Dangerous Titles

Here's more proof that the guards and staff in prison "walk the toughest beat in town." As though we need to illuminate the dangers they face on a daily basis: all the murders, rapes, and slaughter of little furry animals. Bear in mind that these are the same suits that do not have the common decency to wear a ski mask when they collect their pay checks.

With all the bombs going off and napalm runs that could be looked into here at Shirley World, Deputy Scott Anderson chose to investigate the American Veterans in Prison group, that is, the AVIP. It seems that these guys are trying to take over the world one title at a time. Lefty Gilday is the Commander of the group, and as the structure of all veterans groups go, there is a minor hierarchy. They have the Commander, Adjutant, Sergeant of Arms, and the Troops that show up each week to discuss veterans' issues pertinent to their future.

Deputy Anderson sent the Gestapo (IPS) to investigate why any stinking convict could get away with a title other than "stinking convict." It matters little that these men served their country and were at one time prepared to lay down their very lives in its defense.

Lefty is a veteran of two wars. Three if you count his work in the revolution of the sixties right here in America. He was present in Tokyo Harbor the day the Japanese signed the Articles of Surrender presided over by General Douglas MacArthur aboard the USS Missouri. He then jumped over to the newly formed Air Force after it became independent of the Army Air Corps. Lefty went to Korea. His plane crashed and Lefty broke his back. That ended his military career. Now at age 85, with Parkinsons Disease ravaging his body and with stents in his heart, a pacemaker, and a defibrillator, he sits shaking and quaking from the disease, but he maintains his quiet sense of humor and dignity in military bearing.

This is the dangerous man holding title to Commander of the AVIP. I spoke with Lefty about this and he doesn't care about titles even a little. The titles are from the bylaws of most all Veterans Groups across the country. Next time you see a parade, just look at the envelope hats some veterans wear, and you will see their title embroidered on it. It might say something like: "Commander, Post 99 of Newark Marine Corps League." Imagine the bare audacity of a veteran of Iwo Jima wearing such a title? He might even be missing a leg or two.

I started the AVIP in Walpole back in 1973. We initially called it VIP. It was later changed to the current AVIP. In fact, Lefty is the one who changed it. After all, we veterans couldn't intimate that we were Very Important People. It mattered little that most of us were Vietnam vets at the time. Some of us had been wounded in action, and a couple had Purple Hearts, Bronze Stars for Heroism, and Vietnam Crosses of Gallantry.

The thing I find about most human beings when it comes to "we prisoners" is that no matter what we did in the past to serve our country with honor, we are only thought of as bad people with no chance of redemption. We are all defined by one bad deed and not by the hundreds of good ones. I am certain that Deputy Anderson is a perfect person that never did a thing illegal or immoral in his entire life. So it's okay for him to "cast the first stone."

Personally, I don't give a damn what any of these people think about me. I did two tours of duty in Vietnam with the elite First Marines and I am proud of my service. I never asked this country for a thank you, nor did I have a sense of entitlement. But, I am resentful that anyone here could be so petty as to be threatened by Commander Gilday. Put him in his wheelchair and he just might lead a charge on Happy Hour.

   Joe Labriola
   Sgt. USMC (Retired)

  Return to top of page