11.09.22 The execution of Troy Davis in Georgia
The problem is the misconception that capital punishment is a deterrent to murder. It isn't. When one is in the position of contemplating taking another human life, that person does not make their decision based on: A) life in prison isn't a bad deal, so I will, or B) I'm afraid of the death penalty, so I won't. In every case of murder, it happens because that person feels JUSTIFIED in doing it, whether they find their spouse in bed with another, they feel that society has left them no other choice but to rob banks, or are sacrificing their own life in an act of mass murder for some supposed greater good.
I believe that we will never put a meaningful dent in the murder rate until society accepts, across the board, that it is always wrong to kill a human being, unless it is done because there is no immediate alternative in defending a human life. Other civilized countries understand this; we are the lone exception. They understand that any system of justice based on imperfect human beings is itself, imperfect by default. We alone seem to cling to the proposition "Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out."
It is morally, and irretrievably wrong, to kill a human being, no matter how guilty, when that person is in secure custody, and no longer a threat to society. To do so is a crime in itself, and the guilt of it is not diluted when spread among a judge, jury, prosecutors, witnesses, review boards, all the way up to a state governor.
In 1935, a black man was lynched without any due process in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, for attacking a white woman, who was the only witness. After the mob put a clothesline around a handcuffed Reuben Stacey's neck and raised him off the ground from a tree branch, a deputy there shot Stacey, then passed his handgun around the crowd, reloading a number of times, telling the 25 to 30 people there that it was their duty to take part. The coroner later counted 17 bullet wounds in the body, which was left hanging in the tree for three hours, as thousands reportedly drove by to see it. Within 48 hours, a local grand jury absolved the lawmen involved.
The number of people involved with Stacey's murder does not dilute nor diminish the injustice and outrageousness of the crime. Neither does whatever inherently imperfect system of justice that we assemble today. It is, and always will be, morally wrong to take the life of another helpless human being, no matter how JUSTIFIED society collectively feels it is. Only when society collectively ceases to accept that excuse, will its individual members start backing away from applying it themselves.
If you are reading this, consider yourself in a very select and rare minority. A true and unique individual. For as far as I know, no one is reading this. I may only be writing this for the pure therapeutic value of writing it. "If a tree falls in the forest," as it were. Or maybe "primal scream" therapy.
But some have liked other things I've written, and have encouraged me to write more. I have even threatened to write a book several times, no, make that SWORE I'd write a book, but of course, it wouldn't be the first time I've been caught swearing. Mark Twain even said that everyone would learn to swear well.
Anyhow, I don't actually have a firm idea of what I'm going to write here, but I'm quite determined that that fact won't stop me. It may be some silly observations about daily life that happen to me, or anyone else; it may be some personal rants that I feel compelled to make regarding politics or religion; it might well be recollections of my experiences as a musician. I might write about military aviation history, or astronomy, or ornithology, or any random thing that crosses my mind. I may well put some links here to other things that I've discovered on the web that I feel should be shared. I guess we'll see. Or… at least, I will, if no one else is reading it.
For anyone who doesn't know me, allow me to introduce myself:
My given name is Boyd Clair Williamson. My Dad's name was Boyd Roe Williamson, and his Dad's name was Boyd Norman Williamson. In spite of all this lovely tradition, a lot of my closest friends call me "Zoid." That's short (and so am I) for "Zoid Asteroid Machine," a pseudonym stage name that I started using in the late '70's, when I was the guitar player in a wild and wooly rock band called "THE…VERS," and is a stage name that I still use today.
I am duly proud of my family name, but the only times I am addressed that way today tends to be by certain government agencies, bill collectors, and ex-wives, so it tends to scare me a bit when I'm addressed that way. "Zoid" was originally a nickname applied to me by my closest musician friends who knew me best, reflecting the fact that I am a bit of a "space case," and is a badge of honor referring back to the most famous and exciting time of my life so far, when I was in a full-time rock band, playing all over the Midwest, and introduced that way onstage, so it is still the handle that a lot of my closest friends use for me now. When I introduce myself to someone today, I typically tell people my real name, and then say "my friends call me "Zoid.'"
During the late '70's, my already-in-use nickname "Zoid" was expanded to "Zoid Asteroid Machine" by probably the most gifted and outrageous human being I've ever had the pain and pleasure to know and work with, Jimmy C. Hall, Jr., also known as "Mondo Vers." Although we never made the "big-time" as rock stars together, we convinced a lot of people across the Midwest that we were going to be, and my association with him has been a very large part of my life. "Mondo" passed away a decade ago, but he is still with me in more ways than one. Much more on that later.
Now, I realize that the name "Zoid" is not entirely unique today. There have been at least a couple of cartoon characters over the past couple of decades that have used it in whole, or in part. When I did a search for the internet domain "zoid.com" ten years ago, it was already taken by a domain-squatter, and is the site of some sort of company offering security solutions of some sort today. But when I first started using it as a stage name, it was pretty darn unique.
In fact, I'd already been using "Zoid Asteroid Machine" for a few years with THE…VERS onstage, when I happened to pass by the toy department of a Woolworth's, and noticed an entire kiosk full of plastic, snap-together sci-fi models labeled "ZOIDS - the Pre-Hysterical Monster Machines," produced by the Japanese manufacturer TOMY. Oh, if I had only invested in a trademark on the name, I likely could have gotten a royalty on every one they sold. Damn!
So here I am, writing and swearing in good Mark Twain tradition. This seems like a good place to sign off for now. If anyone out there is actually reading this, and is interested in seeing more, please send me an email at <email@example.com> and let me know. I might well be writing it just for you!
What a place to start. This is kinda like a movie that opens with the main character in an impossible situation, then segues into explaining how it got that way.
Anyhow, this is Zoid's Blog. What I'm going to write about here has few rules, in fact, I can't think of any. I will try to make it understandable. I don't know much in terms of formal rules of style, or even formal rules of English language usage. I don't actually know a past participle from a purple pair of panties. But I think I have an accumulated knack for writing pretty clearly, I'm fair at spelling, and manage to correct most of my mistakes. Thank God for computers!
So I open here at a Motel 6, with my faithful kitty, Zephyr. I've been living here for about a month, since selling the most valuable guitar I've ever owned, a Rickenbacker 331 Light Show Stereo, that I'd owned since the early '70's. I swore that I'd never sell it, but having no place to live, no place to crash, and not even anywhere to park my '96 Chrysler minivan, made me utter a few swearwords, too.
Being homeless isn't much fun, folks. I was trying to get some sleep in the driver's seat, with the windows open, Zephyr in a carrier on the passenger seat, sweating in the Florida summer night, being eaten by mosquitos. The van is stuffed to the gills with my band gear, plus whatever clothes I could cram into it. Visiting gas stations and fast food places, just to go to the bathroom, briefly wash, and get something cold to drink. Trying not to be an utter vagrant, I would usually buy something, often the two-fer chili cheese hot dog special at Circle K or 7-11 with my very limited funds. A couple weeks of that made keeping my treasured Rickenbacker seem rather irrelevant.
I've never been terribly religious, but as they say, "there are no atheists in foxholes." Sweating through those long nights in the van has compelled me to beg for hours to whatever God there is to either just let me die, or live like a normal human being. I thank Him for what I have, but the torture of bleak uncertainty is simply cruel by any standards.
By comparison, the Motel 6 room is heaven. It has TV with a few cable channels, and reasonably fast wi-fi internet. It has a decent shower, an ice machine, and Zephyr is as happy as a puppy in the park.
But now the money from the Rick has run out, and I'm trying to find a reasonable buyer for my vintage '76 Marshall 2100 combo guitar amp, another item that would have been smart to keep forever. It's the last of the guitar amps I've sold during the past year, among them an original '65 Fender Deluxe Reverb, and a '64 Transition model Fender Champ Amp. Both good investments, which I'd owned for some 35 years, now fond memories.
I had been under consideration for a retail job with Apple during the past few weeks. I'd submitted my application and resume online, and was invited to a Hiring Event. A one-on-one interview followed a week later, and I thought both had gone well, but I received an email yesterday informing me that "we have chosen to move forward with other candidates that meet the needs of today." I've been using Macs for over 15 years, but I imagine that they want good-looking kids who are a whiz with iPhones and iPads, neither of which I have.
iPhones and iPads, that is; kids, I do have, just not with me. They're all 18 or older, and the unfortunate circumstances of my life dictated that I was not able to experience near enough of the joys of being with them as they grew up. I can't begin to tell you of the hole that has left in my heart. But at some point in this blog, I will try, and also give some clues into the life of an exiled outlaw that Child Support has forced upon me, though I've committed no crime, other than being unable to pay all the money they assume I have.
I will also try to find some humor in what I write about. My life would seem to hold very little to smile about for some time now, but I believe that it is likely just a matter of style, which I will attempt to develop. After all, nearly all humor is said to be based on someone's pain, and I have plenty of that to draw on!
Indeed, there is so much in my life to write about, not the least of which is my years of experience in bands, notably Yancy Derringer and THE…VERS. I've often threatened to write a book about it, but have never gotten enough discipline together for any length of time to make it happen. Also, I could never settle on what to include for a beginning, middle, and end, so that the book would make sense as a cohesive work.
But this is the 21st Century. Printed paper is becoming obsolete, along with its products such as newspapers, magazines, and books. And, I believe, so are the lifestyles of people who want to settle down with a book, what with TVs, computers, and everything else that surrounds their lives. People don't have a few hours to commit to a book anymore; instead, they have a few minutes to catch emails and blogs in passing between other things as they multitask. It seems we don't have enough hours in the day to keep up with all of our time-saving devices.
So I've decided to say "Screw the book. I'm just gonna write." I should have started this some time ago, as I have to leave the motel tomorrow, along with my internet connection, and have no idea where I'm going. Which is frankly, pretty scary for me, facing the prospect of living in my minivan again. And to top it off, about a week ago, the power steering went out, and it's not much fun to drive, even if I have the gas to make it go. It's not so bad once it's up to speed, but the wheel absolutely will not turn unless the van is rolling, and trying to maneuver around parking lots and such is like trying to parallel-park a railroad freight car full of rocks.
So, if anyone out there has a job I can do, or a place to stay, or can provide any kind of help at all, please let me know. I'm not that good at pure physical labor, but I'm pretty intelligent at other things, honest, and I'm a darn nice guy besides! You can try emailing me, but if you don't get a response, call or text me on my cellphone at 239 284 zero five three seven.
Next, some background about how I came to be in this situation. This movie isn't over. We ain't even bought the popcorn yet!