Somedays, just to pass the time, I like to find some alone time and ponder to myself if society is collapsing all around me at that very moment. And then other days, society goes ahead and saves me the time wondering.
Tampa police: Marine reservist attacked Greek priest he mistook for terrorist
And here we go.
TAMPA — Marine reservist Jasen Bruce was getting clothes out of the trunk of his car Monday evening when a bearded man in a robe approached him.
That man, a Greek Orthodox priest named Father Alexios Marakis, speaks little English and was lost, police said. He wanted directions.
What the priest got instead, police say, was a tire iron to the head. Then he was chased for three blocks and pinned to the ground — as the Marine kept a 911 operator on the phone, saying he had captured a terrorist.
Police say Bruce offered several reasons to explain his actions:
The man tried to rob him.
The man grabbed Bruce’s crotch and made an overt sexual advance in perfect English.
The man yelled “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” the same words some witnesses said the Fort Hood shooting suspect uttered last week.
“That’s what they tell you right before they blow you up,” police say Bruce told them.
Well, come on now. Let’s be fair here. You do have to admit that it is technically possible that this tiny Greek priest who doesn’t speak English did somehow attempt to rob, molest and explode this musclebound gorilla in that sequence. In which case, I’d say the law dictates he’s well within his rights to respond with the four tire irons to the head like he did. It’s in the Constitution.
The two men are a year apart in age, and a world apart in life experiences.
Father Michael Eaccarino of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs says Marakis, 29, entered a Greek monastery as a teenager and became a priest nine years ago. He is studying theology at Holy Cross, a Greek Orthodox school in Massachusetts, and traveled to Tarpon Springs two months ago to work on his master’s thesis. He has taken a vow of celibacy.
Eaccarino says the visiting priest got lost Monday after ministering to the elderly in a nursing home.
So what you’re saying is he’s a regular Osama bin Laden then. Got it.
Jasen Bruce, 28, enlisted as a reserve Marine as a teenager, was discharged honorably when he finished his contract, and enlisted again this March. He has never been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, a Marine Corps spokesman said. He got married last month in full dress uniform.
In hindsight, it’s a good thing this guy was never dispatched to either Iraq or Afghantistan. Because can you imagine how
Bruce is a sales manager for APS Pharmacy in Palm Harbor. His blog entries tout the benefits of increasing testosterone and human growth hormones.
Benefits such as randomly chasing down priests in the streets and pinning them to the ground until the police arrive.
He was charged with misdemeanor battery in 2007 for hopping over the bed of a tow truck and shoving its driver. He pleaded no contest.
Online photo galleries depict him flexing big muscles wearing little clothing.
This is true, because honestly, this story wasn’t nearly insane enough as it was already. But if you are desperate to see some hunka hunka burning dumbass, here’s the link. Don’t say I never did anything for you. Side note: DO NOT CLICK ON THAT LINK.
An exterior surveillance video of Tuesday’s chase captured the two men in motion, said Tampa Police Department spokeswoman Laura McElroy:
“You see a very short, small man running, and an enormous, large muscular man chasing after him.”
I know this is an awful thing, but I really would like to see that video.
This is what police say happened at 6:35 p.m. Monday:
The priest’s GPS gave him the wrong directions, leading him off Interstate 275 and into downtown Tampa. He followed a line of cars into a garage at the Seaport Channelside condominium to ask for help.
He found Bruce, whose back was turned, bending over the trunk of his car, and he tapped his shoulder before saying, in broken English, “please” and “help.”
See, here’s where he made his mistake. Never, ever do anything with broken English when dealing with a xenophobe. You’re just asking for trouble.
That’s when Bruce reached for the tire iron. Police say that by the end of the chase, he had hit the priest four times.
See, what’d I tell you? GO BACK TO MEXICO, SOCIALIST!
Hours after his release from Orient Road Jail on Tuesday, Bruce stood silently as his attorney, Jeff Brown, told his version:
The bearded man wearing a robe and sandals was clearly trespassing in the garage.
So having a beard and a robe and sandals is what makes you a terrorist. I see. Well, somebody go dig up Charlton Heston and get him in jail, before he blows up any more federal buildings than he already has.
In a sudden move, the stranger made a verbal sexual advance and grabbed Bruce’s genitals.
The Marine defended himself. And immediately, he called 911 as he chased him.
Brown said the police initially called the Marine a “hero” and said the priest was “mentally ill.”
Yes, everyone knows it’s the real heroes who chase down mentally ill priests and beat them in the head with tire irons. But where’s his parade, huh?
He called the police’s account “one-sided” and said the department should investigate a sergeant he said made derogatory comments about the Marine’s military background.
Stupid police, making disparaging remarks about this hero for absolutely no good reason whatsoever. HE CAPTURED A TERRORIST, YOU JERK!
Police said that sergeant is, himself, a veteran. They say that the priest was disoriented when they found him at the corner of Madison and Meridian avenues, but a translator at Tampa General Hospital helped him communicate. And that the GPS corroborates the priest’s story.
Yes, but that GPS probably hates America. I’m just saying.
When police arrived at Bruce’s apartment at 1:30 a.m., before they had mentioned charges, he had already called an attorney.
As most heroic defenders of freedom would.
Television news stations showed the priest’s photo on Tuesday and mentioned what the Marine said he did. If the priest had watched, he wouldn’t have understood it.
He’d spent the day in great spirits, his fellow priest said. His main worry was that he inconvenienced the others who had to care for him. Then, a man named Jerry Theophilopoulos got in touch with him. He’s a lawyer, speaks Greek and served as a former board member of the church. The lawyer said he told the priest what the Marine said. Marakis was stunned. His eyes grew wide. He said it was a lie.
So it wasn’t the beating over the head with the tire iron or chasing him down over three blocks or pinning him down on the sidewalk that hurt so much as the lying about it after the fact. I understand. I would probably feel the same way.
Anyway, if you take one lesson away from this, let it be this: If you’re lost in unfamiliar territory and looking for help from a roided-out xenophobic jaskass with a tireiron, it’s best to hold a paint swatch up next to your face and do a quick visual comparison/terrorist self-testing. If you register as anything darker than “Lily White,” I’d suggest you just get back in your car.