Man on a fence
By John Kaminski – May 11, 2006 firstname.lastname@example.org
The legendary Greek hero Leonidas held a pass and fended off thousands of Persian invaders with only 13 men (before being wiped out, of course). But the impossible maneuver won the war, and Greece stayed free, at least for that one brief historical moment about twenty five hundred years ago.
So now today, here's our intrepid hero, who occasionally fancies himself that Greek sentinel, sitting uncomfortably on top of a white picket fence, as he watches that fence begin to burn at its base. In fact, the entire fence is engulfed in flame, turning a sickening wrinkled black at the bottom as it creeps upwards to exactly where he is sitting.
He not only knows it's only a matter of time before the inevitable question confronts all living things. But now he also knows that that time is right now, for him, and for everyone else as well.
As the numbers of homeless radically increase on the streets of America and the white train cars get ready to roll from American military facilities, the time to decide is now. It always is.
But decide what, you may ask?
His choice, as he ponders the flames flicker closer to his feet, is either — sound the alarm or go back to sleep? Protest against something he appears not to be able to stop, or simply kick back and live his life as best he can, and let the bleeding people he chooses not to look at it fall dead in their tracks wherever they happen to be?
To aspire, or to expire? Ah, that is the question. When you give up hoping, the process of decay and death accelerates. An essential vitality is lost, and this is true in all living things. The imprint of this concession is now visible in almost all areas of human endeavour. A tedious weariness. A lethargic unwillingness to fight for one’s own survival.
The point the man on the fence has been trying to make is simply not seen by most people — not wanted. It impinges on personal privacy paradigms. They want things that make them healthy, and talking about the issues he has been talking about can make you suddenly unhealthy, or suddenly dead.
But then, so does not talking about them.
The question he asks politely as he watches the spreading fire inch closer to his toenails — is something wrong with this picture? Or is this just the story of humanity playing out perpetually, Romans slaughtering Gauls, Vikings burning England, Columbus cutting off the hands of the Taino, and that boy from Poughkeepsie putting a bullet in the head of an Iraqi woman he had just raped?
What is wrong with the picture if this is exactly the way humanity appears to have proceeded throughout its long and destructive history? You can't change the way things are. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the old saw sings.
Personally, I never liked that tune that much.
So do I accept the mass extermination of the human herd and shuffle off quietly to the dissenter camp — Camp Ashcroft, I like to call it. In most times these opponents of the herd program would be rehabilitated, retrained, as Orwell suggested in 1984. But now the herd is so big that all these camps have no facilities, no purpose except as secure extermination facilities. Maybe the answer to the fuel problem, ey? Maybe Soylent Green.
The policies that have been put in place at Guantanamo and throughout the depraved American gulag now spread all over the world are now being used on the American population.
Consider the operating principles in your mind: the truth doesn’t matter, nobody’s innocent, and anyone can be killed if they don’t play along. That’s the deal. You read about it every day in the newspapers.
Already, the spigots of society have been turned down to a trickle, and many will die of thirst. Even those who have filled their canteens well will feel the drought, as the people of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and so many other places have felt this same sad stark drought for centuries.
Yet some would say this is precisely the pressure created by overpopulation. Meanwhile, they're eating pygmies in Africa, and two million people LIVE in the landfills of Rio de Janeiro, not far from the posh hotels where you play.
The man on the fence rises up and cries out, “Should we try to fix this or just accept it as it is?”
The problem with waiting this long is that the fire is much more difficult to put out, especially since most people don't even believe there actually IS a fire. It simply hasn't occurred to them. Or, they continue to refuse to let the information in. They won’t hear the alarms being sounded in cyberspace, on TV and in front of their own
And what information is that? you may ask.
The Jewish tradition teaches that you are entitled to seek revenge. Is that a good thing or not? And what has it done to our world?
The Christian tradition teaches us to turn the other cheek. And what has that accomplished, except to create a population of more willing slaves?
The tradition of Muhammad (PBUH) espouses a family of humans each of whom has a direct line to God with no intermediary translators necessary, easily the best deal among the monotheistic religions.
The ordinary common sense of an average nonspiritual but honest man can clearly see that all humans are criminals who naturally do what’s best for themselves.
What is it you hoped to be? How much are you willing to learn? As the fire crackles toward where you’re sitting, and your toenails start to curl from the heat, the money runs out, your home is flooded out and geeks in black masks patrol your neighborhood, what are you going to do ... ?
The man on the fence asks himself this question, as the flames lick higher.
John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida whose essays have been seen on hundreds of websites around the world. He is also one of the most censored writers on the Internet, because he dares to say what many believe but are afraid to say themselves. His latest collection, Recipe for Extinction, is available at
Last updated 15/05/2006