Saturday, April 14, 2012

Michael "Flathead" Blanchard

Not many people live their lives as they choose. It seems this unusual character did exactly that.
Blanchard, Michael "Flathead" 1944 ~ 2012

A Celebration of the life of Michael "Flathead" Blanchard will be held on April 14th, 3 pm 8160 Rosemary St, Commerce City. Weary of reading obituaries noting someone's courageous battle with death, Mike wanted it known that he died as a result of being stubborn, refusing to follow doctors' orders and raising hell for more than six decades. He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died.

Mike was born July 1944 in Colorado to Clyde and Ethel Blanchard. A community activist, he is noted for saving the Dr. Justina Ford house from demolition and defending those who could not defend themselves. He was a Republican delegate, life member of the NRA, founder and President of the Dead Cats MC. He loved music.

Mike was preceded in death by Clyde and Ethel Blanchard, survived by his beloved sons Mike and Chopper, former wife Jane Transue, brother Stephen Blanchard (Susan), Uncle Don and Aunt Cynthia Blanchard(his favorite); Uncle Dill and Aunt Dot, cousins and nephews, Baba Yaga can kiss his butt. So many of his childhood friends that weren't killed in Vietnam went on to become criminals, prostitutes and/or Democrats. He asks that you stop by and re-tell the stories he can no longer tell. As the Celebration will contain Adult material we respectfully ask that no children under 18 attend.

Published in Denver Post on April 12, 2012
The Daily Caller has more on the life and times of Flathead Blanchard.
Collecting stories from Flathead’s life, however, initially presented a small problem. “I’m not sure of the statute of limitations,” one of his friends said. After assuring them we’d protect our sources, the stories flowed like whiskey.
“We had friends who joined these ‘outlaw’ motorcycle clubs. We decided we’d have our own. We called it the ‘Dead Cats MC,’” said one of the attendees who had been worried about misdeeds recent enough to prosecute.
“There were three rules. First, you don’t have to own a motorcycle to be a member, but you have to want to own a motorcycle. Second, there are no rules. And third, prospects must bring a petrified dead animal to join.”
“Amazingly,” he told The Daily Caller, “people believed us.”
One of the first dead animals was a petrified cat they named “Oatmeal.” It became the club mascot and traveled with them all over the United States and Mexico. Oatmeal notwithstanding, Blanchard insisted his own cat Chopper be included in his obituary as one of his sons.
Blanchard’s friends called him “Flathead” because of his love for and devotion to Depression-era Fords. Blanchard spent countless hours searching for old Ford dealerships to look for parts.
Many knew him, many more will miss him.
April 14, 2012 Mike....I never got a chance to know you but I'm doing the best I can to follow in your footsteps. God Bless You. Stephen ~ Stephen McLamb, Guntersville, Alabama
April 14, 2012 Godspeed, Michael. ~ Genie Smith, Muscadine, Alabama
April 14, 2012 There's a country song, "prop me up beside the juke box", reminds me of this guy. RIP, glad you had a good one sir, burning your candle at both ends seems pretty darn fun. ~ Kim Estacio, Honolulu, Hawaii
April 14, 2012 Ride on Flathead, Ride on brother! ~ Reverend Del, Richmond, Virginia
April 14, 2012 We need more people like you Flathead. I'm sure you've touched more people than you'll ever know. I'll pour a shot for ya tonight. ~ S. Conklin, Danville, Illinois
April 14, 2012 To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die. You're still around, Flathead, in our hearts. Anna B. in St.Louis
April 14, 2012 Didn't know him, wish I had! I'll be tipping one in your memory tonight, and go out and shoot a few clips tomorrow. God Bless You and RIP ~ Mike, Grand Terrace, California
April 14, 2012 You, Michael "Flathead", were one dude worth knowing. God bless you. Sara ~ Sara L, New Jersey
April 14, 2012 Fair winds & following seas! Sue ~ Sue Craig, Massillon, Ohio
April 14, 2012 I can only pray that my children would write something similar for myself when I take that final step...... It would have been a pleasure to know you as I'm sure many will say and thanks for standing on my wall....God Bless You Brother.... OooRah !! ~ Teresa Forte, Pensacola, Florida
April 14, 2012 There is no question that the world is a poorer place without Flathead. Keep them straight in Heaven, Flathead! --EES, Keller, Texas ~ Ernie Shaffer, Keller, Texas
April 14, 2012 "No thing that ever flew ....dies as others do" I'll look to make your acquaintance in the next life Brother! ~ Mad Max Prez MaxairEngineering.com MC products, Longmont, Colorado
April 14, 2012 Michael, you have touched more people than you could have ever dreamed of. May you rest in peace and I hope to be worthy of meeting you in the future. ~ Kirk Lindberg, Shakopee, Minnesota
April 14, 2012 To his children: Mike and Chopper. Please keep the memory of your father alive by following in his footsteps . Do what is right . Tell the truth. Live your life to the fullest. Good luck to you ~ N Moore, Liberty Township, Ohio
April 14, 2012 I'll be raising a toast to Flathead tonight, may he rock in peace! ~ Vern Black, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
April 14, 2012 A tenacity to living isn't being stubborn! Carpe Diem. We'll be toasting "Flathead" at the bar tonight. ~ Rick, St Cloud, Minnesota
April 14, 2012 Ride on Flathead. Peace to you. ~ John Bellmore, DeBary, Florida
April 14, 2012 Wow, thank you to his family for sharing his story. I am not going to worry anymore and just be myself... ~ Robbin Trabucco, Thornton, Colorado
April 14, 2012 Sorry we didn't have a chance to meet. I would have liked to thank you for your service to our country, ~ Kat Strott, Deerfield Beach, Florida
April 14, 2012 Rock on! ~ Robert Janke, Chicago, Illinois
April 14, 2012 Outrageously wonderful! Nancy in San Diego
April 14, 2012 "Happy Trails!" ~ Joe Huels, Pilot Mountain, North Carolina
April 14, 2012 I have no idea who this is, but that's a great obituary. I bet this guy was a character. ~ Andrew Benton, Austin, Texas
April 14, 2012 I did not know "Flathead" either. I wish I had. Thanks for your service and for showing us how to be true to ourselves. I definitely plan to write my own obit, although it will not be as interesting as yours. On behalf of my father-in-law who made his transition last August, "Semper Fi" ~ ~ Jan, Gainesville, Florida
April 14, 2012 I didn't know Mr. Blanchard, but I wish I had. He sounds like he was a heck of a guy! ~ John Morrison, Midland, Texas
April 14, 2012 Condolences from the New Hegelians MC - Canada. Flatheads forever! ~ Snake NHMC, Toronto, Ontario
April 14, 2012 I didn't know Flathead, but I wish I had!
April 14, 2012 I wish I knew this guy! He sounds awesome!!! ~ Ashley, Kentucky
April 14, 2012 Ramblin Rover http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbxZNlYXJgM ~ Tom Kratman, Blacksburg, Virginia
April 14, 2012 Well said about a life well lived ~ Alicia, Boulder, Colorado
April 14, 2012 RIP Flathead. You had the courage to live your life the way you wanted. I'm sure you will join friends Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash in Heaven. I'm not sure they were Republicans though. ~ GW, Denver, Colorado
April 14, 2012 ~ Bobbi Queen, Glen Burnie, Maryland
April 14, 2012 Wow, I sure hope Flathead finds my stepfather Lou in heaven. It sounds like they could be pals for sure. I'm so sorry for your family's loss, but thank you for a happy reminder of my family's very own "Flathead". I would offer a "rest in peace", but I have feeling that wherever he is now, that it's a whole lot rowdier today! ~ K. D., Denver, Colorado
April 14, 2012 Outstanding! I hope that when it's my time, they can say all that about me. God Bless you, Flathead. ~ Bikesand Guns, Pompano Beach, Florida
April 14, 2012 God bless you, Flathead. Memories of you continue to generate smiles all across the nation. Your impact is suttle but very deep. Every man wants to selfactualize but its rare that any man tries it. It remains just a theory to most of us because to live it is a risky process. Well done. ~ Scott Douglas, Nashville, Tennessee
April 14, 2012 Thank you so much for a great laugh, and for providing such a great model for MY obituary - although I am no doubt not nearly as colorful or interesting. ~ Strife, Lexington, Kentucky
April 14, 2012 Keep 'em Flying Flathead!! ~ Fellow Biker, Pennsylvania
April 14, 2012 A raised glass to Flathead from SC ~ Spartanburg, South Carolina
April 14, 2012 I didn't know him but he must have been a hellava guy! Well Done Mike, Well Done!! ~ Red, Huntsville, Alabama
April 14, 2012 I didn't know him but he must have been a hellava guy! Well Done Mike, Well Done!! ~ Red
April 14, 2012 reading this, i really wish i had known this guy. he sounds like he was fun and full of spitfire! ~ random redditor, New York
April 14, 2012 I love those who realize that being politically incorrect is far better for the soul then those who try to please everyone even to the last minute. You are my HERO. I shall follow your lead. Well said. Kudos to your survivors. ~ Jimmy Sauerbroten, Georgetown, Texas
April 14, 2012 Rest in Peace. This obit brightened my day and made me laugh. ~ William Stroock, Bridgewater, New Jersey
April 14, 2012 Sounds like Mike was a real character! I wish I could have known him. I'll ask my Dad to have a couple beers and shoot the breeze with him in Heaven. Rest in peace, Mike! ~ Mary Bernhagen, Omaha, Nebraska
April 14, 2012 Rock the void brother. Tell Hunter Thompson we miss him. ~ Robert, Denver, Colorado
April 14, 2012 Bon voyage. Sound like you were alot of fun to be around. Who is this Baba Yaga? RIP.
April 14, 2012 My mom's dad was a Blanchard, born in Waco, TX. I feel like we have some of the same blood passing through our veins. ~ U. S. Grant, LtCol. USMC (ret.), Georgetown, Texas
April 14, 2012 Flathead was a great guy ! We will miss you . Rtucker ( Fitchburg Ma) ~ Randy Tucker, Fitchburg, Massachusetts
April 14, 2012 I knew of Mike years ago through my Father Louis Lukasik. What brought them together to be friends were those old Fords and Motorcycles. Although they were 30 years apart in years I remember Mike coming over working in the garage and drinking beers with my Dad. Mike's Obituary was one that will go down in Viral History and if Dad could have been here to read it he would have a smile on his face followed by laughter. R.I.P Flathead! ~ Rose Lukasik-Miller, Arvada, Colorado
April 14, 2012 Give 'em hell, Flathead. Don't mince your words! ~ Jay Pia, Hoover, Alabama
April 14, 2012 God bless Michael! America is poorer for your passing. Really sad to lose troopers like you! ~ Paul Klacko, St. Charles, Illinois
April 14, 2012 Did not know Michael. Would have loved him. He would have been of my philosophy "Run till it's dark" Mike Burns Charlottesville VA
April 14, 2012 Wanna join my football team? Mark Dantonio ~ mark dantonio, east lansing, Michigan
April 14, 2012 Rock on into eternity, Dude! Didn't know you, but I'll be sure to look you up on that day when I follow you to the Spirit in the Sky!!! Charlie Malone ~ Charlie Malone, Padre Island, Texas
April 14, 2012 I knew Flathead through my Dad (Louie) My dad was 30 years older that Flathead but they came to know each other because of there interest in old fords and old harleys.They would visit each other often when Flathead lived in Arvada.I am so glad that our family got to know him and enjoy his company.Lost touch with him after he moved but will never forget him.Was sad to hear of his departure from planet earth but I know he died with his boots on."BUBBA-Arvada,Co."
April 14, 2012 It would have been a pleasure to know Flathead. I respect people who live on their own terms, and it seems he died the same way. Keep kickin' wherever you're at Flathead. ~ flop 12, Chillicothe, Ohio
April 14, 2012 Flathead, You are "the man" A reader in Massachusetts
April 14, 2012 To Michael's family: I'm sorry for your loss, and wish I could have had the chance to meet him. He seemed like the kind of fellow that I would have enjoyed as a neighbor or a friend. ~ Tom, Findlay, Ohio
April 14, 2012 Way to go, Michael. As a contemporary, you light my way out. Thanks. ~ Jose Jordan, Prairieville, Louisiana
April 14, 2012 You lived "your " life as we should all have the courage to do! Would have liked to have went to a party with you, maybe in heaven someday! ~ D Boob, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania
April 14, 2012 Stephen, Mike,and Chopper; Wow, my kinda guy. We would have been friends. Stand up, look you right in the eyes and shoot right from the hip. No guess work, you would know where you stood with him. Carry on men, and when you hesitate, think about what your brother/pop would have done,and I believe you will be ok. This country could use alot more men like him. My condolences and prayers for all of you. God Bless ~ Henry Evans, Greenwood, Louisiana
April 14, 2012 Have a great ride in the sky my friend!!! ~ Shaker, Lombard, Illinois
April 14, 2012 God Bless the Blanchard family. Great to see Flathead's last wishes were honored and this wonderful man will be celebrated the way he wanted it. ~ rita finkelstein, Yardley, Pennsylvania
April 14, 2012 ~ Sharon, Oneida, New York
April 14, 2012 Flathead you are a star! Just look at all these entries from complete strangers. I cannot imagine how many lives you touched when you were alive. You apparently believed you should just be as you are; no pretending. I am going to take a little bit of that lesson. Thanks. ~ Tammy, U.S. Virgin Islands
April 14, 2012 I lost a friend just like you so I feel that I know you. Rest in peace ~ Chuck Hufstetler, Rome, Georgia
April 14, 2012 Living life to the fullest and on your own terms! Well done Flathead! ~ S Knauss, Duluth, Minnesota
April 14, 2012 Incredibly stated! That's how you keep it real. God Bless... ~ Mrs. Panhead, Cheshire, Connecticut
April 14, 2012 Down rite an individual I like. He loved and lived his life the way he wanted. Congrats!!!
April 14, 2012 You have won the war Sir. ~ Eric Moore, Charlotte, North Carolina
April 14, 2012 ~ joe, Alabama
April 14, 2012 Way to tell it like it is. Flathead could have been my own beloved Bro .Peace out ~ dna53, Saginaw, Michigan
April 14, 2012 Godspeed Flathead. You sound like a guy I would have enjoyed knowing. Hope they have Cohibas on the other side. ~ Steve B, Arvada, Colorado
April 14, 2012 I love a person who walks their own path, and tells it like it is. Honesty is so hard to find these days. An obituary is supposed to tell about the life of the person who passed. This one painted a picture of a life lived, enjoyed, and completed as he had chosen to do. Could we all be this honest? ~ Mary Sprowle, Pagosa Springs, Colorado
April 14, 2012 Flathead I wish I could have meet you!!!!!!!!!!!! ~ Brenda Caddell, Edgefield, South Carolina
April 14, 2012 Sounds like you made the most of each day and lived life to the fullest! I wish that I were going to be in the area so I could stop by, instead I will raise a glass in your honor. I salute you Flathead for showing us all "how it's done." ~ Pam Chaney, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
April 14, 2012 I knew Flathead since the early 80s. He'd crash at my place every now and then. He was one eccentric individual. I hope you're hanging out with Steve McQueen, now--slammin' down a few (or more), checking out the old cars and bikes at the boneyard. Try not to blow anything up. See you soon, brother. ~ Grizz
April 14, 2012 To Flathead family he sounded like a kindering spirit that prehaps crossed my path... God bless his soul and confort you in your extreme loss for i know the old cuss will be missed by one and all...I look forward to the "tall tails of Mike" please publish the world needs to know! ~ louise falker mogendi, nairobi kenya
April 14, 2012 I wish I'd a known you Flathead. R.I.P. ~ Chuck Jensen, Framingham, Massachusetts
April 14, 2012 Sounds like a guy that I now wish I had known. ~ Allen Hill, Canton, Georgia
April 14, 2012 I remember your 'Nam Rob, Atlanta
April 14, 2012 I wanna go with the same Celebration of LIFE, not the sorrow of death! It is a fact of life ... "Cheers, brother!" ~ A.M. "Bones" Jones, Kabul
April 14, 2012 "Flathead" you must have been one of our missing Brothers! I'm sure you are in good company now. RIP Bro. We hope to meet you later. ~ Bernie Cross, Marinsburg, West Virginia
April 14, 2012 Greatest Obit EVER. Semper Fi Flathead. ~ Del S, Ft. Wayne, Indiana
April 14, 2012 Michael, wow. I send you sweetness in your next journey. Your humor and touch on life has made me re think mine. Your word in your own obit were humorous and obviously a reflection of you. Smiles to your family and prayers. Tho I feel you know they are smiling because of you. God Bless and thank you for your individuality. We should all write our own. God Speed. :-) ~ christina Phelan, Worcester, Massachusetts
April 14, 2012 Wish I knew you "Flathead". You should have been a WEASEL... keep the shiney side up wherever you end up! ~ Bitse P00km, Northglenn, Colorado
April 14, 2012 Flathead you're the bestest! I just finished my "5 Wishes" class and we had to write our obits...glad you wrote yours! Wish I knew who Baba Yaga is/was, but I got a truckload of Baba's who can kiss my butt too...you all know who you are. The best thing a person can do is to write their own obit and have a chuckle doing it, as we chuckle now. To Flathead's family and friends I am sorry for your loss, but in the end we all gained from him. God Bless. ~ Kathleen Kelly Moss, Seattle area, Washington
April 14, 2012 ~ sara, ny
April 14, 2012 Rest In Peace "Flathead"...I would have loved to have known you-even though I'm a Democrat.You must have been a wonderful "grounded " guy. Kenni Truitt Ventura,Ca. ~ Kenni Truitt, Ventura, California
April 14, 2012 Flathead, although I didn't know you, after reading your obit, I realized I'd be a better person having known you. Godspeed my friend. ~ Rob, Brooklyn, New York
April 14, 2012 While I did not know Mr. Blanchard, after reading the Obituary I regret not meeting him personally. I've been known to engage is similar behavior. In fact it was my X-wife who emailed me the obituary to point out the cause of his untimely death. Paul in Littleton
April 14, 2012 RIP Flathead you are now a Dead Dead Cat. ~ Jim Nugent, North Grafton, Massachusetts
April 14, 2012 Awesome Obit! Sounded like a straight shooter! RIP ~ Michelle mann, New York
April 13, 2012 Never met the man, but truly wish I had. What a wonderful, honest tribute. RIP Flathead! Ride on, brother. ~ Holly Sellers, Charleston, South Carolina
April 13, 2012 My kind of man, Steve Louisville Ky ~
April 13, 2012 RIP Flathead.. You are mine kind of guy.. Thank you Denver Post for publishing all of this!! ~ Linda Houle, Buena Vista, Colorado
April 13, 2012 Happy trails, Flathead. RIP Janet in Iowa ~ janet luna, north liberty, Iowa
April 13, 2012 Ride On Flathead ~ Doc & Kim Kester, Green Bay, Wisconsin
April 13, 2012 How wonderful that his family respected his wishes realizing that Flathead's celebration of life is not about them, but rather, him! Kudos and wishing you all peace. I hope the wonderful memories serve you well in your time of grief. <3 ~ Kelly, Noblesville, Indiana
April 13, 2012 Rest in peace Flathead. I wish I could have known you as you sound like you were a fun guy to know! Enjoy the afterlife! ~ Monika Acquaviva, Selden, New York
April 13, 2012 You must havwe had many friends Flathead!! RIP ~ Darlene Hess, Nashville, Tennessee
April 13, 2012 He must have been Irish ! Flathead, may the devil find out you're in heaven a half hour after your dead. ~ Jeff, Cleveland, Ohio
April 13, 2012 R.I.P Flathead... And much Respect to your family for granting your wish and post what you asked!! And as for Baba Yaga,, lol,, you must have really pissed him off!!! ~ Margie Ramirez, Allentown, Pennsylvania
April 13, 2012 RIP Flathead. Wish I could have known you. Continue doing all the things that you enjoyed doing here in heaven. ~ Chuck, Connecticut
April 13, 2012 If we all lived that crazy, well spirited life this world would probably be a better place. RIP Flathead!! ~ Linda Garabedian, NF, New York
April 13, 2012 Makes me want to go to Denver to hear all about 'flathead' RIP. ~ Cassi Butters, Muskegon, Michigan
April 13, 2012 Nothing more beautiful than a man who can continue to live through family and friends, go get em' on the other side Mr. Blanchard! ~ Joey Cox, Lawrenceville, Georgia
April 13, 2012 He sounded like he wouldve been a BLAST to know and I want to say this is the BEST obit Ive ever read love the total Honesty!!!! My father passed in 79' he was only 26 and we played Free Bird & Turn the Page...my mom and the preacher argued about the music ..wasnt "proper" yes it was for him and his lifestyle..so my hats off to you for keeping it real..And most of all my heart & prayers go out to his family & friends for the loss of their loved one!! ~ Jamie Hahn, Kentucky
April 13, 2012 Although his memories will give us joy forever, the absence of a guy like him will make you feel sorrow in the real sense of the word. He will leave a void in every place he was and in every life he touched. RIP Flathead !!!
April 13, 2012 I hope there is 'standing room only' at Flathead's service!! Michael and I are the same age--he's gone on and I'm blessed to rock on. I have a 13 year old daughter--I have no plans of an early demise, but our end is NOT in our hands...I'm blessed to have outlived a number of dear friends--I would like to think that like Michael, I have lived life to the fullest surrounded by great friends--and having grown up--like Michael--in a wonderful era--the 50's-60's--great music, great movies, great classmates, great parents and family who gave me unconditional love. Plus, I was fortunate enough to be born in the greatest country on the face of the earth--during an era the USA was the most respected--and most feared--country in the world. Sadly, there are those among us who feel our best days are behind us. They would prefer to re-invent our great country to suit their personal agenda. Michael, in the fun approach to life he obviously cherished--labels those folks criminals, prostitures and/or Democrats. Way to go, Michael! ~ Fred Vail, Nashville, Tennessee
April 13, 2012 Prost Flathead Flow River Flow :-) ~ CRIO, Louisiana
April 13, 2012 While I think we'd have been inclined to disagreement if politics ever came up, that wouldn't matter when we just said to hell with it and went off to have a couple beers and shoot some guns. ~ Andrew C, Utah
April 13, 2012 RIP Flathead! You sound JUST like my late grandfather! His name is Bud. Lord help if you find him....yall will drive the angels nuts! Thank you for your service, and a life well lived :) Blessings and peace to your sons. Sounds like yall had one hell of a dad! ~ Tanya, Florida
April 13, 2012 Way to go, guy! Damn good way to go! I just can't quit smiling. Thank you for that! Rock on...... ~ Nancy S., Youngsville, North Carolina
April 13, 2012 Rest in peace "Flathead", I didn't know you existed until I read your obit, but I wish I had known you. Now go catch up with all your friends. ~ Grant Willnow, Lancaster, New York
April 13, 2012 Flathead - never knew you and sad that I didn't. We'd a been buddies. An Old Marine
April 13, 2012 I can't even imagine how many people you must have touched in your life. Then now the thousands of people you will make laugh. Mike you did figure life out didn't you? Say hi to my Dad and grandmother. Christine and Bill Shipman. ~ T Shipman, Charlottesville, Virginia
April 13, 2012 wish id have met u flathead rest now....bjd(PA) ~ bev dull, duncannon, Pennsylvania
April 13, 2012 He lived the Life I would have wanted too, but I didn't for lack of his courage! RIP Flathead.
April 13, 2012 Raising a toast to the gentleman! Never met him, never heard of him before.....but I think this earth is poorer in having one fewer guy like him. ~ G A, Columbia, South Carolina
April 13, 2012 Wow!! what an awesome kinda guy...I woulda been proud to say I knew you, but unfortunately not in this lifetime..I hope Ill have the pleasure on the other side. Kudos to those who made sure to follow his wishes for his send off celebration! My hats off to you "Flathead" for sticking to your guns and being a straight shooter!You were truly a man that was true to himself! Not many people can say he died the way he lived! True to form...If only more people could be as "REAL" as you- Enjoy the ride home! ~ Keala P., Kaneohe, Hawaii
April 13, 2012 I only wish that I was in Denver. This sounds like a guy worth knowing. Have a pleasant journey, sir. ~ Jim Smyers, Beaverdam, Virginia
April 13, 2012 Best obituary ever. Didn't know Mike, but the old Irish saying surely has to appy to him. May you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows your dead. ~ Lisa O, Garfield, New Jersey
April 13, 2012 He sounds like he was a great guy and lived life to the fullest. I wish I would have known him. ~ Mary Rundquist, Fort Collins, Colorado
April 13, 2012 That is the way to go.......RIP party on flathead ~ tina, massillon, Ohio
April 13, 2012 I would have loved to have known Flathead. He must have been a fun guy to be around. Sounds like my kind of people! And to the family....I am very sorry for your loss. I am sure he will be missed. ~ Lisa, South Carolina
April 13, 2012 Flathead.. You must have been a great guy.. RIP May you meet all your friends in the hereafter ~ J Smith, Amityville, New York
April 13, 2012 "Flathead, RiP my man u put a smile on my stressed out face today, can't thank u enough!" ~ Chuck Skinner, Wesley Chapel, North Carolina
April 13, 2012 Bravo for being yourself throughout your life!!
April 13, 2012 I would have loved to have met Flathead! Thank you for your service and thank you to his family for sharing this obit - he has reminded me to take the time to smell the roses and don't sweat the small stuff! RIP and GOD BLESS ~ JW Gill, Orlando, Florida
April 13, 2012 Congratulations, what else can I say,you has shown us how honest and clear you have been through out your life. ~ Juan GOYA, Lima PERU, Florida
April 13, 2012 I had to take a minute to laugh and cry, never knowing Mike Blanchard but knowing him as he is the guy that all men were when I was a kid. He makes me miss the days when a man came home from work, grabbed a beer, and tooled around on his car or bike with friends. Mr. Blanchard was what was once called an all American guy. ~ The Hortons, North Carolina
April 13, 2012 Sounds to me like a man that truely lived, not a man that was merely alive. Have fun where ever they place you, I hope the destination is as good as the ride. ~ Thomas S., W. Wyoming, Pennsylvania
April 13, 2012 In this politically correct world full of phonies and frauds I am thankful for people like Flathead who keep it real. Enjoy the ride my brother. ~ Paul P, New Jersey
April 13, 2012 One of a kind,you are totally amazing... Rest in peace Mike God Bless. ~ Darlene Rivera, Sacramento, California
April 13, 2012 Sounds like my kind of guy! Rock on Flathead! ~ Roxanne Rica, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
April 13, 2012 Mike, we need more like you in this world. RIP my friend. ~ Linda Cross, Waukesha, Wisconsin
April 13, 2012 I wish I had met him, being a procrastinator member. ~ Ceri Moller, Mountain View, California
April 13, 2012 Way to go, Flathead..literally! ~ Sue Buchta, Kansas
April 13, 2012 It's only the beginning Flathead. God bless and keep giving them hell! ~ J Travis, WillGro, Pennsylvania
April 13, 2012 The angels and saints must be getting a chuckle when this man entered the Kingdom of Heaven! Mr. "Flathead" made me laugh today. Thanks go to his family for publishing this obit! ~ Linda, Orchard Park, New York
April 13, 2012 This is original. I'm going to write my own obit, too, so that my life doesn't sound "stale" in print. Thank you Michael for being a true human in life and continuing that humanness in death. I wish I had known you personally to be able to call you friend. God bless! ~ Grammy Red, Fredericksburg, Virginia
April 13, 2012 Flathead, I hope you continue your hobbies Forever more, RIP ~ Mark Novaky, Jersey City, New Jersey
April 13, 2012 Your body may be in Colorado, but your soul is riding Milwaukee Iron. RIP Flathead, and condolences to your sons and the rest of your family. ~ Steve LaDue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
April 13, 2012 Ride on Flathead, ride on. Continue to take no prisoners and ride my hometown Iron. Wish we had met! ~ Stephen LaDue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
April 13, 2012 Sorry I didn't know ya, Flathead. You sound like a great and unique guy! ~ L Thompson, Mississippi
April 13, 2012 Congratulations to Mr. Blanchard for doing it his way and having a great ride. My sympathies to Mr. Blanchard's family, colleagues and friends. I am sure that he will be missed.
April 13, 2012 My condolences to the family. I wish I could've met Flathead. Sounds like a helluva guy. ~ Dave Mason, Soldotna, Alaska
April 13, 2012 Congratulations to Mr. Blanchard for doing it his way and having a great ride. My sympathies to Mr. Blanchard's family, colleagues and friends. I am sure that he will be missed. ~ L. Tobias, Maryland
April 13, 2012 This is the very best obituary that I have ever seen. ~ Doug Hansen, Weidman, Michigan
April 13, 2012 i feel exactly the same way i wish i could have met you down here see ya up there soon ~ billy collins, union city, New Jersey
April 13, 2012 I never knew flathead but DAMN I wish I did, solid man to go out with a bang and was not afraid to admit his sins. This is what the country needs more of, what a breath of fresh air!!!! RIP!!! ~ Hinesy, Denver, Colorado
April 13, 2012 Sounds like my kind of guy! I'm a younger woman he would have loved, ha! Rest in Peace "Flathead" :)
April 13, 2012 Rest in Peace Mr. Flathead from a staunch Democrat with a lot of respect for your life! ~ Kathy E., Gulfport, Mississippi
April 13, 2012 He sure sounds like one of a kind :) ~ Lex Patterson, Slaton, Texas
April 13, 2012 I wish I had known him too! ~ Tera Skoog, Colorado
April 13, 2012 Michael, you obviously will be missed by many! Have a fabulous journey, my friend. ~ EJ Borge, Providence, Rhode Island
April 13, 2012 I've been writing obits for many decades and this one is simply amazing. RIP Flathead, knowing that your life is well described. ~ J W, Carmel, California
April 13, 2012 i too have never had the chance to met michael , but i would have love to have known him.! full of life, and funny guy, and good friends, a cool flathead. maybe i will meet you someday upstairs ,until then rip
April 13, 2012 Mike was the last of those hearty Americans that obviously lived life his way with no regrets. Love his obit. Baba Yaga can kiss our butts as well. He may have crossed over, but we gotta feeling he's making his presence known already! R.I.P. Mike. Howard & Lynda in NC ~ Lynda Schultz, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
April 13, 2012 Rock on, Flathead!
April 13, 2012 I didn't know Flathead, but I wish I had. RIP ~ Harry, Rapid City, South Dakota
April 13, 2012 May "Flathead" Rest In Peace. I wish I could have known him! ~ Dan Kemetick, Oak Forest, Illinois
April 13, 2012 Sounds like he lived his life his way, and enjoyed every minute of it. RIP Larry ( South Carolina)
April 13, 2012 Die with the same passion which you lived. Well done, "Flathead"! ~ Greg H, Cincinnati, Ohio
April 13, 2012 Mike and Chopper - Wishes of peace sent your way from a Jersey Girl who has always admired a person like your Dad! Celebrate his life - like he lived it - with sincere passion. Best, T. ~ A Jersey Girl, Princeton, New Jersey
April 13, 2012 We are what we are..Go in Peace Mike, A honest guy who knew just who he was, and sounded proud of it. Wish more of us were.God Bless ~ Dana Kallio, Westhampton, New York
April 13, 2012 The world is more dimly lit place without you Flathead. May the next Flathead read your obit and realize his true potential for awesomeness!!! ~ Don Shewmake, Oak Park, Illinois
April 13, 2012 A man with few regrets is a rich man even in death...RIP my friend. ~ Krooser, Waupaca, Wisconsin
April 13, 2012 Thank you for your service to our country. It would have been a distinct pleasure to have met you. I expect that one day I'll get my wish. God bless you! ~ Jim Grunewald, Raleigh
April 13, 2012 You enjoyed younger women? Hell yea! ~ Bobby Petrino
April 13, 2012 I think I would have liked you Mike. RIP ~ Stephen Dabney, middletown, New Jersey
April 13, 2012 I never met Mr. Blanchard, but I salute him for having the backbone to call his own shots and live life his way. Condolences to his friends and loved ones.
April 13, 2012 Best Obit ever. RIP Flathead ~ Tan Fan, Michigan
April 13, 2012 I hope he was as fun in life as his obit portrays. I'm sure his sons rejoice in his life and will have many happy memories of his neat spirit. ~ Duse Javkson
April 13, 2012 I didn't know him, but I wish I did. We should all endeavor to live and die like he did - on our terms. Rest in peace! ~ Melanie Burney, Philadelphia
April 13, 2012 He may not have been perfect in life, but he left a perfect obit! God Bless him and make him a happy home! ~ Karen Price, Woodbine, Georgia
April 13, 2012 I am a Blanchard too...i didnt know this guy but wish i had! Sounds like a pretty cool cat. RIP ~ Lou Blanchard, Los Angeles, California
April 13, 2012 I never met him, but I really wish I had. RIP, Flathead. ~ Penne Pojar, Denver, Colorado
April 13, 2012 RIP - thanks for your service! SEA 1965-1966 USAF ~ Roger Rankin, Firestone
April 13, 2012 I have no idea who this person is, but this is probably the greatest obituary I will ever read. ~ Martin C, Nashua, New Hampshire
April 13, 2012 Congratulations on such a bold obit! I'd like to share this on my blog, The Family Plot: http://TheFamilyPlot.wordpress.com ~ Gail Rubin, Albuquerque, New Mexico
April 13, 2012 A fun guy - may he rest in peace. ~ Phyllis De Cremer, Montrose, Colorado
April 13, 2012 Hurrah! for a life well lived. RIP Rider. ~ Desmodude X, Westminster, Colorado
April 13, 2012 I found the link to here on my Facebook page. I did not know "Flathead", but I hope my obituary can be as awesome as his is. He sounds like he was a hell of a guy, straight to the point and pulling no punches. I wish him a safe journey and wish I could hear some of the stories that will be told...blessings and prayers to all that knew him.....Min in CT
April 13, 2012 The first true obit i have ever read!! God bless your family. Olney Springs, CO
April 12, 2012 Wish I had met him! ~ Devon Malonson, Dillon, Colorado
April 12, 2012 That's the life I want to live! The way one should live til the end! He must have been one great guy to know. ~ Richard, Winston Salem, North Carolina
April 12, 2012 I didn't even know this man, but I wish that I had. It sounds like he was his own man without hurting those around him. He will live on in the stories they will tell and retell. ~ Bonnie, Wellington
April 12, 2012 Wish I had known him! Rest in peace, Mike. ~ Bonnie Webb, Pueblo West, Colorado
April 12, 2012 I never had the privilege of meeting Flathead but he sounds like a hell of lot of fun. RIP
April 12, 2012 Fantastic representation of a true life lived!! I am so happy for his honesty about how it really goes down in life, Republican or not, we all end up in the same place!! Its great when you have your memories to help get you to where your going! I hope you have a great trip on your next journey sir! ML&R ~ Sara Davis, Denver, Colorado
April 12, 2012 Awesome!!! A life well lived. I hope I go out this way. Peace to all who knew him! ~ Cristen, Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Obama Claims Reagan Affinity & CBS Laughs

Scott Pelley, CBS News anchor, struggled to maintain his journalistic objectivity on Wednesday's broadcast. The cause was a clip of Obama trying to sell the "Buffet Rule" by again equating himself and his policies to Ronald Reagan. Snickering, Pelley queried CBS News political analyst John Dickerson, "So a vote for President Obama is a vote for Ronald Reagan?!"



Holding back his own guffaws, John Dickerson explained, "By using that Republican icon he’s trying to paint Mitt Romney and his Republican colleagues as so unfair that even Ronald Reagan wouldn’t agree with them. Republicans point out that when Reagan called for fairness it was part of a much larger tax cut and tax reform programs that Barack Obama probably would not support."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Eric Holder and DOJ Punked in Video Sting

James O'Keefe, Project Veritas filmmaker showed how easy it is to fraudulently cast a ballot using someone else's name when no photo ID is required at polling stations. Recently, O'Keefe sent a PV assistant to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's polling station at 3401 Nebraska Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. where Holder has been registered to vote for 29 years. Sans photo ID, the poll worker was willing and eager to give a Democrat ballot to the white male who asked if they had an "Eric Holder" on the voting roll. Using a hidden camera, the Project Veritas assistant recorded the event:



The transcript from National Review:
Man: “Do you have an Eric Holder, 50th Street?
Poll worker: “Let me see here.”
Man: Xxxx 50th Street.
Poll Worker: Let’s see, Holder, Hol-t-e-r, or Hold-d-e-r?
Man: H-o-l-d-e-r.
Poll Worker: D-e-r. Okay.
Man: That’s the name.
Poll Worker: I do. Xxxx 50th Street NW. Okay. [Puts check next to name, indicating someone has shown up to vote.] Will you sign there . . .
Man: I actually forgot my ID.
Poll Worker: You don’t need it; it’s all right.
Man: I left it in the car.
Poll Worker: As long as you’re in here, and you’re on our list and that’s who you say you are, we’re okay.
Man: I would feel more comfortable if I go get my ID, is it all right if I go get it?
Poll Worker: Sure, go ahead.
Man: I’ll be back faster than you can say furious!
Poll Worker: We’re not going anywhere.
At no time did the Project Veritas investigator identify himself as Eric Holder, so he was not illegally impersonating the Attorney General who is 61 years old, African-American and bears no resemblance to the young European-American in the video.

Project Veritas has released three previous videos on the subject of voter fraud in New Hampshire where poll workers handed out ballots to PV in the names of deceased voters; Minnesota gave ballots to PV investigators using the names "Tim Tebow" and "Tom Brady"; and Vermont where PV requested ballots using the names of living and deceased voters. Since those stings, Voter ID legislation has been passed in two of those states.

Opposition to voter ID, writes John Fund, exists despite the 2008 US Supreme Court 6-3 ruling upholding Indiana's photo ID requirement and an utter inability of opponents to produce any real-world evidence that anyone has been disenfranchised by a requirement to have photographic identification before voting. In fact, 75% of Americans support voter photo ID laws as a matter of course, including Hispanics and Blacks who recognize that a person cannot function in today's world without photo identification.

Earlier this month, PJ Media attempted to enter the offices of several organizations opposed to voter photo IDs and were turned away because they did not have photo IDs. The offices that refused entry were the Center for American Justice, Advancement Project, and Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. PJM could not even enter the Dept of Justice where Attorney General Eric Holder has his office, was accessible without photo ID.



Attempting to turn the tables on the Project Veritas evidence, AG Holder fired back through an anonymous DoJ spokesman telling Talking Points Memo, “It’s no coincidence that these so-called examples of rampant voter fraud consistently turn out to be manufactured ones.”

To which Breitbart's Ben Shapiro responds, "This is nonsensical. Obviously this wasn’t an actual case of voter fraud—O’Keefe and Project Veritas didn’t want to break the law. And obviously the situation is manufactured—it’s the only way to show that voter fraud is easy and plausible, since we presumablydon’t know when voter fraud takes place. That, in fact, is the point of the video: that voter fraud in this way is virtually undetectable and bears almost zero risk."

Sunday, April 08, 2012

And They Crucified Him

Jesus.

The Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God to millions of Christians around the world was most horrendously tortured and killed nearly 2 millenia ago. A few years ago, Mel Gibson brought the agony of event to brutal reality in the film "The Passion". But even that was too mild compared to the historiographic autopsy of the death of Jesus published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1986.

What is described is one of the most barbaric and demonic methods for killing ever devised. Whether Jesus was the Son of God, or God Incarnate, or a mortal itinerant carpenter/preacher from Nazareth, the facts of the brutality of the execution are beyond debate. Whatever the nature of Jesus, that anyone withstood the torture and stress for so long, or even at all, is by itself a testament to one man's faith.


ON THE PHYSICAL DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST
William D. Edwards, MD; Wesley J. Gabel, MDiv; Floyd E Hosmer, MS, AMI

From the Departments of Pathology (Dr. Edwards) and Medical Graphics (Mr. Hoamer), Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; and the Homestead United Methodist Church, Rochester, Minn., and the West Bethel United Methodist Church, Bethel, Minn. (Pastor Gabel).

* Jesus of Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and was sentenced to death by crucifixion. The scourging produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar (patibulum) to Golgotha. At the site of crucifixion, his wrists were nailed to the patibulum and, after the patibulum was lifted onto the upright post (stipes), his feet were nailed to the stipes. The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Accordingly death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Jesus' death was ensured by the thrust of a soldier's spear into his side. Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicate that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross.

(JAMA 1986;255:1455-1463)

The life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth have formed the basis for a major world religion (Christianity), have appreciably influenced the course of human history, and, by virtue of a compassionate attitude towards the sick, also have contributed to the development of modern medicine. The eminence of Jesus as a historical figure and the suffering and controversy associated with his death have stimulated us to investigate, in an interdisciplinary manner, the circumstances surrounding his crucifixion. Accordingly, it is our intent to present not a theological treatise but rather a medically and historically accurate account of the physical death of the one called Jesus Christ.

SOURCES

The source material concerning Christ's death comprises a body of literature and not a physical body or its skeletal remains. Accordingly, the credibility of any discussion of Jesus' death will be determined primarily by the credibility of one's sources. For this review, the source material includes the writings of ancient Christian and non-Christian authors, the writings of modern authors, and the Shroud of Turin. Using the legal-historical method of scientific investigation, scholars have established the reliability and accuracy of the ancient manuscripts.

The most extensive and detailed descriptions of the life and death of Jesus are to be found in the New Testament gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The other 23 books of the New Testament support but do not expand on the details recorded in the gospels. Contemporary Christian, Jewish, and Roman authors provide additional insight concerning the first-century Jewish and Roman legal systems and the details of scourging and crucifixion. Seneca, Livy, Plutarch, and others refer to crucifixion practices in their works. Specifically, Jesus (or his crucifixion) is mentioned by the Roman historians Cornelius Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, and Suetonius, by non-Roman historians Thallus and Phlegon, by the satirist Lucian of Samosata, by the Jewish Talmud, and by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, although the authenticity of portions of the latter is problematic. The Shroud of Turin is considered by many to represent the actual burial cloth of Jesus, and several publications concerning the medical aspects of his death draw conclusions from this assumption. The Shroud of Turin and recent archaeological findings provide valuable information concerning Roman crucifixion practices. The interpretations of modern writers, based on a knowledge of science and medicine not available in the first century, may offer additional insight concerning the possible mechanisms of Jesus' death. When taken in concert, certain facts -- the extensive and early testimony of both Christian proponents and opponents, and their universal acceptance of Jesus as a true historical figure; the ethic of the gospel writers, and the shortness of the time interval between the events and the extant manuscripts; and the confirmation of the gospel accounts by historians and archaeological findings -- ensure a reliable testimony from which a modern medical interpretation of Jesus' death may be made.

GETHSEMANE

After Jesus and his disciples had observed the Passover meal in an upper room in a home in southwest Jerusalem, they traveled to the Mount of Olives, northeast of the city. (Owing to various adjustments in the calendar, the years of Jesus' birth and death remain controversial. However, it is likely that Jesus was born in either 4 or 6 BC and died in 30 AD. During the Passover observance in 30 AD, the last Supper would have been observed on Thursday, April 6 [Nisan 13], and Jesus would have been crucified on Friday, April 7 [Nisan 14].) At nearby Gethsemane, Jesus, apparently knowing that the time of his death was near, suffered great mental anguish, and, as described by the physician Luke, his sweat became like blood.

Although this is a very rare phenomenon, bloody sweat (hematidrosis or hemohidrosis) may occur in highly emotional states or in persons with bleeding disorders. As a result of hemorrhage into the sweat glands, the skin becomes fragile and tender. Luke's descriptions supports the diagnosis of hematidrosis rather than eccrine chromidrosis (brown or yellow-green sweat) or stigmatization (blood oozing from the palms or elsewhere). Although some authors have suggested that hematidrosis produced hypovolemia, we agree with Bucklin that Jesus' actual blood loss probably was minimal. However, in the cold night air, it may have produced chills.

TRIALS

Jewish Trials

Soon after midnight, Jesus was arrested at Gethsemane by the temple officials and was taken first to Annas and then to Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest for that year. Between 1 AM and daybreak, Jesus was tried before Caiaphas and the political Sanhedrin and was found guilty of blasphemy. The guards then blindfolded Jesus, spat on him, and struck him in the face with their fists. Soon after daybreak, presumably at the temple, Jesus was tried before the religious Sanhedrin (with the Pharisees and the Sadducees) and again was found guilty of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death.

Roman Trials

Since permission for an execution had to come from the governing Romans, Jesus was taken early in the morning by the temple officials to the Praetorium of the Fortress of Antonia, the residence and governmental seat of Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Judea. However, Jesus was presented to Pilate not as a blasphemer but rather as a self-appointed king who would undermine the Roman authority. Pilate made no charges against Jesus and sent him to Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Judea. Herod likewise made no official charges and then returned Jesus to Pilate. Again, Pilate could find no basis for a legal charge against Jesus, but the people persistently demanded crucifixion. Pilate finally granted their demand and handed over Jesus to be flogged (scourged) and crucified.

Health of Jesus

The rigors of Jesus' ministry (that is, traveling by foot throughout Palestine) would have precluded any major physical illness or a weak general constitution. Accordingly, it is reasonable to assume that Jesus was in good physical condition before his walk to Gethsemane. However, during the 12 hours between 9 PM Thursday and 9 AM Friday, he had suffered great emotional stress (as evidenced by hematidrosis), abandonment by his closest friends (the disciples), and a physical beating (after the first Jewish trial). Also, in the setting of a traumatic and sleepless night, had been forced to walk more than 2.5 miles (4.0 km) to and from the sites of the various trials. These physical and emotional factors may have rendered Jesus particularly vulnerable to the adverse hemodynamic effects of the scourging.

SCOURGING

Scourging Practices

Flogging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution, and only women and Roman senators or soldiers (except in cases of desertion) were exempt. The usual instrument was a short whip (flagrum or flagellum) with several single or braided leather thongs of variable lengths, in which small iron balls or sharp pieces of sheep bones were tied at intervals. Occasionally, staves also were used. For scourging, the man was stripped of his clothing, and his hands were tied to an upright post. The back, buttocks, and legs were flogged either by two soldiers (lictors) or by one who alternated positions. The severity of the scourging depended on the disposition of the lictors and was intended to weaken the victim to a state just short of collapse or death. After the scourging, the soldiers often taunted their victim.

Medical Aspects of Scourging

As the Roman soldiers repeatedly struck the victim's back with full force, the iron balls would cause deep contusions, and the leather thongs and sheep bones would cut into the skin and subcutaneous tissues. Then, as the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. Pain and blood loss generally set the stage for circulatory shock. The extent of blood loss may well have determined how long the victim would survive on the cross.

Scourging of Jesus

At the Praetorium, Jesus was severely whipped. (Although the severity of the scourging is not discussed in the four gospel accounts, it is implied in one of the epistles (1 Peter 2:24). A detailed word study of the ancient Greek text for this verse indicates that the scourging of Jesus was particularly harsh.) It is not known whether the number of lashes was limited to 39, in accordance with Jewish law. The Roman soldiers, amused that this weakened man had claimed to be a king, began to mock him by placing a robe on his shoulders, a crown of thorns on his head, and a wooden staff as a scepter in his right hand.Next, they spat on Jesus and struck him on the head with the wooden staff. Moreover, when the soldiers tore the robe from Jesus' back, they probably reopened the scourging wounds.

The severe scourging, with its intense pain and appreciable blood loss, most probably left Jesus in a preshock state. Moreover, hematidrosis had rendered his skin particularly tender. The physical and mental abuse meted out by the Jews and the Romans, as well as the lack of food, water, and sleep, also contributed to his generally weakened state. Therefore, even before the actual crucifixion, Jesus' physical condition was at least serious and possibly critical.

CRUCIFIXION

Crucifixion Practices

Crucifixion probably first began among the Persians. Alexander the Great introduced the practice to Egypt and Carthage, and the Romans appear to have learned of it from the Carthaginans. Although the Romans did not invent crucifixion, they perfected it as a form of torture and capital punishment that was designed to produce a slow death with maximum pain and suffering. It was one of the most disgraceful and cruel methods of execution and usually was reserved only for slaves, foreigners, revolutionaries, and the vilest of criminals. Roman law usually protected Roman citizens from crucifixion, except perhaps in the case of desertion by soldiers.

In its earliest form in Persia, the victim was either tied to a tree or was tied to or impaled on an upright post, usually to keep the guilty victim's feet from touching holy ground. Only later was a true cross used; it was characterized by an upright post (stipes) and a horizontal crossbar (patibulum), and it had several variations. Although archaeological and historical evidence strongly indicates that the low Tau cross was preferred by the Romans in Palestine at the time of Christ, crucifixion practices often varied in a given geographic region and in accordance with the imagination of the executioners, and the Latin cross and other forms also may have been used.

It was customary for the condemned man to carry his own cross from the flogging post to the site of crucifixion outside the city walls. He was usually naked, unless this was prohibited by local customs. Since the weight of the entire cross was probably well over 300 lb. (136 kg), only the crossbar was carried. The patibulum, weighing 75 to 125 lb. (34 to 57 kg), was placed across the nape of the victim's neck and balanced along both shoulders. Usually, the outstretched arms then were tied to the crossbar. The processional to the site of crucifixion was led by a complete Roman military guard, headed by a centurion. One of the soldiers carried a sign (titulus) on which the condemned man's name and crime were displayed. Later, the titulus would be attached to the top of the cross. The Roman guard would not leave the victim until they were sure of his death.

Outside the city walls was permanently located the heavy upright wooden stipes, on which the patibulum would be secured. In the case of the Tau cross, this was accomplished by means of a mortise and tenon joint, with or without reinforcement by ropes. To prolong the crucifixion process, a horizontal wooden block or plank, serving as a crude seat (sedile or sedulum), often was attached midway down the stipes. Only very rarely, and probably later than the time of Christ, was an additional block (suppedaneum) employed for transfixion of the feet.

At the site of execution, by law, the victim was given a bitter drink of wine mixed with myrrh (gall) as a mild analgesic. The criminal was then thrown to the ground on his back, with his arms outstretched along the patibulum. The hands could be nailed or tied to the crossbar, but nailing apparently was preferred by the Romans. The archaeological remains of a crucified body, found in an ossuary near Jerusalem and dating from the time of Christ, indicate that the nails were tapered iron spikes approximately 5 to 7 in (13 to 18 cm) long with a square shaft 3/8 in (1 cm) across. Furthermore, ossuary findings and the Shroud of Turin have documented that the nails commonly were driven through the wrists rather than the palms.)

After both arms were fixed to the crossbar, the patibulum and the victim, together, were lifted onto the stipes. On the low cross, four soldiers could accomplish this relatively easily. However, on the tall cross, the soldiers used either wooden forks or ladders.

Next, the feet were fixed to the cross, either by nails or ropes. Ossuary findings and the Shroud of Turin suggest that nailing was the preferred Roman practice. Although the feet could be fixed to the sides of the stipes or to a wooden footrest (suppedaneum), they usually were nailed directly to the front of the stipes. To accomplish this, flexion of the knees may have been quite prominent, and the bent legs may have been rotated laterally.

When the nailing was completed, the titulus was attached to the cross, by nails or cords, just above the victim's head. The soldiers and the civilian crowd often taunted and jeered the condemned man, and the soldiers customarily divided up his clothes among themselves. The length of survival generally ranged from three or four hours to three or four days and appears to have been inversely related to the severity of the scourging. However, even if the scourging had been relatively mild, the Roman soldiers could hasten death by breaking the legs below the knees (crurifragium or skelokopia).

Not uncommonly, insects would light upon or burrow into the open wounds or the eyes, ears, and nose of the dying and helpless victim, and birds of prey would tear at these sites. Moreover, it was customary to leave the corpse on the cross to be devoured by predatory animals. However, by Roman law, the family of the condemned could take the body for burial, after obtaining permission from the Roman judge. Since no one was intended to survive crucifixion, the body was not released to the family until the soldiers were sure that the victim was dead. By custom, one of the Roman guards would pierce the body with a sword or lance. Traditionally, this had been considered a spear wound to the heart through the right side of the chest -- a fatal wound probably taught to most Roman soldiers. The Shroud of Turin documents this form of injury. Moreover, the standard infantry spear, which was 5 to 6 ft (1.5 to 1.8 m) long could easily have reached the chest of a man crucified on the customary low cross.

Medical Aspects of Crucifixion

With a knowledge of both anatomy and ancient crucifixion practices, one may reconstruct the probably medical aspects of this form of slow execution. Each wound apparently was intended to produce intense agony, and the contributing causes of death were numerous.

The scourging prior to crucifixion served to weaken the condemned man and, if blood loss was considerable, to produce orthostatic hypotension and even hypovolemic shock. When the victim was thrown to the ground on his back, in preparation for transfixion of his hands, his scourging wounds most likely would become torn open again and contaminated with dirt. Furthermore, with each respiration, the painful scourging wounds would be scraped against the rough wood of the stipes. As a result, blood loss from the back probably would continue throughout the crucifixion ordeal.

With arms outstretched but not taut, the wrists were nailed to the patibulum. It has been shown that the ligaments and bones of the wrist can support the weight of a body hanging from them , but the palms cannot. Accordingly, the iron spikes probably were driven between the radius and the carpals or between the two rows of carpal bones, either proximal to or through the strong bandlike flexor retinaculum and the various intercarpal ligaments. Although a nail in either location in the wrist might pass between the bony elements and thereby produce no fractures, the likelihood of painful periosteal injury would seem great.

Furthermore, the driven nail would crush or sever the rather large sensorimotor median nerve. The stimulated nerve would produce excruciating bolts of fiery pain in both arms. Although the severed median nerve would result in paralysis of a portion of the hand, ischemic contractures and impalement of various ligaments by the iron spike might produce a clawlike grasp.

Most commonly, the feet were fixed to the front of the stipes by means of an iron spike driven through the first or second intermetatarsal space, just distal to the tarsometatarssal joint. It is likely that the deep peroneal nerve and branches of the medial and lateral plantar nerves would have been injured by the nails. Although scourging may have resulted in considerable blood loss, crucifixion per se was a relatively bloodless procedure, since no major arteries, other than perhaps the deep plantar arch, pass through the favored anatomic sites of transfixion.

The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion, beyond the excruciating pain, was a marked interference with normal respiration, particularly exhalation. The weight of the body, pulling down on the outstretched arms and shoulders, would tend to fix the intercostal muscles in an inhalation state and thereby hinder passive exhalation. Accordingly, exhalation was primarily diaphragmatic, and breathing was shallow. It is likely that this form of respiration would not suffice and that hypercarbia would soon result. The onset of muscle cramps or tetanic contractions, due to fatigue and hypercarbia, would hinder respiration even further.

Adequate exhalation required lifting the body by pushing up on the feet and by flexing the elbows and adducting the shoulders. However, this maneuver would place the entire weight of the body on the tarsals and would produce searing pain. Furthermore, flexion of the elbows would cause rotation of the wrists about the iron nails and cause fiery pain along the damaged median nerves. Lifting of the body would also painfully scrape the scourged back against the rough wooden stipes. Muscle cramps and paresthesias of the outstretched and uplifted arms would add to the discomfort. As a result, each respiratory effort would become agonizing and tiring and lead eventually to asphyxia.

The actual cause of death by crucifixion was multifactorial and varied somewhat with each case, but the two most prominent causes probably were hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Other possible contributing factors included dehydration, stress-induced arrhythmias, and congestive heart failure with the rapid accumulation of pericardial and perhaps pleural effusions. Crucifracture (breaking the legs below the knees), if performed, led to an asphyxic death within minutes. Death by crucifixion was, in every sense of the word, excruciating (Latin, excruciatus, or "out of the cross").

Crucifixion of Jesus

After the scourging and the mocking, at about 9 AM, the Roman soldiers put Jesus' clothes back on him and then led him and two thieves to be crucified. Jesus apparently was so weakened by the severe flogging that he could not carry the patibulum from the Praetorium to the site of the crucifixion one third of a mile (600 to 650 m) away Simon of Cyrene was summoned to carry Christ's cross, and the processional then made its way to Golgotha (or Calvary), an established crucifixion site.

Here, Jesus' clothes, except for a linen loincloth, again were removed, thereby probably reopening the scourging wounds. He then was offered a drink of wine mixed with myrrh (gall) but, after tasting it, refused the drink. Finally, Jesus and the two thieves were crucified. Although scriptural references are made to nails in the hands, these are not at odds with the archaeological evidence of wrist wounds, since the ancients customarily considered the wrist to be a part of the hand. The titulus was attached above Jesus' head. It is unclear whether Jesus was crucified on the Tau cross or the Latin cross; archaeological findings favor the former and early tradition the latter. The fact that Jesus later was offered a drink of wine vinegar from a sponge placed on the stalk of the hyssop plant (approximately 20 in, or 50 cm long) strongly supports the belief that Jesus was crucified on the short cross.

The soldiers and the civilian crowd taunted Jesus throughout the crucifixion ordeal, and the soldiers cast lots for his clothing. Christ spoke seven times from the cross. Since speech occurs during exhalation, these short, terse utterances must have been particularly difficult and painful. At about 3 PM that Friday, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, bowed his head, and died. The Roman soldiers and onlookers recognized his moment of death.

Since the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the crosses after sunset, the beginning of the Sabbath, they asked Pontius Pilate to order crucifracture to hasten the deaths of the three crucified men. The soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves, but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Rather, one of the soldiers pierced his side, probably with an infantry spear, and produced a sudden flow of blood and water. Later that day, Jesus' body was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb.

DEATH OF JESUS

Two aspects of Jesus' death have been the source of great controversy, namely, the nature of the wound in his side and the cause of his death after only several hours on the cross.

The gospel of John describes the piercing of Jesus' side and emphasizes the sudden flow of blood and water. Some authors have interpreted the flow of water to be ascites or urine, from an abdominal midline perforation of the bladder. However, the Greek word (pleura used by John clearly denoted laterality and often implied the ribs.

Therefore, it seems probable that the wound was in the thorax and well away from the abdominal midline.

Although the side of the wound was not designated by John, it traditionally has been depicted on the right side. Supporting this traditions is the fact that a large flow of blood would be more likely with a perforation of the distended and thin-walled right atrium or ventricle than the thick-walled and contracted left ventricle. Although the side of the wound may never be established with certainty, the right seems more probable than the left.

Some of the skepticism in accepting John's description has arisen from the difficulty in explaining, with medical accuracy, the flow of both blood and water. Part of this difficulty has been based on the assumption that the blood appeared first, then the water. However, in the ancient Greek, the order of words generally denoted prominence and not necessarily a time sequence. Therefore, it seems likely that John was emphasizing the prominence of blood rather than its appearance preceding the water.

Therefore, the water probably represented serous pleural and pericardial fluid, and would have preceded the flow of blood and been smaller in volume than the blood. Perhaps in the setting of hypovolemia and impending acute heart failure, pleural and pericardial effusions may have developed and would have added to the volume of apparent water. The blood, in contrast, may have originated from the right atrium or the right ventricle or perhaps from a hemopericardium.

Jesus' death after only three to six hours on the cross surprised even Pontius Pilate. The fact that Jesus cried out in a loud voice and then bowed his head and died suggests the possibility of a catastrophic terminal event. One popular explanation has been that Jesus died of cardiac rupture. In the setting of the scourging and crucifixion, with associated hypovolemia, hypoxemia, and perhaps and altered coagulable state, friable non-infective thrombotic vegetations could have formed on the aortic or mitral valve. These then could have dislodged and embolized into the coronary circulation and thereby produced an acute transmural myocardial infarction. Thrombotic valvular vegetations have been reported to develop under analogous acute traumatic conditions. Rupture of the left ventricular free wall may occur, though uncommonly, in the first few hours following infarction.

However, another explanation may be more likely. Jesus' death may have been hastened simply by his state of exhaustion and by the severity of the scourging, with its resultant blood loss and preshock state. The fact that he could not carry his patibulum supports this interpretation. The actual cause of Jesus' death, like that of other crucified victims, may have been multifactorial and related primarily to hypovolemic shock, exhaustion asphyxia, and perhaps acute heart failure. A fatal cardiac arrhythmia may have accounted for the apparent catastrophic terminal event.

Thus, it remains unsettled whether Jesus died of cardiac rupture or of cardiorespiratory failure. However, the important feature may be not how he died but rather whether he died. Clearly, the weight of historical and medical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted and supports the traditional view that the spear, thrust between his right ribs, probably perforated not only the right lung but also the pericardium and heart and thereby ensured his death. Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge.
For Christians, the Crucixion is not the end. It is the beginning.



Sources:
Inter Mirifica
World Net Daily
God and Science provides a PDF of the original JAMA article with illustrations and reference material which I have eliminated here for purposes of readability.