Archive for April, 2013

FBI’s Most Wanted List and Eric Toth

Sunday, April 28th, 2013


For years the FBI’s fabled Most Wanted List may be best recognized in an array of big-budget cop drama plots.  The list was something the headstrong youthful cop consults before he takes the cause of vigilante justice into his own hands.  In the last three years, the FBI, Navy Seals, and foreign forces have managed to capture or kill three criminals occupying the Most Wanted List; Osama Bin Laden, James “Whitey” Bulger, and Eric Toth.  Each of these dangerous criminals managed to elude authorities for years while having their face spread across the globe on the infamous register.  The Most Wanted list is again in the media because on April 22, Eric Toth was arrested in Nicaragua, ending a four year long manhunt.


Eric Toth was wanted on charges that he hid a camera in the school bathroom, obtained lewd pictures, and engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with children.  As an elementary school teacher in the Washington D.C. area, Toth managed to convinced parents that he was an upstanding and trustful member of society.  Toth offered his services as an after-school tutor and babysitter so that he could gain access to impressionable young children. What parents believed were tutoring lessons for their kids turned out to be the sadistic fantasies of a dangerous and inconspicuous predator.  Before his capture, Toth was last seen in a homeless shelter in Arizona where he was reportedly finding work as a male nanny and part-time tutor.  Toth is not a “killer” by way of the law, but the mental and physical torture these children endured can scar an entire lifetime.  They will never gain back an innocence that they lost so young, at the hands of someone who is supposed to have their best interests in mind.


The world will always breed dangerous minds that wish to prey on the innocents of the world.  There is no justification for what Eric Toth did, and even a lifetime in prison seems unfit as punishment.  The heavily publicized cases of child molestation are all too common these days, but despite the constant exposure it seems there will always be something more bizarre and tragic waiting to be uncovered.  The FBI’s Most Wanted list might seem like a cloyingly sweet plot twist, but there is a certain satisfaction to see justice in action.  When the time constraints of movies and shows make certain that the “bad guy” is captured by the end, we have a disillusioned view on how fast justice is really served.  Characters like Eric Toth are an all-too-often facet of prime time shows, and many of us wait with bated breath to watch the good-looking cop duo wrap things up in a neat bow within the hour.  Society will always have a villain, and what defines the enemy is constantly evolving thanks to the FBI’s Most Wanted list and the endless fictional spin-offs.



-Spencer James-

Finding Paradise in a Cycle of Violence

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

 The Taliban evolved from a group of people that have been terrorized for decades.  They have weathered the storms of a Russian occupation, civil war, and a now infamous U.S.-led conflict. Life for many Afghani people consists of scrounging for food and powerlessly hoping an explosive doesn’t destroy their homes.  The future members of the Taliban are the children who grow up in this hell.  With nothing else to cling to but a potent magical book and an elder who speaks of the glorious hope to be found in paradise.  Their only hope of escaping this peril is a celestial sanctuary far removed from their everyday reality.  This yearning for spiritual resolution is the tool used by people like Osama Bin Laden, who have been twisting young men into monsters; a process unintentionally fostered by foreign invaders. 


Violence is part of everyday life in countries wracked by conquest. Many members of the population see aggression as the only answer.  As JFK was fond of saying, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”  So the citizens of nations in perpetual conflict find dark places to focus their energy and zealots turn into mass murderers.  It is in hopeless children that terrorists find their followers.  This madness is constantly perpetuated by the horrors of war and a never-ending cycle of violence.


Because we are wrapped in our own fear we often forget that many of the civilians in the countries we bomb are as fearful of terrorists as we are.  In the wake of another attack on our soil it is clear that no one is out of the reach of the deranged who aim to do us harm.  Violence is cyclical and through peaceful discourse we can begin the process of breaking the cycle.  We must start a new dialogue of peace and forgiveness; rather than the old one of hate and retribution. 





The Anti-Man Goes to Work Part V: The World’s Got Me Down

Sunday, April 14th, 2013


Today it feels like the world is collapsing around me.  As a global citizen who best expresses himself through writing, it is increasingly difficult to contain these sentiments for long.  The United States is in shambles, led by a government less productive than a three-legged horse.  There are reports of surveillance drones flying over JFK airport in New York City and countless natural disasters cropping up every month.  Civil wars and terrorist attacks are constant topics on the evening news, each program extolling immense tragedy and loss…all for dinnertime conversation.  A great question of my life: how can so many people turn a blind eye to these things?  How can so many of my fellow citizens ignore the terrible atrocities happening around the globe and return to their work, without offering up their own opinions for discussion?

Meanwhile, back in the office, I’m punching in my password for the hundredth time today.  (Note to the reader, my password is a cleverly chosen “f-off” to the administrator who may or may not recognize the name Tyler Durden.)  Tyler Durden is the main character in the renowned Chuck Palahniuk novel Fight Club.  The beliefs and philosophies of this novel, although controversial, have been a basis for my life and now have more relevance to my existence than ever before.  Why?  In short, the members of Fight Club are out to free the world from financial oppressors and the emasculating materialist culture of duvet covers and artisan mustard.  I find myself in a similar position as the narrator, confined to a job I do not enjoy and constantly looking for a way out.  When I look out into the world, I’m not sure that escape exists anymore.  Headlines casually stream the daily tolls of fifty dead here, seventy-five dead there; all wrapped up in state-of-the-art graphics and squeezed between patronizing commercial nonsense.  While we’re sitting comfortably in La-Z boy recliners and fast-forwarding through the idiocy of Geico and State farm advertisements, children across the globe (and our own country) are starving to death.

My angst has reached a boiling point, and I wonder if there is simply too much sorrow in the world for me to carry on.  Our goal at Can the Man is to create an “evolution of thought” that challenges the blindly accepted ways of thinking, while attempting to engage a unique dialogue within our readers.  If we can’t muster the courage to report these significant daily events in an intelligent, thought-provoking way, who will?  While the world unconsciously moves towards demise, I’m typing away trying to make sense of it all.  I’ll never be able to completely express or share all the feelings I have, and there are days that knowledge of this fact crushes me to pieces.  I do not aspire to topple financial giants like Tyler Durden.  Instead I am out to claim something unique for myself, to retrieve the bits of my soul that have been lost to this crazy world.  There is something to be gained from opening up to the world like this, as this type of honest realism is lacking in mainstream media.  The “Anti-Man” series provides the venue for my honest rebuttal to all the pointless drivel that occupies so many of us.  These pieces give me the escape I so desperately crave, and hopefully you do too.  In the hours I spent writing this to share with you I’m saved from the maelstrom—if only for a little while.


Here is Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, offering his perspective on society.



-Spencer James-