It’s hard to tell what constitutes a “bad guy” anymore. You can be the direct or indirect cause of someone’s death or life-altering wounds without much ado. You can deny a significant portion of history. You can even legislate yourself right into someone else’s life, but your name tag still won’t read “Hello, I’m a Bad Guy!”
One guy, Stanley “Tookie” Williams, co-founder of the notorious L.A. gang, the Crips, was put to death. His failed campaign to stay alive consumed a great deal of time and headlines. Celebrities and other famous folk aided his efforts. At his funeral, Williams anti-gang accomplishments were credited by his celebrity supporters as having made amends for the untold numbers of children whose lives he helped to destroy. Meanwhile, a child is being lured into the very gang Williams helped create.
One guy, Dick Cheney, vice-president of the United States, made a surprise visit to Iraq. Eight heavily armed Black Hawk helicopters transported Cheney around the Baghdad area, over the courthouse where Saddam Hussein’s trial is being held, and along the road to the airport where insurgents have attacked many times. Papers and websites across the United States headlined his visit. Meanwhile, America’s wounded streamed out of the same country on the same day with no visit from the vice-president and no headlines of their own.
One guy, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad president of Iran, said the Holocaust is a myth. Meanwhile, in Stuttgart, Germany, 34 Holocaust victims whose remains were recently unearthed during construction near the airport are laid to rest. Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, the chief rabbi of Israel, referencing the coffins as they were lowered into the ground said, “They bear witness to all humanity. They deny the deniers.” While Iran’s president enjoyed global headlines, the victims and Lau’s comments, did not.
One guy, George Bush, president of the United States, has been spying on US citizens without a warrant in an effort to win the war on terror. Meanwhile, 30,000 transit workers, from the same city that suffered with that which President Bush cites as the reason for the war, felt the conditions of their employment were bad enough to warrant going on strike the week before Christmas. They are being fined and lambasted for their effort to improve those conditions. Their strike has been called illegal, but the president may legally spy on each and every one of them.
Thank goodness there’s more than one kind of guy.
One guy, Master Sergeant Robert J Hartman of the United States’ Marine Corps Forces Europe, helped lift over 100 disabled children one at a time into a fire truck that had earlier brought Santa and a host of other Marines delivering toy and candy-filled stockings. Many times deployed, Master Sergeant Hartman served in Iraq at the beginning of the war.
One guy, Pennsylvania’s U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, ruled that the Dover Area School Board acted unconstitutionally when they ordered its biology curriculum to include information about Intelligent Design, a controversial and religiously based idea thought by some to be an alternative to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Several guys, all former gang members, have been actively and steadily working with children and adults in their communities to create programs with activities that serve as viable alternatives to gang membership. Among those who have turned their lives around without benefit of celebrity support are Randolph Garcia of Raleigh, NC, Arnulfo Nava of Chicago, IL , Joseph Rodriguez of Victorville, CA, and Derek Glover of San Diego, CA.
Finally, over 300 guys and ladies from around the world came to Stuttgart, Germany December 15th to attend the ceremony that laid to rest recently discovered remains of our world’s darkest period of inhumanity. Not in attendance was one Iranian President.
While we narrow our definition of what constitutes bad, it’s still not so hard to tell the bad guys from the good guys. The bad guys make it obvious how bad they are with their attempts to look good. Good guys don’t try, they just do.