Wolf Pangloss's Fish Taco Stand

"But, reverend father," said Candide, "there is horrible evil in this world."

"What signifies it," said the Dervish, "whether there be evil or good? When his highness sends a ship to Egypt, does he trouble his head whether the mice on board are at their ease or not?"

"What, then, must we do?" said Pangloss.

"Hold your tongue," answered the Dervish.

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Location: Edge City, Titan

18 November 2007

Detroit Gas Price Murder

WXYZ had it first.
Investigators say the confrontation started when the owner of the BP station on that corner went to the Marathon station to discuss with its owner why he'd dropped the price for a gallon of unleaded gas to $2.93 per gallon, three cents less than BP.

The discussion quickly escalated into a fight with two more people from the BP station brawling with rivals at Marathon. One man was hit with a baseball bat in the melee. And then, police say, the 51-year-old owner of the Marathon station pulled out a gun and shot the owner of the BP, Jawad Bazzi, a 45-year-old father of five children.

Obviously there is some falsehood going on here. The murdered man is named. The murderer is not. The events do not make sense in the order they are given. This is called bad journalism, and it the reason why the dinosaur media is losing viewers and subscribers.

Over at Free Republic, a commenter named polarpower, a self described pagan woman from Detroit married to a Muslim man, had something to add to the story. It's called context. The rest of the story. The whole damn story, and not just a tease like we got from WXYZ. This is her whole comment.
I need someone to post the truth of the incident in Detroit regarding the “gas price feud”. I have a very personal tie to this station, to the employees, and the owner, and people are getting it wrong.

Jawad Bazzi was the most decent immigrant in Detroit. He was generous with his employees, his friends, his family, and even strangers. He worked, and worked; religion, class, race, never meant anything to him; from when he started out as a teenage Muslim immigrant from Lebanon to the successful man he was until yesterday. He earned everything he had. The only white woman I ever saw working in a gas station or a party store (liquor store for out-of-staters), in the metro area, was at his BP station. He did not pick fights with anyone; but in the last month someone was giving the above-mentioned employee a hard time night after night, and he, with his brother Aarf (Art) dealt with him appropriately. He was a savvy businessman; he knew where he was. The gas station business IS cutthroat, and for that matter DETROIT is cutthroat, and worse. That did not stop him from being a loyal, kind, and endearing man. Everyone who knew Joe loved Joe.

This is taking forever; I’ve never lost someone to violence and I can’t believe he really is not alive.

Jawad did not start the fight. He was in his office when it started. This “war” hasn’t been going on for more than two years. Jawad could play this game with the best; let alone some petty thug. He had several other thriving stations. On my last occasion speaking with him, I told him how much better the station he had just bought looked. I had been driving by it for years (before these ties came and after), and I was happy to see another piece of Detroit brought out of blight. I do not wish to place blame, but it was his brother who started the shouting at the Marathon station. Jawad had called him (Aarf being a station owner himself) about the price changes, then went to buy fruit from the Produce Market (the big terminal in Detroit is a few blocks away from the station). When he came back, he instructed the stock clerk to take it into the store from his truck, and went into his office. It was a customer who informed the cashier on duty at the time that someone was lying on the ground and had been hit in the back of the head by a baseball bat. Jawad had come out of his office, and it was then that the cashier and he saw the stock clerk running toward the Marathon. The stock clerk was also struck with the baseball bat in the head. Jawad saw his baby brother lying on the ground along with his employee. That is when Joe ran outside.

There is a gun in that station. A six chamber revolver. Jawad did not have it in his hands. He did not carry a different gun about his person. He went to his bleeding, torn brother. I can’t speak to the owner of the Marathon’s mind, but he saw Joe coming and went for his gun. He had to know, HAD to know, why Joe was coming. Nothing in his hands, looking at the brother he had been a father to (their own father had died when Art was six months old). Art, and his oldest son, are at the BP nearly every day. The Marathon owner, whose name I know is Hassan, knew this well. THAT I can speak to. He shot Jawad Bazzi in cold blood. He shot him seven times. Hassan took advantage of an opportunity to eliminate a business rival because Mr. Marathon is inferior. One of the bullets nearly hit the stock clerk, who was unconscious. All the violence was on the part of the Marathon employees and owner. Jawad was dead before the ambulance came. The American Dream was dead before the police arrived. One minute, three seconds from the time Joe emerged from his office to his death.

I have changed a life-long position regarding the death penalty today. Michigan is not a death penalty state. I now know the pain that comes with violent, senseless death. It should be met with death.

I am a pagan woman wearied by the realities of the practices of Islam, and vocal about it, and Joe always had a hug for me, and would not hesitate to listen to an American woman married to a Muslim-raised man talk about how crazy and impossible he is. I have enjoyed many meals at a restaurant named “The Ham Place” because Joe took one of his employees there and the employee took me there. I have met Greeks and Albanians and Yemenites through Jawad Bazzi. He took 20oz bottles of pop to the people at his bank when he went. If you knew him, or his employees, you never left his stores without something to drink. This may sound silly, but it was an indication of his generous spirit. He recently brought his mother from southern Lebanon. Her village and home were destroyed last summer. He went there during the conflict, to make sure she and his other relatives were safely removed from the danger. He bought her a house because she wanted her own place. He proudly displayed this home to his employees, which were like his own family. He spent time with them outside of work, and even forgave an employee that turned a one month trip to Jordan to seven months. He is still employed. He has forgiven angry, personal outbursts, other sorts of unsavory behavior, and even the people who stole the 50 gallon plant pots he bought for this station. He bought more, and planted more flowers.

I could go on forever. This world is less for his death.

Of all the people I encountered in Detroit, of all the immigrants to the United States, of all the men who made small differences in the lives of so many beleaguered souls, Jawad Bazzi was the best among them. Please don’t just write this off as a petty, ridiculous feud on his part. Pity the cruel circumstances that took someone so wonderful from the all of us he touched.

For my dear friend Joe
Angels rested when they saw your eyes
Weary of their time from the skies
Wrought of love and in grace
Enduring peace in this space

15 posted on 11/17/2007 2:44:28 AM PST by polarpower


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Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.

                Matthew 7:15-16