Ozzie Ausband

December 20th ...and everything after.

Ritz Carlton by 'ground zero' , December 20, 2002

On December 20, 1978, Tony Alva was photographed deep in the blowhole of Uplands ‘Pipeline’ skatepark. Everything after, has been a roller coaster ride of vertical & over-vertical mayhem, for us skateboarders. Meanwhile, on December 20, 1990, the Pentagon warned Saddam Hussein that U.S. air power was ready to strike; starting the Gulf War.  On December 20, 1991, Osama Bin Laden was -reportedly-in  Dubai…he was taking notes & excessively unhappy with American involvement in the Persian Gulf. He banded with others in a small dusty hut, and bent their heads together over a darksome plot. Everything after, has been a nightmare of death, bloodshed & destruction. All of that ignorance & calamity led up to the current debacle in the Middle East.

9-11, was a direct result of American meddling in the Holy Lands. According to them, we are ‘infidels’ & don’t belong there. In the Koran, I found it written, that we-infidels- should be killed. From the Koran-(Qur’an: 9:5) “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.” Interesting, I would think. However, such thoughts should remain inside the empty head they originated from, lest someone decide to act upon them.

But—as they say, “Live & let live”. I read a book recently about the 9-11 hijackers, called, ‘Perfect Soldiers’. I recommend it highly. I went to New York City in December 2001. I met & interviewed the iconic photographer, Glenn E. Friedman, and while there, I stayed in the area around ‘Ground Zero’. I walked around all night & cried openly. New York City groaned under its burden of grief. Among the unending towers of concrete, glass, chrome & hubris, I saw tributes on the fences…numbering in the thousands. The dirty sidewalks were drowning in crowds of saddened onlookers & the disbelieving. The overpowering smell of flowers left for the dead, was cloying & heavy. Gaunt trees waved their branches in the wind; seemingly in a sad farewell to the deceased below.

I noticed pictures, childrens messages to their missing parents, abject sorrow. I saw a question repeatedly asked in huge letters. WHY?! I know of no polite response. I love my country, but am scared of my government. Please remember where we came from as skateboarders, yet -more importantly-as human beings. I don’t know the answer to the situation, but I do know that what we are doing, isn’t working well. Lets not be a part of the problem. Lets be a part of the solution. We can start by being  much nicer, right now. Thank you to Jim Goodrich for the image & the inspiration. Skate Long/Hate Less.- Ozzie