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Sometimes it crawls out from beneath the bridge 0531091827 | by Patrick Feller
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Sometimes it crawls out from beneath the bridge 0531091827

Late Sunday afternoon of May 31 was gorgeous, and the sun beautifully lit the railroad bridge over the San Jacinto River, just north of I-10. I took these photos of the graffiti that covered the undersides of the bridge supports at its west end. That evening I posted photos of the bridge, but not of the graffiti.


I see a lot of graffiti when I am photographing old bridges and buildings, some of it really good from an artistic standpoint, the bulk of it harmless, if one ignores the vandalism, criminality, and defacing of property thing, but I can't ignore that, so I post very little.


This was the first time that I'd encountered this sort of graffiti, though. Sure, there have been the occasional isolated swastika, racist epithet, that sort of thing, but never such an amount of concentrated neo-nazi white power scribbliings as I saw at this bridge, the product of sad little minds more truly challenged in adequacy than in superiority, but history shows what hell that insecurity can breed.


It disturbed me and I considered making a post about it at the time, but decided it was best left in the darkness, beneath the bridge.


Several of my ancestors fought for that sad treasonous institution, the Confederacy. My mother's father had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the twenties, left it. He was, for many years, a Civil War buff and came to understand how far from noble the southern states' cause had been.


Two of my uncles fought across Europe in World War II, and, out of respect for that sacrifice, I, too often, bit my tongue, or simply left the room, when they would begin one of their racist rants, after seeing some news item, back in the sixties, about a man named King, whom, they occasionally proclaimed, someone should shoot.


I grew up in Pasadena, Texas, which was, at the time, a predominately white community, unashamed that some members of its police department and city government were Klan members. There was, for some years, a Klan bookstore a few blocks from the house in which I grew up. Some teachers and schoolbus drivers never had second thoughts about telling racist jokes to their charges. At the time that I was in school there, there was not a Black student in the Pasadena public schools and Hispanic students could be suspended if they spoke a word of Spanish on campus, even during breaks, even before and after school.


Much has changed, in Pasadena, in the United States, and in the world. When Texas Governor Perry spouts his stupid nonsense about states' rights and the possibility of secession, I sometimes wonder if very much has changed in the state of Texas, but...


It appears that James W. Von Brunn, the accused murderer of the security guard at the Holocaust Museum in DC had some considerable notoriety before today's tragedy. It is a reminder not to bite tongues or simply walk out of rooms when we are confronted with evil, even if the evil is an attitude of someone we otherwise may hold dear. Certainly we should not bite our tongues when the racism is being supported by a racist birther congressman like Ted Poe.


Limbaugh and some others are finding that their core (not to be confused with their audience) has shrunk to angry people who share a few superficial traits and a few beliefs with them. Instead of bemoaning that the number of their true believers has shrunk to that core, they, instead, have recognized that that shrunken core makes up in enthusiasm what it lacks in numbers, so they feed it, feed its hate, feed its fear, feed its ignorance, feeding, at the same time, their own egos, and wallets. I really urge concerned people to listen to Limbaugh, and Beck, hear the stuff that contributes to incidents like the murder at the Holocaust Museum.


It is clear these days that racism, hatred, ignorance, evil, are not limited to a single race or group. All of us need to speak up when someone assumes that, because we share with them some trait or belief, that we also share some belief that that trait or that that belief lends us superiority.


“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it” - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


We can't assume that evil will always remain beneath the bridge.

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Taken on May 31, 2009