While Chubby Women Dance, A Good Man Dies
by Michael Koepf, May 11, 2016
An interesting week. A few things happened.
One: a friend shared a tidbit about Mendocino public school education. Some years ago, his stepson was smoking dope at high school. It was affecting his grades. My friend arranged a meeting with his teacher. The teacher told him not too worry “It’s just part of the local culture.”
Two: A lady I know from Mexico tells me “Americans are lazy.” She was referring to all Americans.
Three: I’m watching television. A swarm of fleshy sports fans are angrily staking out the headquarters of the Oakland Raiders. Some are dressed in costumes—skeleton masks, rhinestone, spiky helmets, etc. All are adults. They’re riot angry because the Raiders might move to Vegas.
Four: My county supervisor, a previous or current (?) member of a self-awareness, sex cult, is divorcing his wife—locally know as the Sex Goddess—after he embroiled the county in a legal dispute because he wanted to bury his former wife in his own back yard.
Five: Prince is dead. News commentators lament and gush; millions mourn; San Francisco City Hall is bathed in purple light, while chubby, middle-aged women dance commemoratively in a nearby square. On TV, there are purple teddy bears piled up along the fence outside the compound where Prince popped his final farewell pill.
Six: John Kerry delivers a commencement address at Northeastern University. He’s doing a hit on Trump, who, oddly, came to Bernie’s defense this past week chastising Hillary and the Democratic Party for short changing Bernie on delegates. Ketchup Kerry goes on to inform the graduates “You’re about to graduate into a complex and borderless world.” The students and future elites cheer madly. National borders are no longer relevant. Graduates can move to Pakistan and buy a cheap house.
Seven: Mark Zukerberg turned thirty-one. Recently, he consigned ninety-nine percent of his mega billions to a charitable LLC trust, but I read in the NY Times that, although it may sound admiral, it’s really a tax dodge and a method of secretly dispersing political funds.
Eight: Charles Keating, also thirty-one, is dead. He was a Navy Seal. ISIS killed him in Syria. I knew Charles Keating. I met him briefly last fall at a relative’s wedding reception. It was a beautiful, warm evening in San Diego. The city lights across the bay shimmered on the water. It was a young, attractive crowd. Music wafted across the bay from the up-scale restaurant where people were dancing, eating and enjoying a free bar..
Keating and two pals had driven non-stop the night before from Phoenix to celebrate with my relative and his lovely young wife. Love and promise were in the air. Keating was to be married this fall. For the young woman he loved, love and promise are gone. After dinner, my brother and I spoke with Keating and his friends. All were Navy Seals. My brother has led an adventurous life. He was a deep-sea diver for over fifty years. I was a solider when I was young, a barely effective Green Beret, a military advisor in Southeast Asia to the Vietnamese and other indigenous groups at the starting line of a terrible war. I also spent twenty years at sea.
I can’t speak for my brother, but there was a tinge of envy in my heart while we spoke with Keating and his friends. Two old guys too old for adventure anymore, talking to three young men serving their country in an adventure we’d never fully know. All three were unassuming guys. They said nothing of their military exploits, although I knew Keating did several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and had received a bronze star in combat. These are the men who keep Americans safe while students cheer for open borders or Americans place purple teddy bears to the memory of drug addled singers. If you met these guys in civvies on the street, you’d never know they were Navy Seals, unlike so many shaved head, tattooed, muscle-bound morons—white, black or brown—who currently strut their stuff as arrogant American males lathered up in self esteem. Keating was the most unassuming of all in his tailored, black and white tux. He had a charming, boyish smile. He spoke clearly and directly, mostly joking about the groom. Keating looks much bigger in the official, Navy photo that they posted after his death. In life he was average size, although what he did for America was never average stuff.
Keating was killed by gunfire in or around Telskof, in northern Syria during a prolonged gunfight. He was part of a rescue team, a quick reaction force, sent to Telskof to extract a twelve “military advisors” imbedded with Kurdish Peshmerga forces. ISIS had overrun them in a surprise attack. Keating’s reaction team successfully saved all of the military advisors. Keating was the lone American killed. He was lost saving his fellow American’s lives.
Although I only met him briefly, I will always remember Keating, especially that lovely, innocent smile and the ribbing jokes he told. I’ve already forgotten Telskof—another dreary sand hole stuck in the Middle East where my President sent a hero to die after my President drew a line in the sand and chickened out on Bashar Assad. People can blame G.W, Bush for whatever they want for as long as their heads stay in the sand, but ISIS is Obama’s deal after he failed to act on Assad and pulled our troops from Iraq before he subsequently sent them back.
Recently, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told Christiane Amanpour of CNN that we’re involved in a “risky campaign” in Syria and Iraq, but “we will defeat ISIS.” How? By droning or bombing every nasty, Islamic killer merged within the civilian population? By sending twelve Americans to rescue another twelve Americans? This is not how a war is fought. It’s all in or all out. Currently, the administration is sending small groups of heroes to confront ISIS to simply maintain political appearances. It’s a facade that pretends President Obama is doing something about ISIS before he shortly returns to the faculty lounge, lecture circuit or mega book contract that awaits him. Appearances are not worth the death of a single person—especially a young American hero like Charles Keating. Condolences to his family; I grieve for their loss.