Epic Beard Man

Epic Beard Man


I never thought I would be discussing this on my blog either, but I do think that there is a lot to learn from this particular incident. I initially had no intentions of even talking about this subject until I heard both parties involved in the fight speak about it aft the fight.

I will break this down into 9 different parts.

1. Tom (Epic Beard Man) Getting Tasered at a baseball game
2. The initial incident itself.
3. The people watching the incident on the bus
4. The viral internet sensation and buzz on the video
5. The Racist comments on the videos
6. Being a war veteran
7. The post fight interview of Tom (Epic Beard Man)
8. The post fight interview of Michael (opponent)
9. The Bottom Line

Part 1: Tom (Epic Beard Man) Getting Tasered at a baseball game

Here is a video that many people are not aware of. He was tasered at and Oakland A’s game Just last year:

It is hard to tell from this if he was deserving of being zapped, but it is also clear that he backs down to no one. Not even the authorities. So once he gets going the situation will be more and more difficult to deal with. Who knows, maybe there was a misunderstanding or someone started something with him. This is just speculation, but the thing that is clear is that he wont be pushed around by anyone including someone with a badge, gun and taser.

I think we have all seen someone in our lives talking nonsense and getting in peoples faces, but as the movie fight club says, “Most people, normal people, do just about anything to avoid a fight” which I believe to be true. I think when you are very young you may be a little feistier, but as you get older you will see that for the most part there is no benefit to it in the long run. So avoidance of a fight is the wise move unless cornered. Then you do what you have to do if you feel threatened with no way out.

Part 2: initial incident itself and Part 3: The people watching the incident on the bus

If you look closely at the incident itself from what you can see being said on the video looks like it was more of a misunderstanding. The very first part of the tape you clearly hear the following. Again, there may be more before this, but from what we can hear this is what happened.

Tom says “lets get back to discussing this, how much would you charge me for a spit shine?”

Michael responds “What?”

Tom Repeats “How much will you charge me for my Stacey Adams… I am going to a Funeral on Friday… I gotta… You said you….”

Michael Responds “did you hear what I said big man?”

Tom Says “Yes”

Michael Says “Why a brother got to spit shine your shoes?”

Tom Says “YOU OFFERED!” (to me this is a key line in the conversation)

Michael Responds “I didn’t offer you Shit!”

Tom Responds “What did you just say when you walked by me?”

Michael Repeats “Why a fucking brother got to spit shine your shoes?”

Tom Responds “No, You don’t have to”

Michael “Why a white man cant spit shine shoes”

Tom “It can be a Chinaman, it don’t matter”

Michael “Look Dude, Look”

Tom “I ain’t Prejudice, Do you think I am Prejudice?”

Michael “Take your ass back up there and get the fuck up out of my face”

Tom “Why you being so hostile man”

Michael “because I am pissed off”

Tom “It is better to be pissed off than pissed on little buddy”

Michael “take your ass back up there right now”

Tom “You ain’t scared of this white boy, I am 67 years old?”

Michael “I’m 50, Ill put my foot up your ass.”

I don’t want to transcript this whole event, but this is where Tom gets up to keep this from escalating further and he does go up to the front of the bus. At this point it should have ended. They got their distance from each other and this should have been the end of it.

One thing that needs to mentioned and commended was the African American lady in the middle of the frame when they started getting up and it looked like it could go to blows right there. She was doing her best to try to calm the situation down. She was saying “hey hey hey, y’all chill” “forget about that”. This is VERY important in a situation like this. Many times the people in the heated discussion can go from heated to diffused or heated to an all out fight depending on the people in the near by area. This lady needs to be commended for at least trying to slow this down or to try to get them to stay away from each other and drop it.

At this point they are separated, but they are still jawing at one another, both being in the wrong for keeping it going when it could have ended there. Here is where the exact opposite of the older lady comes in and joins in the chant. “say it again, say it again, Say it again PINKY!” (nice little racist comment to add to the end of that one eh?) This ignorant lady single handedly puts more pressure on both people involved. At this point it goes back to the old playground I dare you. This is NOT the thing you want to happen when you are dealing with two stubborn alpha males. Race has nothing to do with this situation in general terms of argument. Now it is basically a man hood situation we are dealing with. Neither of them want to back down. So now if Tom says nothing, Michael wins, but if Tom does say something and Michael does nothing, Tom Wins. This may sound childish, but that is how it has always been and how it always will be. That is why this particular situation must be avoided at all times because once these lines are drawn, there is no going back. So naturally in the heat of the moment Tom says something. Michael gets up and begins to walk towards Tom in the front of the bus. Then you hear this woman again say “beat his white ass (racist) Fuck his ass up” in the background (I think by the same racist woman that used the pinky comment earlier in the video) Once Michael makes his move towards Tom when things have yet to cool down, he is 100% in the wrong. Once a person moves away from the conflict to diffuse it, who ever comes back towards the other person is 100% at fault. This is like rear ending another car while driving. If you hit some ones rear bumper while driving you are at fault and this is no different.

While Michael does make his way towards Tom, much of what is said is not understandable. You hear Tom say, “I am not getting up” (I take this is if he does not want to fight) There is a little jawing back and fourth, but no punches are thrown. You can again hear that older lady say, “Leave that man alone my brother”. You also hear someone else say “it ain’t worth it blood, it ain’t worth it”. So this is pretty good. Two people in the crowd do try to cool this off not to escalate it further. Then Michael begins to walk back towards his seat and Tom says very clearly “I would slap the shit out of him”. That was the final straw. Now that Tom has spoken up and very clearly in front of all those people said he would slap him Michael is in a position where he really doesn’t have much choice, but to do something. Like the old saying goes “His mouth was writing checks his ass can’t cash”.

Michael was wrong for approaching him the first time and for the second straight time Michael approaches Tom. Not only is he 100% wrong for this alone, he throws the first punch. Once this happens he has no ground to stand on. Win or lose he is at fault. We all know what happens from there. Tom Whales on him for a while and then stops and walks off the bus. I am not going into who stole Tom’s bag or anything like that.

I have heard people talking about this all over the place and this video went viral with over 3,000,000 views on the main video alone and this does not count all the other uploads to other sites or mash ups and commentary videos. So I can’t even imagine how many people have seen these videos. I must say that it is clear that Michael was in the wrong, but as I mentioned earlier we don’t know what was said before the tape started rolling.

One thing that does need to be noted in this discussion is that when you are on the military especially in basic training, all soldiers know how to shine shoes and or boots. If they don’t, they will most likely pay someone who is good at it to shine their shoes for them. I have known many people that would do this if they just didn’t want to bother with shining them. So we all know that this comment about shining shoes can easily be seen as a derogatory comment made by some old white man to a black man, but when someone does have time in the military it is not to be totally assumed that this was intended to be some sort of racial statement. Also, it is not clear that he was even talking to him. The most important thing is to see how Tom reacted and said to Michael “YOU OFFERED!”. It should be clear to anyone that with this reaction from Tom that he misunderstood something that Michael said, or that Michael misunderstood something that Tom said. I only bring the military aspect up because while I would completely understand why anyone of any race would consider this comment to be derogatory in nature, it may have been just a misunderstanding some how. While this is speculation, it should not be totally discounted.

Part 4: The viral Internet sensation and buzz on the video

Like I said in the very beginning. We have all seen or experienced someone verbally bullying someone or getting in their face about a situation. There were several reasons why this video took off.

1st – It is a real fight. People have always flocked towards something real especially if it is a fight. We see all sorts of studio produced videos and commercials so when something happens like this for real the story spreads like wild fire.

2nd – There is an old guy that is in the fight with a nice gray Santa like beard. How many times have you seen a 67 year old man in a full on fist fight lately? Or for that matter… Ever?

3rd – From First glance it looks like the good guy wins the fight and shows the aggressor get his ass handed to him. Street justice.

4th – We have all seen people like this and we all wished that someone would shut them up, but no one did. That person kept going on shooting their mouth off and no one stuck to their guns and stood up to what appeared at first glance to be a bully.

Keep in mind that all of these 4 statements were why I believe the video went viral. Since we don’t know what was said earlier before the video started we don’t know the whole story.

Part 5: The Racist comments on the videos

This is the most disgusting part of this whole situation. Anytime you see any video with a black vs. white situation. A debate, a contest or this fight you will see some racist comments, but this one seemed worse than most. A lot of these arm chair tough guys and girls typing all these hateful comments is sickening. While I don’t agree with the hate crime and hate speech bills, I do get bothered to see how low people can sink. It is nice to see some of the stand up people calling them out in the comments section for being racist, but the frequency of those types of comments is disturbing. We all know they would never say those racist comments to any African American to their face. Well at least a LOT of them wouldn’t.

Part 6: Being a war veteran

I am not sure what action Tom saw in Vietnam if any. I just don’t know about the facts on his service and where he was stationed and any other issues with him personally, but if he was there and did see some action it would not surprise me one bit. I have known some veterans from the Vietnam era and some of them do have some issues. I knew of a few veterans that you never wanted to wake up while they were sleeping because if you did, you might have your hands full for a while. I am not even joking. When you are out there in the jungle trying to kill or be killed and you see many friends getting killed all around you every day, it WILL change you forever. You just don’t get over some of this stuff that goes on in a war. You see things you can’t un-see. So when you have a potential war veteran like Tom in a situation like this, I am glad that he stopped beating on Michael. Sometimes they may not stop depending on their background. When someone is in an enraged state they can black out while in a fight and if they do it might be the end of someone.

Part 7: The post fight interview of Tom (Epic Beard Man)

There have been many interviews with Tom. I have seen at least 2 of them. One of these was made by someone on the street type of thing and another by a radio station who interviewed him. There were many things that were said by Tom that didn’t quite seem right. He stated that Michael flashed him a knife and that he was a convicted murderer and that Michael was out for 22 and a half minutes when in the video we clearly see him conscious and he walked back to his original seat bleeding badly. There just did seem to be some things that didn’t quite add up. I had no reason to doubt Tom or his words at first. I was not there. I don’t have any first hand knowledge of either of them except what was on the video. Tom is someone that seems pretty likable from his interviews. He is clearly amped up when talking about this incident. He also will burst into tears when talking about his mother that just passed away. He is clearly an emotional guy on both sides of the spectrum. I know a lot of people are making him out to be a hero for standing up to Michael, but at the same time Michael himself said that he has gone to prison. He has dealt with some pretty hard drugs and pimping. So that is the best resume to be walking up to the nearest fortune 100 company with. I am not judging him at all, but it needs to be said. I totally believe that people can change their life, but they must want to in order to do it. You can’t make them. So I do hope that he has all that baggage behind him now.

Part 8: The post fight interview of Michael (opponent)

This interview is the only reason why I wrote all this. If I had not seen this interview I would never have put this on my blog. It was so easy to write off Michael and call him just some dumbass thug that got exactly what he deserved. It sure looked like it to me. While I do consider him 100% wrong for approaching Tom the first time, and again 100% wrong for approaching him the second time, and again 100% for throwing the first punch, I would never have thought that this guy would ever have anything worth while to say in a million years after seeing how he acted in that video. This was where I was wrong. Someone sent me a link to the follow up interview of Michael where he talks about this. So the first thing that popped in my mind was “isn’t he going to be in jail for violating his parole for murder?” How is he out on the streets doing radio interviews on this fight if he is back in jail?

This is where it gets interesting. Michael sits down on this radio show and they begin to go over everything from who started it to who took Tom’s bag. First off, I had no idea that Michael was intoxicated on the bus. This happened in the middle of the day! It didn’t look like it was after 4:00pm either. I am not sure when it happened but it was not close to dark outside at all. While he does come off as very believable in the interview I would question that he remembers anything that was said 100%. If anyone reading this blog thinks about the last time they were at a party and got into an argument or watched one will not be able to remember every single word that was said. This again goes back to the simple miscommunication gone horribly wrong. Just look at Tom’s reaction when he says “YOU OFFERED!” This line is key to explaining that neither one of them were on the same page when they were talking.

Michael was also wrong when he said no one was stepping up to the plate and trying to help calm things down. There were at least two people trying to help the situation. Where I must commend Michael here is that he goes on there and says that he would like to apologize to Tom because he is a veteran and his own brother was in the service as well. He also apologized for the way he conducted himself by throwing the first punch. He also goes on to apologize to the AC transit company, the general public and the people on the bus. He also clarified that he did not have a knife on him at the time of the fight. Which is not what Tom said in his interviews. He also clarifies that he is not a murderer and is not out on Parole. I cannot vouch for this claim, but this is what he stated in the radio interview. If he was a murderer, I am pretty sure he would not be on the radio show. He even went as far to apologize to all the veterans. In the interview he also comments on all the racist comments on the video saying very bad comments on the video that I will not repeat here. He states that “He is not a thug or a wanna be gangster, and that he is a respectable citizen and a law abiding citizen.” Ironic considering he was just in a fight and being intoxicated in the middle of the day. Not the best way to back up that claim.

In the closing of the interview he was asked if he had talked to Tom and he said no, but he said he would like to “let bygones be bygones”. The main reason why I bothered posting all this on the blog was because we had just heard Tiger Woods give his long awaited public apology to the world. He sat there for like 15 minutes and read his pre-written speech to the world saying how sorry he was. Then I see this person Michael come on to a radio show with no real coaching, with no PR people and lawyers and say flat out that he was sorry for how things went down and that he was willing to let bygones be bygones. I believed his words more than Tiger Woods. I am not a huge fan of Michael and how he acted and in my opinion got what was coming to him on this occasion, but It is not my place to judge him, but in hearing this interview it was nice to see someone just sit there with no notes or pre-written papers in front of him and own the situation and at least for the moment be a man about it and say he was sorry.

Part 9: The Bottom Line

While No one seems to know all the facts and I hope that these two people get a chance to hash it out and make some good out of a bad situation, there are some things to be learned from this. When you are in a heated debate with someone don’t draw the line in the sand. Once you do this, it can be a point of no return. The ultimatum, is not something to be used lightly. While most normal people will do anything to avoid a fight, painting them into a corner may do nothing except ensure that a fight will happen. This is not the olden days where it was always done with fists either. Someone may just pull the knife or gun and then it may not be time for the “amber lamps”, but time for the hearse. I think the most important thing about a situation like this is how are the people around the situation agitating it or calming it down. Many times both parties don’t want to take that final step and go into an all out fight, but with no way to save face, they will not back down. So if the people around them can talk some sense to them it can diffuse the situation. Conversely, if you have someone in the background challenging them to take it to the next level, they will most likely have to fight it out because they have gone to far. Also it doesn’t hurt to be sober. Many good people have done some pretty stupid shit while drinking (lets hope this is the case with Michael). So if you don’t have all your wits handy that last thing you want to do is debate someone, let alone fight them.

The most disturbing part of all if this is how many people that were watching the video of the fight went on to post hateful racist comments. We all know there is racism out there and maybe Michael deserved what he got on the bus, but that doesn’t mean that give anyone the right to bring it down to this level. I say this knowing full well that they would never say this out in the open and they just do so behind the protection of anonymity. So if they want to go online and speak this racist hate, fine, then put your face on camera and say all the racist things you want, but don’t hide behind your monitor to do it. Those people that did this are all cowards.

Finally, It will be interesting to see what all the facts are since so many people are enthralled by this story. If Tom does have some issues like PTSD, I hope that he can get some help. Many former military servicemen are thrown under the bus after their service to our country and that is a shame. It is sad that sometimes after they give to their country that they are never the same again and can’t hold down a regular job. This statement was not made about Tom personally, but to anyone that has served in the military and has not been able to come back 100% when their service is over and it is time to live the rest of their life.

“WAR IS HELL” William Tecumseh Sherman


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