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The Shocking Epistle Of One, B. Lokey

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    J.A.I.L. News Journal Los Angeles - January 14, 2001 ____________________________________________________ Listen to HotSeat4Judges daily on Internet Radio
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 14, 2001
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      J.A.I.L. News Journal
      Los Angeles - January 14, 2001
      Listen to HotSeat4Judges daily on Internet Radio M-Th, 6-7 pm P.T.
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      The Shocking Epistle Of One,
      B. Lokey
      [A]ll government officials need to and must be put on a leash (in a J.A.I.L.-like manner), from the top all the way to the bottom.  It is why law exists.  Ideally, law is designed as a leash on every individual, to keep free folks free.  It is a paradox that a free individual must be leashed.  Nonetheless, this can and may be reasonably accomplished.  Most individuals are leashed by their own sense of right and wrong.  But others require the rule of law.  Why is it against the law to drive 200 miles per hour on the freeways, for example?  Why is it against the law to kill one's enemy?  Don't people know any better?  There are all manner of restraints on free individuals that are justified. 
      If the people are restrained by law, and they are,  why should individuals in government who work for the people be suffered to exist above the law, with no restraint except what they may generate themselves, if any?  How may a wolf censure another wolf for eating too many hens that neither are supposed to be eating in the first place?  The hen must be put in the driver's seat here, not the wolf.
      Who or what restrains government excesses?  In 1947, on the day before I was incarcerated for the first time in my life by the government, I was playing in the yard and otherwise being an ordinary seven-year-old, as I had done all my previous life. I was as happy as I could be (though dirt-poor), as docile as a lamb, timid and shy to a fault, even more so than most of the other kids, and I had not the slightest comprehension about legality or principles of right or wrong. I made straight A's in school.  It would have crushed me to lose a spelling quiz or other such contest at school.  I was proud of my straight "A" report cards. I competed with the best at school and came out on top most of the time. This was in days gone by, when one did the work or failed.  There was no such thing as fuzzy math.  Math questions had only two kinds of answer: right or wrong.  Except for being excessively bright (I taught myself to read before I was four) I was a typical seven-year-old, with the same hopes and dreams.  I wanted to be a scout when I grew up, in Custer's Army. 
      Suddenly, without preliminary, for reasons I knew anything about, I was in the back of a flatbed truck with a dozen or so other boys headed for where, I knew not.  Whomever's job it had been, if such a thing existed, to tell me the why's and wherefore's, failed in the mission.  I had no idea where I was going or why.  I was simply uprooted, like an onion in a garden, and harvested.  To my mind, I was kidnapped by the State of Texas and incarcerated.  I still have this mind.  I still don't know the why's of it, if any there were.
      My memory of events during that time is as vivid as this morning's breakfast because the trauma of that kidnap was so consuming that it burned its way into my cortical framework like a firebrand on a calf, never to be forgotten, never to be outgrown. I was physically branded later with a heavy leather strap. I don't tell any of this to solicit sympathy for myself, but to alert people to the truth of government without restraints and the reasons why rigidly enforced constitutional directives are necessary in a free society.  The United States Constitution was not designed to constrain any citizen.  It was designed as a bulwark between the citizen and the government, to constrain the government and protect the citizen from government excesses and abuse of the very brand that I know so well, said excess and abuse that always follow unchecked government power and authority, always, never failing. 
      In this little story, my problems at the time are not the subject, however. I write about the pain of others this time, a situation that confronts us when government is absolute and totalitarian with no checks and balances, as the case has been every day of my life.  Except to hear government-regulated news agencies such as CNN, ABC, CBS or NBC telling it, Americans have not yet attained a modicum of the freedoms that the founders intended. That day is still in the distant future.  I am the living witness, along with many others who can attest.
      After I had been imprisoned for a while in 1947, I was wandering around near the gym one day.  A door was ajar and I walked over to push it open.  I heard terrible sobbing and thrashing noises inside.  Curious, I peeked in.  What I saw frightened me half to death, made me want to flee screaming in terror. I wanted to turn and run more than I had wanted to do anything before, but I was pulled in as though I was in the grip of a powerful tractor force, urging me forward with unbreakable bonds.  At seven, I had never witnessed this manner of torture before.
      A boy lay on the floor just in front of the door.  He was gagging and puking, crying and begging for help.  He looked up at me with eyes that are emblazoned into my consciousness forevermore.  He was scared to death and in serious physical pain. His agony permeated me like a cloudburst on a cold day, or a dash of ice water in the face after rising from a hot bath. I was bathed in terror and soaked to the marrow of my bones. 
      The boy embraced my legs and tried to rise, begging me to help him.  I attempted to back away.  I couldn't move.  I could only stare at the rest of the tableau, wishing that I was anywhere but here. There were about ten or fifteen officials in the gym with about five or six boys ranging in age from nine to twelve or so.  A five gallon bucket of milk sat at one end of the gym, with a ladle inside.  Several cartons of cigarettes were stacked beside the bucket.  
      A couple of officials were unpacking the cigarettes and crumbling them into the warm milk.  Another was stirring the bucket with the ladle.  Still others were situated at intervals around the gym, each holding several packets of cigarettes.  Some officials were holding leather straps, huge, ugly things--saddle cinches of the nature that I was beaten with from time to time. They knocked big blood blisters on me when they hit and tore the flesh in pieces.  I knew at least this much of what the boys were suffering.
      Each boy was stripped to his shorts and ran in circles around the gym.  When the boy arrived at the end of the gauntlet, where the bucket of warm milk was (with cigarettes ground up and stirred in), the ladle was held to his face and he was made to drink.  Then he ran the gauntlet again.  I don't know how long this had been going on before I arrived.  But it continued for what , to my mind, seemed hours.    
      When the boy left the milk bucket to trek around the gauntlet again he was struck with the saddle cinches as he passed, two in the gauntlet, one on either side of the gym.  When they were struck it knocked some of the boys down, others slipped and fell in the puke.  None made it without falling down hundreds of times. It was a real nightmare.  The saddle cinch struck anywhere it would.  Then the boy stopped at the next interval to take several cigarettes, which he was forced to ingest on the spot.  Then he ran to the next interval, where he was striped again with the belt.  Then he ingested cigarettes again, then he was back at the bucket, drinking of the warm milk and cigarettes.  It was a real horror show.  It was my government, unrestrained, in action.
      The boys ran around and around the gym, stumbling, falling, crying in pain and fear, begging for surcease, gagging on the ingested cigarettes, slobbering, puking, howling in pain and fright. 
      But a couple of them suffered in silence, as though this was a ritual of manhood.  The only thing that betrayed their distress was when they slipped and fell in the puke that was all over the gym floor, couldn't get back up, and lay retching and gagging.  It was a ritual of manhood, for sure, which not a single official present could have endured any differently.  Some boys grew up fast in this place.  I was one of them.
      For me it was a waking nightmare.  I don't know why I was allowed in the gym at that moment, as nobody else was allowed in except those directly involved.  Evidently the boys had been caught stealing cigarettes and smoking them.  I had been told that this would happen to me if I was ever caught smoking cigarettes.  I had not believed it.  I thought it was too horrible to believe.  I thought it was a lie the boys made up.  One could say that the reality of it caved in on me and made me believe.  I was a true believer when I left the gym that day.  In fact, I didn't have to believe. I knew for certain it was true. 
      Many years later a four year old boy, who was sitting in my lap, looked up at me very seriously and asked, "Is thew mongstews?"   He was afraid of monsters and he was asking me if they really existed.  I was hard-put not to say, "Yes, precious, monsters do exist.  However, these are men in the world with too much arbitrary police power,  not the kind of monsters you would like to believe in.  The monsters you would like to believe in do not exist at all.  They are only phantoms in your own little boy's fertile imagination."  How could I answer the boy?  How could I tell him the truth, and also assure him that monsters do not exist?  When I was three years older than he was I was living and witnessing the spectacle of monsters full blown.
      One of the officials saw me and came over to me.  I was too numb to run away or care what he might do to me.  I was transfixed with fear, loathing and revulsion.  I had already learned how to hate and this moment sealed that knowledge with a special signet.  For all I could know, I may be next.  I was there, wasn't I?  And so I stood, looking down at the boy still embracing my lower legs, begging me to help.  How could I help?  I was a victim too.  What could I do but watch?  The boy was covered in puke, cigarette debris, sweat, blood and tears, cowering like a dog at my knees.  His entire body, semi-nude, was red and welted from the saddle cinch straps, with an oozing cut or scrape here and there. 
      I knew the boy well.  We were close friends.  We had played together.  We all called him "One-eye." for the fact that one eye was glass.   The glass eye drooled with a snotty, pusy opacity, glaring at me with a weird, painless objectivity contrasted against the good eye through which I beheld the bloody,
      fear-emaciated soul of my friend, One-eye. The glass eye possessed a coldness that I had never noticed before.  In the boy's mind he must have thought he was being murdered.  I thought he was too. 
      The official pulled One-eye away from me and threw him up against the wall, demanding that he run.  Then he turned to me and put an arm around me, as though caressing me with kindness. 
      "This is what happens to boys who steal cigarettes and then smoke them," he confided.  "You don't ever want to steal cigarettes. Do you now?"
      I shook my head from side to side, "No sir."  I wanted to kill him.  At the age of seven I wanted to kill a man.  This is what government run amok can do to a boy.  It can ignite fires of revolution in the spirit, fires as hot as the sun, a consuming flame that will never die.  Over fifty years have passed and those fires have not abated.  Indeed, they are hotter today. They have gone from red-hot to white-hot. I am older and wiser.  I have lived several lifetimes since then and I know things that I did not know in 1947.  
      My first encounter with absolute government authority ignited fires of belligerence in my head as hot as the sun.  They won't die as long as I have a brain.  I intend to see government reigned in and leashed, whatever the cost. I conceive it to be the very reason for my birth. 
      "What can you do about it?" might come the refrain. 
      To this I say, "Watch." 
      Absolute individual sovereignty realized is an awesome thing to behold, even in a single man.  When that great day comes (the final stud in the leash on government), I'll take a bow and say, "Here it is."  And my life will be fulfilled.
      It's coming.  Watch for it.

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