Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Aloha and Welcome... pull up an electric chair.

June 11, 2008 - On the west coast there is a 'lifestyle', a relaxed pace to things that make the Toronto's and New Yorks of the world seem a different universe. Often lovingly referred to "The Big Smoke," things just appear to move faster there. Here on the Pacific, we sometimes have to work at this doing things this way, but dammit, we're going to succeed at slow. It must be something in the air. It could be the salt air. It might be the giant exhilations of Hollywood's finest. It could be the smoke from the aces. Maybe it is the breathtaking views in any direction. Whatever the reason, there is something very cool about living on the west coast dude.

Surf, sand, sun and sea, we have it all. And, it seems, the farther south, and the farther west you go (ie warmer) - the more relaxed the lifestyle gets. In Hawaii, it is so laid back, it took a century for their monarchy to create a holiday. Hawaii was unified by a highly ambitious Chief Kamehameha who worked for decades to unify the islands and create a monarchy. Of course once he bought or strong-armed everyones compliance, he declared himself King. What power it must have been to take Western weapons and kill your own people all for a meaningless political title and a really big chair. You can be sure that it was the King's men who held all the power. Eventually, Hawaii declared June 11th as King Kamehameha I Day (King Kam 1 Day) by royal proclamation. People travel to Hawaii for vacation in hopes of finding time to slow down and relax. What do Hawaiians do when they get a day off? If you slow down slow, don't you just stop?

June 11th is also the anniversary of the final 'stop' of Timothy McVeigh. He was unfortunately not stopped soon enough before he took 165 lives and ruined that of countless others. McVeigh's actions were so extraordinarily heinous that he was the first person to be executed by the federal government in 36 years. I have a hard time with the actions of McVeigh, but also sadly have a hard time with the actions of the government as well. I am not sure that you have the right to pass judgment on murder if you yourself take a life. Tit for tat is a little too playground for me.

My aunt once suggested that rapists have their testicles surgically attached to their chins so the world will know at an instant that these guys are real dick heads. I don't know what would have been punishment to suit McVeigh. He hated the US government. Perhaps we could have chained him to a cubicle in a government building basement cell and force him to navigate the red tape of registering the death certificates for each person in any affected by the bombings. It would still ultimately be a death sentence, but it would have taken that burden away the people who had to do that horrible job.

I'm sure that war would change anyone, and I have no doubt that the thousands and thousands of troops in the middle east are being profoundly affected by the events of war. Let's hope that if we learned anything from McVeigh, that we learned those soldiers who have put their lives and sanity on the table for us, get served a good helping of care and support when they get home... our thanks, and maybe a vacation on an island in the Pacific. Mahalo.

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