Monday, March 15, 2010

An Apology

Legends say that the city of Topeka, Kansas is protected from tornadoes by Burnett's Mound. The 250 ft tall mound is situated at the southwest corner of the Kansas capital city. It is named after Chief Dan Burnett, a chief of the Pottawatomi tribe. Last October, Max and I made a little trip to the place, took some pictures and I made a blog post. The blog post was primarily about my memories of the place as a child. I lived not far from the hill and spent much time there. There is a nice view of the city from the top of the hill. Tornadoes generally travel in a northeasterly direction. Because the mound is located just on the southwest part of town, the legend said that any approaching tornado would hit the mound and be pushed back into the clouds. As we all know, legends like that rarely hold true and in 1966 that legend was debunked rather forcefully by a devastating tornado. The storm went right over the mound and cut a path of destruction straight across the heart of the city. I was there when it happened. Part of my post was about Chief Burnett, who was a very colorful character and very famous in the Topeka area for many reasons. He was known as a tough negotiator for the local indian tribes. He had actually met with President Lincoln. He spoke to the Kansas legislature just after Kansas had been admitted to the union. People were surprised to find out what a sharp and knowledgeable person he was. He was also known, or at the very least there are some stories, about his abilities to be able to drink large quantities of alcoholic beverages. It was that mention of these stories that offended a certain descendant of Chief Burnett. I received an e-mail from a descendant that criticized me for mentioning the drinking stories that exist about Chief Burnett. I was very surprised to even be contacted by this relative. Not even sure how the person could have even found a reference on the internet to my little insignificant blog primarily related to scootering and motorcycling. The point was that he took offense to the drinking stories and felt that my blog post helped to perpetuate the image that native americans are prone to the abuse of alcohol. I e-mailed him back and apologized, but have never heard back from him again. For a few months now I have been thinking about a post to make a more formal apology. So here it is: I hereby sincerely apologize if any offense was taken by the descendants of Chief Burnett as a result of my blog post last fall about the mound in southwest Topeka that is named after him. My personal reactions to this take a couple of forms. First, I never meant to offend. The post was only indirectly about Chief Burnett. I actually have a lot of respect about the man and his reputation. Indeed, the stories of some of his purported drinking escapades, in a way, make me respect him even more. He was not known as a drunkard, but rather a man with a healthy ability to enjoy life. Some of my old friends that know me can relate tales of my former drinking escapades that certainly didn't turn out so well. I can imagine that anybody could be offended about a reputation for drinking alcohol. But there was much more about this man than that supposed reputation. His legacy is full of great deeds, love and respect for his family. He was known as tough, but also a man of his word. There is a great deal of respect for him by all who know of him. Secondly though, I have had feelings about this that make me want to say to the person that e-mailed me: "Blow It Out Your Ass!" My post was only very indirectly about Chief Burnett. He lived a great life 150 years ago. You should be proud of him, not embarrassed. Do you not have anything better to do? I mean, how sensitive can you be? I didn't make up the stories, I just mentioned that they exist. Maybe I should be more careful about what I write on this blog (this post included). But then again I am sure I have said and done things in my life that are much more serious and possibly offensive. So there you have it, My formal apology..........But Jeez! Maybe I am just bitchy today because I am having a bad hair day. (helmet hair, don'tcha know)


  1. Jimbo/cpa3485:

    be thankful you still have some hair left. I didn't notice any vendetta against anyone in any of your postings, except towards that curmudgeon down in KW of course. I'll have to find our old post and re-read it. It may also be possible that many who read your words are only reading letters of the alphabet and were not wise enough to put them together to form the words. Just an observation . . .

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  2. Political correctness is the death of common sense.

  3. Well, lets face it that wasn't much of an apology, on the other hand I don't think you had anything to apologize for, as unnerving as it is to hear from someone who claims to be an ancestor. The original story was interesting enough I remember it well and the fact that he drank neither adds nor detracts from his character. I hate people who want to modify history even more than the victors already manage to modify it.
    I guess you aren't going to be doing his taxes. Big loss. I'd take out the paragraphs that start with the wors "first" and "secondly" and leave the rest. On the other hand bobskoot has me summed up rather well.

  4. You daredevil accountants are always rushing into things face first, aren't you? Mr. Crybaby should just be thankful it wasn't either Riepe or Conchscooter writing about his relative!

  5. LOL!! I've not read the original post, but I think the first amendment is still in force in this country. For what it's worth, forward the "facts" to Jack and Conch and let's have a writing contest. That should be great fun!!

  6. Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

    In the future, you can cite "previously published reports" (if that's where you got the information) as the source of the data (and be prepared to submit them) in the event of a suit. Or, you can say "the alleged drunkard."

    As ridiculoui as this sounds, a reporter of my acquaintance (writing for the most famous paper in the United States) was named as the focus of a suit for citing a statement that originated on the internet. He even wrote, "a system failure widely reported in other publications and on the internet," and was still served papers in a ction that had to be defended, even tough the plaintiff didn't stand a chance.

    You may also be sued for damages in the United States if you write something unpleasant about the nation of Brasil, and someone in brasil takes offense, and sues you. At this time, there are several cases like this pending in the US. Great Britain has already ruled in favor of the plaintiff in similar cases. This is utterly ridiculous.

    I think your best response was "Blow it out your ass."

    Mark Twain wrote a story and made up the most unlikely name for the main character, who was a dupe in the piece. A gentleman having that unlikely name showed up in Twain's office with legal papers. Twain asked if the guy was going to sue him over this remarkable circumstance. The guy did.

    The world is filled with scumbags.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads