I was a huge fan of the TV show, “Sons of Anarchy”. Was may not be the right word, because I really still am. I loved the people in it, the characters, the story. I was seriously depressed when it ended and felt like I had been cheated out of a few more seasons of hot biker fantasies playing out on my television. I am the proud owner of every season of SoA on BluRay and I’ve watched all 7 seasons at least 4 times, often having weekend marathons where I’m lucky if I get 2 hours of sleep because I just can’t shut it off. Seeing Charlie Hunnam’s ass is worth missing a few hours of sleep. Sex & violence were rampant in that show. It ended in disappointment. Story of my life.
Not only did I really love the show itself, but it opened me up to a whole bunch of music that I fell in love with. There are several songs that come on and take me right back to what was happening in the show when the song was playing. One of those is “Coal War” by Joshua James. Season 4, Episode 1: The guys are getting their shit together to get out of jail. Jax has a new haircut! Here’s a link to that opening, because you should see what I see in my head:
Now, you listen to the song and I’m going to tell you about an interesting thing I learned yesterday related to the coal wars.
Around the turn of the century, coal mining was huge in America. As with most commodities that requires good people to work hard for next to nothing while the parent company gets rich, there were labor disputes. Shocking, I know. Now, the workers had quite enough of shitty pay for dangerous work and would strike and sometimes riot. The big coal companies often used private detective companies to keep union organizers out of the area and break up any strikes. This was done by any means necessary, including murder.
One such agency was the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency out of Roanoke, VA. Now, these guys were real fuckers, using machine guns and brutal tactics to “persuade” people to get in line. In 1912, the miners in Paint Creek Union were working on negotiating a new contract with the operators. Their demands were pay equal to those miners in surrounding communities and some basic human rights issues.
This didn’t go well and the resulting conflict between the Paint Creek and Cabin Creek coal miners and the Baldwin-Felts thugs would go down in history as one of the bloodiest labor disputes in West Virginia History. You can read about it here.
Out in Colorado, the bullies were the National Guard. They set out to evict miners from a tent colony in Colorado called Ludlow. They entered the tent colony on the morning of April 20, 1914 and opened fire with machine guns, aiming at anyone they saw moving.
During the fighting, women and children dug pits to escape the shooting. However, that evening, the National Guard came in and set fire to the camp. In one pit, two women and eleven children were discovered. You can read bout the Ludlow Massacre here.
I got totally lost in the stories of the Coal Wars yesterday, as you can tell. There was so much I wanted to share with you, but in the interest of brevity (too late, bitch) I’ll stop here. But look it up. Click all of the links. People were assholes then and they’re assholes now. Patterns of violence that have repeated themselves through history and they’re just going to continue because, yep, assholes.
Among my many vices, one of the ones I’m trying to dump this year is smoking. The last time I quit, it was relatively easy for me. I started with cutting out the ones I didn’t think I could do without – that first one in the morning, the one after each meal and the one right before bed. My thought then was that if I could replace those moments with something else, not smoking the rest of the time would be easier. It worked that first time and I actually had quit for 2 years and never even missed it.
So last night, I’m getting ready for bed when I realized I hadn’t tried anything. Well, there’s no time like the present. I figured I’d try skipping that last smoke before bed. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, and climbed into bed. I read for a few minutes, turned out the light and tried to sleep. For some reason, I started the self-sabotage process. “Why are you denying yourself this one comfort? It’s the end of the day. You worked hard. You were a superstar mom. No one is going to pat you on the back other than you. Why not just have that one thing that you enjoy? Come on, get out of bed. Put on your fuzzy pants and jacket. Go outside and have a smoke. You earned it. It’s not like you’ve got someone to snuggle up to who would complain…” And just like that, my trying ended. I stood outside being angry at myself, but enjoying that smoke. I’ll try that one again sometime, but not this week. It may sound awful, but it’s the one thing I can depend on. Well, that and masturbation. Because people were assholes then and and they’re assholes now. Patterns of disappointment that have repeated themselves through history and they’re just going to continue because, yep, assholes.
See what I did there?