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There is different post at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com, which you should be able to reach by clicking on that link today and by clicking on this link at any time:
I was late getting up yesterday’s Christianity vs. Jesus in Key West, among other Watter’s World attractions post at this website, in which Tim Gratz and I had a long series of email back and forths, in which he defended Christianity from Jesus in the Gospels and I defended Jesus in the Gospels from Christianity.
I told the angels later yesterday that every seminary school should require that post be examined and discussed by its professors and students, and every Christian minister should examine and discuss that post with his/her congregation. How far from Jesus Christendom has digressed. How far.
I wept as I got to the end of putting those photos together. I am weeping now.
Meanwhile, last night’s open mike at Harpoon Harry’s in Key West was spectacular,
until a young Magdalene-like woman went up front with her guitar, which did not have a connection for a wire to the sound system. One of the other musicians positioned the two microphones so her guitar and voice could be heard, even as some of the audience, men and women, commenced talking and making it difficult for me to hear the young woman’s songs about love, loss and grief. The host tried to get the audience to tone it down, and when that didn’t work, I started giving them the hush sign with my first finger over my lips. Some of them toned it down, other’s didn’t. The young woman didn’t seem to care, she just kept singing through three songs, and then it was someone else’s turn. That’s when I left.
Pedaling my bicycle back toward where I stay,
I came up on a Key West police officer shaking down a man wearing a backpack on the sidewalk running next to the cemetery fence on Windsor Lane – I think that street is called there, it later intersects Truman Avenue at St.Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic church. I pedaled on past them, then turned around and pedaled back the way I had come and eased off to the left behind a parked car and turned of my blinking bicycle lights and watched from about 40 yards away.
The officer went through the man’s backpack and talked to him good while and then let him leave on foot. A car came by me and I turned on my bicycle lights and pulled out behind it and pedaled past the officer and his cruiser and caught up with the man with the backpack on Angela Street at the corner market. I asked him why the officer stopped him? I said I am a journalist and am involved in homeless stuff in Key West, having once live on the street there myself. I said I am a lawyer, too, but do not practice in Florida. The man said, for having a backpack, the officer said there were lots of recent burglaries. The man didn’t look homeless to meI asked if he was a traveler? Yes. Like Jack Kerouac? Yes.
The officer drove in from the other way in his cruiser, reached us, did a 180 at Angela and brought the front right headlight right up to me, almost touching me as I stood beside my bicycle, holding it upright with my hands on the handle bars. I eased over toward the sidewalk, the cruiser eased on down the street, back toward Southard Street where it came from. Aggressive, the man with the backpack said. Yes, I said. Key West and its police are leaning on homeless people hard as possible to try to make them leave. Some homeless people leave. Others stay. And, as he proved, new homeless people arrive in Key West. It’s not going to work, but they are going to keep doing it, I said, and he came into it not knowing.
I said Key West started coming down on its homeless people right after 9/11. They had no way to respond to what had happened, so they took it out on the city’s homeless people. I said now I’m a priest, but not like other priests. I don’t work for churches. I was not ordained in a seminary. I was taught and trained by angels of God. I said I wished the officer had gotten out of his cruiser and talked to us. Maybe he didn’t because he recognized me. His bosses know me, all of them know me. I helped some of them get elected. I know them all, they all know me. I would have enjoyed telling the officer that, and why I was hanging with a homeless man the officer had gone after while who knew what crime was happening not far away?
I told the traveler he needed to stay out of residential neighborhoods at night toting a backpack. I explained the ways to get himself thrown in jail: sleeping outside at night, open container, trespassing, and where to get a big meal each say at the soup kitchen on Flagler Avenue, and about KOTS, which I said I did not recommend but it was available. The traveler said he didn’t want to spend $50 for a night in the hostel. Wasn’t there a church which provided a place to sleep, or somewhere he could bed down for $10 at night? No, the hostel is easily the cheapest place in Key West, if he don’t sleep outside or at KOTS. I described Florida Keys Outreach Shelter program. He did not seem interested in that. He asked if churches other organizations had programs for doing community service once a week. I said probably, he would learn about that if he stuck around.
He clearly was educated. He said he had taught English overseas and his last job was for the US Government and he had secret clearance. We were walking together all this time. The officer came back again, passed us, turned down an alley off of Windsor. The traveler went into the grocery on the corner of Olivia and Windsor and bought a half-gallon of milk using a debit card. Not a food stamp card?, I asked. A debit card. He said he’d never used food stamps. I said I had, and that was my debit card back then. Now in front of Erika and Joel Biddle’s home, I called Erika to ask if they could let him sleep on their front porch for the night. I got Erika’s voice mail. Erika had been the inspiration for the wildly successful Hidden In Plain View homeless music, poetry and art exposition which ran from November-December this time last year.
I scratched my head, called someone else, who answered, said, yes, bring the traveler over, let us meet him. If he seems okay, he can stay on our front porch for the night, but only the one night. We walked down Olivia, passed the officer in his cruiser parked against the sidewalk. The officer said nothing as we walked by him toward White Street. We walked on to my other friends’ home and introductions were made, stories told. They said okay, I left. This morning, my friends said the fellow’s stories didn’t all add up, something about him was off but they had no trouble with him. He was packing up to leave when they went out that morning.
When I told him last night that I had seen “Dallas Buyers Club” yesterday at Tropic Cinema, he asked what I thought of it? He had seen it? Yes, he said. I said I felt every American should be required to watch it from beginning to end, even if they had to be tied down into their chairs. He smiled, asked if I had seen the Jack Kerouac movie now showing at Tropic? No, I didn’t know about it, would go see it, thank you, I said. For all I know, he is Jesus. He said he had worked in several Middle East countries and in Afghanistan. In just yesterday morning’s post, I had defended Jesus from Christianity. For sure, it was arranged by the angels for me to meet him, and for my friends to meet him, and I said all of that before I left him with them last night.
I’m dozing off, need to take a nap. When I get up, I will write a report on Hatman’s trial in local court this morning, for camping in his van.
During the nap, I was shown in a dream to re-mention yesterday’s Tim Gratz and Sloan Christianity vs. Jesus discussion, and to add in what I had told the angels about that discussion. Then, I was moved to add more Jesus photos to the first one of Jesus ministering to a leper. Then I wept. Then, I went back and added in how the young woman singer was treated by the audience at Harpoon Harry’s open mike. Then, I went backed and filled in a little more about the traveler, whom I figured, as did he, I saved from being jailed last night for wearing a backpack.
As for Hatman’s court hearing on constitutional law,
perhaps if I had gotten there 15 minutes before it started, it would have made a difference. I was pressed for time yesterday, trying to get out yesterday’s dump grinder pumps in lower Florida Keys and use gravity lines wherever possible because gravity systems are more environmentally friendly and cost less in the long run post at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com. That threw me a little late leaving here for Hatman’s hearing.
I arrive in not a hearing on constitutional law, but in a full-blown trial, which I was not expecting. Had I gotten there early and learned it was a trial as well as an argument on constitutional law, I would have told Hatman to concede the city’s case that he was living in his van, and put on evidence that he was the only van dweller against whom the city’s ordinance against lodging in a vehicle had ever been prosecuted – it was unconstitutional selective enforcement. That was the second con law argument I had told him to use during a meeting with him at Higgs Beach about a week ago.
The first con law argument was he was to testify that his van is his home, he does not camp in it. It is the only home he has and can afford, and the city is trying to make him give up his home and become homeless and sleep nights at KOTS, Key West’s overnight homeless shelter on Stock Island. It told Hatman to tell the judge that the common law all the way back into early England has protected a man’s home as his castle, to the point that man did not have to retreat in his home; he could shoot and kill intruders. That’s how important a man’s home was in the history of the common law, which every judge knew, because every judge learned that in law school.
I told Hatman to tell the judge the city was depriving him of his life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, and of his only home. I told Hatman to lead off with that, and then follow it with the selective enforcement con law argument, and then follow that with the other con law arguments he had arrived at one his own, which I felt were pretty darn good arguments, but they were technical, where as the two con law arguments I gave him were substantive.
After the city rested it’s case, Hatman said he did not wish to testify; he wanted to make the con-law arguments. That was disastrous because the two arresting officers had testified that Hatman’s van smelled like feces. Hatman had to testify to counter that, but he did not. The rest of the officer’s testimony Hatman should have conceded and saved the judge the time.
Anyway, Hatman did not make the two con law arguments I had given to him to lead off with, which he had said he would lead off with. He made the con law arguments he had already arrived at before I met with him at Higgs Beach. He did a darn good job there, I thought. However, what I felt left Judge Miller in a quandry was the police testified that they arrested Hatman about 9:30 that night, and KOTS closes at 9 p.m. and the police did not take Hatman to KOTS, which they testified they often did with homeless people at night.
Voila! The police did not view Hatman as homeless. They viewed him as a vicious van dweller criminal. If I were Judge Miller, I would throw the case out because the officers did not offer to take Hatman to KOTS and he declined. They never made that offer to Hatman, according to their testimony. They simply arrested him, whereas if they had caught him lying on the ground somewhere, they would have taken him to KOTS, was how I saw their testimony.
Judge Miller said he was taking the testimony under advisement and would render a ruling in early January. I asked Judge Miller if he was open to receiving an amicus curae (friend of the court) brief on the matter … He paused, said yes. From a lay person … Well, no, a lay person could not do that … I’m pretty sure Judge Miller knew me and that I am a lawyer who does not have a law license in Florida … my law license in Alabama is not active …
Afterward, I asked Hatman why the whole case was tried yesterday? He said it was a surprise to him. The last time he was before Judge Miller with the assistant city attorney prosecutor, Ronald Ramsingh, Ramsingh had asked for a continuance because one of the two arresting police officers would be out of town yesterday. Hatman said he thought the case was continued and only the con law arguments would be held yesterday. But Judge Miller had insisted a full trial yesterday over Hatman’s objection, as he was not prepared to try the case yesterday, but only was prepared to make the con law arguments.
I asked Hatman why he did not testify? He said he didn’t know. I said the feces in his van testimony from both police officers killed him. Hatman said it never happened, there was nothing in the police reports about feces in his van. He keeps his van clean. I believed him. I have been at his van many times over the years. I never smelled anything. Who would shit in his own van and leave it there? Not Hatman, in my opinion. I have never seen him dirty, smelly. I have seen him do all sorts of outrageous things, though. Including putting a sign on the side of his van saying something like “Beat black and Blue by KWPD.” One of the officers testified as to that sign during the trial.
I got more than my fill or Ronald Ramsingh during Tree Commission hearings and appeals therefrom. Yesterday, he led his police witnesses. Hatman did not know to object. That’s not important. What’s important is, it told me that Ramsing does not know how to question his own witnesses in a trial. I concluded from the Tree Commission proceedings that Ramsingh should be disbarred and put in prison, and I wrote that in posts at my websites. I won’t rehash those specifics here. I bring up that past because I am not persuade that Ramshingh did not get the two police officers to perjure themselves by testifying that Hatman’s van smelled like feces. I have seen Ramsingh do as bad and worse in Tree Commission proceedings.
So, where does Hatman go from here? That depends on Judge Miller. If he throws the case out, Hatman gets a breather and maybe the next time he is arrested for living in his van, he makes a cleaner con law argument. If Judge Miller finds Hatman guilty, Hatman can appeal to the circuit court de novo for a jury trial. However, I am not clear if, by not making the con law arguments I told him to make, Hatman can make those arguments in the circuit court. It may be he cannot raise new arguments there, which he did not raise in the district court before Judge Miller.
I suppose this might be viewed as an amicus curae brief of sorts. Maybe someone who knows Judge Miller will share it with him.
Jesus told someone in the Gospels, if a man takes you to court, settle along the way, less the judge throws him in jail. I hope that doesn’t happen to Hatman, but knowing him, he will tough it out and keep doing what he feels is right.
I asked Naja and Arnaud Girard after Hatman’s trial, they publish Key West the Newspaper and were there taking it all in, how much did they figure prosecuting Hatman for living in his home had cost the city, the county court system and them, Naja and Arnaud, taxpayers? They laughed.