Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bullies and Tyrants and Bush, Oh My!

Bullies and Tyrants and Bush, Oh, My!

(Some actual names have been changed to protect the elderly. These pseudonyms appear in bold.-- Larry)

When I was in high school there was the Feeney Gang, five guys led by Freddie Feeney. These were the real Fonzies of our world, not the gold-hearted thug of Happy Days. They always wore motorcycle boots and black leather jackets over white T-shirts. A pack of camels rolled in the sleeve of the Tee. They carved their girlfriend’s name in the their forearm with a penknife. I guess Freddie was leader by the virtue of this act and the endurance of pain it required. The other guys had girls with name like Pat, Sue, Jan, but his girl was Veronica.
I knew other kids in school who drank, kids who smoked, kids who had sex with skanks, kids who were cheats and bullies, and kids who stole, but the Feeney gang did it all and then some. Feeney members were the only kids I ever had knowledge of doing drugs, some having been busted in the parking lot of the Sunnybrook Ballroom during a Dick Clark Sock Hop. Apparently they were let off with a warning. Drugs were not yet considered a reality in suburbia.
These guys terrorized the rest of us. They were always threatening, always stealing, always ready to “get” you. We knew they carried weapons, knew they would use those weapons, too, although they kept these hidden on their bodies. No guns, that wasn’t the thing back in the day, although they may have had a “rod” sequestered in their hot rods. One did bring a rifle into school once.  I believe he got (oh it must have been so horrid for him) a three-day suspension. They did carry knives. Penknives in their pockets, still most of we boys had penknives, but they had bigger and meaner knives down their boot or strapped inside their clothes.
Although this gang chose General as their course of study (which was in reality the choice of all those who did not want to study), the school administration, in their great wisdom, though the way to contain such lads was to disperse them (as a group no less) through classes attended by the rest of us.  Thus one might walk into a math class or an English class and find the Feeney Boys, usually with their girl on their lap and their hand’s up her blouse, just laughing and having a good ol’ time.
One couldn’t learn in any Feeney infested classroom.  They would be snickering, glaring, cracking-wise, pushing books off desks, goosing people unfortunate enough to be seated before them and otherwise totally disrupting order. Very few teachers ever had the guts to stop them, but what difference did it make when one did? They would be sent to the Principal, perhaps given detention, perhaps even suspended, but soon they would be back in class trusted to reform because they had promised to do so.
Most of these guys dropped out by twelfth grade, which was the only thing that relieved us of them; however, you still didn’t want to run into them in the parking lot after a dance or on an empty street somewhere. I believe one finally went to jail for stabbing some kid after some function.  A bit too late for the kid stabbed. These guys were allowed to torture and terrorize their fellow students because those in authority refused to crack down on them, constantly allowing them to continue as they were in the hope these guys would reform and on the basis of their promise they would. These guys laughed at authority and thought the administration was a joke.
There were three ways for a student to survive with the Feeney Gang. One was to completely avoid them. Since in a school our size that was virtually impossible, there were in actuality only two ways to survive. One was the Neville Chamberlain approach – appeasement. This generally meant if you met a Feeney you handed over your lunch money or whatever else they might ask for and you took their punches, shoves and verbal abuse with a smile.
The other way was to beat the tar out of them. There were a few guys in school tough enough and brave enough to do just that and these guys the Feeneys generally left alone.  I was fortunate enough to be a close friend of one of those guys, so the Feeneys basically left me alone too.  But woe to the weakest students.
This is exactly how I view people like Saddam Hussein.
A couple of months ago I though a war might not be necessary, that Saddam could be contained by diligence and the threat of attack.  Now I think a war is necessary because of those countries that have decided to ignore Hussein’s defiance in favor of their own pride or monetary deals with Iraq. If the world had stood side-to-side against him, clicked their heels together so to speak, Saddam may have cracked and brought out the weapons his continued defiance so clearly indicates he has.  However, even then I doubt he would completely empty his footlocker; although, he may have made a show of destroying enough to set him back a few more years, and then perhaps before he could restock he would die.
Saddam may feel time is on his side and with a few more empty gestures and meaningless promises he can escape this mess unscathed. I believe his foolish posturing guarantee a war and soon.  We’re at a point I don’t think Saddam leaves us much choice.
Of course this all has caused a vocal split and we are treated to highly televised peace marches by the usual suspects (John Lennon’s song groupies singing “Give Peace a Chance” or “Imagine” and the opportunistic Reverend Jesse Jackson jumping into the fray to try to regain some public presence again).
We also hear this mantra that we are going in alone.  This is not really true, but who wants to hear that we have far more of Europe aligned with us than against us. Not that this matters anymore. We are at a juncture in history where we must move forward with this come what may or perhaps face grave consequences for our delay. Then again, perhaps we will face grave consequences as a result of going to war, but at this point I think the choice has been made to charge ahead. Who knows where either decision will lead.
Our politicians always end their speeches anymore with the phrase, “God bless America.”
I think it is time to end these things with the phrase, “God help us all.”

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