Friday, October 14, 2005

Freedom, Death, and Beauty as Death

A second of the San Diego activists jailed for not wanting to talk about a meeting the feds wanted information on, were released by U.S. District Court Judge Irma Gonzalez down in San Diego (“FBI in da House,” October 5).

Onell Soto, who has ably covered the case, reports in the “San Diego Union Tribune” that Gonzalez finally gave up the ghost after jailing David Agranoff for two-plus months. “[G]onzalez said she considered it unlikely Agranoff would change his mind and testify, and keeping him in jail would only serve as punishment. Agranoff’s jailing for civil contempt was designed to get him to testify, not to punish him for not doing so.”

Well good for Agranoff who did a very difficult thing; performed an extreme act of principled civil disobedience. He took it on the chin for other people.

By the scribe’s count, that leaves one more, Nicole Fink. What’s Gonzalez doing, applying a tough-o-meter to each individual detainee, keeping the tougher ones, or the weaker ones in longer? It’s not working. Let ‘em go.

And now this from [g]overnor Schwarzenegger’s office:

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Pasadena Marine

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Lance Cpl. Sergio H. Escobar of Pasadena:

“Lance Cpl. Escobar showed extraordinary courage and commitment in serving our country. He will be remembered for his perseverance and determination in fighting for our freedom. Maria and I send our thoughts and prayers to Sergio’s family and friends who mourn his loss.”

Escobar, 18, died Oct. 9 as a result of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forced in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, CA. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, his unit was attached to the 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

In honor of Escobar, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

the scribe’s not sure how many of these notices we have posted on highwayscribery, but we know there’s been enough to dissect this peculiar haiku with an informed hand.

The opening paragraph always repeats what the headline above tells you. In this case that the governor’s making a statement on the death of a Pasadena Marine.

This is to beef up the thin gruel of paragraphs that make up these releases, which, when printed out, look like brief office memos from the higher-ups on grooming or bathroom use.

There is not a lot to say about the life of a soldier: their age, always tragic whether young, middle-aged or older; the intimation that some sort of shared pain is being borne at the Schwarzenegger residence; the strange names of a distant land one man’s mania immersed us in; the weapon that caused death and the injuries which comprised that death; the long litany of numeric associations causing one to think about how many things a soldier can belong to and be associated with when riding in a canvas Humvee through a devastated and hostile desert city (and how little they all mean when the moment of last loneliness is at hand); the frayed honor of having the flag dropped half-mast in your honor, shared on some days with another guy who met the same unfortunate fate.

Tough stuff.

Anyway, here’s another released the same day, Oct. 12:

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Vacaville Soldier

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Staff Sgt. Jerry L. Bonifacio Jr., of Vacaville:

“Maria and I are saddened to hear of this tragic loss. Staff Sgt. Bonifacio’s death is a painful reminder of the dangers our brave soldiers face in protecting our country. Californians are greatly indebted to Staff Sgt. Bonifacio for his courageous service. We send our heartfelt sympathies to Jerry’s family during this painful time.”

Bonifacio, 28, died Oct. 10 in Baghdad, Iraq, when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his checkpoint. He was assigned to the Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, Dublin, CA.

In honor of Bonifacio, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

And this from Juan Ramón Jiménez:

Ideal Epitaph for a Sailor

One must look through the firmament
To find your tomb.
Your death rains down from a star.
The stone does not oppress you, it is a universe
Of dream.
In ignorance you exist
In everything – the sky, sea, and earth – dead.

Piedra y Cielo/ 1917/1918

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