About a year ago, a Seattle cop plugged a guy. Nothing odd about that in-and-of-itself. It happens all the time.
What made this plugging different is the guy who got plugged was an Indian (feather, not dot). As you might expect there was a lot of boohooing in the Indian community; “scalp the cop,” they cried. “Sue the city,” they shrilled. The pluggee, the Indians maintained, was a “little wood carver” beloved by the community. That this dear man should have been brazenly “murdered” by a cop was, the Indians said, an outrage to all right-thinking people.
Well, folks, let me tell you something about this “little wood carver.” His name was John T. Williams and he was a homeless street drunk. He could be seen at all hours of the day or night, tottering and lurching down the streets of Seattle, bottle in hand. John T. Williams slept on the sidewalk, defecated in doorways, urinated in his pants and spewed in the gutter. On more than one occasion, John T. Williams would have some sport by accosting female passers-by. He’d unzip his fly, haul out his wiener and shake it at them. What a guy!
Once in a while, the cops got tired of calls from upset citizens and toss old John in the drunk tank to sober up. And that he did. But after being released, John bee-lined it to the closest 7-11 and loaded up on more Mad Dog. It went on like this year after year.
As to this “little wood carver” business: John T. Williams would come across a stick, take out his rusty knife and begin whittling. If he wasn’t too besotted, what he came up with might look line an Indian totem, or maybe a design for a new Mercedes-Benz. Whatever. In any case, he made a name for himself in polite society, a kind of noblesse oblige thing that made John T. Williams into a sort of pet.
One fine day, a cop stopped John T. Williams and told him to drop the knife. Old John didn’t, so the cop plugged him. We all thought that was that.
Now, some months after his death, the fans of John T. Williams, along with the Indian community, has built a totem pole in his honor and plan to erect it a public place where flowers can be laid at its foot. Excuse me, but wasn’t John T. Williams a shiftless bum? Indeed he was. A bum. So why in the hell are people honoring and lionizing him with a totem pole?
One would think the Indian community would have a member who is intrinsically worthy of such honor. You know, a sober, productive soul who has a family and is appreciated and respected by the entire community. A business leader, perhaps. Or a war hero. Maybe a clergyman. Anybody but this bum.
Well, evidently not.