Saturday, November 24, 2007

Free Speech Van

photo Dominick Fiorille/Times Herald-Record

"Many people believe in free speech until you say something they don't like."

Disabled Vet Frederick "Fritz" Kaestner, used to be known as "Uncle Sam" in Monroe, a small town in the Hudson River Valley of New York.

After 9/11 Fritz dressed up as Uncle Sam, painted his car as an American flag, and drove around town all patriotic, to the accolades of his town-mates.

Fritz by the way, has gone in and out of depression for many years, is a Vietnam-era vet (Military Police), and has been both homeless and unemployed at various times. He is, um, unusual, but till now anyway, accepted in his community.

Times have changed.

Recently, Fritz took his 1998 Dodge Ram van and turned it into a flag-covered coffin. He has slogans over the motorized coffin: "Fuck Bush", "Fuck the Republican Party," "Iraq Had Nothing to do with 9/11," and a current count currently reading: "Dead: 3,859," "Wounded: 28,451."

Many parents don't want their children reading his van. Many business owners are afraid him parking near their store will hurt business. And many people just think it's an asshole thing to do.

The cops are backing up Fritz, saying if he parks on public property, he's fine.

Free speech. It isn't about people being comfortable.

Good man Fritz. People are dying. Bring it on.

I have absolutely no use for people who are "okay" with the status quo, with not working their ass off to make a goddamn difference, who sleep well at night with things the way they are.

Fuck that and fuck them. Wake the fuck up and get to goddamn work. These people in the Hudson valley or anywhere in the world, sitting on their ass make me sick.

Gilly died. We have an obligation to speak out with everything we have at our command and I'm not fucking around.

The nice thing about being the Publisher of GNB is, I don't have to fucking settle. Ever. I can speak out. I don't have to wait for anyone.

Go Fritz. Show them what's what.