Roadside Memorials


“We say that the hour of death is uncertain, but when we say this we think of that hour as situated in an obscure and distant future. It does not occur to us that it can have any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon, this afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance.” ~ Marcel Proust

“Americans take an average of four car trips every day—that’s more than 1,400 per year. It’s no wonder that the chance of dying while inside a moving vehicle is about 1 in 6,700. Car crashes are the leading cause of death in teenagers, and second leading cause of death in all other populations. Without a doubt, driving is risky business.” (Source: NTSB Safety Compass)

Having been a professional truck driver for over 25 years, I’ve seen more than my fair share of accidents, injuries, deaths, and roadside memorials.

I’ve always been aware of the fleeting nature of life. I was never one of those teens who thought he was invincible. I’ve always thought I could die at any moment. Considering all I’ve been though in life, and the many times I’ve nearly been killed, I’m amazed I’m still here.

Roadside memorials, when we see them, are a reminder of just how fleeting life is. We can be driving down the highway one minute and dead the next.

I was once driving on Interstate 30 in Arkansas, in my car, when a tractor-trailer came across the median, missed me, and killed a guy who was driving behind me. You can’t imagine how fast it happened. Had I been the one hit by the truck, I may have just barely had time to realize what was happening. In fact, when I first noticed the truck in the median, coming towards me, my only thought was “Something’s wrong with this picture”. By then the truck was already on my side of the road, passing me. I looked in my mirror and saw it hit the car behind me, pulled over, stopped, and went back to see if anyone was hurt.

It was obvious when I walked back to the accident scene that the driver of the car was dead. Soon the fire and police arrived. After the police had talked to the truck driver, I was, I think, the only other person who bothered talking to the driver of the truck. I told him not to be too hard on himself in the future, when he thought about the accident. That everyone knew it was an accident. And that, if he could, he would have done things differently.

I remember looking at the guy who was killed, and noticing he was wearing a wristwatch. I thought to myself “He had no idea this morning when he put that watch on his wrist that today would be the day he died.”


I’ve seen other people killed on the highway, talked to other drivers who have been responsible for another driver’s death, and I’ve prayed countless prayers and shed countless tears for fellow travelers I didn’t know.

The highway, like death, is a place were everyone is equal. It doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, black or white, Christian or agnostic. Everyone is at risk of being killed in a moment of time.

I’ve comforted a stranger in the middle of the interstate, in the early morning hours before dawn, at that sacred place and time when the spirits of their loved ones have left this world while their bodes remained in the wreckage of their car.

That place of sudden, unexpected death on the road is where friends and loved ones will sometimes create a roadside memorial, in memory of the deceased. I think these memorials are good ideas. The place where someone is killed becomes, to me, a sacred place. The time when someone dies is a sacred moment. And that’s what roadside memorial are designed to remember: the place and moment someone left this world.

Below are links to book, videos, and webpages related to the subject of roadside memorials…

“A mother is asking for the community’s help to find her daughter’s missing memorial that was recently taken from where she died more than two years ago…” Mother wants missing roadside memorial returned

“3,089 people were killed on Texas roads in 2009. Family members sometimes erect memorials at the locations of these accidents. East Texans share their loss and how the cope with a loved-one who is no longer with them…” Along The Roadside: Street Memorials In East Texas

“Holly Everett documents over thirty-five memorial sites with twenty-five photographs representing the wide range of creativity. Examining the complex interplay of politics, culture, and belief, she emphasizes the importance of religious expression in everyday life and analyzes responses to death that this tradition. Roadside crosses are a meeting place for communication, remembrance, and reflection, embodying on-going relationships between the living and the dead. They are a bridge between personal and communal pain—and one of the oldest forms of memorial culture…” Roadside Crosses in Contemporary Memorial Culture

“American roadsides are home to a vast range of impromptu memorials, some anonymous and modest crosses at the scene of a tragedy and others elaborate and well-maintained commemorations. Most of the markers on the shoulders of American streets commemorate the victims of an automobile accident, but there seem to be no especially systematic surveys of the geographical distribution, styles, composition, or duration of such markers…” Spontaneous Mourning and Material Culture: The Archaeology of Roadside Memorials

“The author of a new book on roadside memorials says British Columbia has more than its share of street-side shrines and predicts that number will continue to grow. Dr. John Belshaw co-authored the book Private Grief, Public Mourning along with his wife Diane Purvey…” Author pens book on roadside memorials

“With vivid images of a variety of different shrines and monuments built across BC, this book helps to delve into the human emotion of grief and why taking it into a public space can provide such comfort to one mourning individual and such discomfort to others…” Private Grief, Public Mourning: The Rise of the Roadside Shrine in British Columbia…

“Resting Places” is a documentary film about roadside memorials and the controversy that surrounds them…

Descansos: Roadside Memorials on the American Highway…

Roadside memorials give a public face to private grief… Journey Interrupted

“A ghost bike (also referred to as a ghostcycle or WhiteCycle) is a bicycle roadside memorial, placed where a cyclist has been killed or severely injured, usually by a motor vehicle…” Ghost bike

What Is A Ghost Bike?

Posted in Accident Prevention, Bicycling, Culture, Religion, Safety, Society, Symbolism, Transportation, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christians, Trump, and the Devil


“No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

I wrote this today as a comment on a post at A Philosopher’s Blog: Trump and Evangelicals and thought I’d post it here as well…

I read a 600+ page book (Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People) this year about Jim Jones and Jonestown. The parallels between Trump, Jones, and their followers is truly frightening. In both cases, their followers were/are marginalized, desperate, frightened, vengeful, and willing to forgive their savior/leader for abominable sexual abuses.

Although Jones and his followers were not, in the end, Christians, they did start out as Christians. Over the course of many years, Jones began replacing Christianity and the Bible with communism and socialism. The cult followers of Jim Jones who died at Jonestown were devotees 1) of Jim Jones; and 2) of communism and socialism. All one needs to do in order to confirm this is to listen to the so-called “Death Tape“.

As someone who considers himself to be a follower of Christ and a believer in the Bible, I am disappointed to see so many so-called “Christians” and “Bible believers” supporting Donald Trump.

I say so-called “Christians” and “Bible believers” because, as Jesus said:

“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:18-20)

Jesus went on to say:

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

This lets us know: 1) what people do is more important than what people say; and 2) a lot of people who claim (and believe themselves) to be followers of Christ are not.

One of the more sobering truths I’ve come to believe in my many years of studying the Bible and observing Christian peoples is that most people who think they’re Christians aren’t. Most American Christians are Americans first, and Christians second, which, to Jesus, means they’re not Christians at all. They’re members of an American Cult.

Satan is very clever. The Bible tells us this, yet many Bible believers are fooled by just how clever he is. He pretends to be a doer of God’s will. He and his ministers preach misinterpreted cherry-picked Bible passages to make their case. He leads multitudes of people to believe they are saved when, in fact, they are damned.

One cannot endorse war, destruction, and death and be a follower of Christ. Yet how many so-called “Christians”, “Bible believers”, and American Cult members do just that? This is the evil fruit they bear.

Too many people who call themselves “Christians” have sold their eternal souls for a mess of American pottage. Supporting Donald Trump is only one symptom of their eternally fatal disease.


Nationalism is Idolatry

“The church in America will not be a Christ-centered community of peace so long as it is determined to celebrate its identity as American.  It is imperative, I believe, that all traces of nationalism be removed from the church’s worship.  Otherwise, in times of international crisis, instead of being an instrument of reconciliation, it will continue to embrace the role of handmaiden of war.  God cannot be praised in the same breath that America is honored without God being dishonored and replaced by another god…” The Nationalistic Corruption of Worship in America –

“How can Christians be prepared to recognize, when the time comes, a real choice between God and country, if their churches urge the adoration of country along with praise to God? The so-called patriotic hymns are most often songs of praise to a personification of the country and not a means of truly glorifying God. ‘My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing, or ‘America, America, God shed his grace on thee.’ The ‘thee’ is not God but country. If these are songs of worship, it is false worship. God is mentioned as a supporting figure, a means to bolster the greatness of the nation, which is the real object of adoration in the hymns. We should label this for what it is: idolatry.” Read more: Daring to Call it Idolatry: Nationalism in Worship –

“Nationalism saturates American life – it is just the ever-present, ambient sound coming from every form of corporate media, 24/7/365, so ever-present that it has become, in an odd way, invisible. I have come to understand that it is idolatry – subtler, arguably, than building a golden calf, but no less idolatrous. And it disturbs me a great deal. I wish Catholic priests and laity would stand up more often against this sort of thing. We Catholics, at every level of our society and in every vocation, me included, have failed to do our jobs of providing clear witness against this spiritually destructive idol.” Read more: Nationalism is Idolatry –

“Put bluntly, if Americans feel like there are blessings slipping away from this country as a whole, they have turned the country into an idol and are violating the Ten Commandments. Jesus is not American and the United States is not in the Bible. That particular passage refers to God’s people, who are called Christians, not Americans…” Read more:

Flying the Flag in Church: A Tale of Strife and Idolatry (.pdf) –

Podcast: Crucify your nationalism and crucify your political affiliation –

The Early Christian Attitude to War –

The Scofield Bible—The Book That Made Zionists of America’s Evangelical Christians:

“Does the Christian or denizen of the Old American Empire die and kill for it, as the members of the Cult of the American Sniper apparently believe?” – Patmos, The Emperor Worship Cultus, and The American Sniper


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Dangerous half-truths about Syria


There have been a lot of dangerous half-truths told about Syria.

Such half-truths are dangerous because: 1) people do learn at least half of the truth; and 2) the brighter and more curious people will simply do a little Googling and learn the whole truth.

For example, Fox News has been saying (for years now) that “Obama” and “Hillary” have been “arming radical Islamic jihadists” in Syria.

This, of course, ignores the fact that it’s been official US policy to fund, train, arm, and utilize (as proxies) radical Islamic jihadists since July 1979. Carter did it, Reagan did it, Bush I did it, Clinton I did it, Bush II did it, Obama is doing it, and Clinton II will continue to do it.

A good example of dangerous half-truth telling occurred a year (or so) ago when “the Fox News watching crowd” rejected calls for US intervention in Syria when Obama’s “red line” was crossed after a supposed chemical weapons attack.

The situation became quite comical, to me, when millions of Fox News watching Obama haters flooded the US congress with calls demanding there be no US intervention in Syria. This, of course, is not what the Zionists and the Neocons wanted. They wanted US boots on the ground. But their media outlet had done too good a job convincing their people that Obama was arming al Qaeda in Syria and they wanted no part of sending their loved ones off to Syria to help al Qaeda overthrow the Assad “regime”.

This bizarre turn of events turned even more bizarre when Barack Obama, the supposed “Muslim traitor” refused to take immediate military action as president — as he was expected to do — and, instead, asked the US congress to decide what military action, if any, should be taken by the US in Syria.

Donald Trump has a snowball’s chance in Hell of becoming president but, if he were to be elected, we can be certain he, too, would continue the US policy of arming Islamic jihadists in Syria (and that Fox News would (suddenly) stop talking about it).

Trump knows this, yet he told yet another dangerous half truth about Syria during the recent debate:

“I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS. Russia is killing ISIS and Iran is killing ISIS and they have lined up because of weak foreign policy.” ~ Donald Trump

Trump’s dangerous half-truth answer during the debate will no doubt cause many intelligent people to ask:

“If Syria, Russia, and Iran are fighting ISIS, are we on the same side as ISIS? Could ISIS be one of the US backed “rebel groups”?

It’s a reasonable question I think many Trump supporters are asking.

I’ve written more than a few blog posts about Syria, and I wrote one last year that included John McCain’s admission that Russia, as Trump said during the debate, was killing ISIS… or: “the people we armed and trained”:

“Vladimir Putin, right now, with his airstrikes, is killing the people we armed and trained.” ~ US Senator John McCain

Syrian archbishop rips US support for Islamic rebels

Catholic World News – October 02, 2015 – A Syrian bishop has reacted strongly to Senator John McCain’s claim that Russian planes are bombing US-backed rebel forces, saying that McCain’s statement is “a blatant admission” of American involvement with Islamic militants.

Speaking to the Fides news service, Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo said that Russian air strikes were targeted against positions held by Islamic militants. He went on to say that McCain’s statement reflects the “Western propaganda” that the US has been providing support for “moderate rebels, who do not exist.”

The admission of US support for Islamic radicals is disturbing, the archbishop said. “What does it mean? Al Qaida is now a US ally, just because in Syria it has a different name?”

Source: CWN: Syrian archbishop rips US support for Islamic rebels 

Allying with political Islam: The United States’ tactical alliances with Al Qaeda and its associates in Syria

The New York Times reported that the United States has refrained from systematically attacking Al Qaeda’s franchise in Syria because US-backed fighters coordinate and are enmeshed with the outfit. The newspaper also reported that the Pentagon had refrained in 2015 from attacking ISIS militants in and around the Syrian town of Palmyra in order to further the US foreign policy goal of regime change in Damascus. The United States has a long history of forming tactical alliances with political Islam to counter secular Arab nationalists, whom it views as inimical to its interests of dominating the Arab world, with its vast petroleum resources. Syria, whose constitution describes the country as “the beating heart of Arabism” and “bedrock of resistance against colonial hegemony on the Arab world,” is the last of the secular Arab nationalist states opposing US domination and control of the region.

Continue reading: Allying with political Islam: The United States’ tactical alliances with Al Qaeda and its associates in Syria…

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The evil heart of Donald Trump speaks


“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” ~ Jesus Christ (Luke 6.45)

“I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. I just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” ~ Donald Trump

The evil heart of Donald Trump has spoken.

And — predictably — the foolish hearts of his cult followers have spoken, too, saying:

“We love you Donald! We care more about what Hillary has done than what you have said!”


I fear Trump’s followers far more than I fear Trump.

I read a 600+ page book this year about Jim Jones and Jonestown.

The parallels between Trump, Jones, and their followers is truly frightening.

In both cases, their followers were/are marginalized, desperate, frightened, vengeful, and willing to forgive their savior/leader for abominable sexual abuses.

The GOP is through.

Trump is the final nail in the GOP’s coffin.

There’s no excuse for any person — especially a Republican politician — supporting Trump.


“The Republican Party, meanwhile, is left with what? The growing certainty of defeat, a fear that Trump will lose them congressional seats, too. Worse, they have undone their own aspirations to make America a cleaner place. Anyone who thinks you can’t serve God and Mammon hasn’t seen the Republican Party lately.” Read more: Donald Trump has self-immolated – and he’ll take the entire conservative movement down with him–and-hell-take-the-entire-conser/

“Calls for Donald Trump to remove himself from the presidential race rushed in late Friday and into Saturday morning from prominent Republican officials. The past of couple weeks for the real-estate businessman have gone from disappointing to near apocalyptic…” Read more: The floodgates are opening with prominent Republicans calling on Trump to step down

“[T]he logistical hurdles to replacing Trump made it next to impossible — to say nothing of the backlash the party would be tempting from a passionate base of supporters who seemed willing to forgive Trump the latest in a series of offenses that would have ended any other candidacy…” Read more: GOP panics as outrage with Trump boils over

Rev. Jim Jones also had “a passionate base of supporters who seemed willing to forgive”.

“While there are obvious differences between Jim Jones and Donald Trump, there are enough similarities between the two grandiose and violent men that we are at a very dangerous juncture…” Read more: The Trouble with Trump

“While there has been some comparisons of Trump to Adolf Hitler, Kane sees more parallels between Trump and former cult leader Jim Jones. It’s not that Trump will ask his supporters to literally ‘drink the Kool-Aid’ — like Jones’ followers did in a murder-suicide that left 900 dead in 1978 —but a leadership style that includes decisiveness, promises of protection, and public humiliation of outsiders…” Read more: The Strategy That Could Have Taken Trump Down

Donald Trump and Jim Jones

The Cult of Trump

Character is what you do when nobody’s looking. And this video captures Trump in the middle of the day, sober, a few months after being married, talking with a man he barely knows, bragging about sexual assault, while wearing a microphone. This is, apparently, the real Donald Trump…” Read more: Donald Trump Just Lost The Election

“What does it profit a man to win the White House or Supreme Court and lose his soul? What does it profit you to defend Trump by tearing down others or reminding others of the Clintons’ sins. At some point, and I think that point is past, Christians lose credibility on a message of repentance when they defend the antics and behaviors of Trump…” Read more: What Does It Profit You to Gain the White House and Lose Your Soul?


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Clown Hysteria


Sinister ‘Clowns’ Are Scaring People In Multiple States

“This may be your worst nightmare: Reports are emerging from multiple states of alarming interactions with people in clown clothing.

“First, residents of Greenville, S.C., reported last month that suspicious clowns were attempting to lure children into the woods. The property manager of the Fleetwood Manor apartment, where many of the sightings happened, sent a letter to residents warning that ‘at no time should a child be alone at night, or walking in the roads or wooded areas at night,’ according to local television station WHNS.

“Up to this point, law enforcement officials have not uncovered any evidence — ‘not even a prankster in a clown suit'” — as The Associated Press reported.

“Since the report in Greenville, sightings of sinister “clowns” have emerged around the country…” Continue reading: Sinister ‘Clowns’ Are Scaring People In Multiple States

Beware the clowns: a lesson in moral panic

“Something strange is happening in South Carolina.

“People are telling the media and police that they’ve seen sinister clowns near forest, offering children money and luring them into the woods.

“The clown sightings have continued for days, but so far, there’s no photographic or physical evidence of any malicious clowns.

“Despite the lack of hard evidence, media in the United States, Canada, and overseas are running with the story…” Continue reading: Beware the clowns: a lesson in moral panic

Killer Clowns From Your Imagination

“Since late August 2016, police in Greenville County, South Carolina, have been besieged with reports of children being stalked by phantom clowns. Authorities have investigated the stories but come up empty. Most of the reports were vague. What are we to make of these accounts?

“The literature on folklore and mass psychology teaches us to be skeptical. Police have done the right thing: take the reports seriously and investigate. Yet, in the absence of hard evidence, they should be skeptical, otherwise they run the risk of wasting valuable time and resources. Stalking Clown folklore has been with us for decades and appears to be part of the ‘Stranger Danger’ moral panic of the 1980s. Moral panics are periods of intense fear that crop up from time to time, and involve exaggerated threats from perceived evil-doers…” Continue reading: Killer Clowns From Your Imagination | Psychology Today

Clown Panic!

“Reports of phantom clowns in the United States can be traced back decades and are a form of social panic. They reflect age-old fears that are dressed up in new garb—literally.

“During late August 2016, police in Greenville, South Carolina, were besieged with reports of children being stalked by clowns. In some instances, these nefarious figures reportedly tried to lure youngsters into the woods with offers of candy and money. Despite the best efforts of law enforcement the clowns seemed to vanish into the shadows…” Continue reading: Clown Panic!

Creepy clowns: 9 things to know about the hysteria

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Presidential “debates”


“For the message of television as metaphor is not only that all the world is a stage but that the stage is located in Las Vegas, Nevada.” ~ Neil Postman

Trump is a professional television producer and actor.

The debates are television entertainment.

Hillary is a policy wonk.

Trump (the entertainer) will win “the debates”.

Neil Postman on the Lincoln-Douglas debates:

“Is there any audience of Americans today who could endure seven hours of talk? Or five? Or three? Especially without pictures of any kind? . . . These audiences must have had an equally extraordinary capacity to comprehend length and complex sentences aurally. In Douglas’ Ottawa speech he included in his one-hour address three long, legally phrased resolutions of the Abolition platform. Lincoln, in his reply, read even longer passages from a published speech he had delivered on a previous occasion. For all of Lincoln’s celebrated economy of style, his sentence structure in the debates was intricate and subtle, as was Douglas’. In the second debate, in Freeport, Illinois, Lincoln rose to answer Douglas in the following words:

‘It will readily occur to you that I cannot, in half an hour, notice all the things that so able a man as Judge Douglas can say in an hour and a half; and I hope, therefore, if there be anything that he has said upon which you would like to hear something from me, but which I omit to comment upon, you will bear in mind that it would be expecting an impossibility for me to cover his whole ground.’

“It is hard to imagine the present occupant of the White House being capable of constructing such clauses in similar circumstances. And if he were, he would surely do so at the risk of burdening the comprehension or concentration of his audience. People of a television culture need “plain language” both aurally and visually, and will even go so far as to require it in some circumstances by law.” (Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves To Death (1985) pp. 45-46)

Presidential Debates Actually Used to Be Debates

How Technology Destroyed The Once Substantive Presidential Debate

Les Moonves, CBS, and Trump: Is TV’s business model killing democracy?

“If you’re looking for a sober intellectual dialogue on the state of American public policy, don’t watch presidential debates…” Television Debates: Not Fit For Purpose

“When a culture disdains literacy for the important functions of public discourse and replaces that with a medium that focuses on format and style — and therefore entertainment — then you begin to get… you have a situation comparable to what Huxley meant by the drug soma… that everyone is kept sort of pacified, amused, entertained. President Regan is entertaining… Dan Rather is entertaining… even the nightly news, for all of its gory stories, is entertaining, because the film footage is exciting. The religion on television is amusing. Commercials are very amusing and entertaining. So that, as we move into this imagistic culture of short duration, dynamic, and amusing images, we have a population that becomes pacified… that no longer is capable of the kind of sustained reflection and analytical thought that I think is usually characteristic of literate cultures where typography is vital to every day’s functioning.”  ~ Neil Postman (Source: PBS Currents Literacy Lost (1985)

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Repeat violent offenders back on the streets

Wanted man arrested 74 times but charges always reduced to misdemeanors or dropped: Former Woodland Hills Escapee Sought In Shooting:

Fugitive Arrested 74 Times Captured In Nashville:



Police Union frustrated by repeat offenders back on the streets

“D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier leaves her post in two weeks with high popularity and crime down over her tenure but frustrated by a system that she said allows repeat violent offenders back on the street time after time…” Continue reading: Outgoing police chief decries District’s ‘broken’ criminal justice system

Metro murder suspect in court

“Spires threw Sutherland’s cellphone at the dying man and then walked away. But he returned and stomped on Sutherland’s body, according to one witness. Another passenger tells police that Spires kicked the dying man.

“Witnesses say Spires robbed two other passengers before leaving the train at the NoMa-Gallaudet Station, where he was seen dropping a black bag.

“Inside the bag, police say they found a bloody cloth and an insurance card with Spires’ name on it. Police also found the knife they believe Spires used in the attack in a trash can at the station.

“Spires had been arrested just two days earlier in Friendship Heights on charges of robbery and assaulting a police officer…”

Read more: Court records reveal new details from July 4 Metro stabbing

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