How I Became an Activist and When I Learned to Not Trust Mainstream Media in America

I’ve always been an anti-establishment, down with the government type of guy. My activism didn’t come recently.

When I was in the fifth grade I was like the kid that questioned the wisdom of the “get-under-the-desk-and-cover-your-head” drills during the Cold War in the early 60s.

If they damn desks were so great, why didn’t they build the whole school of the same material? It was a valid question, but no one could answer.

In the 8th grade I challenged the Math teacher Mrs. Neff. She was also the faculty sponsor responsible for staging the Christmas Play every year.

“It’s unconstitutional to have a play depicting the Birth of Christ if you’re going to ignore the Calling of Mohammed and the Cleansing of Buddha.”

Again, a good question that never got an answer.

When I was 14 I was the first to volunteer for a protest march from Bath County High School to the School Superintendent’s office when Student Body President Larry Thomson called for a walkout over the arbitrary firing of our Principal Jake Cleek.

At 16 I got into a heated argement with Uncle Ted over dinner about how Nixon was a crook. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which side of the debate I took and I was vindicated two years later when Nixon resigned in disgrace.

Yeah, I’ve pretty much always been anti-establishment and anti-government. Guess that’s why I hate politicians, bankers and lawyers to this day.

I was in the Navy though when my lack of trust in the goernment and my hatret for mainstream media crystallized.

In the early 80s I was stationed on the USS John F. Kennedy. As a Cryptologic Technician, we were all over the map doing different places and doing different things. What’s a CT (Cryptologic Technician?) Be resourceful and look it up.

I had cross-decked to the carrier USS Nimitz and we were steaming around the Med north of Libya.

The mad-man Quadaffi was the boss in Libya and he had been rattling his sword for awhile and Ronnie Reagan had gotten sick of it.

Deciding to show “MoMar” (yah, I know that’s not how it’s really spelled, but I like it) who was boss, Ronnie decided to knock the chip off the Libyan leaders shoulder.

Quadaffi sent word to us (the Nimitz) and also sent a cable — this was before email, remember — that said he was going to defend his territorial waters and the American fleet had better stay out.

Quadaffi then drew an imaginary line across the mouth of the Gulf of Sidra. Calling it the “Line of Death” he would attack any ship, sailor or plane that dared to cross it.

For two more days we steamed around in circles just outside the territorial limit waiting on some guidance and instructions from Washington.

The orders finally came through.

At midnight one night, the Captain got on the ship’s loudspeaker and announced that at midnight we would be going to Battle Stations in preparation for crossing the “Line of Death”. The Capitan went on to tell us that in a few minutes we would be challenging Quadaffi and crossing the line.

Fifteen minutes later the klaxon sounded and we heard the announcement:

“All hands man your battle stations.”

You never know what that sounds like in the core of your body until you hear it on a haze grey American fighting ship and you know it’s for real. Once you’ve heard those six words in that context, you never forget them — or the feeling that sweeps over you.

Buckled down with flack jacket, helmet, gas mask we hunkered in our assigned spaces as two F14’s were launched from the flight deck immediately over our heads.

Listening to the loudspeakers in the compartment, we were connected to the air-to-air communications of the pilots. We heard every word.

Sitting in the reddish glow of battle conditions, listening to the broken and choppy radio transmissions, each of us made our peace for whatever fate was getting ready to hand us.

Ultimately the Libyan Migs were shot down and we exited the Gulf putting the “Line of Death” in our rearview mirror.

Several months later when we got back to the states, I was able to get my hand on some news reports about the situation.

As reported in the American press, Libya launched an unprovoked attack on an American Carrier Group and we heroically fought back and defeated the terrorists.

Hell, most of us were scared silly, so much for fighting “heroically”.

So much for my trust in American’s mainstream media.


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