A black day indeed

A black day indeed

Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 4:29 pm

May 8th, 2002, 3:15 am #1

Dr William Gibson was laid to rest today. He died on Thursday from cancer. He was a dentist, but, was also known as one of the Founding Fathers of the Civil Rights Movement. He was 69 years old. His heart held only goodness. He was a peace keeper and a good man with few equals.

I am finding this hard to type, as my vision is blurred from tears. A horrible depression has taken hold of me.

I can not help but feel that the sun is setting on my time as well. No, I don't plan on dying any time soon. However, the end is still near. You see, there aint to many of us left. We were a different breed of men. (And women) Our lives, our bodies, our very souls were expended in the service of others, so that they, the downtrodden masses could one day enjoy the freedoms and liberties due to all of human kind.

Most of us are dead now. Many of us have been murdered. Old age has taken a few. Suicide has brought the number down as well. We were the few stupid people who had a strong sense of idealism and the firm belief that we could change the world through a sheer act of will. Many of us did. We fought the good fight. Somehow, it seems to me, the torch has gone out somehow.

Nobody takes to the streets anymore. Oh they might make a scene here and there. People might speak out. But it is not the same. This younger generation lacks the drive to make change. I do not mean to seem harsh.... But when was the last time you have seen an epic movement of people like when Dr. King spoke in Washington? Where are the marches? Were are the rallies? People talk out, but, talk is cheap. In this age, more than ever, we need action, but, I see little taken. Please forgive an old man his ramblings. His heart is broken.

I guess the world has changed. Try as I might, I can't seem to change with it. The world has become strange to me. I live, sheltered and secluded, hidden away trying to put my past behind me and I seek revenge. That being, the best revenge is a life well lived. What choice did I have? I dunno anymore. I had to hide. My enemies are greater than the hairs on my head. After seeing most of the organization I was part of brutally massacred, I did what I had to. Somebody had to stay behind to take care of the small loose ends. But to what end? What good does it do? Nobody wants responsibility anymore. The younger folks seem they are all for rebelion and social change, yet, in a pinch, they seem to come out lacking. I can not seem to shake the feeling that as we die out, we take a small precious bit of light that made the world good with us. So many things are evil today... So many bad things. The light is being snuffed out it seems. I am so alone right now that it hurts. Even my wife can not console me. She has left with a friend of hers knowing that some times, the best you can do is let a person mourn. But mourn what? For so long, it was always we this and we that. We spoke and acted as a collective. And now, as that collective dies, I feel like somehow I am loosing my sense of self.

I also can not help but wonder just what did we accomplish. The Jim Crow Laws are gone... Or so people think. Instead of "Whites Only" we now have signs saying "We reserve the rights to refuse service to anybody" The more I look around me, the more I realize, not much has changed really. Little kids are taught to hate by parents who were taught to hate by their parents. The Klan still runs rampant. Hell Night still happens every Halloween. For a group of people who seemed to do so much, so little has seemed to change. Have we failed? I still not have made that conclusion.

There aint many of us left. The torch sputters. I can only hope that some group of dedicated people, the people of this current generation will set it brightly blazing again. To realize a dream. You know what dream I am talking about, at least I would hope you do.

The world is a little darker now that Dr. William Gibson is gone.
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McFrugal
McFrugal

May 8th, 2002, 3:48 am #2

I'm not in any position to do anything about this crap, and it's frustrating as hell. That pretty much sums up my thoughts on this matter.


McFrugal
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Sirian
Sirian

May 8th, 2002, 7:20 am #3

Dr William Gibson was laid to rest today. He died on Thursday from cancer. He was a dentist, but, was also known as one of the Founding Fathers of the Civil Rights Movement. He was 69 years old. His heart held only goodness. He was a peace keeper and a good man with few equals.

I am finding this hard to type, as my vision is blurred from tears. A horrible depression has taken hold of me.

I can not help but feel that the sun is setting on my time as well. No, I don't plan on dying any time soon. However, the end is still near. You see, there aint to many of us left. We were a different breed of men. (And women) Our lives, our bodies, our very souls were expended in the service of others, so that they, the downtrodden masses could one day enjoy the freedoms and liberties due to all of human kind.

Most of us are dead now. Many of us have been murdered. Old age has taken a few. Suicide has brought the number down as well. We were the few stupid people who had a strong sense of idealism and the firm belief that we could change the world through a sheer act of will. Many of us did. We fought the good fight. Somehow, it seems to me, the torch has gone out somehow.

Nobody takes to the streets anymore. Oh they might make a scene here and there. People might speak out. But it is not the same. This younger generation lacks the drive to make change. I do not mean to seem harsh.... But when was the last time you have seen an epic movement of people like when Dr. King spoke in Washington? Where are the marches? Were are the rallies? People talk out, but, talk is cheap. In this age, more than ever, we need action, but, I see little taken. Please forgive an old man his ramblings. His heart is broken.

I guess the world has changed. Try as I might, I can't seem to change with it. The world has become strange to me. I live, sheltered and secluded, hidden away trying to put my past behind me and I seek revenge. That being, the best revenge is a life well lived. What choice did I have? I dunno anymore. I had to hide. My enemies are greater than the hairs on my head. After seeing most of the organization I was part of brutally massacred, I did what I had to. Somebody had to stay behind to take care of the small loose ends. But to what end? What good does it do? Nobody wants responsibility anymore. The younger folks seem they are all for rebelion and social change, yet, in a pinch, they seem to come out lacking. I can not seem to shake the feeling that as we die out, we take a small precious bit of light that made the world good with us. So many things are evil today... So many bad things. The light is being snuffed out it seems. I am so alone right now that it hurts. Even my wife can not console me. She has left with a friend of hers knowing that some times, the best you can do is let a person mourn. But mourn what? For so long, it was always we this and we that. We spoke and acted as a collective. And now, as that collective dies, I feel like somehow I am loosing my sense of self.

I also can not help but wonder just what did we accomplish. The Jim Crow Laws are gone... Or so people think. Instead of "Whites Only" we now have signs saying "We reserve the rights to refuse service to anybody" The more I look around me, the more I realize, not much has changed really. Little kids are taught to hate by parents who were taught to hate by their parents. The Klan still runs rampant. Hell Night still happens every Halloween. For a group of people who seemed to do so much, so little has seemed to change. Have we failed? I still not have made that conclusion.

There aint many of us left. The torch sputters. I can only hope that some group of dedicated people, the people of this current generation will set it brightly blazing again. To realize a dream. You know what dream I am talking about, at least I would hope you do.

The world is a little darker now that Dr. William Gibson is gone.
Somehow, it seems to me, the torch has gone out somehow.

That's not possible, Doc. That's the beauty of a soul, and the spark of divinity within each one: the flame can be covered, hidden, buried, smothered; it can be forgotten, diminished, forsaken; it can be lost. It cannot go out.


There aint many of us left. The torch sputters.

I feel compassion for you. You as a smoker, trying to quit, I have empathy with that, not from the inside as one myself, but from the close perspective of someone who's loved ones have smoked -- as someone who has from the age of two put out enormous effort to coax, persuade, and pressure these people to quit, and seeing all they went through. I understand, a bit.

You as a self-reliant mover and shaker, you got dealt a bad hand but made lots good of it. You as a gamer. You as an aging person, facing and refacing your own demons with, what seems to me, a level of self-honesty and sincerity that few achieve. You are brilliantly strong in your vulnerability, and that is something VERY few understand, much less achieve.

I feel compassion for you as someone grieving for a lost friend and feeling isolated over that and other things. I didn't know this man, and not knowing him, I have no connection to him. My connection to him is you, and it is for you, not him, that I grieve.

But somewhere in there I am also reading what sounds like a thin thread of either vanity or self-pity, perhaps both. The torch sputters? Because people aren't organizing to march in protest as much?


Doc...

In this one regard, you remind me a bit of the soldier who fights brilliantly in a war, sacrifices and gives his all, is GOOD at doing that, makes it through the worst imaginable situations, does it for the rest of us so we won't have to, then comes home damaged in some unspeakable way and cannot fit in any longer to the very society he went out to defend.

In this one regard, I see something of that nature in you, and I feel deep compassion for it. Those who fall on the sword, they deserve a special honor, and the society who fails to go out of its way to heal those that can be healed and care for those who cannot, may be in trouble.

Wars end, Doc. Crusades end. ALL THINGS END.

I can understand the sense that the battle hasn't yet been won, so why is everybody putting down their guns? But wars do not end with the enemy wiped out to the last man. They end when one side achieves its goals and both sides agree to stop fighting. They end with a cessation of stubbornness and the advent of compromise. They end when there is nothing left to accomplish by going on. They end when there is more to be won by fighting a different kind of battle. And sometimes they end when those committed to the fight... pass on.

Hatreds often carry on, renewed and re-embraced across generations, but they live in the NOW, fueled not by the wrongs of thousands of years ago, but the wrongs committed yesterday in the name of revenge for the ones the day before that, and before that, back it goes a never-ending chain of justifications and vindications wherein somebody picks up the excuses and renews the wrongs.

Even this too shall pass. ALL things end.

The saddest possible outcome I could imagine would be for the marches and crusades and battles of whatever kind to go on and on, and on. Why? Because that would mean they AREN'T working, that nothing is changing, that nothing gets any better.

Are you sure you're measuring this correctly? Can you afford to demand perfection on the issues about which you care, before it's OK to put down the placards and go home? It's one thing to strive toward an ideal, and quite something else to consider any outcome short of achieving to be a failure.


So many things are evil today... So many bad things

I'm thirty-two years old. I'm white, and quite poor, but mainly by way of choice in postponing starting a family and in sacrificing "standard of living" to pursue risky dreams. I have more than my share of friends; you know the cliches about "wealth" as measured in friendships. I have two friends I am closest to, though. They both happen to be black and I've known each for more than twenty years. I didn't choose them as friends because they were black. I chose them because those were the people who liked me, who said and did things I admired, the people I could trust the MOST, the guys who loved me the most and were there and kept their word, who are still there now, who will still be there tomorrow. My friends. My brothers, really, since I'm an only child. Color was not an issue for us as children. It wasn't that we didn't notice, but we didn't come into this world with all the baggage, and the world didn't impose it on us. Nobody even brought it to our attention.

Now I wasn't around sixty years ago, but the way I understand it, this kind of colorblind relationship was much more rare at that time. So rare, perhaps, that it might be unheard of, or kept under wraps, out of confrontational view of the status quo social dynamics.

You can turn on the news and be fed details of "evil and wrong" things 24/7/365. That's the business of news, because people are titillated and captivated by bad news. But a Good News channel or a "reality" channel showing the normal stuff of people's lives could fill up many more hours. For all that is wrong, there is plenty more right. If all you choose to focus on is "fighting the wrongs" you're doomed. Doomed. You are doomed to fight on in a war that cannot go anywhere else, and past a certain point, you may even start to need for there to be an enemy there for you to have a reason to keep fighting.

You have too much faith in yourself, and too little in humanity.

My god, man, what do you want? WHAT? The marchers won the war. You won. That war is over. You can't DO any more with those tactics, not on the scale at which you are dreaming of. Sure, you can still affect injustice and direct impact on public policy, but legally you've won. And that's all the politicians can do. You place too much stock in their power. They can undo the institutionalized injustices, make the laws fair, but they can't erase hatreds nor enforce principles with the law, and the law is the only tool they have that is unique to them.

What did you accomplish? You changed the law!

Law cannot erase prejudice. Only reason and education can do that. When people challenge what they are told and seek to figure the truth for themselves, they can find their own way, set their own destiny. THAT is why the United States is so feared and hated by those in power around the world: political, religious, militaristic powers who maintain control of people by controlling thought, not only do we threaten that with our ideas, but more to the point, with our success!

With your success.

Today's people don't understand? We don't know what you know? We're... losing something? You bet we are! That's what you made possible. And it goes both ways. You don't understand either. You don't know what we know. You don't, can't, and never will grasp what it means to have grown up in the world you made happen. There is a new war to fight, on a battlefield you aren't equipped to imagine, using weapons you don't understand how to operate. Maybe you can learn, but your experience in the last war stands in your way, making it harder for you, not easier.

The torch hasn't gone out. I don't really know what I can offer you, but it does matter to me that I persuade you. You DID put your body out there, and that was needed at the time. You were exactly the right soldier suffering exactly the right hardships, who learned exactly the right lessons to be able to do what needed to be done. You answered the call, but that war is over and it's time to go home. If you can see far enough ahead to imagine where the torch is heading next, that would be wondrous, but if you cannot, and even if you still feel lost and wonder what it was all for... be at peace. Rest now. Do what you are moved yet to do, but do so from confidence, not out of fear. You accomplished more than you seem to realize.


I didn't say anything in your smoking thread. I wanted to. I thought about it. I'm not sure it's the kind of change you can make. Not that you aren't able, far from that. You even recognized that the needs it once filled for you have passed away, and all that remains is the habit. But no, that's not all that remains. What also remains is the image. Your self-image as a person, which includes smoking. You can't possibly quit and make it stick without destroying that image and rebuilding a new one. You have to redefine yourself, and doing so is not a matter of words or thoughts, it's a matter of the future. It's a matter of shifting your ENTIRE field of vision around, away from using the past to define who you are, and into reaching out to the future to grasp who you can become. You're a veteran of external change. You have been an influential person. But you can't march up and down with a placard and political fervor and passion outside the front door of your brain, and expect it to change the laws by which you live. That's a hopeless fight. You have on hand all you need to stop, at any moment, but do you really want to? It's more than stopping. What are you going to put into the vacuum created by removing the smokes? There's more to them than the chemical pressures. You have to cut loose from the past, and that, my friend, I question if you are prepared to do.


My best friends have been mistreated, racially. They have talked about it with me, and in a way that conveys no blame or guilt onto me for what misbehavior other white people engage in. Color is there an issue, but not between us, rather only in regard to us with the outside world, with those who still do insist on making it an issue. There are still prejudiced people in large numbers. My friends have been given crappy service in restaurants, and subtly but overtly and intentionally insulted in the process. That's just for starters, I'll spare everyone the detailed list. Much remains to be done, but it won't get fixed at the level of the law.

It may feel to you like we've gone nowhere, or we've gone downhill, but I see that we've gone deeper. If viewed from above it may look like we are going in circles, but come down and look from the side, and see that we are on a winding spiral, going ever deeper. We come back around at the same problems and peel off another layer. What looks to you like the same spot you started at, may actually be the same X and Y coordinates, but the world is not two dimensional. There's the Z axis, and there's more depth of direction beyond that as well. There are more than three dimensions, those are just the ones we are currently equipped to perceive and understand.


The only thing that seems to have been extinguished here is your hope, your faith in the future and those who shall live in it. But no, that's not really gone. You just misplaced it briefly. See, there it is.


- Sirian
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Joined: August 29th, 2001, 4:26 am

May 8th, 2002, 12:26 pm #4

Dr William Gibson was laid to rest today. He died on Thursday from cancer. He was a dentist, but, was also known as one of the Founding Fathers of the Civil Rights Movement. He was 69 years old. His heart held only goodness. He was a peace keeper and a good man with few equals.

I am finding this hard to type, as my vision is blurred from tears. A horrible depression has taken hold of me.

I can not help but feel that the sun is setting on my time as well. No, I don't plan on dying any time soon. However, the end is still near. You see, there aint to many of us left. We were a different breed of men. (And women) Our lives, our bodies, our very souls were expended in the service of others, so that they, the downtrodden masses could one day enjoy the freedoms and liberties due to all of human kind.

Most of us are dead now. Many of us have been murdered. Old age has taken a few. Suicide has brought the number down as well. We were the few stupid people who had a strong sense of idealism and the firm belief that we could change the world through a sheer act of will. Many of us did. We fought the good fight. Somehow, it seems to me, the torch has gone out somehow.

Nobody takes to the streets anymore. Oh they might make a scene here and there. People might speak out. But it is not the same. This younger generation lacks the drive to make change. I do not mean to seem harsh.... But when was the last time you have seen an epic movement of people like when Dr. King spoke in Washington? Where are the marches? Were are the rallies? People talk out, but, talk is cheap. In this age, more than ever, we need action, but, I see little taken. Please forgive an old man his ramblings. His heart is broken.

I guess the world has changed. Try as I might, I can't seem to change with it. The world has become strange to me. I live, sheltered and secluded, hidden away trying to put my past behind me and I seek revenge. That being, the best revenge is a life well lived. What choice did I have? I dunno anymore. I had to hide. My enemies are greater than the hairs on my head. After seeing most of the organization I was part of brutally massacred, I did what I had to. Somebody had to stay behind to take care of the small loose ends. But to what end? What good does it do? Nobody wants responsibility anymore. The younger folks seem they are all for rebelion and social change, yet, in a pinch, they seem to come out lacking. I can not seem to shake the feeling that as we die out, we take a small precious bit of light that made the world good with us. So many things are evil today... So many bad things. The light is being snuffed out it seems. I am so alone right now that it hurts. Even my wife can not console me. She has left with a friend of hers knowing that some times, the best you can do is let a person mourn. But mourn what? For so long, it was always we this and we that. We spoke and acted as a collective. And now, as that collective dies, I feel like somehow I am loosing my sense of self.

I also can not help but wonder just what did we accomplish. The Jim Crow Laws are gone... Or so people think. Instead of "Whites Only" we now have signs saying "We reserve the rights to refuse service to anybody" The more I look around me, the more I realize, not much has changed really. Little kids are taught to hate by parents who were taught to hate by their parents. The Klan still runs rampant. Hell Night still happens every Halloween. For a group of people who seemed to do so much, so little has seemed to change. Have we failed? I still not have made that conclusion.

There aint many of us left. The torch sputters. I can only hope that some group of dedicated people, the people of this current generation will set it brightly blazing again. To realize a dream. You know what dream I am talking about, at least I would hope you do.

The world is a little darker now that Dr. William Gibson is gone.
In school we were taught about Dr King, the movement against segregation and oppression of "blacks" (for lack of a better term). We also learned about Aphartide (spelling?), the American Civil War and even the "Stolen Generation" in our own country. And after learning about these events, I cannot help but admire those who took part in these movements. Those who were humiliated, punished, tortured, raped and murdered for the basic human rights that we all deserve.

This man, who I have never met, seen or even read about in my entire life was obviously one of those people. And for this reason, he has my greatest respect, and his family my deepest sympathy.

He was at the forefront in the generation of passion. The time when the western world woke up to itself and freed itself from the chains of oppression that had been brought on by years of prejudice, injustice and over-conservative belief patterns. This was the decade known as the sixties.

Inhibitions were removed from people of that generation. Stripped away by the ever-present threat of compete annihilation. Rather than forcing fear upon people, this threat inspired. It inspired people to fight for social freedoms. It pulled all that was necessary to the front - and pushed all the fluff to the back. The people wanted equal rights. The people wanted no more war. "Do what you need to do today, because you may not get a shot at it tomorrow" was the motivating thought throughout that whole generation. Granted, some of the ways that the youth of the sixties went about doing that was questionable or downright immoral (drugs and free sex being two of the most prominant), but the passion was there. The sheer thrill to be alive another day. The worthy cause that needed an army. Whether that be holding a picket or singing a song. The world was on the Eve of Destruction - and it was realised that there was only one cure - love and tolerance. Love for all, and tolerance for those who were different to you.

Now, the world is different. It has been fifty years since a western country has seen war on their own land. The tolerance and love that were fought for in the sixties have been mostly realised (it may be different in the South of the USA). Legally at least. In this new age that we are living in we are quickly finding that as a people we have no direction. Nothing to fight for. Nothing to pull us out of our complacent mindsets. A (wo)man is judged not on their character - but on their wealth. We are far enough gone as a species that we would rather watch somebody else living their daily lives than live ourselves (the Big Brother phonomenon for example).

So Doc, you are right, the world is changing. It has lost its passion. Everything has become institutionalised. The good fight is now fought with lawyers and judges, rather than with pickets and voices. And no longer is the good fight fought with passion - it is now fought with money. We are now living in the age of the dollar. More than any other age. It has come to the stage where we as a people are trying to exchange our emotions for dollars. As a people my generation is crying out for cheap thrills when it really needs the one thing money cannot buy - passion.

Feel proud that you lived in a time where you had the opportunity to live in that potent emotional state. Commiserate and mourn the deaths of those who were there when the world changed. It is a sad thing when one of the world changers passes away. The flame of passion gets smaller with each one.
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Joined: May 8th, 2002, 12:55 pm

May 8th, 2002, 12:55 pm #5

Dr William Gibson was laid to rest today. He died on Thursday from cancer. He was a dentist, but, was also known as one of the Founding Fathers of the Civil Rights Movement. He was 69 years old. His heart held only goodness. He was a peace keeper and a good man with few equals.

I am finding this hard to type, as my vision is blurred from tears. A horrible depression has taken hold of me.

I can not help but feel that the sun is setting on my time as well. No, I don't plan on dying any time soon. However, the end is still near. You see, there aint to many of us left. We were a different breed of men. (And women) Our lives, our bodies, our very souls were expended in the service of others, so that they, the downtrodden masses could one day enjoy the freedoms and liberties due to all of human kind.

Most of us are dead now. Many of us have been murdered. Old age has taken a few. Suicide has brought the number down as well. We were the few stupid people who had a strong sense of idealism and the firm belief that we could change the world through a sheer act of will. Many of us did. We fought the good fight. Somehow, it seems to me, the torch has gone out somehow.

Nobody takes to the streets anymore. Oh they might make a scene here and there. People might speak out. But it is not the same. This younger generation lacks the drive to make change. I do not mean to seem harsh.... But when was the last time you have seen an epic movement of people like when Dr. King spoke in Washington? Where are the marches? Were are the rallies? People talk out, but, talk is cheap. In this age, more than ever, we need action, but, I see little taken. Please forgive an old man his ramblings. His heart is broken.

I guess the world has changed. Try as I might, I can't seem to change with it. The world has become strange to me. I live, sheltered and secluded, hidden away trying to put my past behind me and I seek revenge. That being, the best revenge is a life well lived. What choice did I have? I dunno anymore. I had to hide. My enemies are greater than the hairs on my head. After seeing most of the organization I was part of brutally massacred, I did what I had to. Somebody had to stay behind to take care of the small loose ends. But to what end? What good does it do? Nobody wants responsibility anymore. The younger folks seem they are all for rebelion and social change, yet, in a pinch, they seem to come out lacking. I can not seem to shake the feeling that as we die out, we take a small precious bit of light that made the world good with us. So many things are evil today... So many bad things. The light is being snuffed out it seems. I am so alone right now that it hurts. Even my wife can not console me. She has left with a friend of hers knowing that some times, the best you can do is let a person mourn. But mourn what? For so long, it was always we this and we that. We spoke and acted as a collective. And now, as that collective dies, I feel like somehow I am loosing my sense of self.

I also can not help but wonder just what did we accomplish. The Jim Crow Laws are gone... Or so people think. Instead of "Whites Only" we now have signs saying "We reserve the rights to refuse service to anybody" The more I look around me, the more I realize, not much has changed really. Little kids are taught to hate by parents who were taught to hate by their parents. The Klan still runs rampant. Hell Night still happens every Halloween. For a group of people who seemed to do so much, so little has seemed to change. Have we failed? I still not have made that conclusion.

There aint many of us left. The torch sputters. I can only hope that some group of dedicated people, the people of this current generation will set it brightly blazing again. To realize a dream. You know what dream I am talking about, at least I would hope you do.

The world is a little darker now that Dr. William Gibson is gone.
Doc, I have read most of your posts on this page, and they are enlightening as well as inspirational.

During the bleakest moments of a person's life, that person sees only the darkest aspects of human nature. Doc, as a humanitarian who has devoted a lifetime to nurturing and rekindling hope in others, even you are not impervious to despair. The death of a loved one tends to strain the fragile threshold that separates the survivors from the departed. There is, however, a light beyond the darkenss, an end to your despair. You can reach it, one step at a time, as you have reached all the other goals in your commendable life.

As long as there are humans, there will be conflicts and (unsung) heroes and heroines who will fight and suffer so that others may enjoy a life that all humans are entitled to. We need people like you to sing their anthems, while the next generation carries the torch. Times are indeed a-changing, and battles fought in your day have evolved. Life has gotten incredibly complex as have the problems we must face on a daily basis. Some people have lost their focus, while others only seem to have lost it. Not all is as it seems. Because we cannot afford to keep losing our heroes and heroines to murderers and assassins, we must fight for our freedoms and liberties in less conspicuous ways. Do not lose yourself to despair and do not belittle your endeavors and accomplishments in the face of mortality, both yours and humanity's.

Your love for and memories of Dr. William Gibson immortalize him. When a person opens his heart and spirit to another person and leaves an impression, he becomes immortal.

To live and die is nature. To become immortal is human, but not all humans can become immortal.
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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 4:29 pm

May 8th, 2002, 2:35 pm #6

It is still pretty rough. I think I am still in shock from the whole body going into the ground bit. To much death. There has been to much death and to many funerals. Yep. I think that's what got me.

There was no implied vanity or pride in my post. Only a messed up old fart stabbing around looking for answers in himself. I aint got no pride left. My dignity was traded in for thick skin a long time ago.

As for the smoking bit, it is not a problem. I can even stand around smokers and I do just fine. For some odd reason though I am totally addicted to Altoids. When I get a whiff of smoke, I feel gaggy and I have to have an Altoid. If I don't get the Altoid, I become rather cranky as only I can be. Since I have quit smoking, I finally have time to answer life's great mysteries. It took me 433 licks to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop. Strapping a piece of buttered bread to the back of a cat to see what side it will land on is fruitless... Said kitty will claw the dickens outa you. And rightfully so.

There was some things said here that were actually rather comforting. I thank you all for that.

But I beg to differ. You can do more than change laws. Let me relate.

A long time ago, infront of a Legion Hall where the KKK was frequently meeting, some very brave or very stupid people (Some say both... eh?) handcuffed themselves to the flag pole. They sat in peaceful protest. Soon, you know what happened. Cops got called out. And there was quite a few cops that also attended the "special meetings" in that Legion Hall. Anywho, cops came out with clubs and cattleprods and tear gas. I also seem to recall some dogs being there, but, my memory gets a little hazy past a certian point. And these people were savagely beaten. Something about these people's convictions must have meant something. Somehow the faith that carried them through this horrible even must have shone through. Because one of those officers later became an activist himself, marching and chanting along with the rest of us. So don't tell me that deep social change aint possible. So how did I know that this happened? Well, lets just say I had a front row seat.

If you want something bad enough, it is yours to take, but, only if you pay the price required to get it.
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Lissa
Lissa

May 8th, 2002, 4:34 pm #7

Dr William Gibson was laid to rest today. He died on Thursday from cancer. He was a dentist, but, was also known as one of the Founding Fathers of the Civil Rights Movement. He was 69 years old. His heart held only goodness. He was a peace keeper and a good man with few equals.

I am finding this hard to type, as my vision is blurred from tears. A horrible depression has taken hold of me.

I can not help but feel that the sun is setting on my time as well. No, I don't plan on dying any time soon. However, the end is still near. You see, there aint to many of us left. We were a different breed of men. (And women) Our lives, our bodies, our very souls were expended in the service of others, so that they, the downtrodden masses could one day enjoy the freedoms and liberties due to all of human kind.

Most of us are dead now. Many of us have been murdered. Old age has taken a few. Suicide has brought the number down as well. We were the few stupid people who had a strong sense of idealism and the firm belief that we could change the world through a sheer act of will. Many of us did. We fought the good fight. Somehow, it seems to me, the torch has gone out somehow.

Nobody takes to the streets anymore. Oh they might make a scene here and there. People might speak out. But it is not the same. This younger generation lacks the drive to make change. I do not mean to seem harsh.... But when was the last time you have seen an epic movement of people like when Dr. King spoke in Washington? Where are the marches? Were are the rallies? People talk out, but, talk is cheap. In this age, more than ever, we need action, but, I see little taken. Please forgive an old man his ramblings. His heart is broken.

I guess the world has changed. Try as I might, I can't seem to change with it. The world has become strange to me. I live, sheltered and secluded, hidden away trying to put my past behind me and I seek revenge. That being, the best revenge is a life well lived. What choice did I have? I dunno anymore. I had to hide. My enemies are greater than the hairs on my head. After seeing most of the organization I was part of brutally massacred, I did what I had to. Somebody had to stay behind to take care of the small loose ends. But to what end? What good does it do? Nobody wants responsibility anymore. The younger folks seem they are all for rebelion and social change, yet, in a pinch, they seem to come out lacking. I can not seem to shake the feeling that as we die out, we take a small precious bit of light that made the world good with us. So many things are evil today... So many bad things. The light is being snuffed out it seems. I am so alone right now that it hurts. Even my wife can not console me. She has left with a friend of hers knowing that some times, the best you can do is let a person mourn. But mourn what? For so long, it was always we this and we that. We spoke and acted as a collective. And now, as that collective dies, I feel like somehow I am loosing my sense of self.

I also can not help but wonder just what did we accomplish. The Jim Crow Laws are gone... Or so people think. Instead of "Whites Only" we now have signs saying "We reserve the rights to refuse service to anybody" The more I look around me, the more I realize, not much has changed really. Little kids are taught to hate by parents who were taught to hate by their parents. The Klan still runs rampant. Hell Night still happens every Halloween. For a group of people who seemed to do so much, so little has seemed to change. Have we failed? I still not have made that conclusion.

There aint many of us left. The torch sputters. I can only hope that some group of dedicated people, the people of this current generation will set it brightly blazing again. To realize a dream. You know what dream I am talking about, at least I would hope you do.

The world is a little darker now that Dr. William Gibson is gone.
...it has moved on to other issues. Although there are those that will never peacefully protest, I would look to the activists like those demonstrating against the various globalization meetings. Also look to the actions of various environmentalists (again, some won't protest peacefully, but there were those that didn't protest Civil Right peacefully either). The torch now has moved from ethnic rights to rights of the environment and against the haves and the have-nots.

Like Sirian said, the Torch doesn't go out, it mutates into a new form and is carried by a different group. There will always be someone somewhere carrying the Torch, they just may not be carrying it for same aspects that you carried or would carry it for.
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Joined: November 21st, 2001, 1:08 pm

May 8th, 2002, 5:16 pm #8

It is still pretty rough. I think I am still in shock from the whole body going into the ground bit. To much death. There has been to much death and to many funerals. Yep. I think that's what got me.

There was no implied vanity or pride in my post. Only a messed up old fart stabbing around looking for answers in himself. I aint got no pride left. My dignity was traded in for thick skin a long time ago.

As for the smoking bit, it is not a problem. I can even stand around smokers and I do just fine. For some odd reason though I am totally addicted to Altoids. When I get a whiff of smoke, I feel gaggy and I have to have an Altoid. If I don't get the Altoid, I become rather cranky as only I can be. Since I have quit smoking, I finally have time to answer life's great mysteries. It took me 433 licks to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop. Strapping a piece of buttered bread to the back of a cat to see what side it will land on is fruitless... Said kitty will claw the dickens outa you. And rightfully so.

There was some things said here that were actually rather comforting. I thank you all for that.

But I beg to differ. You can do more than change laws. Let me relate.

A long time ago, infront of a Legion Hall where the KKK was frequently meeting, some very brave or very stupid people (Some say both... eh?) handcuffed themselves to the flag pole. They sat in peaceful protest. Soon, you know what happened. Cops got called out. And there was quite a few cops that also attended the "special meetings" in that Legion Hall. Anywho, cops came out with clubs and cattleprods and tear gas. I also seem to recall some dogs being there, but, my memory gets a little hazy past a certian point. And these people were savagely beaten. Something about these people's convictions must have meant something. Somehow the faith that carried them through this horrible even must have shone through. Because one of those officers later became an activist himself, marching and chanting along with the rest of us. So don't tell me that deep social change aint possible. So how did I know that this happened? Well, lets just say I had a front row seat.

If you want something bad enough, it is yours to take, but, only if you pay the price required to get it.
is so painfully high that few among us have the courage to sign that blank cheque.

Your post had me thinking in ever-broadening circles this day, about the costs of social change, and our hopes and expectations as we sign that cheque.

As you point out, it is not a single act, but a path.

I got thinking about the Inuit leader who died in a Montreal hotel room, of alchoholism, after a lifetime of voluntary exile from his people while he pounded away at the 'system' to get a fair deal for his people. He was brilliant and stubborn and successful, but the cost of that success was alienation from the very people and things he was trying to protect.

I got thinking about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which became law in 1982. Without the American Civil Rights movement, I believe it would not be the grand document it is.

I got thinking about the courage of Svend Robinson, our first openly gay member of Parliament. His courage has made things easier for many, although homosexuals still face knee-jerk discrimination on a regular basis, and those who do it usually will openly defend their actions.

I got thinking about British Columbia, where the faint hearted government has decided to have a referendum about whether or not they should do the right thing in negotiations with native groups. i.e. they are asking the same folks who begrudgingly serve natives in their establishments whether they ought to finally sign a fair treaty with them.

There is the desire to have something concrete show for a lifetime of sacrifices. But, as far as I can see, the changes that are really worth it take generations.


A great-aunt confessed that when she was a young school-teacher she (and the rest of the community) were aware of the child that lived behind the stove in the kitchen of a certain farmhouse, and never came to school. When that child bore a child, nobody said anything. It was something that you could not discuss and it was just part of the way things were. I do not believe such things are gone, but those who do it can no longer count on being ignored.

My grandfather once told me about his first ever encounter with a black man. (This would have been in the early twenties.) He walked up to him and felt him....his skin and hair. When I asked how the man felt about it, he said "It didn't matter what a nigger thought". Now, my son attends a high school that is a miniature United Nations, and the friends he brings home are from all kinds of wildly differing backgrounds and countries.


Enshrining the notion of equality before the law is important. But so is the neverending need to have folks speak out automatically when they perceive injustice. I am working on the gay-bashing front at the moment. My children are finding it hard to be the ones to stand up and speak out against it, because they believe it will mean the teasing/bashing/abuse will just turn on them.

I am not sure where the courage to chose a road as rife with peril as the civil rights people did comes from. I know even less of how one can stay on that road once the cheques start to clear. I am beginning to believe that it must be such an imperative within oneself that one cannot leave the road. But I am certain that we all benefit, even if the results take all too painfully long to show themselves.

And all that rambling, I am sure, doesn't help much when you are contemplating a lost friend. My condolences to Doc.


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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 4:29 pm

May 8th, 2002, 6:14 pm #9

Is some times finnicky.

You mention the homosexual movement and I feel compeled to say something.

One can not fight for freedom with out fighting for everybody's freedom.

Morally, I do not agree with certian agendas like the homosexual movement and various things like witchcraft. That said howerver, these are people and do deserve the same rights as everybody else. One can not pick and choose what battles they fight for freedom. And this is were the tough part comes in. As much as I might morally object to certian things they do, I am still more than willing to put my own neck on the line to preserve their freedom. All men have a right to live in peace, the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

So many people I see now pick and choose their causes. They will defend one man, but, neglect another. I see this as somehow being wrong. Not sure how it is wrong, it just feels wrong.

As for being alienated, that comes with the job. No matter what you do, once you enter this arena, people are going to think you are some horrible asshole or some beloved saint with very little middle ground. There are some that love me dearly, but, there are many who hate me passionately. I did not do what I did to win a popularity contest, and neither do most of the other folks who have walked this road with me. We did not do these things to be famous... Or for personal gain. We did them because somebody had to do it. Somebody has to do the right thing no matter how socially unacceptable it makes you. There is a certian nobility in suffering. It makes you wise. Children would do well to learn this at an early age. Sticking up for a friend through thick and thin is a good place to start learning some of life's more harsh lessons. And when said kid takes his or her lumps, and comes home, parents should find out why the scuffle happened in the first place. If it was for good reasons, praise and be proud. Bloody noses stop gushing, black eyes clear, bones heal, all those things fade away. Lessons learned can last a life time.

Nobody's hands are tied unless it is a rope of their own making. We all have the power to make change. To become a force of light and goodness. When you learn to take it on the chin and dispell fear, you can stand tall and become a beacon for others. You might do one little thing that might change another human being's life forever. Always take the hard path. Never choose the easy way out. The path of the greatist challenge is also the path of the greatist reward. Cowardice is a powerful restraining force. Learn to get a white knuckle grip and plow into things headlong, full steam, max impact. Live life.
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Sirian
Sirian

May 8th, 2002, 7:40 pm #10

In school we were taught about Dr King, the movement against segregation and oppression of "blacks" (for lack of a better term). We also learned about Aphartide (spelling?), the American Civil War and even the "Stolen Generation" in our own country. And after learning about these events, I cannot help but admire those who took part in these movements. Those who were humiliated, punished, tortured, raped and murdered for the basic human rights that we all deserve.

This man, who I have never met, seen or even read about in my entire life was obviously one of those people. And for this reason, he has my greatest respect, and his family my deepest sympathy.

He was at the forefront in the generation of passion. The time when the western world woke up to itself and freed itself from the chains of oppression that had been brought on by years of prejudice, injustice and over-conservative belief patterns. This was the decade known as the sixties.

Inhibitions were removed from people of that generation. Stripped away by the ever-present threat of compete annihilation. Rather than forcing fear upon people, this threat inspired. It inspired people to fight for social freedoms. It pulled all that was necessary to the front - and pushed all the fluff to the back. The people wanted equal rights. The people wanted no more war. "Do what you need to do today, because you may not get a shot at it tomorrow" was the motivating thought throughout that whole generation. Granted, some of the ways that the youth of the sixties went about doing that was questionable or downright immoral (drugs and free sex being two of the most prominant), but the passion was there. The sheer thrill to be alive another day. The worthy cause that needed an army. Whether that be holding a picket or singing a song. The world was on the Eve of Destruction - and it was realised that there was only one cure - love and tolerance. Love for all, and tolerance for those who were different to you.

Now, the world is different. It has been fifty years since a western country has seen war on their own land. The tolerance and love that were fought for in the sixties have been mostly realised (it may be different in the South of the USA). Legally at least. In this new age that we are living in we are quickly finding that as a people we have no direction. Nothing to fight for. Nothing to pull us out of our complacent mindsets. A (wo)man is judged not on their character - but on their wealth. We are far enough gone as a species that we would rather watch somebody else living their daily lives than live ourselves (the Big Brother phonomenon for example).

So Doc, you are right, the world is changing. It has lost its passion. Everything has become institutionalised. The good fight is now fought with lawyers and judges, rather than with pickets and voices. And no longer is the good fight fought with passion - it is now fought with money. We are now living in the age of the dollar. More than any other age. It has come to the stage where we as a people are trying to exchange our emotions for dollars. As a people my generation is crying out for cheap thrills when it really needs the one thing money cannot buy - passion.

Feel proud that you lived in a time where you had the opportunity to live in that potent emotional state. Commiserate and mourn the deaths of those who were there when the world changed. It is a sad thing when one of the world changers passes away. The flame of passion gets smaller with each one.
It is a sad thing when one of the world changers passes away. The flame of passion gets smaller with each one.

And it grows larger with each new one born.

There is real loss to us all when someone is lost who shines, who sheds light and beats back chaos. Yes it is a sad moment. But the flame of passion gets smaller? No, it does not.

That flame is not something "passed on" from person to person. It's inherent in every person. Those who view themselves as the source of passion are correct, in regard to themselves. In regard to others, no. Passion cannot be given, cannot be acquired; it can only be awakened, uncovered, ignited.

World changers are not special people. They are not a breed apart. They are the best of us, our leaders, our inspiration, our empowered ones, our opportunity to confront truths and to change, but they are just people. "Just", as if that somehow takes anything away from them? No! What diminishes them, if anything, is this idea that the flames are less for their departure.

The value they brought in the first place was the ability to inspire change, to awaken the flame in others. If they touched anybody, made any real difference at all (even to one person), all those they touched burn with that flame.

Do we not know how to mourn? Is there some comfort in embracing the notion that with the body's passing, the essence is gone, the power of spirit removed and diminished? I see an inherent, and striking, contradiction in the notion that somebody made a difference, but that the state of affairs is made less with their passing. Where's the SENSE in that? That could only be true if any difference they made was fleeting, to evaporate without them there to hold it in place, and if so, then what difference was made?

Well that seems to be part of Doc's conclusion. He's mourning for his friend, but it's more than that. He's openly questioning if anything was accomplished after all, and that baffles me. In another sense it makes me angry. Angry, because it is pride. Because you can always choose pride. It's right there, just step into it. Because it can destroy much in little time. He's worked too hard and been through too much to come down to the end of the road and make THAT choice now. I expect more from him. If he doesn't have the strength to hold on through another wave of pain, I understand, I have compassion, but I still hope for more.



Doc said:

There was no implied vanity or pride in my post. Only a messed up old fart stabbing around looking for answers in himself.

OK, fair enough, Doc.

I aint got no pride left. My dignity was traded in for thick skin a long time ago.

Whoa, wait. Hold on. Stop. Alert. Warning.

No dignity left? Hardly. The social dignity of allowing somebody openly to hold a position of superiority and not to challenge them -- to let them walk all over you? Your stories, Doc, do not convey that at all. I read that your sense of dignity is one of your strengths. You relate the KKK protest story, but what do you think touched that cop? It was your dignity, not of the body but the spirit, so strong that you showed your sense of spiritual dignity meant more to you than your safety, health, perhaps even your body itself. You held a mirror up to them all, and some continued to hate, perhaps hating all the more for you not allowing them to sit unmolested in their pride. At least one, though... at least one there was touched. You reached one. He flipped the switch and turned off his pride, uncovered his light, and moved toward goodness. What do you think really caused that? HOW did you make that happen? If that's not dignity, I don't know what is.

As for "ain't got no pride left", as I have defined pride in a previous thread, I don't buy it. And that's the pride I refer to when I say I see a glimpse of it in your post. Because I do. Your negative ego is lying to you, leading you to such uncertainty and confusion that you're here questioning the worth of all you've dedicated your life to doing. That's not the normal course of mourning. Come on, Doc. Flip the switch off. Step out of that. Mourn, and heal, but celebrate your friend's life. Do not embrace any bitterness. Don't let fear grip you.


Well, lets just say I had a front row seat.

So what?

On the scale of those who have sacrificed the most in the furtherance of the cause of human rights, I think it would be fair to say that you're not even anywhere close to being in the top MILLION all time. Million.

There are soldiers who have fought, who have killed (sacrificing in a way you've not come close to, that you've indicated), who have walked amongst death, amongst absolute disdain for and devaluation of human life. You suffer PTSD? That is a strong indication of how much you've suffered, but if you are at all honest in considering it, you know there have been millions who've suffered far worse. What they gave... what they did... what evils they confronted so that YOU would not have to hunt and gather all your own food, face down local warlords or be put in chains and exploited as slave labor, so that you would have it SO EASY you could use smarts to make a living and be free to devote large chunks of time in your life to "causes"; that you would only be beaten at the KKK protest instead of mass tortured and murdered. You've had it easy.

Do you think you really understand war? Or injustice? The kinds of injustice you've witnessed and experience simply pale in comparison to daily existence for most of humanity throughout most of our recorded history. Have you put any of this into perspective? I don't see you picking up a sword or a gun and marching on over to (pick a country) to stand against (pick a regime). You could, of course. But you decided your energies would be better spent with a little LESS sacrifice, and you were right. Wars end. The battlefield changes. Sometimes the battlefield changes because a war has been WON, and because it is human nature to pursue ideals, we don't rest on our laurels, but take up arms against the next level of injustice. There is value in picking up a sword and standing in the way of an evildoing army. In some sense, that MUST happen or must have happened for your brand of idealism to have any place or hope at all. So it is with the future, Doc. The nature of the struggle changes, and you don't seem to be acknowledging that in either direction, neither honoring those who came before, nor those yet to come, but stuck on the pride of viewing your own generation of idealists in some special light, as if you represent both the beginning and the end of enlightenment. Or so I read into your lament of the torch sputtering. What a conceit that is!

I don't see your humility now, Doc. I see pride.

If you don't believe there are those of us who know of (even though we cannot fully understand) the price you have paid, then you've got blinders on. But just as those who came before you changed YOUR world for the better, allowing you to opt out of the gruesome kinds of fights they had to fight, to reach deeper and effect a more widespread and permanent sort of change with a less bloody but more effective action, so it is that in future that more will be achieved with less blood spilt. I'm not going to go chain myself to a KKK building because I don't have to. You covered that ground, won that fight. I can take the KKK flier dropped off on my porch and toss it into the trash, because that's how little power they have left. They can take their frustrations out with individual acts of murder, but so can anybody. The KKK as an institutional power is dead and their reach diminishes monthly. They persuade a few, but truth is not on their side, and their ideology has been wholly defeated at the institutional level.

We don't have to refight the battles you won, or continuously struggle to hold the ground you gained. We do not. We can press on now to another level. Don't MOURN that, for goodness sake, celebrate it! It's a validation of all that you have done.

You dedicated your whole life, suffered beatings, indignity, sacrificed much. Are you really going to come down to the end of your life and hand all of that over to your pride? I sincerely hope you do not.

I know you did much more than change laws, that was not my point. This notion that something is being lost because people aren't out sticking their bodies in the way of injustice in the same way you did... I propose to you that this is the proper course of the struggle. Those who came before you, who had to face much worse, might well have said all the same things about you and your generation. We won't have to fight those battles over again, Doc. Things do get better over time, and the one and only reason for that is that more of us in each generation awaken that flame. The belief that it CAN diminish is a false one. We won't allow it.

I offered you a living example of the overall worth of what has been accomplished: myself and my friends and our lives. I'm saddened that you did not respond to that, but only to the points where I am confronting you. Maybe that focus is indicative of your current state of mind? If you're willing to look past the positives to continuously confront and engage the negatives, then I ask you, have you lost sight of the forest for the trees?

Every generation carries the torch. You and I, Doc, we will be forgotten. We are temporary custodians of the force of god's will, nothing less, and nothing more. You will be forgotten, but the impact of your life will forever ripple forward, touching those yet to come, freeing them from burdens you have suffered, so they might free their children from burdens you never imagined might be lifted. That's life. That's the BEAUTY of death: that our lives shall end, and the wounds and scars we bear shall end with us, that future lives might be brighter, richer, easier, deeper, and always more loving and more loved.

Take comfort in the smallness of your role, as part of a tide that CAN NOT be stopped. For that is what binds you to humanity, our common identity, our oneness, along a chain stretching back and reaching forward, a timeless bond of brotherhood that transcends all. You are a vital link in that chain. For that is real, and your impact is real, and what really matters rolls on.


- Sirian
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