Thursday, April 23, 2015

Restore John Ford! (Part I)

Restore John Ford! (Part I)

My first encounter with the strange plight of John Ford occurred around July 12, 1996.  It seems I was forever changed.

I was driving from Alabama to coastal panhandle Florida.  Specifically, Panama City.   I would join my wife, already there, for a weekend vacation and a little celebration of our impending 23rd wedding anniversary.

Hey!  I remind the reader I'm a garden variety "everyman" even if charmed by what's outside the box!  That aforementioned "outside" defines the "box" after all, eh? 

To continue, the drive was a relaxed one.  I was casually enjoying the careless and carefree trip.  Ahead of me is two days of good beer, some fun in the sun, and a cessation of college for the summer.  I'd returned to college after retiring from the military to get a teaching credential... but that's a digression and whole other sordid story... 

1996.  These were the comparative golden-ages, reader... pre 9/11 times.  I had more of my teeth and was in a complacent pre-stroke bliss.  Additionally, I was out of the military, horizons were at their widest, and the pressure was way off.  I felt good.

As I drove I listened with distraction to the car radio.  I wasn't really hearing the news or the announcer as I drove and was, in fact, just about to tune to a *hairier* spot on the FM radio dial... when the announcer used the expression "UFO." 

That stopped my hand at the channel knob, eh?  I settled back into the car seat to listen.  I have an interest in UFOs as does any rational person with a soul and even the smallest imagination...

Anyway... The reporter shared (and I paraphrase) that some loopy UFO "whack-job" from Suffolk County, New York had been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit serial murder, actually... alleged murder, in a new, new-age and completely inexplicable if not wholly brain-dead way

It seems this obviously "crazy" person, John Ford, *purloined* a *quantity* of "radium" from the "Infamous" Brookhaven Nuclear Facility!  It was his astonishing plan, I was informed, to break into the victim's house... put powdered "radium" into the victim's toothpaste, just to start... and kill him as a result of the ensuing radiation poisoning!  Let's have a cognitive re-set.  Back the tape up.  Grok it in its fullness.

Seriously, a little like murder by radioactive whiffle-ball bat... Yeah, enough times in the right spot and homicide, after years, will result... but come on!

I remember thinking that this incredibly hapless fellow must be one mondo-bionic dim-bulb of a ruminating snot-gobbler... sincerely conceive of a stunt like that!  How could it, remotely, work.
Consider, wouldn't it take years to dispatch someone in that manner (if it worked at all!), and what about the logistics of the ongoing act, itself? "Radium" is 'hot' stuff!  It is easily detectable!  It can leave a long-lasting and incriminating trail wherever it goes! 

Moreover, I'd think when the victim turned his lights off to retire for the night and mistress or family member noted that Daddy's mouth glowed in the dark?  Why... it might have meant something to someone! 

Frankly, I found the whole episode too puzzling, too unlikely, and too "just plain" dumb.  Consequently, I couldn't put it out of my mind.

...Something about it just wasn't right!  Righteously, curiosity's fuse was assiduously lit

Time warp...

It's a decade and much change later, now.  Saddened in an enraged extreme regarding what was revealed to me, I make my report. 

From the beginning, I discovered that there is much, much more to the Ford affair than meets the eye!  The plummeting rabbit hole goes decidedly dank and unclean.  The provenance of that corruption does not remotely belong to Ford, either, I hasten to add.

Right off the bat, there were perplexing surprises...

Consider... someone 'unsettled' enough to conceive of putting radium in a person's toothpaste... well, such a person must have some kind of 'history' of aberrant behavior, wouldn't you think?  I mean, a guy like this doesn't spring fully formed from the head of Zeus, you know?  There must be some kind of record or audit trail of psychotic deviancy... wouldn't that be fair?

But no—there's no such record!  In fact, the absolute and exact opposite is the case!

John Ford was a model citizen, reader, a retired court officer, and a holder of a college Master's degree.  He was good to his mother, who lived with him at the time, and though he had yet to marry, he'd dated and gotten close a couple of times; he's a garden-variety every-man, too, I suspect! 

Or was...

He was a registered Republican (for which he can be forgiven...I suppose), but he's productively active and well known in local politics (the point!)!  Moreover, he's known to weep at the suffering of small animals and periodically rescued stray dogs from the pound.  Additionally, he volunteered selflessly during civic emergencies... He'd have been a nobler hero on September 11th than "America's Mayor, Rudy Giuliani ... I've no doubt.

Let's cut to the chase!  John Ford was a proverbial community PILLAR, reader! 

Also proverbially, anyone who's known John Ford at all reports only that it is "impossible" Ford be involved in a conspiracy to murder anyone... much less and especially someone as high profile as the intended victim, John Powell!  Powell, FYI, was the biggest wheel in the Suffolk County, New York political machine—the biggest such "machine" in the country!

I mean "machine," of course, in the most derogatory manner.

...Think, for a moment, about the *influence* of a "political machine" just proscribed. Think what horror it could impose, ...and throughout a slew of conflicted government departments or agencies, institutions beyond accounting... ...and hip-shooting private agencies, too!  That's what criminal enterprises have, you see: off the books agency and activity.

...Let that sink in for a moment!  Reader, stuff like this going on, unceasingly and increasingly, is common enough to require no citation.  This is forgetting Suffolk is legendary for its traditional corruption and John Ford, apparently, one of its few true-blue straight-shooters... I digress...

John Ford was something else, too, friends.  He was stubborn

For cause?  Why, it's reported he could get so far up your nose you could feel boney knees grinding down north of your gum-line!  Additionally, he was prone to explore every inch of his constitutional *rights*—to every corner of an ethical envelope, too

Not fortuitously apparently, Ford was a retired court officer as already mentionedHe'd observed how a litigious Suffolk county worked.  He wasn't a bone-head, he wasn't a complete dupe, and he wasn't a ready fool, but he was a *Boy Scout*, reader, I suspect.  He thought the Constitution of the United States was a living document, I believe, actually meaning something...  that he had a right to be righteous.

Yes, Ford was an honorable man then (as now, I'm betting), but if you disrespected him or discounted him you'd quickly hear about it.  Ordinarily, he knew how to make the system work!  That *system*, though, would turn on him like Sigourney Weaver's *Alien*... and cocoon him, still!

Finally, John Ford was something else, notwithstanding.  He was EASY to discount, reader.  He was EASY to marginalize.  He was easy to discredit!  Fairness and Justice, of course, must be entirely discarded, but... ...easy.

Subsequent smirking writers of obviously uninformed and suspect bias would later portray him as a pathetic and ineffectual mook with failed political aspirations... a loser, a loser who lived with his Mom

Prone to be portly, he looked a little like Elmer Fudd and that distinctive appearance was unfortunately accessorized (it's been said, I don't hear it myself ) with the voice of Daffy Duck. The poor guy was roundly and assiduously pre-positioned for the disrespected fringe.  Moreover, he was a cop, remember, in a prison general population for a time.  Dwell on that.  

Still, Ford had a sincere crust—he was tenacious, contentious, and certainly tendentious...!  He took no crap!  I'm betting I'd like John Ford!

John Ford may have been one last thing, reader.  He may have been crazy!  Let's all take a deep breath.

If he was, good reader... (big if) he was benignly and efficaciously so!  Take it out of your equation!  Besides, benignly crazy is not against the law, yet, even in 2015!

Moreover... and note this... he was interested in what the truth was; he was knowledgeable and talented with regard to *ferreting* that truth out! He knew how to organize the *troops* to chase a bear through the freakin' buckwheat, make no mistake! 

He was active in local government, remember; he understood about "grassroots" activism!  Verily, he was a clear and present danger to de rigueur official criminality, and he was an obvious threat to its official if crooked Status Quo!

And... (...and it's a big "and"!) was not a preponderance of the persons around him, by any means, who thought he was remotely crazy to begin with, reader!  Intense, assuredly! Obsessive, perhaps!  Driven, certainly!  Eccentric, mayhap!  Productive, verily! 

Crazy?  Uh-uh.

Moreover, the former "less than intrepid" and "shallowly discerning" persons iterated as reporting Ford as a pork-chop short of a mixed grill?  These presumed his insanity largely because he "...believed in UFOs." 

Hey!  FLAG DOWN!!!  

So does Jimmy Carter!  So does Stanton Friedman!  So does Edgar Mitchell, and, very likely... so do YOU, reader!   I stand without reservation... if some trepidation!

Why?  The question's begged when the reader's turn comes to be singled out for gulag!  ...My own turn!
I digress... ...But not by far, eh?

Part II in the saga is ahead...