Tag Archives: terrorism

All The Meaningless Words

My Friends,
   I recently read an article in the March 23-25 edition of Metro which I found disconcerting.  The story, “Cops on hunt for armed-robbery suspects,” detailed how Toronto police have begun asking for the public’s help in identifying two bank robbers who held up a Bank of Montreal on Lakeshore Blvd. on February 23.

These fly dudes

The part of the article which troubled me was the remarks from Toronto Staff Inspector, Mike Earl.  And I quote: 
“These individuals are urban terrorists.  They need to be taken off the streets before another robbery like this occurs.”  Mike Earl .. not sure if stupid or trolling
Urban Terrorists.  Think about that for a sec.  Now I realize it must take some doing to vilify bank robbers who didn’t kill anyone and who only robbed an institution which most people, on some level, feel robs them every day…

I’ll just leave this here

… but urban terrorists??  Let us examine the various levels at which this ill-wrought comment betrays its stupidity.
   First and foremost, the inspector has confused the names fo two vastly different crimes.  Terrorism and Robbery.

terrorism |ˈterəˌrizəm|nounthe use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
robbery |ˈräb(ə)rē|noun ( pl. -beries)the action of robbing a person or place he was involved in drugs, violence, extortion, and robbery an armed robbery.• Law the felonious taking of personal property from someone using force or the threat of force.• informal unashamed swindling or overcharging.
This is an egregious misnomer which attempts to whip up public sentiment by hearkening back…
…to this.

To attempt to play on people’s emotions like this is a cheap and disingenuous ploy which is frankly insulting to anyone who has ever lost a loved one to bank robbers terrorists.  
ULTIMATEBANKROBBERY!!!
Not to paint an unwarranted sheen of nobility on a bank robber, but they’re not all necessarily mass murderers, and as far as crimes go some are less severe than others.
   Second, and this is a trifling point, but to call someone an “urban” terrorist seems a tad redundant.  Would there by corollary be rural terrorists?  I don’t think so simply by virtue of the fact that there isn’t as much shit to blow up in the countryside…
except these decadent western bitches and their cows.  
ALLAHU AKBAR!!!

Methinks this “urban” distinction was related to the “unique Rocawear hoodie” worn by one of the suspects, which was explicitly mentioned in the article.  So “urban apparel” (code-word for clothes made by black people and marketed to white people) such as Rocawear automatically bestows the appellation urban to whatever criminal activity the wearer participates in?  What if Al-Qaeda, Hamas, the PLO, the IDF or any other terrorist organization decided to rock Rocawear, Wu-Wear, FUBU, et al?
Urban Jihad, nigga!

   The third and final point I would like to make relates to the title of this post.  Certain words…we’ll call them sexy words, have gotten too sexy for their own good and have become overused to the point of inanity.  Here is a brief, inexhaustive list:
Terrorism, Freedom, Liberty, Democracy, (The Creation of) Jobs, (Suffering from) Exhaustion, 9/11, and the list goes on.
These words had a meaning, then at some point it got blurred, and in some cases these words now mean the opposite of their original definition.
Oh yeah, that “freedom” we were fighting for…

My homie, George Orwell kinda predicted this liberal use of the English language a while back, but its still sad to see how right he was.  I can’t help but tune out these words when I hear some talking head say them on television.  Furthermore, I automatically assume that the person who says these words is lying somehow about something.  
   To get back to Staff Inspector Mike Earl, I really wish he could use his powers of inspection to find better and less misleading words.  It reflects poorly on him and the police force when he uses the word terrorist in an alarmist way to drum up feeling in the hopes of solving a cold case.  To those who find this criticism harsh I would respond that if you want to wear the fancy hat and the shiny badge you gotta hold yourself to a higher standard.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo




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Light me up that cigarette; DON’T strap shoes on my feet

My Friends,
   I don’t even know where to start.  I feel like I have tons to say about my trip to New York but at the same time I am much more enthusiastic to talk about my ongoing training for bare-footing around the globe.  So first things first, I’ll talk about NYC some and get that out of the way.

I Want to Be a Part of It
 
   Most people, well some people at least, have been to Manhattan and can attest to the fact that there is enough shit to do there.  Even with no shortage of attractions to spend money on however, you can still have a good time without spending any money at all.  For example, you can…

…do yoga in Central Park…

…pose in front of cool shit…

…or even just say “fuck it,” and climb city infrastructure.  Sometimes you just gotta carry it like that.
   However, a lot of the attractions which are uniquely New York do cost some skrilla money.  This isn’t too much of a problem as most of the costs aren’t too prohibitive, and if you plan ahead you can even bundle together attractions with a city-pass and save some money for street meat.  However, what I found intolerable was the security associated with some of the more famous attractions.  For example, to get to the Statue of Liberty we had to go through two sets of airport-style security (one in Battery Park and the other at the base of the monument).  As well, the last time I went to NYC (August 2008) there were similar security measures to get to the observation deck of the Empire State Building, and I don’t imagine it has changed since that time.  It all seems a little much.  I realize that the city could be a potential terrorism target but is the answer really to treat tourists as suspects?  This suspicion itself does not sit well with me, but it is exacerbated by two factors: For starters, I AM ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS!!  Like for fuck sakes, I went to the ‘ghan, hunted tewwowists and worked with Americans to achieve common ends.  Can’t a pimp get exempted from the anal probe in light of services rendered?
   Second, it seems the vast majority of people in charge of making tourists jump through the hoops of security seem like well…non-persons; the kind of people who I wouldn’t give a second-glance to on the street.  But all of a sudden they are vested with arbitrary power by the state, municipality, country, whatever the fuck, etc… and they have the ability to make my trip suck.  In “All Quiet on the Western Front,” by Erich Maria Remarque, the main character, Paul Bäumer muses while recalling his slave-driving sadist of a corporal during basic training, something to the effect of how “those who are most insignificant in daily life are taken the worst by the military.” (paraphrase)  I think this holds true even for security positions as these people compensate for their low prestige by flexing authority when they can.  But on the other hand, a small minority of these types I have dealt with, whether at the Statue or Liberty, the airport or border crossings do make an effort to put people at ease and process them with minimum difficulty.  So for the future I just have to hone my douche-radar and try and predict which security person will be the most amicable before I pick a line or kiosk to go through.
   So I hadn’t meant for this to be a diatribe against the stringent security measures in NYC and I have already said more about my trip than I had planned to so I’ll just fill in some pertinent details in point-form for the benefit of those who care.
-stay at the Mansfield Hotel on West 44th and 5th Avenue -awesome hotel
-eat street meat; its affordable, delicious and held to strict standards by the city
-Statue of Liberty is cool in spite of security but access to the crown requires advance booking.  When crown booking re-opens (the monument will soon be closing for maintenance) I will book a ticket there and then plan a trip around my crown booking thereafter
-If going to Brooklyn, take the Williamsburg Bridge to Bedford Avenue and head north into the neighbourhood of Williamsburg.  According to Wikitravel, Williamsburg is now what Greenwich Village used to be before yuppies and gentrification.  Definitely a cool scene; quaint and quirky with a certain charm.
-Times Square is equal parts awe-inspiring and suffocating, especially in the evening for the latter.  Worth walking through but know you’ll feel like taking a shower afterward
-Sam’s Pizza in the financial district = motherfuckin dizzope
-Signs for fallout shelters are under-publicized relics that hearken back to a more innocent time when denouncing your neighbour as a communist was an expedient method of disappearing them.  Next time I will bring a wrench so I can hopefully steal one of these bad boys off the side of a building (yes that is me professing intent to commit larceny; realtalk)

K, thats about all that comes to mind right now.  On to….

F-F-F-Fabulous Barefoot Adventures

   Since I began training last week for bare-foot walking I have noticed marked improvement.  The training has consisted thus far of daily walks, conducting my affairs around the house on my tippy-toes and routinely spreading my toes when I am am barefoot in my house (all the time now).  These last few days in New York were mostly recuperative; although I walked a ton I did it with shoes and sandals, save for the few hours I spent walking up the west side of Manhattan au naturel.  But now, back in my element with all acquired abrasions and cuts on my soles healed, I have redoubled my efforts to make up for the last 26 years of abuse my feet have suffered at the hands of my shoes.  To that end I set out barefoot today carrying my backpack, the very same one I will carry on my trip loaded to weigh 32 lbs.  The walk was difficult at first; the pitting and imperfections in the concrete were a lot more pronounced with the extra weight but once I got warmed up and made it to the wooded trail I started on last week, my feet really began to shine.  After a minute or two of acclimatization to the rocky, uneven terrain, I began to adopt a quick pace that I was able to maintain, and on the way up the final hill out of the woods (still gravel and rocks) I even managed to jog.  This was a far cry from my first foray into barefoot-land last week on the same trail where I took twice as long with no added weight.
   This significant improvement has convinced me that I want to do this trip with nothing more than my bare feet and a minimalist shoe such as the Vibram “Five Fingers.”  I was looking at a few of the different models and there does not seem to be one yet designed specifically for bearing a heavy load but the one which looks most amenable to my purposes is the KSO Trek

Made with real kangaroo skin …seriously

I think between these beasts and my bare feet I can probably traverse most of the terrain that will be thrown at me.  So now I must procure a pair to incorporate them into my training regimen.  Till then I keep at it barefoot, which is as real as it gets.
Stay Thirsty
-Andre Guantanamo

 

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