Last month the community of Englewood, New Jersey banned Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi from going forward with plans to set up a tent to stay in at a Libyan-owned estate in the upscale community located a few minutes drive north of Manhattan.

Gadhafi, or Khadafy, as some news media call him, is scheduled to be in New York City for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, and wanted to stay on an estate the Libyan government owns in Englewood. But the city, in an admirable show of backbone, banned him from coming to town.

It seems that folks in Englewood remember Libya’s involvement in terrorist acts in the past, including the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, which killed 259 people on board the aircraft, as well as eleven on the ground. The dead included 189 Americans, 32 of them New Jersey residents. 

Englewood isn’t as forgiving as the United States government when it comes to embracing murderers, just because somebody else has taken the front seat on the Bad Guy Bus.

You know about the Bad Guy Bus, right? For as long as I can remember, and way before my time, the Bad Guy Bus was making regular stops, carrying all sorts of bloodthirsty thugs into the headlines.

Some of history’s most notorious figures have ridden the Bad Guy Bus. Most recently Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were its passengers, but before that it was Gadhafi, and prior to him it was Ayatollah Khomeini. And let us not forget Manuel Noriega, Idi Amin, and Ho Chi Minh.

The Bad Guy Bus has been around a long time. Nikita Kruschev, Fidel Castro, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Japanese Emperor Hirohito, and Kaiser Wilhelm all rode in on the Bad Guy Bus. They occupied our nightmares and our headlines until the bus moved on, and then came around the block again, carrying a brand new bad guy.

I applaud the folks in Englewood. They have long memories, in a world where the sins of the past seem to be forgotten within a month or two. It almost seems that as soon as we find somebody new to hate, we forget all about the bad things that were done to us in the past.

Not my dad’s generation. He saw firsthand the atrocities the Japanese committed in the Philippines during World War II, and he hated anything Japanese to his dying day. One of my uncles helped liberate survivors from the Dachau concentration camp, and he has never forgiven the German people for what happened there. Tell him that not all Germans were a part of the Nazi reign of terror, and he’ll tell you that none of them put a stop to it, either. Right or wrong, those men had long memories.

Is that right or wrong? Should we forgive and forget and make nice the day the bullets stop flying? Or should we nurse our hate and exact our revenge? Oh, we can’t do that. I forgot, we’re the Good Guys.

Most of those bad guys of the past are gone now, except Castro, Gadhafi and Bin Laden. But rest assured that we’ll never run out of bad guys. The Bad Guy Bus never runs out of fuel, or of bullies, thugs, and killers.

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13 Comments on The Bad Guy Bus

  1. Linda Mason says:

    I have to agree with you Nick. I know we are taught to forgive and forget. To do unto other’s what you would have them do unto you. But, somewhere, somehow the line has to be drawn. These men,and women too, had and have a steak in them that defies human decency. But some people just don’t learn. My father in law served in the Pacific and to him Japan is a negative word.

    Then my mother, who was born in Germany, and came here when she was only 5. To her dying day she swore that Hitler couldn’t have killed all that he did. Her logic was that her brother in law had 13 people in his Jewish family and none of those were killed. They had money and could get out but you couldn’t convince her of all that was done. This was a very intelligent person, but was totally wrong.

    We can’t and we should never forget what these people have done. We should stand up and decry any mention of forgiveness or fair play. Do unto them what they did unto us is my motto.

  2. MichaelG says:

    So after WWII, instead of rebuilding Japan and Germany, you think we should have done what? Bombed the crap out of them after they surrendered, or ruled the countries with an iron fist? Refused to buy anything they made or let any of their citizens into our country?

    Putting their countries back together was a good job and have been well rewarded for it. Your other blog mentioned Karma…

  3. rex says:

    Forgiveness is the Lord’s business, not mine. I will not forgive and forget.

  4. Joyce Space says:

    We were very glad that people in other countries where we’ve traveled have “separated the people from the government.” That is, people we’ve met in foreign countries treated us very well even though they did not like what our government was doing. We try to do the same – judge people as individuals, not clump them together based on the country they come from or the culture to which they belong.

  5. Nick Russell says:

    On the other hand, MichaelG, maybe that would be the result of their bad karma….

  6. Tom--Ohio says:


    My grandmother was the worlds greatest cook. She’d say the more you stir the soup..the better it tastes. Too many people
    are willing to just let the soup boil today, same old recipe. Me, I like to stir it and stir it. Communication and ideas are like soup in some ways….add more items, keep stiring. Before you know it you have a new improved recipe that maybe we all might be able to enjoy. Make me mad..make me smile..keep me laughing. but don’t ever stop stiring my friend.

  7. Judge people as individuals, not as the group they are from. That’s the best idea, but often so difficult to put into practice.

  8. ken turner says:

    Nick; Take Miss Terrys’ advise AND KILL BAD NICK NOW! before
    he Kills your golden Goose. I for one don’t want to hear this crap! Ken a onetime happy camper.

  9. Jim@HiTek says:

    Funny Nick, but you don’t mention Andrew Jackson (Trail of Tears) or Ronald Reagan (348,000 dead in Argentina and many in the US) as being on the bad guy bus…

    Selective memory? Meanwhile, love your stuff and would defend your right to say it if called.

  10. Nick Russell says:

    If you don’t want to read it, please don’t. The great thing about this country is that we have the freedom to choose.

  11. Steve says:

    If Ken stops reading Bad Nick, he will miss much wisdom. Too many people read or listen only to those who agree with their own philosophy.
    Diversity is important. Dittoheads are dolts, IMHO.

  12. Dale says:

    We recently lost a very dear aunt who had first been in the Hungarian underground and then in Auschwitz. She forgave but she never forgot.

    As an officer in the Israeli army, she also fought for Israeli independence. As to the Palestinians, she forgave but did not forget.

    This woman epitomized the best in all of us. She was generous with her time, her money and her compassion. If anyone should have nursed hatred, it would have been her.

    Instead, she chose not to forget but to judge all as individuals and not by the group they belonged to.

    She also committed her history to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC and in Israel, the Shoah project and as a speaker at schools and organizations so that others would learn from history’s lessons.

    She was always open to learning and always loved people. She never forgave hatred or bigotry.

    I think she had it right!

    If people stop reading Bad Nick, and/or Nick’s Blog, because they do not always agree with the Blog, then they do everyone a disservice. It is incumbent upon all of us to remember tolerance and respect and civility are the components that permit our democracy to remain a democracy. It is time that we all “agree to disagree” and work together. This need not require a “forgive and forget” attitude nor the nursing of hatred for fear’s sake.

  13. Mike Steffen says:

    Howdy Nick. You and I both did tours in Viet Nam – the hard way. Like my father could never forget the Japineese (He was aboard ship at P-harbor when it was bombed, I can’t find it in my heart to forgive or forget not only the little people of that country, but the damn fools our ours. If this makes me bigot then so be it. I’ve just got to many holes in my old bod to feel differntly I guess.



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