Sunday, October 19, 2008

Speaking of Arrests - did you know that Mayor Dan Pike spent a week in jail?

A young, idealistic, Dan Pike spent a week in jail after being arrested in Connecticut for protesting the laying of the keel of the USS Ohio, (the first Trident class nuclear submarine) pictured left.

In an August 21, 2008, newspaper interview posted on the net, Mayor Pike told Lea Kahn, staff writer for the Lawrence Ledger, "I was involved in some protests. In Connecticut I protested the laying of the keel of the USS Ohio (at the Groton Shipyard) and I spent a week in jail." According to the Navy site listed below, the laying of the keel took place April 10, 1976 - almost one year after Dan Pike graduated from high school.

In 2007, the USS Ohio was transferred to her new home port located in Bangor, Washington.

An outline of the USS Ohio's construction and history can be found here:

Mr. Pike acknowledged that in retrospect, "I don't think you could look at my actions and say, "He's going to do something in politics." If they did, they didn't share it with me...."

:) -- What a quote!

Mayor Pike told the reporter that he decided to run for mayor after complaining to an acquaintance about the caliber of candidates in Bellingham. "Many of whom were sitting City Council members -- he felt none of them had the necessary skill sets needed to address the issues."

"None of them" had the necessary skill sets needed to address the issues?

Um... on a scale of 1 to 10, how big is Mayor Pike's ego? (1,000).

Its almost Halloween, are there any other "skeletons" that you would like to share with us, Mayor Pike?

*Disclaimer: (it's difficult for me to understand some people's hatred of military personnel) My Step dad is one of the former Base Commanders of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. Both he and my dad (a USAF pilot) served during WW II, Korea and Vietnam. (I also have painful memories of the fathers, husbands, brothers, boyfriends and former classmates who were killed in Vietnam during my childhood). Over the years, I discovered that there is a special bond between members of the military, military families and surrounding communities. Perhaps that bond is the result of the rejection many military families experience when they attempt to move back into civilian life. Many former military families want to live close to bases. The State of Washington is home to Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, National Guard, and Navy bases. Bellingham is home to the National Guard. Military facilities provide jobs and millions of dollars of income for surrounding businesses and communities. Bellingham, like most cities has a diverse population - active military, national guard, reserve military and retirees. Not everyone who lives here is a war protester.

The article, titled, "Lawrence is hometown to Mayor of Bellingham, Washington." (The Lawrence Ledger 08/21/08) can be located at this address:
USS Ohio:

Another perspective - from a young man who served in Afghanistan:

Here's an excerpt from correspondence that Stephen Fortunado's mom received from him before he was killed in Afghanistan. He is expressing his distress regarding the lack of understanding in this nation about the crisis in the Middle East.

Personally, I think its healthy to consider other points of view when discussing highly charged issues, such as U.S. military activity abroad.

Out of respect for the thousands of men and women who are serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, I would like to dedicate this excerpt from Stephen's correspondence to our local elected city officials.

"If I may … I’d like to say something…. Just to get it out there so it is clear.

To all the pampered and protected Americans who feel it is their duty to inform me that I am not fighting for their freedom, and that I am a pawn in Bush’s agenda of greed and oil acquisition: Noted, and [expletive deleted] You.

"I am not a robot. I am not blind or ignorant to the state of the world or the implications of the "war on terrorism." I know that our leaders have made mistakes in the handling of a very sensitive situation, but do not for one second think that you can make me lose faith in what we, meaning America’s sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers in uniform are doing.

I am doing my part in fighting a very real enemy of the United States, i.e. Taliban, Al Qaeda, and various other radical sects of Islam that have declared war on our way of life. Unless you believe the events of 9/11 were the result of a government conspiracy, which by the way would make you a MORON, there is no reasonable argument you can make against there being a true and dangerous threat that needs to be dealt with."

Thank you, Stephen.

It breaks my heart to know that young men like Stephen feel abandoned and shunned by the American people for serving in Afghanistan or Iraq. (It's just like Vietnam all over again).

What an incredibly sad thing to write -- just before you are killed by the people you are attempting to protect America from. People who have publicly claimed responsibility for attacks against the U.S. My deepest sympathy to his mother, family and friends.

Apparently, the anti nuclear/war protester coalition obsession with the USS Ohio has not ended. Port Angeles USCG currently provides security for the USS Ohio:

Stephen Fortunado's entire statement can be read here:

MSNBC has excellent footage of American soldiers defending themselves from the Taliban. Click the video at the top of the page. Afghanistan news can be found under world politics.

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