranny.

There is an understandable impulse to dismiss the danger of the lone wingnut whose posts dot Hatriot Web sites. But in the last year, we have seen a half-dozen murders committed by unhinged individuals who drank deeply from Hatriot and anti-government conspiracy theory sites, including those implicated in the deaths of three Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, police officers and two Florida sheriff’s deputies. (Source : CNN)


One of America’s greatest strengths has always be that even though we are comprised of many different ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds we stand together as one. We have always been able to work out our differences with the goal of making a better world for all of our citizens. Our strength has always been in our solidarity. Yet today we have groups actively and vocally doing their best to rend the nation apart and further divide our citizenry through political extremism. A result has been the forming of right wing Christian extremist groups like the Hutaree in Michigan. A group who plotted to kill police officers and topple the order of society.

The group says on its Web site that Hutaree means “Christian warrior” and describes the word as part of a secret language that only a few people are privileged enough to know. The group quotes several Bible passages and states: “We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Anti-Christ. … Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment.”

The site also features a picture on the site of 17 camouflaged men, all holding large guns, and includes videos of camouflaged men toting guns and running through wooded areas in apparent training exercises. Each wears a patch on the left shoulder with a cross.

According to investigators, the Hutaree view local, state, and federal law enforcement personnel as a “brotherhood” and an enemy, and planned to attack them as part of an armed struggle against the U.S. government.

The idea of attacking a police funeral was one of numerous scenarios discussed as ways to go after law enforcement officers, the indictment said. Other scenarios included a fake 911 call to lure an officer to his or her death, or an attack on the family of a police officer.

Once other officers gathered for a slain officer’s funeral, the group planned to detonate homemade bombs at the funeral, killing scores more, according to the indictment. (Source: Military.com)

And this is going to help our country how? These are the anarchists in our midst. They are dangerous people, not only to those they target, but to the entire fabric of American life. If something is not done about them soon we will find our selves held hostage by right wing militias and religious extremist. You know, much like having our own little backyard Taliban. Their goal is to render our government as impotent as that of Somalia. They give me the creeps.

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Mar 31 2010

Outrageous Court Decision Claims Marine’s Dad Must Pay Westboro Legal Costs

Published by under Military,Opinion,Veterans

westboro

In April 2008 the courts ruled that the Westboro Baptist Church must pay Al Snyder for the pain and suffering he and his family experienced at the hands of demonstrators. His son, Matthew, was killed while serving his country in the fight against global terrorism. At his funeral the thugs of the WBC showed up with their hateful signs and disrespectful behavior. Al Snyder sued, and won. The WBC has appealed and the case is scheduled to go before the Supreme Court. Meanwhile another court has claimed that Al Snyder must pay the court costs of the offensive organization who disrupted his son’s funeral.

Albert Snyder got a bill for $16,500 on Friday — the latest result of his ongoing legal battle with the Westboro Baptist Church.

Church members are seeking to recoup costs from federal appeals court, which dismissed Snyder’s lawsuit against them. Snyder’s lawyer, Sean Summers, said the court declared last week that Snyder was responsible for the costs. (Source: Military.com)

These shameless publicity whores deserve no compensation for their legal costs. Instead they should be tarred and feathered. They are nothing more than a hate group who prey on the victims of violence and the families of heros fallen defending their country.

The Snyders have no means of paying this levy made by the courts. If you’d like to help this family you can go to their website and contribute.

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Mar 12 2010

The Fox Hat

Published by under Incoherent Rambling,Video

This is the best commercial I never saw.

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Feb 05 2010

Rubio – Don’t Count Aliens

Published by under Political

Marco-Rubio_1

Mario Rubio, teabagger wannabe from south Florida said that we should not count legal or illegal aliens in the upcoming census. His obvious ignorance of what the census does if overwhelming. We’ve had a census in this country since before we back a nation.

Rubio still favors excluding illegal immigrants from the formulas that dole out $400 billion in federal aid and seats in Congress. His position puts him at odds with his opponent, Gov. Charlie Crist, and many other elected officials who say leaving out illegal immigrants would keep the state from getting its fair share.

“It would be pretty damaging to Florida,” Republican U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said at a Capitol Hill news conference Wednesday promoting a thorough count. “The reality is, whether you like it or not, there are undocumented, illegal people in the state. Pretending they’re not there, not counting them, doesn’t make them go away.”

State Rep. Esteban Bovo of Hialeah, chairman of the Hispanic caucus in the Florida House and a Rubio supporter, said, “So much funding is tied to the census, and to be undercounted could have devastating effects down the line. … I really don’t want our community to get shortchanged.” (Source: St. Petersburg Times)

Instead of pretending they are not here, we should seek them out. Gather the numbers and get our share of federal tax dollars to cover some of the expenses they cost the state. If the federal government was doing their job we would have far less of these illegals sucking our resources dry. They overwhelm our health care, schools and public services. If we don’t have the tax dollars to help offset this problem then it all falls on the citizens of the state to carry the burden.

It is a shame that the Republicans in the State of Florida have no one better to run for senator. Rubio is clueless and would just perpetuate the “Party of  No” agenda in Washington. And Charlies Crist is just an empty suit who has done absolutely nothing as governor, except campaign for the brass ring in congress.

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Dec 27 2009

Col. Robert L. Howard, MoH, R.I.P.

Published by under Historical,Military,Veterans

Robert_L_Howard_web

America lost a true hero, living legend and great warrior. Col. Robert L. Howard passed away in Waco, Texas Wednesday, December 23, 2009. He was the most highly decorated soldier living at the time of his death. Colonel Howard was nominated for the Medal of Honor three times in a thirteen month period, but due to the highly classified nature of his work in the Army Special Forces he was awarded the honor only once. His citation reads:

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces. Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 30 December 1968. Entered service at: Montgomery, Ala. Born: 11 July 1939, Opelika, Ala. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Howard (then Sfc .), distinguished himself while serving as platoon sergeant of an American-Vietnamese platoon which was on a mission to rescue a missing American soldier in enemy controlled territory in the Republic of Vietnam. The platoon had left its helicopter landing zone and was moving out on its mission when it was attacked by an estimated 2-company force. During the initial engagement, 1st Lt. Howard was wounded and his weapon destroyed by a grenade explosion. 1st Lt. Howard saw his platoon leader had been wounded seriously and was exposed to fire. Although unable to walk, and weaponless, 1st Lt. Howard unhesitatingly crawled through a hail of fire to retrieve his wounded leader. As 1st Lt. Howard was administering first aid and removing the officer’s equipment, an enemy bullet struck 1 of the ammunition pouches on the lieutenant’s belt, detonating several magazines of ammunition. 1st Lt. Howard momentarily sought cover and then realizing that he must rejoin the platoon, which had been disorganized by the enemy attack, he again began dragging the seriously wounded officer toward the platoon area. Through his outstanding example of indomitable courage and bravery, 1st Lt. Howard was able to rally the platoon into an organized defense force. With complete disregard for his safety, 1st Lt. Howard crawled from position to position, administering first aid to the wounded, giving encouragement to the defenders and directing their fire on the encircling enemy. For 3 1/2 hours 1st Lt. Howard’s small force and supporting aircraft successfully repulsed enemy attacks and finally were in sufficient control to permit the landing of rescue helicopters. 1st Lt. Howard personally supervised the loading of his men and did not leave the bullet-swept landing zone until all were aboard safely. 1st Lt. Howard’s gallantry in action, his complete devotion to the welfare of his men at the risk of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army. (Source: U.S. Army Center of Military History)

During the 54 months Col. Howard served in Vietnam he was wounded fourteen times. He received eight Purple Hearts. Colonel Howard was awarded many additional medals and honors during his 33 years of service, including the Distinguished Service Cross and multiple Silver and Bronze Star. He was more highly decorated than the legendary Audie Murphy.

The 70-year-old Howard died in a hospice in Waco, according to a report in the San Antonio Express News today. The paper, quoting a longtime friend of Howard’s, retired Sgt. Maj. Benito Guerrero, said Howard had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Howard began his Army career as an enlisted man. During one 13-month tour in Vietnam he was nominated for the Medal of Honor three times, but in the first instance the award was downgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross. Several biographies say that downgrade, as well as another — to the Silver Star — was to avoid the problem of noting in the Medal of Honor citation specifics of the combat operations, which were covert. (Source: Military.Com)

Rest in Peace Colonel Howard, this nation owes you a debt that can never be repaid.

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Dec 26 2009

Sergeant Thomas P. Lavin, Jr. USMC – R.I.P.

Published by under Military,Veterans

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Sergeant Thomas Lavin served his country for eight years in the Marine Corps. He saw duty in the Dominican Republic during the revolution and later in Vietnam with the 1st Marine Division. After he left the military he returned home to St. Petersburg where he again served his community as a police officer. Tom died the other day at age 63. He was a lifelong friend.

I first met Tom in the early 1950s. We attended classes together from junior high to high school. As a team we got in a lot of trouble and enjoyed every minute of it. We were even suspended together a couple times. To get back into class we had to submit to ten whacks each for our infractions. The whipping we got in school couldn’t compare to what we got at home. Yes, back in the day whipping was the norm. There was none of this psycho-babble about the harm it did. We took our licks and turned out pretty good. We had a lot less problems in school back then. After the assistant principle, Cherokee Charlie, got through with Tom the boy turned around and asked, “is that the best you can do?” That was just the way Tom was, he could take whatever anyone wanted to dish out.

During high school the war in Vietnam escalated. Tom’s dad, Tom Senior, was a Marine who had served in the Pacific theater. Senior saw action in Guadalcanal and was a tough son of a bitch. Tom idolized him and joined the Marines himself right out of high school. He was the perfect Marine. Tom stood about 6 foot 4 inches and weighed nearly 300 pounds when he was a senior in high school. Every bit of it was hard muscle and determination.

After eight years and a purple heart Tom found he had too many bullet holes in him to continue life as a Marine. He wanted to stay, but by time he was in his mid twenties he was released with a disability. He struggled with the VA for a long time and finally got a 100% disability after years in and out of VA hospitals. He had wounds you could see and some you couldn’t. Tom battled PTSD most of his life. He never fully returned to civilian life and had little patience with those who had not served. He was one of those guys who would tell you that if you hadn’t been in combat you didn’t know shit.

Tom and I camped and fished all across the state of Florida for years after he returned. He loved Florida and especially the Ocala and Gainesville area. He was a Gator.

More than twenty years ago I asked Tom to be my best man. I was getting married, again. Tom refused. He said he didn’t want to be held responsible if it didn’t work out. I’m still sorry he didn’t accept. Jane and I are still married and it worked out well this time. Tom did not have a lot of luck in relationships. It was not until eight years ago that he found someone who would share his life with him and accept him for what he was, not what they wanted him to become. He left behind a family who thought the world of him. I am glad he was able to find someone to share his last years with.

Tom was laid to rest at the National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida. Now he is surrounded by all those heroes who went before him. I know he is in good company. Tom was always a communicator. I’m sure he is catching up for lost time with all his fallen comrades.

Farewell brother. You will be missed by all who knew you. It was an honor and privilege to be your friend.

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Dec 06 2009

Sweet Revenge – United Airlines Breaks Guitars

Published by under Video


A musician named Dave Carroll recently had difficulty with United Airlines. United apparently damaged his treasured Taylor guitar ($3500) during a flight. Dave spent over 9 months trying to get United to pay for damages caused by baggage handlers to his custom Taylor guitar. During his final exchange with the United Customer Relations Manager, he stated that he was left with no choice other than to create a music video for YouTube exposing their lack of cooperation. The Manager responded: “Good luck with that one, pal.”
So he posted a retaliatory video on YouTube. The video has since received over 5.5 million hits. United Airlines contacted the musician and attempted settlement in exchange for pulling the video. Naturally his response was: “Good luck with that one, pal.”

Taylor Guitars sent the musician 2 new custom guitars in appreciation for the product recognition from the video that has lead to a sharp increase in orders.

In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn’t deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss. So I promised the last person to finally say “no” to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world. United: Song 1 is the first of those songs. United: Song 2 has been written and video production is underway. United: Song 3 is coming. I promise. (Source: Dave Carroll’s webpage)

Obviously United, after nine months of runaround and bullshit, finally agreed to take responsibility. Dave said thanks but no thanks. Meanwhile the incident has introduced a lot of us to one very talented musician. For that we can be grateful to United.

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