Sunday, April 25, 2010

Free State Project

In June 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, 5 to 4, that the government has the right to seize private property and transfer title to other private individuals simply to stimulate economic development.

While the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution allows government to seize private property and convert it into "public use," Supreme Court Justices David Souter, John Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy believed transferring property to a private individual somehow constituted public usage.

Much of the public disagreed, including a Libertarian named Logan Darrow Clements of Los Angeles. Clements ran for Governor of California in 2003. His philosophy of a voluntary society and free-will capitalism is based on the 1957 novel ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand. Clements received 274 votes.

A Libertarian is a person who is concerned with the fundamental protection of individual rights. Libertarians believe that individuals have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose. If individuals are not initiating coercion against others, government should leave them alone. They oppose the criminalization of victimless acts (drugs, prostitution, censorship, etc.) and believe in reducing the size and scope of control of the government.

Both liberal and conservative ideologies have civil libertarian adherents. Plus the Libertarian Party has become a noticeable national political movement, an alternative to the two-party stranglehold of control.

The Free State Project was a proposal in 2001 by a group of Libertarians whereby 20,000 of them would settle in a localized area within one of 10 states by 2006 and create a society where the role of government is the protection of individual freedom.

Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming were the original 10 target states. New Hampshire was selected (by a vote of participants) as the common destination.

New Hampshire's state motto is "Live Free or Die." It has the lowest state and local tax burden in the continental USA and the second lowest level of dependence on federal spending. It has a state house "citizen" legislature where representatives haven't raised their $100 per year salary since 1889. New Hampshire also has a culture of individual responsibility (for example, there are no seatbelt or helmet regulations for adults) and the lowest crime rates in the country (less unnecessary regulation inherently means less crime).

The mission statement of the Free State Project: “The Free State Project is an agreement among 20,000 pro-liberty activists to move to New Hampshire, where they will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of life, liberty, and property. The success of the Project would likely entail reductions in taxation and regulation, reforms at all levels of government to expand individual rights and free markets, and a restoration of constitutional federalism, demonstrating the benefits of liberty to the rest of the nation and the world.”

In 2006, Logan Darrow Clements was one of the Free State Project participants, on his way to a better life in New Hampshire. It also turned out that Supreme Court Justice David Souter owned a 200-year-old farmhouse on eight acres near Weare, New Hampshire.

Thus, a collision was about to occur.

Clements soon declared he wanted to build a hotel, similar to the one Justice Souter voted in favor of allowing private individuals to build after confiscating private homes in the court case, on Justice Souter's New Hampshire property. Accordingly, Clements notified the local Weare township council, requesting they start eminent domain proceedings against Justice Souter's property thereby promoting economic development for the area.

Eventually, the township of Weare held a town meeting and rejected Clements’ request for eminent domain to acquire Judge Souter’s property.

As of March 14, 2010, there were 10,000 participants in the Free State Project. Nearly a thousand of them had moved to New Hampshire from elsewhere.

In 2006, a Free State Participant was elected to the New Hampshire General Court. In 2008, six Free State Participants were elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

In 2010, the so-called Tea Party Movement has blossomed into a national force. This “grass roots” organism is primarily concerned with today’s out-of-control government spending and increased control over every aspect of American life, seeking similar solutions to the Libertarians of the Free State Movement.

The national debt is nearly $13 trillion and expected to rise as far as the eye can see. Government is becoming larger, more powerful and less manageable. Yet people continue to vote to obtain self-serving goodies from a government that always over-promises and under-delivers, without any thought to cost or inevitable unintended consequences.

More government means less individual freedom.

Voting for less individual freedom is a form of insanity.

I belong to a similar organization of Libertarians called the Get Outta Here Project -- a bunch of grumpy hermits who have settled in northern Arkansas and discourage visitors. We believe in life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and bathing during full moons.

Quote for the Day -- “Every government is a parliament of whores -- the trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us.” P. J. O’Rourke

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where freedom is another word for nothing else to lose. His blogs appear on several websites, including

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fifty Years Ago -- 1960

Fifty years ago, in 1960, I was 16 years old, trying to survive another year in high school in the suburbs of Minneapolis. I had a 1953 Chevy, gas was 25 cents per gallon and I was an adventurous explorer of my surroundings and beyond.

The following events took place in 1960.

Jan 2 -- Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass) announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential election

Jan 14 -- The U.S. Army promoted Elvis Presley to Sergeant

Feb 10 -- Adolph Coors (beer maker) was kidnapped in Golden, Colorado

Feb 11 -- Jack Paar walked off the Tonight Show (he was a neurotic chap, with a high sense of self-worth and very little sense of reality -- much like my ex-wife’s cat)

Feb 18 -- The 8th Winter Olympic Games opened in Squaw Valley, Cal.

Feb 21 -- The Cuban government placed all Cuban industry under government control (after all, no one knows more about running industry than government bureaucrats)

Feb 28 -- The Winter Olympic Games formally closed with the U.S. hockey team winning the gold medal

Feb 29 -- An earthquake hit Morocco, killing 12,000 people

Mar 3 -- 15 inches of snow fell on New York City

Mar 4 -- Lucille Ball filed for divorce from Desi Arnaz

Mar 5 -- Elvis Presley was discharged from the U.S. Army after his 2-year obligation (whereupon he was free to grow his hair back to unacceptable lengths and load it with grease)

Mar 6 -- Switzerland granted women the right to vote

Apr 1 -- The first weather satellite was launched into space

Apr 2 -- France exploded an atom bomb in the Sahara Desert (it went boom and made a big hole)

Apr 4 -- “Ben-Hur” won Best Picture at the Academy Awards

May 1 -- A USSR missile shot down an American U-2 spy plane whereupon pilot Francis Gary Powers was held in the USSR for 21 months (in a world of secrets, paranoia will destroy ya)

May 6 -- President Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1960

May 10 -- John F. Kennedy won the West Virginia primary (with the help of Frank Sinatra, Sam Giancana and mob controlled unions)

May 11 -- Israeli soldiers captured Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Argentina and transported him to Israel where he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and hung in 1962

May 19 -- The Belgian government required a rest day for self-employed people (it’s always comforting when one’s government makes rules for its subjects -- it saves people from having to perform the pesky task of making their own decisions)

May 23 -- A 9.5 earthquake in Chile caused a tidal wave that destroyed 537 buildings and killed 61 people in Hawaii

May 26 -- A hidden microphone was discovered in a wood carving of the Great Seal of the United States in the new U.S. embassy in Moscow (in a world of secrets, paranoia will destroy ya)

Jun 7 -- Hugh Hefner open the first Playboy Club, in Chicago

Jun 11 -- The state of California ordered smog devices on automobiles, the first such law in the USA

Jun 22 -- The Eisenhower administration created the Arctic National Wildlife Range on 9 million acres in Alaska

Jul 1 -- The USSR shot down a US RB-47 reconnaissance plane (in a world of secrets, paranoia will destroy ya)

Jul 4 -- The 50-star USA flag made its debut, to honor Hawaii’s admission as the 50th state admitted into the union the previous summer

Jul 9 -- USSR premier Khrushchev threatened to use rockets to protect Cuba from the USA

Jul 13 -- John F. Kennedy won the Democratic presidential nomination in Los Angeles

Jul 14 -- A fire in an insane asylum in Guatemala killed 225 and injured 300 people

Jul 27 -- Vice President Richard Nixon was nominated for president at the Republican national convention in Chicago

Jul 30 -- Over 60,000 Buddhists marched in protest against the Diem government in South Vietnam

Aug 6 -- Chubby Checker introduced a dance called “The Twist” on the Dick Clark Show (it was a dance for dweebs and I refused to take part in the short-lived fad)

Aug 9 -- A race riot erupted in Jacksonville, Florida

Aug 13 -- The first 2-way telephone conversation by satellite occurred

Aug 18 -- The Beatles gave their first public performance, in Germany

Aug 19 -- The USSR launched a spaceship satellite called Sputnik, which included 2 dogs, 40 mice, 2 rats and various plants, and it returned safely to Earth a day later with the 2 dogs, named Belka and Strelka, becoming the first living animals to survive orbital flight

Aug 25 -- At the Summer Olympics in Rome, Wilma Rudolph, who had contracted polio in childhood and spent 6 years wearing a steel brace, won three gold medals in track events

Aug 31 -- The CIA recruited ex-FBI agent Roberrt Maheu to approach mobster Johnny Roselli in an attempt to get organized crime figures involved in a plot to poison Cuban dictator Fidel Castro (In 1976, just prior to testifying before a U.S. Senate committee on the JFK assassination, Johnny Roselli’s decomposing body, minus his legs, was found in a oil drum floating in a bay near Miami -- he was not in a talkative mood)

Sep 5 -- Cassius Clay, who would later change his name to Mohammad Ali, won the light heavyweight gold medal in the boxing competition at the Olympics in Rome (later that year, he would throw his gold medal into the Ohio River after being refused service at a restaurant in Louisville, his hometown)

Sep 14 -- OPEC, a cartel of oil producing countries, was formed by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela (they wear funny headgear and dictate the price of oil to the world)

Sep 24 -- The USS Enterprise, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was launched at Newport News, Virginia

Sep 26 -- Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox hit his 521st home run in his last time at bat (he was wearing red socks)

Sep 26 -- Fidel Castro made a 4 hour and 29 minute speech at the United Nations General Assembly, the longest speech in UN history (he was wearing green socks)

Sep 30 -- The first prime time animation TV show premiered, called “The Flintstones” (no socks, bare feet)

Oct 1 -- Nigeria gained independence from Great Britain

Oct 10 -- A cyclone hit the coast of the Gulf of Bengal, killing 4,000 people

Oct 11 -- A hurricane in East Pakistan killed 6,000 people

Oct 12 -- USSR premier Khrushchev pounded his shoe on his desk at the UN General Assembly session when someone criticized his country (He was wearing a black sock on his left foot, with a gaping hole allowing the big toe to point toward New Jersey)

Oct 13 -- The Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series when Bill Mazeroski hit a homerun in the 9th inning (he was wearing white socks with black leggings)

Oct 13 -- Opponents of Fidel Castro were executed in Cuba

Oct 14 -- The Cuban government nationalized all sugar assets and made itself custodian of all arts and artifacts

Oct 19 -- President Eisenhower imposed an embargo on Cuba, except for medical supplies and certain food products

Oct 25 -- Cuba nationalized all remaining U.S. businesses

Oct 31 -- Another cyclone hit the coast of the Gulf of Bengal, killing 10,000 people

Nov 4 -- The final movie for Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable called “The Misfits” premiered

Nov 8 -- Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy was elected the 35th president on the USA

Nov 12 -- Spy satellite Discoverer XVII was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, one of many secret spy satellites launched in the Corona Program series of photoreconnaissance space imaging (in a world of secrets, paranoia will destroy ya)

Nov 12 -- A coup against South Vietnam president Ngo Dinh Diem failed (On orders and assurances from President Kennedy, Diem was killed in a coup on November 1, 1963 -- in a world of secrets, paranoia will destroy ya)

Nov 13 -- Sammy Davis Jr. married Swedish actress May Britt

Nov 16 -- Actor Clark Gable died

Nov 25 -- John F. Kennedy Jr. son of President Kennedy, was born in New York City

Dec 27 -- France exploded another atom bomb in the Sahara Desert (it went boom and made a big hole)

Dec 31 -- The Dallas Cowboys played their first season of professional football, with zero wins

Dec 31 -- The top 3 songs of 1960 were: 1) Will You Love Me Tomorrow -- Shirelles 2) Georgia on my Mind -- Ray Charles 3) Only the Lonely -- Roy Orbison

All in all, 1960 was a fruitful year. I actually had a girlfriend for almost 2 weeks and managed to survive another year of high school. It wasn’t perfect, but that’s the expectation of life on the Planet of Wounded Souls.

Quote for the Day -- “It’s all make believe, isn’t it?” Marilyn Monroe

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where the color of socks usually depends on the amount of time between washings. His blogs appear on several websites, including

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Toad Suck and Booger Hollow

QUESTION: What do the following three lists have in common?

LIST #1 – England, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Jerusalem, Damascus, London, Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Dallas, Houston, Hollywood, Delaware, Kentucky, Kansas, Washington, Northern Ohio

LIST #2 – Ain, Alf, Aly, Amy, Apt, Ard, Bay, Ben, Coy, Day, Fox, Gid, Hon, Ida, Imo, Ink, Ivy, Joy, Kay, Keo, Meg, Rex, Roe, Rye, Tag, Tip, Ulm, Uno, Van, Wye

LIST #3 – Toad Suck, Oil Trough, Marked Tree, Booger Hollow, Greasy Corner, Turkey Scratch, Three Way, Lick Branch, Old Joe, Old Jenny Lind, Point Peter, Hog Jaw, Gum Log, Half Moon, One Horse Store, Number Nine, Twenty-three, Fifty-six, Morning Sun, Evening Shade, Possum Grape, Monkey Run

ANSWER: They are all towns in Arkansas.

Arkansas is known as the natural state. It's also the state where naming towns ranks very high on the Weird-O-Meter.

Many years ago, a Polk County schoolteacher sent out notices to suggest names for the new post office, requesting that they “write in ink” – thus the town of Ink came into being.

In 1811, a group of hunters camped along the White River near Batesville. They killed over 100 bears for their oil, a valuable commodity at the time. When they ran out of buckets to accumulate the oil they fashioned troughs to store it until shipment downstream could be arranged. Thus the community of Oil Trough was born.

On the bank of the St. Francis River in Poinsett County a large tree once contained slashes marking the best place for early settlers to cross the river. In 1890, the tree was washed away in a flood, but the town of Marked Tree still exists. Nowadays, most folks usually cross on the bridge.

In early America, “Boogie-man” was a term used by people who had the parenting skills of a head of lettuce and wanted to scare their kids. In the mountainous region of northwest Arkansas, the term was eventually changed to “Boogie-bear” and later dropped to “Booger.” Whoever named Booger Hollow obviously didn’t want any kids snooping around. They probably didn’t want any revenuers poking around either.

There was once a steamboat landing on the Arkansas River where a popular tavern attracted many river boatmen to suck whiskey until they swelled up like toads. The eventual name of the town, Toad Suck, was derived from a French term meaning “a narrow channel in the river.” Since no one full of whiskey could understand French anyway, the name "Toad Suck" stuck.

Arkansas is a land of rocks. You will discover this if you ever try to dig a posthole for your mailbox. Thus many towns are named after rocks, such as Black Rock, Calico Rock, Flat Rock, Galla Rock, Gray Rock, Little Rock, North Little Rock, Sulphur Rock, White Rock, Rock Hill, Rock Springs and Rocky Mound. Madison County has a town named Rock – the guy who had the list of adjectives was probably missing during the meeting to name the town.

Like most other states in the USA, many town names carried over from the language used by the original Native American inhabitants to refer to the area. In Arkansas, these include Okolona, Ogenaw, Osceola, Pawheen, Wabbaseka, Washita, Watalula and Wampoo. If I'm not mistaken, Watalula means "white man move in and spoil the neighborhood."

Three Way is an interesting name for a town. I remember a long weekend I had many moons ago with a couple of twins from Lick Branch named Bertha and Beulah, the Butt sisters. Every time one of us had the urge to do something different (such as change channels on TV or whatever), we would yell “Tag Hon” -- turns out that Tag and Hon are Arkansas town names too. Go figure.

It’s a strange world full of coincidences and synchronicities. I even know a woman from Scotland and Hollywood. Both are Arkansas towns but she is from the real deal, in different lifetimes. In Scotland, you’re born with a sense of honor. In Hollywood, you’re born with a sense of make-believe. In Arkansas, you’re born with a sense of raising chickens.

I've lived in Arkansas for nearly 20 years now, a few miles outside of Salem in Fulton County. There is also Salem in Lee County, Salem in Pike County, Salem in Saline County and Salem in Ouachita County. Apparently, there's a rule in Arkansas that you can't use the same name for towns more times than you have fingers on your left hand.

In Arkansas, the value of your pickup truck goes up and down depending on how much gas you have in the tank. If you think that’s weird, wait until you meet some of the folks who live there. And be sure to drive carefully through Greasy Corner.

Quote for the Day -- “It depends on what the word is is.” Bill Clinton (famous Arkansan)

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and is midway between Scotland and Hollywood, as the crow flies. His blogs appear on several websites, including

Monday, April 5, 2010

Martin Luther King Assassination

The human conscience is eternal and will never die.

In 1955, at age 26, Martin Luther King, Jr. was thrust into civil-rights leadership in Montgomery, Alabama, after Rosa Parks had made her courageous stand not to move to the back of the bus. A group of blacks, formed by the community to lead a bus boycott, chose King as a compromise candidate to lead their moral crusade.

Immediately, King was besieged with threats. The Ku Klux Klan gave him three days to leave town. He spent a night in jail for driving 30 mph in a 25-mph zone. A bomb exploded on his front porch. But it only made him stronger.

On November 22, 1963, I was a sophomore at the University of Minnesota when JFK was killed in Dallas. The following summer, I moved to Miami to study computer technology at Miami-Dade College.

I had spent my youth in pool halls in Minneapolis and was a very good player. There was a pool hall across the street from the college in Miami. When I wasn't in school, I was in the pool hall.

The pool hall was owned by an Italian family. Lots of Italians hung out there. I was a 20 year-old pool hustler and student from Minneapolis. All the pool hall patrons were Miami or NYC gamblers and hustlers and some heavy hitters. It was like being in Tony Soprano’s club meeting room.

In the spring of 1965, two guys approached me for a private conversation in the back of the pool hall. Their names were Ira and Raoul (could be spelled Raul?).

Ira was in his 20s, about 5’ 10” with black curly hair. He did all the talking.

Raoul was probably in his early 30s. He was shorter (5’ 7”) with bronze skin and was very thin. He had very pronounced cheek bones and deep-set, dark eyes. His eyes were cold (unemotional). I had imagined him to be Puerto Rican or Cuban or Portuguese or part Indian. Miami had a lot of Cubans. He never spoke.

Ira knew I was a gambler who occasionally did odd jobs. He had a proposition for me. He had some sort of operation going whereby they would smuggle butter (probably guns, but he told me butter) into Cuba and sometimes bring people back (Cubans were leaving for Miami back then – Castro had taken over). He needed to recruit a couple of "deckhands" (which probably meant a couple of guys for protection) for the trips to and from Cuba.

I told him I'd think about it. It seemed like an interesting proposition, plus I'd make $50 per trip. I was a struggling college student looking for some extra money. And it seemed harmless to me, just going for a dangerous boat ride. But the next time I saw Ira, a few days later, I turned him down, mainly because the trips conflicted with my class schedule.

Weeks later, Ira (with Raoul, silent as usual) showed up and had another proposition for me. Somehow, he knew I was from Minnesota. He told me I was perfect for a job he had planned in a city in Quebec (I assumed Montreal). He said I had a "northern" accent and that he needed someone who could pass for Canadian. Most of the pool hall guys all sounded like they were from Brooklyn.

Ira told me there was a warehouse (in Montreal?) full of machine guns. He had some sort of flim-flam scheme to steal the machine guns and sell them to a French-speaking separatist group in Quebec that he already had lined up. But he needed a person with a Canadian accent to pull it off. Since I was a pool hustler too, he figured I had the right stuff.

A boat ride to Cuba was one thing, but messing with someone who had a warehouse full of machine guns was beyond what I had in mind for adventure. Plus, as the front man, I would be exposed to whomever got hustled. So I turned Ira down on the spot.

I left Miami in August of 1965 and returned to Minnesota.

In April of 1966, I was drafted into the U.S. Army and stationed at Ft. McPherson in Atlanta.

In December of 1967, I took a 2-week leave from the Army and went down to Miami to hang out with some of my old friends. One day while I was in Miami, I saw Ira drive up to the pool hall in a brand new white Ford Mustang. I said, "Looks like you pulled off the Montreal job." He smiled and winked at me. I took it for a "Yes."

On April 3, 1968, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) was in Memphis, Tennessee, speaking to a capacity crowd of striking garbage workers and others at Mason Temple about the climate of racial hatred.

King’s final words in his last speech were… “I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

At 6:01 the following evening, King was struck in the face by a rifle bullet as he stood on the balcony outside of room 306 of the Lorraine Motel. He was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital and pronounced dead at 7:05. He was 39 years old.

Racial riots broke out that night in over 100 cities, including Detroit, Chicago, Boston, New York, Newark, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Nashville, Kansas City, Oakland, Memphis, etc.

On April 5, President Johnson called out 4,000 federal troops to quell the rioting in Washington. 20,000 Army and 34,000 National Guardsmen had been ordered to anti-riot duty. And I was right in the middle of it all.

April 11, 1968, was my scheduled discharge date from the U.S. Army. I was stationed at Fort McPherson in the city of Atlanta, Georgia -- a small military installation, headquarters for the Third Army.

However, King’s funeral was to be conducted on April 9 in Atlanta. My plans to become a civilian once again were temporarily put on hold. The entire world, including the Army, expected massive outbreaks of chaos during or shortly after the ceremony. Instead of packing to go home, I was in combat gear, practicing bayonet thrusts, wondering how much live ammo would be distributed for riot control.

Lester Maddox, an outspoken racist who once chased blacks out of his restaurant by passing out axe handles to his white patrons, was the Governor at the time. He was furious that flags at state buildings in the capitol of Atlanta, and elsewhere, were at half-mast the day of the funeral. Surrounded by 200 armed state agents, he proceeded to personally hoist the two flags back up, but backed off when the major TV networks showed up to record the action. This added mayhem gave those of us standing by with bayonets an extra sense of anticipation.

The funeral service was held in Ebenezer Baptist Church. King’s casket was placed on an old farm wagon, with steel-rim, wooden-spoke wheels. 30,000 marchers were sent ahead to start the procession. An estimated 200,000 mourners took part in the procession that eventually passed directly in front of the Capitol.

Lester Maddox, along with 160 helmeted troopers and 40 enforcement officers from other state agencies, remained inside the statehouse. There were eight armed men at each entrance. Maddox had given them the following orders: “If they should go so far as to break through the locked doors, then start shooting and don’t stop until they are stacked so high above the threshold the followers would be unable to climb over them.”

The procession passed by solemnly and the funeral occurred without incident.

Two days later, I was discharged from the Army and returned home to Minneapolis.

In 2001-2007, I wrote a column for a weekly regional newspaper. In 2003, I wrote a piece about my experience at the MLK funeral. While researching the column, I learned the following:

1) A white Ford Mustang (like Ira's car) was involved as a getaway vehicle in the MLK killing.
2) James Earl Ray (supposed killer) fled the USA through Montreal and on to Europe (where he was captured).
3) Ray claimed a man named Raoul had recruited him in Montreal.
4) Ray claimed Raoul hired him to purchase a rifle (used in the MLK killing).
5) Ray claimed he passed the gun on and didn't know what was about to happen.
6) Ray described Raoul – the same description of my Raoul in Miami.
7) Some JFK conspiracy buffs have tied Raoul to the JFK assassination.

Another strange coincidence -- Ft. McPherson was the home of the 111th Military Intelligence Group. A small squad of trained snipers from this unit was present in Memphis during the shooting. According to witnesses, they had even checked out positions on the roof of the fire station directly behind the Lorraine Motel prior to King’s assassination.

When I wrote the column in 2003 about MLK, I soon realized that Ray's Raoul could very well have been my Raoul in Miami. The descriptions matched, plus the tie-in to Montreal and the white Mustang.

As bizarre as it seems, it's possible I was being recruited to be a patsy (in 1965) -- like Lee Harvey Oswald & James Earl Ray. Oswald and Ray were just there to be the lone-nut fall guy and perhaps get their prints on the weapons too. Can't prove it, of course. Plus, that was over 40 years ago now. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of most of it until I wrote the MLK column in 2003.

This has haunted me for years now -- Raoul in Miami, Raoul in Memphis, Raoul in Montreal, and maybe even Raoul in Dallas in 1963.

And if you dig deep enough, the New Orleans mafia seems to possibly be involved once again (just like the JFK assassination). JFK and MLK were assassinated by conspiratorial forces. Perhaps I unknowingly interfaced with one or more of the conspirators.

Or perhaps I simply spend too much time in the sun.

Martin Luther King believed in non-violent protest of racial injustice. It cost him his life.

“Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.”

Quote for the Day -- “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and occasional haunting memories. His blogs appear on several websites, including