Vietnam Tom Conspiracy

There is a video out right now wherein a 67 year old bearded man and a young black male with corn rows get into an argument, which turns into a shoving match, which turns into a brutal beat down… with the old man as the victor. It is not a video for the faint-hearted, but I had a couple of thoughts.

First, there is something redeeming in seeing an old guy stand his ground and come out on the winning end of the equation, as this is so often NOT the case. However, let us not presume the old man absolved of all wrong-doing. He WAS provoking the younger man in the beginning of the video: “Let’s get back to business; how much you charge me for a spit shine?” isn’t exactly the best ice breaker with a stranger on a bus who already appears to be giving you grief.

He backs off his original jibe and acts naive, as though the younger man was truly offering to shine his shoes (which I find hard for the old man to have believed). What happens afterword is somewhat sad. You have innocent bystanders who would love nothing but to be anywhere else. You have friends of the young man in the back taunting their friend to “beat his white ass!” and who later proceed to take and go through the old man’s beard after he exits the bus.

Anyways, a fight ensues, with a surprising result, and then it ends. And we move on. Right? Well… there’s a second part of the story, and it involves an old guy with a beard named Thomas Brusco (Tommy Slick, Vietnam Tom). There is a man taking credit for the fight who looks like the man on the bus, but I have good reason to believe it is not the same man. Here is why.

First, they have different voices, very different. For evidence, listen to when the guy on the bus says, “Why you being so hostile, man?” He sounds more like Chong of Cheech and Chong than the gravel voiced Tommy Slick. They also are from different walks of life. The man on the bus wears ironed shorts with his t-shirt tucked in and a belt around his waist. He carries an organic grocery bag with him, and has an affinity for keeping his nose from running with a Kleenex. Tommy Slick is a street urchin who smokes and wears semi-gangster clothing, flat billed cap and a camoflauge jacket. He is much more urban than the man on the bus.

Furthermore, when Tommy Slick gave an interview going back over what happened on the bus, his story just doesn’t hold up. It sounds more like he’s just reciting what he saw on the video, using key words from what the camera caught. And there’s a problem with his story. First he relays what is said on the video, that he needed to spit shine his shoes for a funeral on Friday. But later in the interview, he falls apart saying his mama died two days later. So which is it? Furthermore, in the interview he says he is joking with his white friend next to him, but the man on the bus is flanked by a black man and a white woman. Where’s the white friend?

And some of what Tommy Slick has to say is just preposterous. He claims the man he defended himself against was a murderer, and convicted of robbery. That the black man had a knife on him, and that the old man had a knife of his own for protection. I don’t know where you’d put your knife with those shorts on. He said that the man was going to serve 10 years in prison, and another 18 for robbing him. I didn’t see the young man robbing anyone, though his friends did take the old man’s bag to the back of the bus.

I don’t know why I felt compelled to unearth the truth, but trust me when I tell you that the man on the bus is not the same guy pretending to be him in interviews, the man who calls himself Tommy Slick. Whether or not Tommy Slick is the same old man who gets tased at the Oakland A’s game… that’s for you to decide, but I have my suspicions about Tommy Slick, and how he might have gotten his nickname.

I won’t post the video(s) on my site, due to their graphic nature, but if you’re so inclined you can try and learn more about the 67 year old man bus incident.

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“Vietnam Tom Conspiracy”