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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Politics: Forgotten "Heroes" of a Forgotten War

It's heartwarming, to say the least, that despite the unpopularity of both the Iraq and the Afghanistan wars, the troops who are doing the fighting have not faced anything like the hostility and condemnation that Vietnam veterans faced when they returned from that unfortunate military episode. Despite the fact that the Vietnam "war" was never actually a war (that is, Congress never actually declared war) and that it was originally sold to the public and the military as a noble attempt to "contain" the "communists," it was, at least initially, quite popular with the American public.

It was not until later in the prosecution of this terrible adoration of Moloch that the American public, seeing their sons come home in body bags, turned against the war that was not a war. Some 58,000 dead sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, and friends later.

The legacy of that military orgy remain with us today. It'll be gone soon enough, when we sweep the last of the bodies under the rug and continue with the foolish militarism that Eisenhower's warned-of "military-industrial complex" continues to indulge in, at the expense of minds and bodies worldwide.

In the interim, what we have are incidents like these:

The elderly man in this clip is one Thomas Bruso, known throughout the Bay Area as "Tom Slick," or "Vietnam Tom." He is apparently well known throughout the Bay Area, having been involved in at least one other videotaped altercation. He swears like a fucking longshoreman, and as you visitors and friends at this fine blog can testify, that makes him exceedingly popular with los gatos de mi casa, given as we are to the fine art of fucking swearing.

Mr. Bruso is, some say, 62 years old, or perhaps 67. Nobody seems to know exactly. The other incident that brought him to the attention of the authorities involved an A's game. Mr. Bruso apparently brought his own alcohol to the game and sat in a seat that he was not entitled to deposit his arse in. Some irate motherfucker or the other called the police, and multiple pigs descended on this elderly gentleman and proceeded to taser the fuck out of him.

To the credit of the fine people of Oakland who were watching the game, the crowd pretty universally booed the pigs, and they have been forced to defend their use of a taser on an elderly man whose only apparent crime was to flip them a finger for interrupting his enjoyment of the game.

Of course, Mr. Bruso may be elderly but he is a motherfucking big guy, and apparently scares the shit out of a lot of people when he starts cussing. Buncha fucking pussies, if you ask me. Actually, los gatos de mi casa would like to repudiate the use of that term and refer you, our fine readers, to cats of your own acquaintance who, in the middle of a fight, have been known to call each other things that would make a longshoreman faint dead away.

In the event, it is not clear to us that Mr. Bruso actually *is* a vet, or actually served in Vietnam, but it appears to be the case, and we take the man at his word. As for his encounter with this dumbass, some people — a lot of people, sadly — are trying to make this about race.

To that, and to those people, let me just say a hearty "Fuck you." Black, brown, and white, all of us who saw this saw an idiot messing with a guy that he should have left alone. And he got his fucking ass kicked, and that's fine by me, and, apparently, by a huge honkin' slice of Oakland's nonwhite community. So don't try to make this about no white people's shit, because it ain't. Kudos to the black lady who tried to calm everyone down and keep the situation from escalating. And a heartfelt kick in the ass to the bitches who kept egging the parties on.

It's about acting tough and trying to fuck people over and getting what you deserve.

The people who videotaped this whole escapade apparently stole (as seen on the video clip) Mr. Bruso's bag, and although police returned it to him some time later, it was missing the money that had been it. I hope the thief develops the world's worst case of crotch rot that will only be alleviated by returning the money.

The upshot of this little incident is that Mr. Bruso was taken by the police to a psychiatric facility to be evaluated. Apparently, he had gone off his medication.

In the event, it ended reasonably well for Mr. Bruso. He was released, and his assailant has refused to press charges. I guess it's just too embarrassing to admit that someone your granddad's age fucking kicked your ass even though you were armed with a knife. It should keep the idiot, at least temporarily, from pulling knives on elderly bus riders.

Here is Mr. Bruso telling his story:

You can tell from listening to him that something is not quite right with Mr. Bruso. He might be developmentally disabled or delayed; he might be mentally ill. Nothing has been confirmed as yet. But there was no call for that bratty little thug to treat him the way he did, and I'm glad that Mr. Bruso escaped unhurt.

In the meantime, he's become an Internet sensation. Apparently, a lot of people are really really pissed off about the thug shit they see going down every day, and the unfortunate characters involved in this YouTube episode have attained the status of a meme. Mr. Bruso is now Epic Beard Man, although I'm not sure he understands any of it. Whatthefuckever, yaknow?

Just please note that if he actually is a Vietnam vet, Mr. Bruso represents a generation — some 3 million young men (mostly) and a few young women — who answered their country's call and (mostly) volunteered to serve in Vietnam because their leaders told them that they were protecting America and keeping her safe. And many of those who fought in that "war that was not a war" came home to a lukewarm welcome at best. More to the point, many of them came home severely fucked up, to a country that did not seem to want to address what they had gone through.

It's too late, probably, to fix whatever went wrong with most of the boys who were shipped over there with their young heads stuffed full of lies. But it's not too late to help the men they have become. If you know a vet who served in that war, thank them for their service. Give them a little respect. Understand that they've seen things, and lived through things, that would have you screaming from nightmares for the rest of your life. They didn't ask for it and they didn't know, but they and their families have had to deal with all kinds of toxic fallout — physical, mental, and emotional — for decades. So give them the kindness of your attention and your respect.

Note: As always, the jackals and vultures are already hovering. Someone's selling "I Am A Motherfucker" teeshirts and advertising it via YouTube, claiming they'll give some of the money to Mr. Bruso. I kind of doubt that. But who knows? We'll try to follow up on Mr. Bruso's story. In the meantime, if anybody tells you this is about race and white people kicking black folks' ass, or black "thugs" owning public transportation, please tell them to just go fuck themselves. The man is not quite right and I hope no one takes advantage of him.

That is all.

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At 5:11 PM, Blogger SteelyBob said...

Epic Beard Man is almost as crazy as I am. That's not easy - I'm impressed.

At 6:50 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Wow, and it takes a LOT to impress you, so I'm duly impressed in return.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Big Daddy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Big Daddy said...

Although I don't particularly care for your use of profanity, I agree with you almost completely on this one. This thug got exactly what he deserved. Has nothing to do with white or black. Just a bully getting what he tried to dish out. your comment on Tiger Woods on piperni's blog. I'm banned from commenting on his blog so I'll tell you here that you made an excellent point. Don't expect that idiot to concede it though.


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