Back from the bayou, dear readers, with many stories to tell. However, sometimes the stories find you, as they did this week. Thus, I will be expounding on the Jordan Jefferson situation and the impending east coast landfall of Hurricane Irene, in two parts, of course.
Jordan Jefferson, quarterback of the LSU Tigers, has found himself embroiled in quite the controversy this past week with his alleged involvement in an off-day bar fight. Under the best of circumstances, a bar fight is a black eye for a Division 1 A college program; it shows a lack of discipline on the part of the players and reflects poorly on coaches and administration. In Jefferson’s case, the situation has become a conflagration due to the fact that one of the participants was a Marine (out of uniform, according to reports).
Now, while the facts of this case are still very much in dispute, opinions abound and the rhetoric has taken a rather nasty turn. It has somehow morphed from a bar fight, in which case everyone probably assumed varying degrees of drunken culpability, into Jordan Jefferson versus our unassailable heroes in the United States Marine Corps. First, let me get this out of the way, as it seems you have to add this qualifier to anything said about anyone serving in the military these days: My father was a Marine who served in Vietnam. I have friends who are Marines. I have nothing but respect for our armed forces and the difficult job they do. However, this had nothing to do with the Marine Corps. This had everything to do with a bunch of over-testosteroned young men feeling their oats in Shady’s Bar’s parking lot. Whether or not you believe the fight started over a honking horn, a racial epithet, a girl, or a “Roll Tide,” it is what it is, a lack of judgement on everyone’s part, and most likely a non-issue except for the unfortunate cheap shot at the end.
And let’s discuss that cheap shot. If you believe the leaked reports, JJ is alleged to have kicked the Marine in the head while he was down. A cheap shot in anyone’s book. And one for which he may have to pay dearly for, if accounts are true, not just in football terms, but maybe in jail time as well. Still, that doesn’t seem enough for some people, as a visit to Jefferson’s Facebook Fan Page would attest. There are death threats. Racial epithets. Pictures of dead soldiers (as if somehow JJ getting into a fight involving a Marine has made us less free). And all other manner of denigrating comments. The funny thing is that as of now, no charges have been pressed. The investigation is still ongoing. Witnesses are still being interviewed. Yet there are people calling for Jefferson’s head without the benefit of due process. This is the part that scares me the most, the lynch mob mentality. If JJ did commit the crime, he should serve whatever punishment is deemed fitting; but to bombard a man with death threats and call for his head before he is even given his day in court, that to me is as Un-American as kicking a Marine when he is down.
Hurricanes in the Northeast are about as common as Waffle House’s. I can’t remember the last time I saw one. Actually, that isn’t true. I remember Hurricane Gloria in 1985, for which they gave us the day off school and my brother and I sat glued to the window watching the torrential rain and moderate winds whip the branches of our willow tree into a frenzy. In between then and now there may have been another (Bob, I think), but Gloria is the last significant storm to threaten the Northeast. That is, until now, with Irene.
Hurricane Irene is expected to land in the greater NYC area sometime between Sunday and Monday as a Category 2 storm, which may not seem like much to a Louisianan, but has people up here in an absolute frenzy. This morning, while out running, I passed a bevy of news vans and B-team anchors interviewing people about the impending storm. Coastal towns are already issuing evacuation orders. And in my below sea level burgh of Hoboken, contingency plans are already being made to deal with the expected flooding, as we currently flood during moderate rainstorms due to poor pumping stations. Needless to say, Irene is quite the event, and is putting an already nervous NYC-area on edge.
For my part, the biggest inconvenience of Irene is taking all my BBQ equipment off of our roof. A pit smoker isn’t exactly the easiest thing to move up a fire escape. There is also the question of power, since we will most assuredly lose it at some point. Luckily, my neighbor has a propane stove, and there are plenty of batteries for the radio. I guess the best plan is to stock the coolers with ice and Abita (in case the fridges go down), make a big pot of jambalaya or gumbo beforehand, put on some zydeco, and ride it out in our monolithic Reconstruction era factory loft. Still, I never expected a Hoboken Hurricane Party, but I guess you never know. Aiiiiieeeeeee!