Making America safer today!

January 22, 2016 § 128 Comments

There is a big Marine Corps base south of here called Camp Pendleton, and a Marine Corps Air Station called Miramar. Now don’t get me wrong, I’n no fan of the military. Yes, I know my father was a vet, and freedom isn’t free, and blah blah blah, but in a country where we spend zillions on defense and haven’t won a war since 1945 despite failed efforts in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Somalia, and a bunch of other places, it seems like our military is less a fighting force than it is a budget appropriations boondoggle.

$1 trillion for a fighter jet that doesn’t really work, etc., and that $1 trillion as in “enough zeroes to give a college degree to every American who wants one.”

Of course that’s to be expected because the military dredges from the bottom of the barrel when it recruits, generally going after the poorest, worst educated, most future-less kids who can be suckered into a job that offers their parents a few grand in death benefits for the chance to have the child’s face melted off by an IED on the streets of Baghdad.

But don’t worry, son, we’ll put an “I support the troops” bumper sticker on the back of the SUV and make sure that you get preferential seating on Southwest after finding bin stowage for your prosthetic everything.

Our military sucks, not because of anything I say, but because the average person wouldn’t join if you paid them, which is exactly what the military does. We have an army of mercenaries, and rightly so. Everyone knows that unless you are a career officer retiring with a rank of major or higher, the military is a horrible substitute for a college degree, and everyone knows that despite all the lip service to our “heroes,” they’re treated like dogshit once they return from combat and that their chances of living homeless, addicted, horrible lives is sky high. To top it off, the officers for whom a military career is actually a decent one all have college if not advanced college degrees.

If the best preparation for a career and a life you could give your child was a non-com job in the military, society generally recognizes you as having failed miserably. And please don’t email me about how your child got her life straightened out in the Marines, how yours is a multi-generational military family, or how it has worked out for your kid. In general, it’s a dead end with potholes and falling down, roofless structures with their windows all shot out.

The “benefits” of serving in the military are so obviously non-existent that recruiters don’t even bother to set foot in high schools, especially wealthy ones, who prepare most of their students for college. That’s because being told what to do and then shot at looks like a raw deal compared to smoking dope for five years, sleeping around, learning stuff that you like, and getting a job with Google. The people who run the military will admit all this in private, and more: Recruits are terrible and it’s virtually impossible to fill quotas with qualified volunteers.

Top it off with the fact that we don’t have any more good wars to fight, that there isn’t a draft, and that most military jobs don’t prepare you for work outside the military, and at the end of the day you can’t escape the fact that today’s service is a badge of failure. Doubt it? Go take a poll of the homeless people in LA’s skid row. Ex-military are everywhere. Ex Wall Street traders are virtually non-existent. Ask managers at good firms what they want in a new hire and they will say, “A degree from a good college, an internship, and good communications skills.” Few will say, “A kid from a shitty high school with no college who can’t spell or read and who has served six tours in Iraq.”

Yes, I know your parents and grandparents saved democracy, but that was then. Now the only thing you get from being in the army is preferential seating on an airplane, which most people can get by paying $40 and don’t have to donate their youth to some rebel uprising in a Middle Eastern war zone, fighting for the rights of Exxon and the rights of a Saudi prince to execute bloggers and repress women.

Still, there are more practical reasons to be down our military, and nowhere do our armed forces show their undemocratic stripes more shamelessly than on Camp Pendleton. This federal facility blocks access to all cyclists traveling between San Diego County and Orange County. In the past, all you had to do was show a driver license, smile, and they’d wave you through.

But no more. A few days ago the USMC brought the hammer down on a group of mountain bikers who had unknowingly crossed onto the air station. They even confiscated their bikes, proving that even though the USMC gets its ass kicked up one side and down the other by a bunch of mule-riding, heroin-selling, illiterate and ragtag Taliban, it can sure as hell run roughshod over a few skinny bicyclist computer programmers. Tough guys, one and all.

However, or perhaps because the fighting forces of the USA have returned home soundly beaten from the last few engagements overseas, the good commanders of Camp Pendleton have now put a new set of rules set to take place on 3/1/16 that require anyone who wants to cross the base–i.e. ride a bike–to register on a website ANNUALLY, be approved, and carry an I.D. All this so that we can use land that is already ours. Imagine the havoc that’s going to wreak with people from out of state, or out of area. Foreigners won’t be allowed to register.

What’s worse are the banana-suckers on the cyclist advocacy side who have posted this information in an attempt to “work with” the base commander. Why aren’t we calling this buffoon out and asking him why the hell he’s commanding a military base if he can’t deal with a few cyclists? I know his armed forces suck, but it’s news even to me that a handful of shaved leg bike pedalers armed with water bottles pose a security threat to the USMC, an arm of the military that once prided itself as being pretty much fearless and proved it at Guadalcanal, Okinawa, Pelelieu, and Iwo Jima.

How times have changed.

END

Update: USMC Air Station Miramar, formerly known as Top Gun, confiscated the bikes on trails that were not marked, but that were on federal property adjacent to the popular Mission Trails community park system. Riders confirm that the signage is either very confusing or, depending on where you enter the trails, nonexistent. This are is now patrolled by MP’s in flight suits because, bicycles. USMC will return the bikes after the fine has been paid by the trespasser. That’s the new America: Militarized and policed to the teeth. Criticize it and you’re a treasonous liberal lefty America-hating fact-less idiot: http://www.cbs8.com/story/31018621/marines-confiscating-bikes-of-trespassers-on-base.

————————

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and add to the mystery of why a fighting force that is second to many has to pump up its small penis ego on bicycle riders. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

§ 128 Responses to Making America safer today!

  • Carlos says:

    So is it treasonous to tell the donkey-riding gun-toting opium farmers in Afghanistan that all they have to do to do to have the marines fear them is to shave their legs and trade a donkey for a bike?

    • fsethd says:

      No but it’s kind weird that for all their bike-confiscating expertise they couldn’t ever get Mullah Omar, the one-eyed Taliban founder who got around … On a bike.

  • Toronto says:

    I say no more of you hovering on the sidelines of a political future. Time to dive in skinny ass first!

  • KDH says:

    Geez. Give credit where its due. We kicked ass in Grenada.

  • Jim says:

    Wow, this one is almost a subscription ender. I have too many friends with good careers, who got their education because of serving our country.

    • fsethd says:

      Those days are gone. Most modern military recruits are picked from bad schools wit poor prospects and do not go on to college. Check any of the online articles written about the crisis in recruiting.

      • Serge Issakov says:

        A very thought-provoking article, Seth. Thanks.

      • fsethd says:

        Thanks, Serge. Unfortunately, at the moment “thought-provoking” seems to mean mostly “piss everyone off.” As I said before, that’s what happens when you write sober. Ultimately, the idea of guys with guns taking away bikes is flat wrong.

  • dirtmistress says:

    Those 40 plus mountain bikers and 3 dirt motor bikers don’t get their bikes back until they appear before the magistrate and pay a 500 dollar fine. Best estimate on bike return is a few months. The horrible neer do well mountain bikers have repeatedly stated that signed trails that say Keep Out and multiple access points to the trails make it virtually impossible to know if you’re on military land or not. Their pleas are being ignored by the marines and by the San Diego Mountain Bike Association who stated that they should know because. BECAUSE power tripping assholes. That’s why.

    • fsethd says:

      Yes. Power tripping assholes who can’t fight wars but who can “secure the perimeter ” against bicyclists.

      • Jim says:

        We dominated Iraq and Afghanistan rather quickly with less casualties in 10 years than we lost in a day during WWII. Problem is the pussy ass whiny left in our country doesn’t allow us to finish the fight and occupy like we did in Japan and Germany. Imbedded media and the left is why we haven’t been successful since WWII. Keep it to cycling

      • fsethd says:

        You dominated Iraq with 300,000 civilian deaths and left a country in tatters that is now partially known as ISIS. Your victory in Afghanistan is so complete that the Taliban runs everything except Kabul. The cycling bullshit on Pendleton is another example of tough-ass guys with guns bullying the weak and unarmed. How much more cycling do you want?

      • channel_zero says:

        Define “dominated?” Because we’re still trying to “fix” it. Americans very poor grasp of history and bloodlust means most never bothered to examine how many empires ended trying to “fix” Afghanistan along with ignoring our prior efforts militarizing generations of fighters who later became “terrorists.”

        ###########

        The typical military job doesn’t enable someone on base to get some signs made (not free) then get them installed on the perimeter. So, I have some sympathy for the way the situation is playing out. It’s not optimal for anyone.

        Wanky, first rule of military spending is it’s an expansionary economic policy, and source of votes, until it isn’t.

      • fsethd says:

        This is what happens when you blog sober.

      • jim says:

        Took a couple months to topple Taliban and install an interim government. Took a couple months to take over Iraq. What happened after both invasions is a different story.

      • fsethd says:

        And unfortunately you don’t get the one without the other. You didn’t win the war when you destroyed everything, fired the old military, then picked up stakes and left. And it’s not true that it was done in a couple of months. The “last” troops and military personnel are STILL THERE.

    • Matt Smith says:

      In the defense of the SDMBA, what the fuck are they going to do with the “pleas” of which you speak? A bunch of volunteers and one paid position vs. the military? The SDMBA did they best they could with social media blasts and general spreading of the word, and that’s all they could really do. Otherwise, dirtmistress, I completely agree with your points on signage. I was very lucky, as I went riding out there all through those canyons exactly 2 weeks before the mountain bikers were held up. When I was in college, I rode there all the time, even encountered a marine who gave me a verbal warning followed by some really nice conversation about mountain bikes and motorcycles. I haven’t ridden those trails in 5 years (moved out of San Diego) and the current signage when I finally made it back out in December was atrocious: One sign, placed on one side of the canyon, and that’s it. If you take another trail (and there are many access points), you miss it entirely. With the trillions we spend on planes that don’t work and practice bombs we drop on dirt, why not update a few of those signs? Why not add a few more signs? Why not put up some cheap fencing? I’m sure there are some new recruits who need to be disciplined. The trails in that area are so well developed, so perfectly buffed out and so obviously ridden on the daily, any person from out of town who wanted to do some exploring could easily make the mistake of riding into areas off-limits.

      • dirtmistress says:

        Matt, you don’t really sound like you’re defending SDMBA. That’s ok. They are a great group but I was taken aback by the video they put out chastising riders for not knowing the boundaries, insisting there are plenty of signs and saying; ‘gee, if you’d joined our group, you would have known.’ I’ve been mountain biking over 20 years and only recently heard of that group. The guy in the video was to smug. He did look like a marine though. Have fun in the dirt.

      • fsethd says:

        How hard is it for the guy with the grenade launcher, the rifle, the pistol, the baton, the radio, and ground/air support, to tell you politely to leave? Answer: It’s not hard, but it’s not fun, either.

    • dirtmistress says:

      Matt, you don’t really sound like you’re defending SDMBA. That’s ok. They are a great group but I was taken aback by the video they put out chastising riders for not knowing the boundaries, insisting there are plenty of signs and saying; ‘gee, if you’d joined our group, you would have known.’ I’ve been mountain biking over 20 years and only recently heard of that group. The guy in the video was to smug. He did look like a marine though. Have fun in the dirt.

      • Matt Smith says:

        How does that not read as a defense? There is nothing they can do against the USMC other than try to spread the word. Then, when people get held up, riders point the finger at the SDMBA (some have even assigned blame for not posting their own signs. Check out their facebook page), accuse them of “ignoring pleas” and otherwise not doing their job. Trail advocacy is hard work and if you’ve been riding mountain bikes for 20 years then hopefully you’ve at least put in some time with your local trail group to help groom, rebuild, and develop sustainable trails that people can ride every day.. If you haven’t, I really urge you to reach out to your local mountain bike trail group and spend some time giving back. It’s truly rewarding. If you have, then good on you! Cheers! Matt

      • bejoneses says:

        I really like the logic employed by both the Marines and SDMBA. If you want to cite trespassers, then fine. It’s your property, whether or not you puts signs up, and whether you’re hiking, biking, or whatever mode of transportation. But to confiscate bikes, seems to me a general slap in the face specific to the cyclists, since they didn’t confiscate anything from the hikers that were cited (maybe they should have taken their shoes?). And SDMBA’s response, is a “we told you so” video. At the least, they could stand up for the cyclists and help them get their bikes back…

      • fsethd says:

        You’d think … and then the whole pre-registration for the security of the base crap.

      • Matt Smith says:

        Hey Ben, the SDMBA is organizing free legal consultation, so I suppose that’s a start. What else is the SDMBA supposed to? The military took advantage of its citizens in this situation by poaching cyclists in an area that is very much on the outskirts of this whole “contested area.” Pointing the finger at a group that is, despite being the only game in town, a very small group that is really helpful in the areas of trail advocacy, but powerless in a situation such as this. However, the SDMBA President’s video is definitely not the best way to address the community. I felt my blood steam up, as I flat out disagree with his statement that the signs are there. There are signs, but they are not as abundant as he makes it seem, one of which is in disrepair and incredibly bent/smashed up. My whole concern lies with the general assignment of partial blame on a small group that has actually benefited members and non-members alike by opening access to trails in San Diego when it’s clearly not their fault that the USMC confiscated 40+ mountain bikes.

    • jim says:

      You do realize we still have troops in Germany and Japan right? Obama pulled out early and ISIS is now his baby. It is true we deposed both governments in months. We did not properly manage the aftermath. For you to say our guys can’t fight is utter complete bullshit.

      • fsethd says:

        This is not true. The Iraq War ended in 2011 after eight years. That is five years longer than we were in WWII, and almost seven years longer than WWI. Also, an estimated 600,000 Iraqis were killed, mostly civilians. Here’s another note: war is a means of obtaining political ends. When you fail to obtain those ends, you lose the war. Iraq and Afghanistan are colossal losses at an extraordinary price, just like we lost Vietnam, lost Korea, etc., etc.

      • Jim says:

        It is true that we conquered both in two months or less. What we didn’t do is follow thru because of politically correct fucktards back home that don’t understand how wars work.

      • fsethd says:

        Well, two months into the Iraq war we had only a fraction of the total casualties. 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 had the highest fatalities of the war. US troops were getting regularly blown up, killed, and injured by a full blown militia resistance. By May 2003, two months in, we had only a few hundred of the more than 32,000 casualties that would be suffered by US forces in the war.

        You make a very basic, familiar, and wrong point, that the military won the war but the political idiots lost it. This is the claim of every army that loses a war: We could have won if we hadn’t been interfered with. If we could have used tactical nukes. If we could have killed everyone. If we could have [fill in the blank.]

        The problem with this excuse is that all armies are ultimately controlled by politics and therefore politicians. Ours even more so because of our political system, which every soldier and officer is presumed to know about when he signs on. If you serve for the US, you will be controlled by politicians. This is called “having an alternative to a military dictatorship.”

        So you don’t get to cherry pick. Either you’re the best fighting force in the world as evidenced by the wars you win–achieve your political objectives–or you pretty much suck based on the ones you attempt and fail at.

        Your call.

  • Erik vanderaerden says:

    Wholeheartedly agree with this piece. And whoever doesn’t get accepted by the military goes to the front of the line for the police exam, with an even better chance of getting in.

  • Johnny Frencj says:

    From this side of the pond, that’s not an opinion you’ll ever (or only rarely) hear about our armed forces. The fact that they too recruit from the lower reaches of the social scale, the disadvantaged and the poorly educated, is seen as a strength and a benefit to the country generally.
    We know the military have a high regard of themselves – fair enough – and we know they love the rule-book. You’ve got a great big country on your doorstep – ride your bikes somewhere else.

    • Kris says:

      The problem does not reside with cycling when it really comes down to it. It resides in knowing where the base ends and where it begins. Do you have this problem across the pond with people just wandering onto a base?

    • fsethd says:

      Recruiting the poor and disadvantaged is only great when the leave the military with more than they had when they entered. Veterans are wildly over-represented among the homeless here, and no one chooses enlistment as an alternative to a 4-year scholarship at a good school.

  • MTB'er says:

    First off, no part of that canyon is open to the public. Second, There are plenty of signs. Third, the military spent quite some time warning riders to stop riding there. Riders didn’t listen because as cyclists we feel we can do what ever we want and break whatever law we want when riding. So guess what…Three strikes your out, now suffer the consequences for breaking a federal law.

    • dirtmistress says:

      Angry much? I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, you, not so much. Believe what you want but I find it hard to believe 40 people packed on purpose.

    • fsethd says:

      I guess we don’t need to worry about proportionality. Why not just shoot them? I mean that would be so much better than pulling them over and saying, “Please leave now, you’re on federal property.” Such a hard thing to do when you’ve got a gun.

    • fsethd says:

      Like the patriots up in Oregon, right? No confiscations there yet because, white gun nuts.

      • East Coast baby seal says:

        If those whack jobs were brown, they’d all be dead. Zero tolerance for brown terrorists, hall passes for white ones.

      • fsethd says:

        In Oregon you don’t confiscate anything. You keep other lawful users out, e.g. birdwatchers, and you patiently, politely, and non-confrontationally deal with the armed crazies intent on stealing federal land.

  • Louis says:

    As a veteran (retired after 20 years) with a satisfying post military career I want to be pissed about what you said in your post. But I can’t. I am pissed that I have to agree with your generalizations about the military. It breaks my heart a bit every time I see junior enlisted in a military uniform, especially the Marines or Army. I am sad that they did not have a better option. Wouldn’t it be great if a politico told the military to attack Pipelineistan and the military had to tell them there was no one to go?

  • Winemaker says:

    One Trillion? On one plane? Are you sure? According to Google (smirk!), we have spent 5.48 Trillion on the nuclear weapon program since 1940. …Time to quit practicing, start using, and reduce the headcount in the military, and ….sell some that prime Camp Pendleton land to developers in order to reduce the deficit and balance the budget and educated the masses.We could do it all from Omaha or Des Moines, with ICBMs, and rule the world, putting fear into the hearts of tall those Talibaggers/Middle Eastern folks you speak of.
    I think I am going to have a morning glass of red.

  • pvannuys says:

    Extend your ire to Caltrans. Streets and Highways Code Section 888 requires those bozos to keep existing access open to all citizens when they build a freeway. They have such systemic hate for us non-motorized types they flaunt the law, pass responsibility for building parallel paths in their own right of way off on whatever land owner is next door– Indian reservations, flood control agencies, park authorities and yes, the Marines. None of these are transportation agencies. Why should they accept responsibility for bicyclists on their land? What’s in it for them? Since the late 70s the base has welcomed cyclists to Stuart Mesa Road. But the I-5 has always been open to bicyclists along that parallel route (Pulgas to Harbor), so San Clemente to Oceanside is still rideable. And extend your ire to USA Triathlon, who actually does fully close access for a half day with little advance notice, to the dismay of touring cyclists who miss hotel, rail, and airline reservations. Yeah, the tri-geeks are more callus than the Marines.

    • channel_zero says:

      Caltrans’ goal is increasing average speeds and throughput FOR CARS.

      As people validly wail and moan about access issues, so much of it goes back to unchanging, uninteresting agencies like Caltrans.

      The changes require frequent, frustrating, and boring political engagement few are willing to do. Therefore, it becomes a virtuous circle.

    • fsethd says:

      Guys with guns taking away bikes from cyclists is worse. It’s a stupid bicycle off the path, not a terrorist.

  • Jah Slim says:

    Occupy Camp Pendleton!

  • Kris says:

    Again you nailed it man! I’ve ridden out there for years and just a year did a race out there with QnD. Now I think I know where the boundary is but honestly Im not even really sure if it is a boundary because the whole area is so poorly marked. The stupidest logic comes into this “well we dont fence in a base” WTF?? So someone standing out on Mast blvd could “be on base” where does the base end? And herein lies the problem with power trippers who like to create ambiguous rules to their advantage. If their is no clear division between what is right and wrong, then anything could be right, and anything could be wrong, you know, mood, moons and soup of the day type of stuff.

    • Matt Smith says:

      Exactly! If you want people to stay out of your base, then make it clear where your base actually is!

      • Kris says:

        The response has been they cant fence it in for “environmental” reasons but cant come up with some type of boundary marker. This is the military that can deploy men, tanks and aircraft thousands of miles away, but they cant come up with a way to let people know they are approaching base property?? Yikes! Its not even really a cycling issue.

      • fsethd says:

        It’s a brainpower issue, and that’s the one thing that money can’t buy.

      • channel_zero says:

        Kris,

        It sounds like you aren’t too involved in even local politics.. So many people so eager to score points for career advancement no one can take some initiative and sort out a sensible boundary policy without it becoming an anchor around their neck.

        Flip this back on SDMBA. They could try to do it from “their side” but will run into the same quicksand as they need the base’s help defining the boundary. That’s not going to happen.

        Could SDMBA be more proactive? Perhaps. But, we all know there are many mountain bikers that would ignore an improved boundary.

      • fsethd says:

        Better yet, let them through. These are bicycles. Isn’t there a bumper sticker about bikes, not bombs? So lame.

    • fsethd says:

      At least if was soup of the day we’d have something to eat while in bicycle trespass jail. Bunch of yahoos.

  • becomingblue says:

    You went to hell and back on this one. I’m surprised you didn’t work in that the Republicans were somehow the cause as well. Or at least Texas.

  • sibex9591 says:

    Crikey!! That should stir up the hornets nest.

    Here in Monmouth County we have Normandy Road. I twelve+ mile Government road that has few public road crossings and offers a pretty damn nice stretch of no traffic riding. That is until they decided that cyclists were trespassers. This is a road that except at its ends, doesn’t not traverse a base of any kind. It is simply there (along with railroad tracks) to move munitions to and from the Naval Weapons Depot at Earle. I haven’t seen anyone move anything on that stretch in 10+ years. Maybe they do it at night now.

    So far West Point, still allows us to show a license and ride on campus, though we have to be careful to say we are coming to tour the campus, and not that we are simply “Passing Through”

  • dangerstu says:

    Hmm, When I came here I was amazed they let you ride through a military base. In the UK they would just shoot you no questions asked.

    • GP says:

      now that is an idea I can get behind, boarders

    • fsethd says:

      I bet they wouldn’t block off all passage between north and south London, either.

    • Winemaker says:

      When I was at West Point, I was on the initial cycling team, which meant that our one and only claim to fame was that we would always be noticed at bikey kind of events because nobody in the Corps of Cadts DARED to shave their legs or, (gasp!), get a rub to recover….bike riding was fun, though, good country all around Poughkeepisie and int the Hudson River Valley….

  • GP says:

    This sounds like a political debate on TV. Bring a group people together that have a common interest and then have then slap each other around.

    Now, to what I can control, what’s the best way to loose the Christmas 20? Maybe if I join the military I would loose it. Haha.

  • Dave says:

    Ride through Camp Penelton 1/23/16 south and return 1/24/16 north requires what besides a valid drivers licence? Thanks

    • fsethd says:

      Check their web site! They are changing regs so that you have to register on their website for security purposes.

  • dan martin says:

    This should have been a monday blog. Its always easier to be pissed on monday am.
    TGIF Baby!!

  • brugiere says:

    I’ve been reminding myself to subscribe and support the blog, just haven’t gotten to it.

    I no longer feel any need.

    I really like your content about cycling, very funny stuff. But the steady stream of whiny unthinking America-loathing, always untainted by the stain of any supporting evidence whatsoever, is just so lame.

    • fsethd says:

      This is the first time that someone has threatened me with non-subscribing who never bothered to subscribe. It’s awesome that criticism = American loathing. In future I will stick to sweet stories about the joy of riding my bike so as not to upset the sensibilities of those non-subscribers who can’t stand disagreement. Also, don’t feel compelled to tell me you like my content about cycling. The fact that you think it’s unrelated to broader social commentary means you haven’t really read any of it anyway.

  • brugiere says:

    It’s amazing how much puffed-up piety and self-righteousness some people associate their hobbies with.

    A sure sign you may benefit from gazing every now and then beyond your front wheel.

  • brugiere says:

    PS – As you can see, I violated the #1 rule of interacting with a self-important liberal. Never challenge their assumptions about the world, makes them absolutely crazy.

    • fsethd says:

      Seems like I’m the one who challenged your assumptions about the military and it has made YOU crazy.

      • brugiere says:

        I’m not the blogger obsessively checking the comments on his posting and angrily responding each time someone dares disagree ….

        I seem to not be alone in feeling like your attempts at writing about politics screech and attack rather than intelligently engage. You ground nothing in fact, you routinely demonize individuals and groups of people you know little or nothing about, and you can’t tolerate the tiniest whisper of dissent.

        I’m grateful for your father’s service to our country.

      • fsethd says:

        Nice. I’m obsessively checking comments but you’re not … as you obsessively check. You might want to scroll back a few years and see that with very few exceptions I respond to people who take the time to write even. If you don’t like the tone, there is a really big Internet out there that you can also not subscribe to. No one’s forcing you to come and read things that you find so unappealing. Tolerating dissent doesn’t mean agreeing with it. Tolerating it–on this blog–means allowing people to say whatever they want, then responding to it. Some people call it discourse.

        My father served and protested against Vietnam. He would probably think that your kneejerk support of anything regarding the military is lame. I will ask him and get back with you.

        If you don’t think my post was grounded in fact, perhaps you should read the news. USMC ASM is confiscating bikes and ticketing bikers.

  • Don W. says:

    U.S.A.! U.S.A! U.S.A!

    • fsethd says:

      Pretty much. Criticism is treason.

      • brugiere says:

        Silly, childish straw-man argument. I don’t see anyone here saying that criticism is treason.

        But your post is filled with unsupported attacks, half-truths and outright falsehoods.

        Criticize away. But try being truthfully when you do so.

      • fsethd says:

        Ok. I will try being truthfully. Or at least truthy.

      • brugiere says:

        Go back and read your own post. You make claims – no supporting facts. No basis for your claims.

        Just like you accuse someone – me – of a position – uncritically supporting the military – on the basis of … what? Nothing. It’s not true. I’m critical of much of what our military does. (Though your indignation over confiscated bikes doesn’t strike me as outrage well spent.)

        I am also justifiably grateful and proud of other aspects of our nation’s armed forces and other institutions.

        Pretty reactionary, huh?

      • fsethd says:

        Will it count against me as obsessive if I respond to this? And does my response to it mean I’m tolerating dissent? Because a couple of posts ago obsessive was bad and responding was intolerant.

      • fsethd says:

        Also, while I’m doing my intolerant, obsessive homework assignment, do you have a first and last name you’d like to share with my readers? Or is it the ol’ Anonymous Internet Courage of My Convictions but Not Really deal?

      • fsethd says:

        Fact 1. There is a big Marine Corps base south of here called Camp Pendleton, and a Marine Corps Air Station called Miramar.
        Fact 2. We haven’t won a war since 1945 despite failed efforts in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Somalia, and a bunch of other places.
        Fact 3. $1 trillion for a fighter jet that doesn’t really work. http://www.cnbc.com/2014/07/31/how-dods-15-trillion-f-35-broke-the-air-force.html
        (Okay, that was a mistake: Make it $1.5 trillion.)
        Fact 4. The military recruits from the bottom of the barrel. You’ll have to read past the headline on this one because the meat of the article is that solid recruitment is a function of a shitty job market, and the “high quality” means 90% have a high school education. In the US job market, a high school diploma means a menial job, if any.
        Fact 5. The military heavily recruits women, minorities, and poor people. http://www.mintpressnews.com/whos-joining-the-us-military-poor-women-and-minorities-targeted/43418/. Why? Because male, white, wealthier people think the military is a dead end.
        Fact 6. Veterans count for a higher population of the homeless, and 45% of homeless veterans are African-American, despite being only 10% of the overall veteran population.
        Fact 7. If the best preparation for a career and a life you could give your child was a non-com job in the military, society generally recognizes you as having failed miserably. Most Americans view military service favorably when you ask them if the “support the troops,” but the public’s complete disengagement from the military translates “support” into “sending the military back into losing scenarios over and over and over again.” It’s a long read, but worthwhile: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/01/the-tragedy-of-the-american-military/383516/.
        Fact 8. The “benefits” of serving in the military are so obviously non-existent that recruiters don’t even bother to set foot in high schools, especially wealthy ones, who prepare most of their students for college. This anecdotal, but it’s still a fact. My daughter graduated from Lamar High School in Houston, a predominantly African-American/Hispanic school with a core elite IB program. She was recruited relentlessly by the armed forces. My sons, who graduated from fancy SoCal “rich kids” public schools, never saw, talked to, or heard from a military recruiter. And they never received a single piece of recruiting mail. Refer to the earlier note above about who the armed forces target and reflect on why that might be the case.
        Fact 9. Everything about the bike confiscations on USMC AS Miramar, and the planned registration for Pendleton, is all true. It’s all factual. It’s all real.

        I could give a shit what you’re proud about. That kind of bland, saccharine “thanks for your service” crap is exactly why we’re in the pickle we’re in. You say you’re critical of the military? Please share some of it. Because everything you’ve written to date has been absolutely fact free and enriched with 8 unnatural slogans and iron.

        Also, you’re free to keep posting, but until you put up a real name and location, I’ll be tolerating your dissent with a shrug and a non-obsessive non-reaction.

        Thanks for writing.

  • billdsd says:

    One correction: the mountain bike confiscation happened at MCAS Miramar, not MCBC Pendelton. Most of MCAS Miramar is fenced off but there’s a large area in the east part that is not and which borders Mission Trails Regional Park which is popular with casual mountain bikers. There are actually some safety issues like live ordinance and such in certain areas. The signage is poor and the lack of fences is a problem.

    The MCBC Pendelton issue is a different issue and they aren’t turning people away yet. As of March 1, you will have to be registered to ride on Pendelton. If you’re a foreign national, you won’t be able to register.

  • Heywood Me says:

    The problem with Liberals is that they KNOW so much that just isn’t so.
    -Ronald Reagan

    • fsethd says:

      Two of my favorite liberals–compared to conservatives now, anyway. Check this out and get back with me about dummy liberals.

  • Jeffrey says:

    I hear a lot of selective memory hemorrhaging, everyone please wear a helmet.

  • Shano says:

    Brilliant op-ed! Indeed lets abolish all branches of the armed forces!! After all we now have the TSA protecting us from evil. What could possibly go wrong???

    • fsethd says:

      Why don’t we institute a universal 5-year draft, with preferential combat assignments for the children of all elected officials, everyone who makes more than $250k a year, and make successful completion of the five-years a prerequisite for college?

      You like the military? Put your kid in it. And require everyone who hasn’t served to do 2 years of service with mentally ill veterans, disabled veterans, or homeless veterans before they can draw Social Security.

      Why not?

      I’ll tell you why not.

      Because the military is built on the premise that what’s good for you isn’t good for me. You should be a patriot, I’ll buy a bumper sticker. You get your ass shot off, I’ll keep buying gloriously cheap oil.

      Right?

      • Shano says:

        Ok point taken. Disclaimer: I work for mil so call me biased 🙂
        Honestly I came from a crap school where the recruiters didn’t even bother trying to get me. I flailed for 10years after that, finally pulled my head out of my bottom bracket and got colleged and now work as an engineer at the university. And through it all for reasons I’m not really sure of, I still feel like a chump because I never served. Actually I do know why – because I’ve met many of the guys (and females) who came from North SquirrelAss, Kentucky, joined up to get away from a hopeless situation, travel and 3 squares. It’s not all bad, it’s what you make of it. You can join up and use the system to your future advantage- or not.
        Ps no personal shot at ya Seth, just my 2 cents 🙂

      • fsethd says:

        I agree with you. Point well made.

      • Shano says:

        Cool now that this has been settled come on down for Ranchos Fallbrook Beatdown ride tmrw and we can finish this argument like real men in tight colorful clothing 😉

      • fsethd says:

        And shaved legs and t-rex arms … what is the Ranchos Fallbrook BDR?

      • Shano says:

        Usual Saturday morning worlds. Like u said earlier good training for Blvd, Tuttle, etc. Same club that puts on San Marcos Crit

        http://www.ranchoscycling.org/#!news/nws7/E2FB3C82-1F55-49F6-8C6A-A2C05E1A820B/route-%2310—fallbrook-loop-reversed

      • fsethd says:

        Got it.

  • Jeff says:

    Awesome all. “…to look for amaaaarrikaaaaa..” is a hobby of mine and I find some of it here. Lets be friends and attend to more serious business tomorrow as we begin week two of training for the BWR where mountain bikes are not allowed.

  • BillD says:

    Love the rant. The military is probably the most competant component of the federal government. Good luck to us all. And maybe update your priors.

  • Tamar T. says:

    WOW. What a hot button topic. I’m just trying a military base without a fence around it. Because fences are too expensive. What????

    • fsethd says:

      Tomorrow I’m going to write about babies and puppies.

    • billdsd says:

      It’s MCAS Miramar. Most of it is fenced but there is a part of it in the east that is not. This area is close to Mission Trails Regional Park and there are signs on some trails but not on others so if you go down the wrong trail, you can end up on the base without realizing it. The terrain is steep and kind of remote, which is probably why they haven’t bothered with fencing. They need to put up fencing.

  • dangerstu says:

    Ding, Ding , Ding!!!

    New record, congrats!

  • Paul Thober says:

    Damn! You’re in bsnyc territory w/109 comments.

    Conservatives: we used to call reagan the fascist gun in the west. Now he’s starting to look good compared our present crop – Cruz, Trump, Palin (!!??) – good Dog, wtf is happening to the US?

  • Deb says:

    Disclaimers: on vacation so just catching up; retired military; woman (though not “recruited”), cyclist.

    Saying the military, particularly the enlisted force, come from the dregs of society and are therefore less worthy somehow is a lot like saying all cyclists are assholes. Some truth to the statements but certainly not the whole story. I suppose I’ll keep up my subscription, though.

    • fsethd says:

      My quote: “generally going after the poorest, worst educated, most future-less kids.” This is the only demographic they can capture. Plenty of good people among that demographic, and lots in the military who do not fit that description. But as a value proposition the military cannot meet its quotas by going after middle class, college bound kids, especially white ones.

      I’ve never said those in the military are less worthy, ever. But there’s something very wrong when armed Marines are confiscating bikes and fining people who end up on unmarked trails.

      Thank you for subscribing even though we disagree.

  • This topic as framed ……. is fraught with controversy ….. gotta love it!

    As a Marine, I will take exception to non-valid criticisms fsethd-san and others have posted regarding the USMC (United States Marine Corps).

    Marines are not always right be are never wrong and don’t you forget it.

    If the Marines at Miramar confiscated some trespassers’ gear I am sure it will be returned after all is said and done.

    The Marines would be poorly regarded if a bomb was carried aboard a base on a mountain bike and detonated.

    Controlling access to a military base is normal.

    Here is a look at some recent attacks on military facilities in the U.S.:

    — June 17, 2015: Guards shot and killed an armed man after he crashed his SUV and emerged holding a rifle while apparently trying to break into the Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas.

    — Jan. 6, 2015: At Fort Bliss, Texas, an Army veteran and former clerk at the veterans’ clinic there shot and killed a psychologist, then committed suicide.

    — Nov. 13, 2014: Two Navy civilian police officers were wounded while confronting a knife-wielding man at the submarine base in Groton, Connecticut. The suspect was taken into custody.

    — April 2, 2014: At Fort Hood, Texas, three soldiers died and 16 others were wounded in a shooting rampage by another soldier, Army Spc. Ivan A. Lopez, who then killed himself.

    — March 24, 2014: A civilian truck driver, Jeffrey Tyrone Savage, took a gun from a petty officer on watch aboard a destroyer at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, and killed a sailor before being shot by Navy security forces.

    — Sept. 16, 2013: Aaron Alexis, a mentally disturbed civilian contractor, shot 12 people to death at the Washington Navy Yard before he was killed in a police shootout.

    — Nov. 5, 2009: Fort Hood Army Base, Texas: Army Maj. Nidal Malik Nadal Hasan, 39, was convicted in August 2013 for killing 13 people and wounding more than 30.

    — June 1, 2009: Private William Long was killed and Private Quinton Ezeagwula was wounded when Abdulhakim Muhammad opened fire on the soldiers as they entered an Army-Navy recruiting station in Little Rock, Arkansas.

    The San Bernardino terrorist attack is an indication of asymmetric warfare that should be considered for military base security.

    When the Marines offer to let cyclists (like me) ride on the bases that they are responsible for ……. they run the risk of cyclists being killed or injured on base and the attendant procedures that are not part of the fighting mission.

    http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2014/nov/12/cover-udo-was-gone/#

    Surely you are not proposing that the USMC allow cyclists and pedestrians and motorcars unhindered and uncontrolled access to the USMC Bases? …… Are you?

    As too … “haven’t won a war since 1945 despite failed efforts in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Somalia, and a bunch of other places,”

    Actually we won all those wars … this a consumer world.

    Korea ….. witness my Samsung phone, Hyundai motorcars; Vietnam ….. my Nike running shoes and other gear; ….. Iraq …… 7th largest oil exporter; Afghanistan …… opium, wheat, fruits, nuts; wool, mutton, sheepskins, lambskins; Iran (not a war but negotiations) …… fruits and nuts (from trees and bushes), carpets, cement, ore; and the other countries mentioned …… have just not kicked in yet because those wars are ongoing.

    As for your Trump hat I suggest ‘Tuck Frump’ prominently displayed …. As in the old ‘Buck Fush’ hats.

    • fsethd says:

      Lots of links means that you get stuck in spam purgatory until I can obsessively check the comments and obsessively get you out while stifling dissent. Now let me read what you wrote.

    • fsethd says:

      No one, least of all I, is suggesting that access be uncontrolled. But first a couple of observations. No incident above involved a bicycle. This doesn’t mean that some crafty tearist couldn’t put a bomb in a backpack and set it off. She could. But what it does mean is that when the marines encountered the trespassers they had every opportunity to check them for backpack or water bottle bombs and then send them home with a warning.

      This does not fit the marine mystique, though, so instead of behaving like ordinary people, they brandish huge penis-weapons and take away bicycles. The outrageousness is heightened by the fact that the area isn’t clearly marked and it’s wholly understandable that someone could trespass unintentionally. In the eyes of the law, if there’s no intent there is no crime.

      My underlying point is that the military often behaves in violent and abusive ways when less violent means are at their disposal. Same with the police. The default mode is “I will kill you if you disobey me.”

      You are mistaken about Korea. The peninsula remains divided and the north remains enslaved while its leaders experiment with hydrogen bombs and missile delivery systems. This is a massive failure, a destabilizing failure, a humanitarian failure on all fronts.

      Vietnam is still communist. It did not change as a result of the war that we lost there (and the French), but as a result of global economics–a force that would have eventually been applied without the sacrifice of 45,000 US lives and over a million Vietnamese ones. The US lost that war.

      Afghanistan is controlled by a militia that is hostile to us except in Kabul. If this is victory, you are simply redefining every status quo as a win, kind of like football coaches who point to the 38-0 blanking as a moral victory.

      Iran was a war and we lost that, too. They had a revolution, conquered our embassy, took our citizens hostage, we sent in military forces who failed to accomplish their mission, and then Iran kicked out every vestige of the US. The current changes have occurred because of economics, not the US military.

      The US cannot win wars any more because it’s unwilling to put hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans on the ground–including the kids of the rich, or especially so.

      Instead, each defeat by the military is blamed on “the politicians,” a loser’s cry that has been around as long as there have been armies. Politicians are the price we pay for not living in a military dictatorship. Soldiers who say they could have won “except for the politicians” might as well be chess players who say the “could have won” except for checkmate.

    • billdsd says:

      So they should put up fencing around the perimeter. They do it for most of the air station but not this eastern part which is next to a park where mountain biking is popular. The signs are not on all trails and sometimes when you’re riding you don’t notice signs.

    • Tamar T. says:

      Neal,
      Why don’t they put a fence around it?
      Thanks for the thoughtful engagement, but I’m still stuck on the fence thing.
      Tamar

  • This topic as framed ……. is fraught with controversy ….. gotta love it.

    As a Marine, I will take exception to non-valid criticisms fsethd-san and others have posted regarding the USMC (United States Marine Corps).

    Marines are not always right bu they are never wrong and don’t you forget it.

    If the Marines at Miramar confiscated some trespassers’ gear I am sure it will be returned after all is said and done.

    The Marines would be poorly regarded if a bomb was carried aboard a base on a mountain bike and detonated.

    Controlling access to a military base is normal.

    Here is a look at some recent attacks on military facilities in the U.S.:

    — June 17, 2015: Guards shot and killed an armed man after he crashed his SUV and emerged holding a rifle while apparently trying to break into the Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas.

    — Jan. 6, 2015: At Fort Bliss, Texas, an Army veteran and former clerk at the veterans’ clinic there shot and killed a psychologist, then committed suicide.

    — Nov. 13, 2014: Two Navy civilian police officers were wounded while confronting a knife-wielding man at the submarine base in Groton, Connecticut. The suspect was taken into custody.

    — April 2, 2014: At Fort Hood, Texas, three soldiers died and 16 others were wounded in a shooting rampage by another soldier, Army Spc. Ivan A. Lopez, who then killed himself.

    — March 24, 2014: A civilian truck driver, Jeffrey Tyrone Savage, took a gun from a petty officer on watch aboard a destroyer at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, and killed a sailor before being shot by Navy security forces.

    — Sept. 16, 2013: Aaron Alexis, a mentally disturbed civilian contractor, shot 12 people to death at the Washington Navy Yard before he was killed in a police shootout.

    — Nov. 5, 2009: Fort Hood Army Base, Texas: Army Maj. Nidal Malik Nadal Hasan, 39, was convicted in August 2013 for killing 13 people and wounding more than 30.

    — June 1, 2009: Private William Long was killed and Private Quinton Ezeagwula was wounded when Abdulhakim Muhammad opened fire on the soldiers as they entered an Army-Navy recruiting station in Little Rock, Arkansas.

    The San Bernardino terrorist attack is an indication of asymmetric warfare that should be considered for military base security.

    When the Marines offer to let cyclists (like me) ride on the bases that they are responsible for they run the risk of cyclists being killed or injured on base and the attendant procedures that are not part of the fighting mission. (and the cyclists will bitch about the condition of the roads, single file rules – usually flaunted, and so on)

    http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2014/nov/12/cover-udo-was-gone/#

    Surely you are not proposing that the USMC allow cyclists and pedestrians and motorcars unhindered and uncontrolled access to the USMC Bases? …… Are you?

    As too … “haven’t won a war since 1945 despite failed efforts in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Somalia, and a bunch of other places,”

    Actually we have won ALL those wars … this a consumer world.

    Korea ….. witness my Samsung phone, Hyundai motorcars; Vietnam ….. my Nike running shoes and other gear; ….. Iraq …… 7th largest oil exporter; Afghanistan …… opium, wheat, fruits, nuts; wool, mutton, sheepskins, lambskins; Iran (not a war but negotiations – thank President Obama) …… fruits and nuts (from trees and bushes), carpets, cement, ore; and the other countries have just not kicked in yet because those wars are ongoing.

    A few months ago, while helping represent the Tug McGraw Foundation, (funds and manages some of the classes) I attended a graduation of PTSD Marines from a course at a large new facility on base at Camp Pendleton. (Wounded Warriors also funds some classes too.)

    The program is well supported by the Marines with a one and two star general speaking and showing their support for the wounded Marines at the graduation ceremony. The program, which Marines attend for a year or so, also includes job training (for those separating) and provides job interviews for placement with various industries.

    This facility at Camp Pendleton is for able bodied Marines …. Other locations have programs for amputees and other injuries so normally there are no amputees here.

    However at this graduation there was one young man that was a triple amputee. He was upbeat and got around quite well in his wheelchair but ……… it hurt.

    Some of the wounded … even able bodied …. will not be made whole again.

    The Tug McGraw Foundation funds a similar but smaller program at the Veterans Hospital in Yountville, CA that has been ongoing for a few years.

    Is this enough? Of course not ….. and it should be improved upon and more can be done.

    Also I agree with you that if we go to war it should be with a draft to raise the stakes …… to cause our Presidents to think more carefully …….. and more put skin in the game for all hands ….

    Remember the old ‘Buck Fush’ hats?

    For your Trump hat I suggest ‘Tuck Frump’ prominently displayed ….

  • Hello fsethd-san and All,

    The delay confused me and I thought my missive went to word hell so I added some more info and reposted.

    Oh well ……

  • fsethd says:

    And here’s a pretty awesome comment that was emailed to me:

    Hi Seth,

    I’m a subscriber and loved your book, which brought me many laughs in an otherwise dark winter. You are an amazing writer and I hope that someday I can aspire to a fraction of what you’re able to do.
    I guess I’m writing to stick up for some of the people I had the honor of serving with. I’ll start off by saying that I agree with much of what you wrote and can completely understand your anger and frustration. I imagine you’re quite a busy person, but I’d be very grateful if I could have some of your time.

    I enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve after studying Philosophy at a liberal arts college (Wesleyan). I’m a lawyer in NYC — admitted to the bar (but re-assessing my life and career choice). These are not sources of pride for me — I come from an upper middle class family and, at least in my eyes, these were more or less givens. I don’t judge people by their degrees, myself included.

    My rackmate at the School of Infantry enlisted after getting a degree in Anthropology (Fordham). We had a New York Times reporter and a mechanical engineer in my platoon, among other things, as well as someone working on a PhD in math (NYU). And I had the pleasure of meeting many intelligent, measured, caring, and hardworking individuals . . . who never had the opportunity to really pursue their academics. Many of them were far smarter people than I’d met at college or at law school. The only thing one could fault them for is not having had the same luck as others.

    To be brief, I’m a socialist (recommend looking up the author of “War is a Racket”) and environmentalist, among other things. I was against the wars before I enlisted and still am. Again, I agree with much of what you wrote about the military and this country’s attitude towards it. I am not the only Marine with this point of view. Among the very liberal Marines I know is a gay friend who majored in German (Emory) before enlisting, and who comes from a family of lawyers.

    The reasons we enlisted vary. For many, if not most, of us, money, a job, and a college degree were not reasons. I can also confidently exclude patriotism from that list.

    That’s not to say we don’t have our share of idiots and dimwits, although the Marine Corps taught me that even some of the less bright among us can still be great human beings. My cat won’t be passing the LSAT anytime soon, but she’s wonderful, and I love her. I’ll admit we (Marines) also have a considerable share of harmful idiots, people who shouldn’t be anywhere near weapons or positions of authority. I will concede that. But we’re not the only organization that has this problem.

    I’m a Cat 5 and a crappy racer. But I love cycling, in all its forms. Having read your recent posts, I’m quite confident that I’ll be turning the pedals for, hopefully, a long time yet. My only regret with cycling is not having started earlier. All this to say that I understand your frustration. I’ve been hit by cars. I’ve dealt with local politicians. I think you’re right in saying that the approach shouldn’t be merely one of attempting dialogue (which I would be glad to help with). We should be critical and derisive, and too often, we (cyclists) are not.

    But I do feel that you painted with a very broad brush. And I was disappointed to see . . . I don’t know if I can explain it. I feel as if I’ve been very lucky to have had all the opportunities I’ve had. Not everyone’s been as lucky. People do what they can with what they have. Sometimes what they do is sad and frustrating, but I try to be understanding. I guess maybe that’s it. I just wish your post had had a bit more understanding. But I guess I understand why it didn’t, too.

    I’m writing at the end of an exhausting two-week work trip, so I apologize if this is not concise or clear. I usually try not to bother people but I felt compelled to say something this time. Despite the moral ambiguity the Marine Corps gave me a lot and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and, more importantly, for the people I got to meet. Maybe this is my last point: I read your book and admire the community you have. But for many drivers on the road you are just another annoying cyclist. I felt that your post was written a bit with that mentality, the driver’s mentality and way of judging. I acknowledge that there are differences, some complicated. You don’t harm others riding a bike. But I guess what I’ve been trying to convey is this: there are people behind our uniforms, too.

    Thanks very much for your time.
    Semper Fidelis,
    David

What’s this?

You are currently reading Making America safer today! at Cycling in the South Bay.

meta

%d bloggers like this: