Jack is a criminal defense attorney, former CIA officer, journalist and storyteller. As a lawyer, Jack practices exclusively in the areas of criminal defense and DWI/DUI defense. He is unique across the entire state of Minnesota and the U.S. as the only criminal defense attorney who is also a former Central Intelligence Agency Officer as well as a former prosecuting attorney. Jack's extensive experience, aggressiveness and passion speak for themselves and he is most proud of his reputation as a fighter for the rights of his clients. He has a national reputation and can be seen frequently on MSNBC, Al Jazeera, CNN, and other networks across the country. He is also a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Jack interviews former Marine Eddie Wu. After serving in the Marine Corps and suffering damage to his back, Eddie has found post-military life difficult to adjust to. This is an extraordinary story.
Eddie Wu grew up in So St Paul, MN. He started working in restaurants washing dishes when he was 14 years old at Drover’s Inn in So St Paul. From there he became a prep cook, a pantry cook, and a line cook. After high school he joined the Marines for 5 years. He got out of the Marines and went back to the service industry while attending college. His Marine leadership and restaurant knowledge made it easy for him to transition to restaurant management. He lived in Denver, CO of 6 years where he managed many different types of places from a food delivery service, a bar, a night club, to a corporate cafeteria. In 2009 he moved back to St Paul to start his family. Since he has been back in St Paul he did a 1 year apprenticeship at Sole Cafe in order to learn from the best Korean Chef in Minnesota. He has taken his restaurant background and combined it with his love of Korean food to open up Cook St Paul.
This interview is about some of that. But really, this interview is about how you come back after deciding that you don't think you can . . .
Alright. I have been holding off for a very long time on this book. Trust me, its not that it isn't an extraordinary story. It is incredible. It isn't that it doesn't have something to say. Obviously, it does. It just hurts so much to think about it. So much to realize the lotential in various parts of the world. Imagine what might happen, if a full half of the potential were supported to create, thrive and contribute at the level to which they are capable. I remember being in Western Afhganistan and seeing that very real lost potential and it just kills me to think about. Why, who knows what great things might happen? So, with a deep breath and with the full knowledge that I will be weeping soon as a result, I am cracking this book. I am Malala
She's 19 years old. She looks younger and older at the same time. Her face, young. Her eyes, aged. The tattoos up and down her arms show a journey way beyond her years. The fact that she sits across from me in an orange jumpsuit in a jail somewhere in Minnesota says something else all together. She is here for multiple theft charges and probation violations for additional theft convictions.
She's been homeless since she was 13. Her parents abandoned her and she has done whatever she could to survive. I remember her crying to me, "they didn't want me. Nobody wants me" And a lot of what she has has done has not been pretty. She won't tell me and I'm really a little too afraid to ask. Guess? But I get it.
I come to find out that she has been stealing for years in order to give the things to the people she is staying with as exchange. Her only real option. But things have changed. She has found a strength in her which I believe few of us possess. She's found housing, a jobs program and even is getting ready to graduate from high school. In fact, it is extraordinary.
I bring her before the Judge and the Prosecutor who start to tear into her for her behavior. And something strange happens. I start to lose it. I mean I get really angry and a bit emotional.
What I say is this. "How dare you. How dare you sit there in your sanctimonious way and condescendingly tell her about her wrongs. You don't know what she has gone through. You don't know what she has seen. You don't know what she has had to do in order to survive. You don't have the right."
I'm starting to hyperventilate a little so I stop before I say anything further that might get me thrown into a cell next to hers. But for some reason, at this point, I don't particularly give a shit.
For whatever reason, everybody shuts up and looks at her. And I can see that while the prosecutor doesn't get it, the Judge, to his credit, absolutely does. He sees what she has gone through, maybe a little, but sees how far she has come, which is, as I have said, amazing.
I look down at the ground, At my shoes. At the paperclips strewn across the floor from countless cases before this one.
It's called secondary trauma. Its not trauma you experience directly but you experience through those with whom you closely connect. Depending upon your level of empathy, this can be an incredibly difficult problem. I grant you, it's nothing compared to the person directly dealing with it but it can still be brutal especially because it is cumulative, It comes from case after case after case. And I feel it. Hell, I was homeless when I was young for a while, living everywhere I could and when I look at this young girl, I see myself. I remember the days and nights, scared. I'm still angry as I write this. I look in her face, and I see me. I feel . . . me.
The Judge pushes on the prosecutor and ultimately we deal with all of the charges, getting most of them dropped and with the probation violations, getting them dealt with with time served.
What I do for a living can be very rewarding sometimes and equally challenging and painful at others. However, I have the occasional day where I know that I'm in the right place. What I feel like what I do is actually worth a damn.
As she gets ready to walk out of the courtroom to be released, she turns to me and says, "nobody ever cared about me before." I smile awkwardly.
As she walks away, I look down again. Damn, have something in my eye.
I knew that this was one of the things I was gonna do when I came to Thailand. Of course, I wasn't sure who was gonna do it or even where it was gonna happen. For a whole series of reasons, Chiang Mai ended up being the City, Naga Tattoo became the shop and Yuh became the guy.
Of course, I was looking for something very traditional to the region and there are not that many people who are truly artists at Sak Yant or bamboo like Yuh.
The Sak Yant design I chose is known as ‘Paed Tidt’ or Eight Direction Yant. This Yant contains eight Mantras written in 2 concentric circles in the centre of the design. Outside of these two concentric circles, the Paed Tidt Yant incorporates eight abstract representations of the Buddha. Each Buddhas is represented by three ovals in increasing size. The ancient script used on the Paed Tidt Yant is known as Khom.
This idea of eight Buddhas is pretty familar here in Thailand. There is a Buddha imade in a specific pose for every day of the week, except on Wednesday when there are actually. two. If you look, you can frequently find these eight Buddha images in Wats across Thailand.
So, why this one? Well, I learned that this particular Yant is designed to protect
travelers. I like this idea tha
t no matter where I go, I have somebody who has my back, on my back. It is also supposed to ward off evil spirits. And lets face it, who doesn't want that, right?
Sak Yant can be applied differently depending upon where you are. Yant uses a stick with a needle on the end, dipping it in ink and tapping it into the skin by hand thousands and thousands of times. Let's just say, it's slow, painful and exhausting. But, strangely cathartic.
After a quick 4 1/2 hours, I have found another way to mutilate my temple, as if this were the first time I've done that! Namaste and WYSTMF lol
Life is strange. We all struggle to find meaning and a justification for continuing. For some, it is truly about survival. For others lucky enough, including me, it is about self actualization. Why are we here? What is this all about? What the hell are we doing? Why do we continue? I have heard this from people all over the world. In fact, these are all universal questions that most of us struggle with throughout our lives and I am certainly not immune to these myself.
I leave for Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and beyond in the coming days. While it has been in the back of my mind for sometime now, I had far too much going on on a daily basis to contemplate what it meant too deeply. In fact, I've tried to ignore it. Hell, I bought the tickets months ago but life has driven it into the corners of my mind because of my limited capacity to handle it. Men, or at least me, don't generally multitask that well. Rather, we hit, kill, and eat the thing in front of us and then move onto the next thing that we hit, kill and eat. Ugh. Jack hungry. Where's my club. Well, you get the picture.
But this trip is different. For me, life has spun to a place that I finally needed to stop, just stop for a moment. And this trip is finally about slowing down and just sitting in the dirt and drawing pictures, building imaginary racetracks and using the rocks I find as racecars to imagine how I would handle the track. It is about sitting across from a group of monks and just laughing. Its about eating food I don't recognize and tasting things that aren't familar on my tongue. Its about listening. Talking. Another tattoo.
So, I hope you will join me on this little journey. It will include video, mostly from my I-Phone, audio, still photos and a lot of writing. Not too sure if it will be more introspective or not. In fact, I'm hoping that it will cover a broad spectrum, from introspective, to funny, to ridiculous.
In the end, I hope that you will hold my hand and follow me down the rabbit hole. Be my partner and know that we will come out the other side. I hope to come out with a little more clarity and understanding of some of those questions of life. If not, the food, the people, the experience is gonna be kick ass.
But know this, this is gonna be different. And consider, as I hum along and you see the tears run down my cheeks, I will feel nothing but glee. If we flop, it will still be my greatest success.
Josh Rushing, award-winning broadcast journalist who co-hosts of Fault Lines, joins Jack Rice for a discussion on the upcoming episode of Fault Lines titled “Death on the Bakken Shale” which takes a look at the oil boom currently happening in North Dakota and its working environment which has led to 40 deaths in 4 years.
Representing the worst of the worst. Its is question I get asked all of the time. How can you represent those people? Doesn't it bother you? Aren't you just part of the problem? These are questions I have thought about many times and sometimes under very extreme conditions.
I broadcast a live show from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba back in 2009 for Air America radio where I address the very issue of potentially representing Khalid Sheik Mohammed, known as Mukhtar, the Brain. He is allegedly the mastermind behind all of the 9/11 attacks.
So, would I represent him if asked?