A Good Old-fashioned Rant

If you want to catch a free animal you need to use a trap that closes very quickly or very slowly. In the first case they’re caught because freedom disappears more quickly than they can react. In the second fredom disappears so slowly that they never realize the threat exists until it’s too late. If you do it gently enough they might not even fight back. For us free humans the slow trap is just about closed.

I know, I’m just another libertarian type screaming hysterically about the loss of freedom. Go ahead, ignore me. I’m sure you’ll make a very good serf. You’ll be comfortable and safe enough, you just won’t get to have any independence or privacy. Go back to your idiotic super hero movies and you’re fucking video games. Oh, someone’s still here? Do you want to see the trap? Here’s a quick glimpse of some of the links in the chain you’re helping them build…

One of the hallmarks of a free man is the ability to move. To go someplace else, anywhere else, for no damn reason. That era is long past if you’re talking about international travel and it’s about to end domestically too. To many of us the car, or the blessed motorcycle, is the very symbol of freedom. I can strap in, buy some gas, and go anyplace. Anonymously. No ticket. No passport. Just go. That’s ending. GPS, on board computer systems, self driving cars, the mommy state and bullshit eco-laws are ending the era of free anonymous movement. Most new cars can be tracked and shut down remotely. Some European countries have vowed to get rid of human driven cars in the next decade. You know, for safety. You don’t know it yet, but you’re even about to lose the right to even ‘own’ your personal vehicle. Or most anything else.

Ah yes, private property, the very foundation of freedom. This is mine and I can do with it what I like. Not so much. Go buy a piece of land and see how many permits you need to do anything or try to drive your new car without permission and licenses. But I’m not even talking about those things. I’m talking about whether you actually own the car at all. Very quietly a consortium of car manufacturers and software companies are getting the laws changed so that you don’t own the code in the thing that you bought, and everything has code. Strangely enough John Deere is leading the way. You might say ‘so what’ but you’d be wrong. If they win, and they will, you will no longer have the right to modify or repair ‘your’ property at all. Doing so will lead to mandatory jail sentences for copyright infringement or intellectual property crimes. And guess what? Everything has code. Want to add your own software or turn off the GPS or microphone on you phone? Nope, you’ll go to jail. Even though you supposedly ‘bought it’. Speaking of which…

Part of private property is the right to buy shit anonymously. To do that we use money. It works. We don’t owe our souls to the company store anymore. However the powers that be hate cash. It can’t be traced easily. You can buy guns, hookers and cocaine with it. Or motorcycle parts. So guess what? Cash is going away. More and more you have to use cards or an app on your fucking phone. I tried to order a pizza last night and couldn’t because I wanted to pay for it with actual money. None of the delivery places let you do that anymore. Trust me, you’re really going to miss dollar bills when they’re gone, you can’t make private sales, and everything you buy is traceable.

Once there’s no cash, no anonymous travel, and damn little private property you’ll find that you have no privacy left. Computer and phone technology is stealing your personal life so fast I don’t even know where to begin. Alexa, get the fuck out of my life, And I haven’t even mentioned that police of every kind piss all over your 4th Amendment rights every day. To enforce the LAW.

We are a nation of laws. Millions and millions of laws. Every one of us breaks a number of them every day. Our founding fathers knew that laws only work well when they’re applied evenly. It’s why we blindfold Justice. Yea well, that bus left. None of us believe that the rich and poor have the law applied equally. A District Attorney in New York recently decided he wouldn’t prosecute illegal aliens for many crimes so they couldn’t be deported. That’s right, he decided that American citizens should go to jail and illegal aliens shouldn’t even if they committed the exact same crime. And he’s still the DA. Hell, why is still out of jail himself? Or alive?

Once you start talking about laws you have to begin to think about who gets to make them. Do you? Does Monsanto? You know the answer to that. Laws, for the most part, now serve the needs of corporations and the rich. Not you. And certainly not the Constitution. The power to make laws is important because the groups that have it also have the power to put you in a cage whenever they feel like it. Fact is the US puts more people in cages for more reasons than any other civilization known to history. Exactly how does this make us the land of the free?

Even if you do manage to stay out of a cage you still can be controlled by piling debt on your back. Back to the company store again. And if you don’t pay your debts guess what happens? Prison. Put all these things together and you are now a serf. What you can do, who you can see, and how you live your life are now effectively under the complete control of the Governcorp or the Corporament or whatever you want to call this unholy alliance. It’s their way or prison, they’re always watching, and you’re letting it happen.

We’ve been told that our enemies are a different color, a different religion, a different sexual orientation, a different party, oh fuck, just different. These aren’t our enemies and they sure as hell aren’t the Governcorp’s enemies either. You know who is the ‘enemy of the people’ is according to these power hungry ass-monkeys? A biker with a gun, some training, a pocket full of cash and a thirst for joy. Shit. That’d be me. Saor Alba, Vaya con Dios, & Viva la Revolucion.

Stand Your Lane, or LOL BANG

Pacifism and nonviolence are wonderful philosophies. The capacity to practice them forms the basis of my martial arts training and most of my teaching. That’s not to say they’re always the appropriate choice. Everyone has the right, and perhaps duty, to defend themselves if another person is actively trying to kill them, whether through malevolence or negligence. It’s in this spirit that I propose the following expansion of existing stand your ground laws: Stand your lane. If I’m on a bike and you endanger me because you’re on you’re fucking phone I should be able to shoot you.

Nope, I’m not kidding. Not even a little. As the weather warms up and motorcycles come out of hibernation the calls for prayers fill up every biker forum. A weekend will not go by this summer without dozens of bikers being killed or seriously injured by selfish, distracted drivers texting LOL while ignoring the rest of the fucking world. And at the moment the bikers are defenseless. Stand your lane would even the playing field a little.

In almost every state the use of cell phones is illegal in a moving vehicle and in almost every state these laws are soundly ignored by pretty much everyone. Think about it. Have a couple drinks and drive over an innocent bystander and you’re looking at years behind bars. Do the exact same thing while making a call and you might get a small fine. Impaired driving is universally condemned if it involves a cocktail and universally accepted if it involves phones even though both are equally dangerous and illegal. The law is not protecting those of us who ride.

I ride all the time and at least once a week I’m put into a dangerous and potentially fatal situation by someone who’s breaking the law. By their negligence they’re trying to kill me. Why can’t I shoot them? Self defense is legal in every state if you feel that you’re in physical danger. Many jurisdictions have adopted laws that expand those rights to include the right to stand your ground. If I’m legally operating my motorcycle and I feel threatened shouldn’t I have the same rights?

My proposed law is very simple. Any motorcyclist who can legally carry a gun should have the right to shoot any driver who is illegally using their phone and poses an immediate threat. I know, this sounds very tongue in cheek. You might have a different opinion if you’d been forced to the shoulder at 75 mph without the benefit of thousands of pounds of steel and airbags around you. I’m dead fucking serious.

One of the things that makes me profoundly sad is that people I know, people who care about me and other riders, continue to use their phones in their cars. They don’t see the risk or read the lists of the dead every week. They haven’t buried a friend. Yet. And if you’re wondering, no, I have NEVER used my phone while driving. Not even once. Because I have buried a friend.

Human behavior changes when it has to, not when it should. You self-centered fucks aren’t going put your god damned phones down and drive until you yourselves are at risk. Perhaps bikers exercising their rights of self defense will provide the proper motivation. LOL. BANG. Saor Alba, Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

Land of the What?

Memo to Americans: All y’all have gotta quit lying to yourselves. Not the small shit. You can still pretend you’re gonna go to the gym tomorrow and clean the gutters next weekend. But you’ve gotta stop calling yourselves the ‘Land of the Free’. Just omit that shit from your Anthem and the rest of your rhetoric. That particular delusion isn’t doing anybody any good and frankly it just makes you look increasingly ridiculous. Actual ‘Lands of the Free’ don’t tolerate police states. Yeah, yeah, I know I wrote about this last week and you’re tired of hearing me blather on about it. Tough shit. Stifle your long suffering sigh and read about what’s happening in your supposedly ‘free’ country…

Last weekend was the Laughlin River Run, one of the larger gatherings of motorcycle enthusiasts. Some motorcycle enthusiasts gather themselves into motorcycle clubs, or MCs. These clubs represent all kinds of people. Yes, some of them have bad reputations but lots of them are essentially civic groups in leathers. Many are ministries or work against child abuse or breast cancer. And all of them were banned from Laughlin. Not just the Run, but the CITY OF LAUGHLIN.

The state police from three states (CA, NV, & AZ) unilaterally decided to ban them from using state and federal highways for the week. Groups wearing a patch (colors) or even matching t-shirts (soft colors) were turned around and sent home at the point of a gun. They’d committed no crimes. Hell, they weren’t even accused of anything. No laws were passed by representatives. No judge found against them. Policemen just decided they were banned from American roadways and an American city. And it didn’t stop there.

Like most festivals there are lots of merchandise booths in Laughlin. They sell leathers, bike parts, and the usual stuff like jewelry, clothes and food. On the second day Las Vegas Metro police (Laughlin is in their jurisdiction) arrived with their SWAT team and assault rifles to evict two booths. One sold t-shirts and the other was a family owned motor-sports company. Why were they evicted? They were owned by men who were associated with an MC. That’s all.

I want to be perfectly fucking clear here. These booths were doing NOTHING wrong. They had all the relevant permits and licenses. They sold legal, and rather innocuous, products. The hotel who rented them the space came to their aid and explained that their rent was legally paid and their presence was approved. Hotel security was told that the head of Laughlin Station had ordered the eviction and that there’d “be trouble” for the hotel if they interfered. These legal businesses were literally forced to pack up under the watchful eyes of m-16s and escorted to the edge of town.

Look, I know most of you aren’t bikers. Some of you probably even double check your car door locks when we ride past (yeah, we notice that). But even if you’re scared of us you’d have to admit that the ‘Land of the Free’ shouldn’t have police officers who get to set the laws themselves if for no other reason than your dumb ass might be next. And trust me, having a gun aimed at you is no damn fun, especially when the man holding it has the legal right to shoot you.

So are we agreed? No more ‘Land of the Free’ bullshit? No more pretending. Let’s just change the words to ‘Land of the Heavily Policed’ until we decide to let freedom reign again. I know it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but maybe if we hear the truth we’ll decide to do something about it. Saor Alba, Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

Cop Lies

One of the phrases that’s tossed about willy-nilly in our hyperbolic, partisan bickering is ‘police state’. It’s become shorthand for the very opposite of a free country, and quite fairly so. That makes it reasonable to ask the following question: Are we free or is this a police state? Well, lemme tell you about my Saturday…

It was a beautiful day and we decided to go to the Scottish festival about 20 miles north of Las Vegas. Since I wore my full dress kilt we took the hearse rather than the bikes. After a fun day of pipes and games we headed back to the freeway on a four lane, busy road. I was in the right lane, anticipating the freeway entrance, going about 40 mph (the speed limit). So were all the cars around me in both lanes. We passed a police cruiser and he pulled out behind me. After two blocks he hit his lights and pulled me over. Oh boy, here we go.

After he got out of the car he walked up and tried to open the rear door and then the side back door. They were locked. He peered in all the windows before coming up to mine and asked for my DL, reg, and insurance. I asked him what the problem was and he said “I clocked you at 55 in a 40 zone”. I politely replied that was impossible. I was going 40, as was all the other traffic. He said it was 55 and to comply with his request. I told him it was pointless to argue about it. We both knew he was lying. He just didn’t give a shit. He didn’t have to.

I gave him the papers he asked for and informed him that I had a legal concealed carry permit but that I was NOT carrying a sidearm. He grunted and asked if I was at the festival. I guess the bright red kilt was a clue. He asked where I was going. I smiled but didn’t reply. He insisted on knowing where I was going as he put his hand on the butt of his gun. I told him ‘home’. He asked if I owned other vehicles. I knew he was going to look it up so I just said “yes, motorcycles”. He demanded Sharon’s ID. I said she wasn’t driving. He said that he could ask for the ID of anyone in the car. Another lie but we gave it to him. He disappeared for about 6-7 minutes and presumably ran everything through the computer system. Fortunately my record is totally clean because I work with kids and get Live-scanned every 6 months. When he came back he’d covered his name tag with his mic. He returned our documents and told me to “head straight home”. No mention of a ticket. No warning to slow down. Just go home.

Let’s sum up. I was doing nothing wrong. At 4:00 on a sunny Saturday afternoon a policeman saw a tattooed man in a hearse and pulled him over just because. He lied and made up an infraction. He illegally tried to open the doors. He demanded a lot of information he had no right to, and intimidated to get it. He illegally demanded additional IDs and lied again to get them. He ran background checks for no reason, and told me to “head straight home”. And there is NOT A FUCKING THING I CAN DO ABOUT IT.

A few years ago the left got their collective panties in a bunch when Arizona tried to pass a ‘papers please’ law. It would’ve required cops to question anyone with brown skin about the status of their citizenship. A few of my African-American friends thought that this debate was hysterical. So did bikers. And hispanic kids. And a whole bunch of other folks who deal with this kind of shit EVERY GOD DAMNED DAY. If you’re anything but white, middle aged, and ‘normal’ looking you know that ‘papers please’ is already a fact of life.

So does the land of the free and home of the brave now qualify as a ‘police state? I’m being facetious. OF COURSE IT DOES. We’ve totally lost ‘civilian’ control over an increasingly militarized police force. We lock up more people than ANY country on earth. Police, both local and federal, stomp all over our so called ‘rights’ every day. Don’t believe me? Look around. Try to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Because I can tell you it’s damn hard to believe in the ‘Land of the Free’ when the man with a gun and a jail illegally demands things and lies to your face. Comply or else ain’t Freedom. Not by anyone’s definition. Maybe it’s time for Saor Alba, Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

Posing and Ranting

Enough politics, I feel a good old fashioned rant coming on. Lock up the women and children and batten down the hatches, I’m getting ready to preach some fire and brimstone shit up in here…

You wanna know the first step on your way to any reasonable destination? Be who you are. Wanna get enlightened? Start there. Wanna get ahead in life? Same thing. Wanna make changes in your reality? Ditto. If you spend your finite time on this planet pretending to be something you aren’t than your life is a tremendous waste of time and energy. Either tell yourself the truth or get the fuck off this rock and start over.

I preach nonjudgement. I believe in nonjudgement. I genuinely don’t give a fuck who you are or what you do. As far as I’m concerned it’s all good. But don’t fucking lie to me or yourself. God, the universe, and the people who actually are what you’re pretending to be really hate it. And you look pathetic.

I’m a biker. That means I ride a motorcycle. It doesn’t mean I wear a bunch of Orange County Choppers gear and talk a good game. It means I RIDE A FUCKING MOTORCYCLE. Look, it isn’t that hard. If you wanna be a biker, go buy a bike and ride it. If not than don’t wear all the gear and talk about how cool bikes are when most anybody can tell that passing a semi in a thunderstorm on 2 wheels would make you cry and piss all yourself. Stop it. Throw the chain wallet and vest in the trash right now.

This goes double for all those sad souls out there wearing Affliction gear and thinking they’re tough because they’ve watched a bunch of mma fights and went to a fan expo. If you’re not on the mat you aren’t a martial artist. It’s just that simple. Look, I could go on and on. 2Nd Amendment rights advocates who are too scared to carry a gun. Priests and religious leaders who condemn sexuality while they chase alter boys and male prostitutes around the pulpit. Fat housewives dancing on the bar next to the biker chicks so that they can run home and tell their bridge club how fucking edgy they are. Power hungry politicians pretending like they give a shit about the people they represent. Hell, I’d probably vote for a guy that ran on a platform of ‘vote for me cause I want free stuff and domain over you’. At least that would be honest. Go ahead, make your own list. The choices seem to endless.

If you reverse the situation you can see how totally fucking ridiculous you look. How about if I put on a suit and wander around your office for a while? Maybe sit in on a meeting and offer uninformed opinions? I know, I’ll wear scrubs and hang out at the hospital. I could diagnose a disease or two and maybe handle an operation of some kind. Why not? It took me longer to become who I am than it did for you to finish medical school and you’re totally fucking comfortable watching the UFC and Sons of Anarchy and telling me all about martial arts and the biker life style. Now look, you made me so mad I’m using run on sentences. Jeez.

Look, you can be whatever you want. Unfortunately many of you want to be hypocrites. If you hate your life, change it. If you like your life, wear it with pride regardless of how it rates on some imaginary ranking of ‘coolness’. The accountant who loves his work and takes pride in it is so much cooler than a posing wannabe of any kind. I get along great with both hippies and conservative Christians if their actions match their aspirations. Real vs fake is the true divide in this country, not left vs right. Truth matters, and self truth matters most of all. Even if that truth is “I hate my life and I want to change everything”. Or “I’m scared but I want to learn”. Because this country is drowning in a sea of bullshit and it all starts with you, Mr. Lame-ass Poser. Saor Alba, Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.


Tough…

Today’s life lesson:  Even comments made by assholes can lead to interesting thoughts.  Here’s the story…

A while ago I was teaching some ‘at risk’ kids at a public institution.  After class one of the administrators, an asshole, came over and said “So, you think riding a harley, having tattoos and teaching martial arts makes you tough, huh?”.  I laughed in his face and walked away.  Later I couldn’t help but wonder about the question.  After all, any kind of self examination can be useful.

To begin with I don’t consider myself tough.  Those guys who wear our uniform over in Iraq or Afghanistan are tough.  Single mothers working two jobs while raising kids are tough.  I’m a goofball who prefers luxury hotels and high end restaurants to roughing it in the great outdoors.  Having said that I am a biker.  I’ve ridden long distances in hideous conditions.  I am heavily tattooed and some of that shit hurt.  I’ve trained in and taught martial arts for 25+ years and I’ve worked with some pretty edgy people.  I’m kind of loud and opinionated and I don’t back down very well.  There’s not much that intimidates me.  Maybe those things do qualify me as tough in a way.  But I think the asshole and his passive-aggressive question put the cart before the horse.

If I’m tough it’s not because of my hobbies or lifestyle.  I’m tough because I was raised by mean and abusive parents.  I’m tough because it seemed like the best way for a kid to survive in an ugly and dangerous family.  Toughness informs my choices, not the other way around.  Being a biker won’t make you tough, but being a little tough might make you a biker.

Look, abuse and ugly childhood experiences are way more common than you’re probably willing to admit.  Hell, nearly 20% of the kids in this country go to bed hungry on a regular basis.  Throw in bullying, absentee parenting, religious repression, shitty schools, and peer pressure and it’s a fucking wonder so many kids survive as well as they do.  If you spend too much time thinking about childhood in this country with an open heart you’ll weep uncontrollably.

Life’s experiences shape us all.  If those experiences are difficult or challenging one must find a way to cope.  There are relatively few ways for kids who face abuse or a harsh childhood to survive relatively intact.  Some people become addicts.  Some cower in fear.  Some get mean or violent or try to fuck up everyone else’s lives (politicians).  Many settle for repeating the abuse they themselves suffered.  And a few just get tough.  To me it might be the most enlightened choice.

Many of those adaptations are extremely negative and involve violence or abuse directed inwardly like addiction or outwardly like hate or fear.  Sometimes the connection is pretty obvious like when the abused kid buys a gun and shoots up a school or fills his veins with heroin.   Other times the adaptation is subtler, like lashing out at gay people or minorities.  Religious fundamentalism is perhaps just an expression of meanness caused by the self loathing of abuse.  As my friend Tim says, “Guns don’t kill people, bad parenting kills people”.

It’s really hard for a child of abuse or hard times to resist the temptation to ease his or her pain by spreading it to others.  But many of us do.  And we do it by being tougher than the impulse.  It’s funny because toughness isn’t a quality that this society seems to embrace any more.  We’ve replaced John Wayne and Steve McQueen with sparkly vampires and a lot of whining.  But toughness is good.  Ghandi said that only a man who understands his own capacity for violence can choose nonviolence in a meaningful way.  The same might be said of a man who carries the scars of hard times or abuse.  Only the ones tough enough to tolerate it can hope to know compassion and forgiveness.

I’m clearly not suggesting that every biker or martial artist is the product of an abusive home.  That would be ridiculous.  I am saying that our choices are shaped by the adaptations that our environments demanded.  Not the other way around.  So if you see someone who seems tougher than you are give them a smile.  They might be fighting the good fight.  And they are certainly the ones who will lead the revolution.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.


Easy riders…

I know that a lot of you who read this blog don’t ride motorcycles.  Fair enough.  What I don’t necessarily understand is why not?  Why would you willingly close yourself off in a cage when you could be free in the wind?  Yeah, they’re dangerous.  Joyful things frequently are.  And yes, sometimes they’re wet, or cold or hot or just fucking miserable.  So is life.  Get over it.  The worst ride on a bike is still superior to the best ride in a padded cell.  That’s okay, to each his own.  But there are a few things that bikers know.  You might want to learn some of them too…

* The shortest distance between two points is not necessarily the best route.
* There’s no such thing as uniform temperature.  There are cool spots on bridges over the river no matter how hot the day.  Underpasses stay warm long after the night has cooled.  The shade of a semi can be the difference between scalding and comfortable.
* The world is full of wonderful, and not so wonderful, smells.  All the time.
* 85 mph is really fucking fast.
* We are all connected in a deep and profound way.  Bikers usually wave to each other on the road.  Drivers never do.
* Most drivers don’t give a shit about human lives.  Otherwise they’d pay more attention to what the hell they were doing.
* The distance between life and death is measured in inches.  Your skill and patience as a rider determine how many.
* There is not reason to be shy when you can be powerful and loud.
* Security is bullshit and no amount of it is worth giving up ONE FUCKING SECOND of freedom.
* Our roads suck.  The billions of dollars we spend on gas and transportation taxes are being spent somewhere else or just stolen by guys in limos.
* Riding with a group of friends is way more fun than riding by yourself.
* Motorcycles, like humans, are customized and unique.  Cars aren’t.
* Girls love the way a Harley vibrates.  “Nuff said.

I could go on and on (and I usually do) but that’s probably enough for now, I have to go pack the bike for a ride to Fresno.  It’s supposed to rain but I don’t really care.  The next time you’re driving your generic padded cage to the store and you see a biker, stop and think about the things he, or she, knows.  Because while they might be cold or wet or at risk, they’re also free.  They inhabit the world and chose adventure over convenience.  And they will lead the revolution.  May all bikers Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

– Archbishop Angus


Some New Driving Rules

I drive a lot and I ride a lot.  I love to do both and I hate to fly so I spend a lot of time on the roads.  Almost every day I see people do at least 10 things that defy understanding and place someone else in peril.  The level of stupid, selfish, and dangerous behavior has become intolerable.  Cars careening across lanes at the toll booth, people eating soup while merging into traffic, a woman playing tug of war with her dog at 75 miles an hour.  Many of you people need to learn to drive or stay the fuck home.  I know that isn’t going to happen I have a couple of suggestions.  And yes, I’M TOTALLY FUCKING SERIOUS.

Plan A-  This is the best idea, but I know most of you mommies out there won’t like it.  Cars are too damn safe and it allows people to be incredibly selfish.  Put some woman in a huge SUV full of air bags and 2 tons of steal.  Strap her kids into bubble wrap safety seats.  Now she’s safe and fuck everybody else.  She’ll do 50 things that put somebody else at risk because her kids are protected from the results of her own idiocy.  (If you think I’m lying check out how mothers who drive Volvos drive everyday.)  If you want people to drive with more consideration and awareness (and I do) make them pay the consequences.  No more air bags.  No seat belts.  No child safety seats.  Hell, put spikes on the dashboard.  I bet you’d stop watching TV if a crash meant certain death to Jr in the back seat.  I’m so serious about this I do it myself.  Every biker does.  Stop paying attention for a little while on your motorcycle and you will spend some time in the hospital.  I ride with my young daughter on the back of the bike.  My car is a deathtrap with no air bags and drum brakes on a 7000lb vehicle.  And I pay attention.  I drive courteously.  I have too.  This is a democratic country.  Equal risk for everyone on the road.

Plan B-  Bikers are more aware of bad driving than anyone else.  Our lives are more affected and every biker has a 100 stories about idiot drivers.  So let’s give bikers a role in enforcing safe and considerate driving.  Every biker gets a shotgun loaded with birdshot mounted on their bike.  And they can shoot out the windows or tires or rear panel of any car that pisses them off.  I’m tempted to start doing this unilaterally.

Plan C-  Huge Draconian fines.  Not for speeding.  If you can operate your car well I don’t care how fast you go.  For distracted driving.  The fine for this should be equal to the cost of the car.  Get caught chatting in your BMW, pay a $50,000 fine.  Eating in your SUV, that burrito just cost you $35,000.

A few more quick bad driving thoughts:

* Just because you feel smug because you bought a Prius does not mean you can drive like an asshole.

* You car has turn signals.  Use them.  Every time.

* For you city drivers, you can’t just get out of your car and leave it in the street while you run into Starbucks or the Dry Cleaners.

We all know how many people die or are injured in cars every year.  Let’s get serious about changing this shit.  Watch out.  I may go vigilante.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

-Archbishop Angus


Time for a Rant

Okay, I’ve clearly been too calm lately.  Time for a couple of cranky rants about things I can’t possibly change.  I suppose it keeps me out of tall buildings with long guns.  At least so far.

I know I don’t look like a normal person.  I’ve lifted weights for years and, as my wife says, I’m quite ‘beefy’.  I’m heavily tattooed, including the backs of my hands.  A lot of the tattoos are brightly colored and they stand out.  At the moment I have a blue mohawk.  As Waylon said, I’m way past 40 and still wearing jeans.  Usually with a black t-shirt with skulls on it.  I don’t even own a tie or a dinner jacket, let alone a suit.  So no one is going to mistake me for an insurance executive or corporate drone.  But that doesn’t make me a FELON!

Last night I went to Safeway to buy a few groceries.  The ENTIRE time I was followed up and down the aisles by the security guard.  It was 6 o’clock.  The store was full.  I had a cart full of food.  Was I really that big a threat?  Jesus Fucking Christ, what was I going to do, steal a poptart?  Two kids were filling their jackets with cookie dough but this numbskull missed it because he was busy watching me.  He even followed my normal looking wife just because she was with me.  What the fuck?

Seriously here, do these guys get any training?  This is San Francisco.  There are a lot of freaky looking people and very few of them steal stuff in grocery stores.  This shit happens all the time and it sucks.  How about having some reasonable suspicion before deciding that someone’s a threat?  Could you buy a fucking clue?

A few years ago I had a letter published by Jon Carroll in the SF Chronicle.  In it I noted that parents at an exclusive private school crossed the street in order to avoid me.  The irony here is that I see them when I go to teach at Lincoln Child Center in the same damn block.  And I look like this by choice.  If I were African American or Moslem I’d probably be locked up by now.  This shit has got to stop.

People who look different are not by definition scary.  They are no more likely to rape your wife or eat your children.  Don’t you watch the fucking news?  Child molesters and serial rapists look more like your damn uncle than they do me.  You’re probably missing the real threat because you’re too stupid to get past your ignorant fear of the strange.  God, I hate people sometimes.


The Cost of Personal Liberty

I like to rant.  I like to get worked up and rage at the world.  I like the image of squirrels running around stealing our lives away.  But don’t mistake this for not being serious.  I’m deadly serious about these things.  Our personal liberty and freedom are at risk and no one seems to give a shit.

One of my big heroes was Indian Larry.  I have his symbol tattooed inside my right arm.  (If you don’t know who he was and what he stood for, look it up.)  He died a couple years ago when he fell off his bike.  He was riding it standing up without a helmet.  It was a sad and tragic thing.  The world lost a great light.  None the less, I’m still deeply offended by helmet laws, and I know he’d agree with me.

There are two valid points to be made here.  1) Helmets and other protective gear can and do save lives.  2) It is wrong to interfere with the right of a competent adult to make informed choices about what risks to accept, reject or manage.  If we conclude that #1 overrides #2 then where do you stop?  Do you legally require the use of helmets? Leathers? Armor?  Do you outlaw motorcycles?  Do you decide what that person will watch on TV?  What they will eat for breakfast?  Do you outlaw sex and fatty foods?  Once you have crossed the line of the individuals right to choose, there’s no stopping point. If you accept that a competent adult has no right to make one choice you open the door to removing their right to choose in all situations.  I’m hypersensitive to this shit because of the hundreds of legalized intrusions in this area over the past few years.

The left and right are equally fucked on this issue.  They’re both full of squirrels.  If you believe in the right to own a gun then you better let me have porn too.  If you’re pro-choice because women should have the right to choose, then why shouldn’t that same woman be able to choose to drive without a seat belt?  Let’s have a little consistency people.  Freedom means that the other side doesn’t get to choose either.

I miss Indian Larry.  But my loss doesn’t give me the right to make choices for him or any other competent adult. He made a choice, he bears the consequences.  Anything which removes the individuals choice or it’s consequences erodes the individuals responsibility for their choices. In the long run this will ruin us as free people. Overriding a competent adult’s right to choose achieves a short term benefit of questionable value at a terrible long term price.  So the next time some squirrel proposes a law that ‘protects’ you, grind his furry ass under your boot.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

– Archbishop Angus