The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

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Shrimp 'n Grits

Rubin's Raiders
Lee Walton

A friend of mine, an old ex-Marine Lifer, is president of his homeowner's association in one of Charleston's new subdivisions out past Bees Ferry Road near the new Mega Wal-Mart. His neighborhood was having a terrible time with litter tossed out by construction workers who were building dozens of new homes in their subdivision. The growing piles of curbside litter were coming from the larger homebuilders' crews who were just dumping their lunch trash anywhere they wanted along the neighborhood streets (fast food bags, trash, plastic cups, bottles, drink cans, etc). Several of the neighbors had pleaded with the homebuilders and their subcontractors to clean up behind their workers but only got a shrug or the one finger salute for their efforts.

Over the next few weeks, my friend and several members of his association called the City of Charleston Building Department, the City Police Department (where's that hot blooded Greenberg now when they needed him?), Chief Crusty Rusty, their Council member, Smoky the Deb" (Tinkles and The Fish sure won't get her vote for their Smokeless in Charleston Crusade) and even J. Pericles Riley, but the neighbors just got hollow promises, the usual platitudes and enough bleeding-heart "hot air" to lift the Goodyear Blimp to 10,000 feet.

One Friday evening a few months ago, the association board got together at their favorite "watering hole", had more than their usual few beers, and decided to take matters into their own hands like the Minute Men in Arizona. So they organized about a dozen of their braver, athletic types from the neighborhood and named themselves Rubin's Raiders (in honor of Charleston's former Police Chief).

One of the more cunning Raiders, who happened to be a Citadel Alum, had the really bright idea to buy each of their squad Navy Blue Baseball Caps and T-shirts with big bold, gold "IMS" initials (miss-lettered on purpose) stitched on the caps and shirt pockets in order to look semi-official. Another Raider, a more cultured C-of-C grad, suggested they all wear matching khaki pants, black-rimmed "shades" and surgical gloves, carry black trash bags and mobile phones, and sling digital cameras around their necks.

The next week the Raiders, all took time off from work, organized six-man teams for each day, then went out at lunchtime to walk in front of every construction site in their subdivision and picked up the offensive roadside litter. The Raiders made a big deal about examining the individual pieces of litter they picked up (like a "CSI Team") while frequently talking to each other on their mobile phones as they counted and snapped photos of the gawking, very recently "come here" construction workers.

The day after their first litter pick-up raid, 69 out of the 97 workers the Raiders counted and photographed didn't show up for work, and new home construction in their subdivision came to a screeching halt. It's been over a month since the first Rubin's Raiders sortie and there's hardly a piece of roadway litter now anywhere west of Bees Ferry Road.

Last week, Pericles jumped at the chance to take credit for this fantastic, fabulous, wonderful, marvelous, mysterious West Ashley Clean Up; he's now pushing the Palter & Chatter editors to publish a big "above-the-fold" feature article (in print even bigger that the recent Aquarium is in The Black headlines) with a picture of Pericles, Smokey the Deb, and Tinkles picking up roadside litter as he gets the gritty out of the City with another National, "it was all my brilliant idea", damage control campaign.

Now dozens of big homebuilders and subcontractors all over the West Ashley area have lost all of their low wage, paid out the cigar box, construction workers and are furious at Pericles for the higher wages and benefits they now must pay local workers. They are all certain that the Raiders were some of Charleston's Finest out to shake them down for yet another new Building Impact Fee. But these same homebuilders and contractors can't say anything publicly, because they could each be busted for hiring, Heaven forbid, "illegal aliens".

My friend's neighborhood association and their Rubin's Raiders can't be accused of impersonating INS personnel, because they called the local office and told the real Immigration and Naturalization Service about what they were going to do in advance as IMS Trash Men; the INS laughed and basically said "Good Luck - Happy Hunting".

Who ever said these Good Old Boys were slow thinkers! It just took a few more beers than usual to prime their intellectual pumps.


Your Comments:


Posted by: Heather at May 29, 2006 02:38 PM

That was a great story. Thanks for passing it on.

Posted by: Lee from Wagener Terrace at June 7, 2006 01:33 AM

I've heard this story before, but about Goose Creek.

Posted by: chip at June 28, 2006 01:34 AM