A redoubt (historically redout) is a fort or fort system usually consisting of an enclosed defensive emplacement outside a larger fort, usually relying on earthworks, though others are constructed of stone or brick. It is meant to protect soldiers outside the main defensive line and can be a permanent structure or a hastily-constructed temporary fortification. The word means “a place of retreat”. Redoubts were a component of the military strategies of most European empires during the colonial era, especially in the outer works of Vauban-style fortresses made popular during the 17th century, although the concept of redoubts has existed since medieval times. A redoubt differs from a redan in that the redan is open in the rear, whereas the redoubt was considered an enclosed work.
This photo of Major was often used by the Birmingham News and local television news programs after he went missing. I always used the photo at the top of this post. Perhaps, however, this photo told something about Major the other photo did not tell …
My correspondent made me promise ahead of time not to write about what she was going to tell me, which I suspected was about Major being bi-sexual. That put me in a serious bind because her news was the first solid human evidence Major had a secret gay life in Birmingham. I had gone way out on a limb in numerous posts after Major went missing and his body was later found in the pond at the bottom of hole #1 on Highland Golf Course, writing Major killed himself and tried to make it look like someone else did it because he was bi-sexual and someone was going to out him and there was nothing he could do to stop it. I wrote there was no way Major could cope with that, given his professional, social and family circles, and his image being more important to him than anything. So he did the best he knew how to make it look like he had been murdered and did not run out on his second wife and their two small children, and on his older two children by his first wife. I knew Major’s first wife pretty well. She believed he killed himself. As did their daughter, who is named after me, come to believe that.
I published before: in the the FBI records furnished to me pursuant to my Freedom of Information Request was a report of an agent or agents speaking with my father’s widow, Joann Linder Bashinsky, about an oldish vintage .32 caliber Browning automatic pistol kept in either a glass or plastic display case in what had been Major and my father’s home. A collector’s item, the pistol was sealed in the case. Joann was shown a photo of, or perhaps the actual pistol, I don’t recall now, found on the bottom of the golf course pond near where Major’s body was found. She said the two pistols looked identical. The pistol found in the bottom of the pond was a oldish vintage .32 Browning automatic. Knowing Major as I knew him, it would be just like him to see that rare pistol in his father’s home and then find himself one just like it. The same pistol in my father’s home convinced me the pistol found in the pond was Major’s pistol.
The Birmingham Police Department and the Jefferson County Coroner were privy to the FBI investigation of Major going missing. The Coroner’s pathologist and the BPD’s detective ruled Major killed himself and tried to make it look like someone else did it. That was maybe two weeks after I first published Major had killed himself and had tried to make it look like someone else had done it. I knew that was what he had done because I was told it by angels. Angels also told me why he did it: he was going to be outed by some who could prove he was bisexual and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
I don’t feel I have broken my promise to the woman who told me about her experiences with Major’s secret gay community. I have provided no names other than Major’s. I never heard of the names she mentioned, other than Major’s name. I deleted the emails she wrote about that, so I cannot use them to get the other men’s names. I cannot prove any of it, but there was no reason for her to make it up, and there is no reason for me to make it up. This above, of course, is an entirely different account than you can read from time to time on the Legal Schnauzer blog in Birmingham. This is an account by someone who knew Major as well as anyone but Major knew Major. This is an account that backs up, yet preceded, the suicide finding by the Jefferson County Coroner’s pathologist and the Birmingham Police Department’s detective, which the FBI never challenged.
A very old friend in Birmingham told me he had a law enforcement contact connected somehow to the FBI, who told him after Major’s body was found in the golf course pond to not necessarily expect a murder finding. In articles, Legal Schnauzer has maligned the FBI in situations having nothing to do with Major’s death that I can see. Legal Schnauzer has maligned the Jefferson County Coroner and the Birmingham PD for not doing a “scientific” determination of suicide in Major’s case. Here’s how it is, folks. If someone wants to try to make his own suicide look like murder, it very likely might take more than science to get to the bottom of it. It very likely will take looking at the entire picture.
The very last thing I wanted was for it to be suicide. That was the worst possible thing Major’s second wife and their two young children and his older two children could hear, for it meant he had abandoned them without even giving them a reason or a chance to talk him out of it, or at least hear his reason for doing it. It left them wondering if, or believing, they were the reason he killed himself. Or it left them denying he killed himself and believing it was murder, and wondering, fearing, would they be killed next? It was the most selfish, mean and destructive thing Major could do.
Alas, for much longer than I care to remember, I have been the family postman, the bearer of unpleasant tidings. That is why my family steers clear of me as much as possible. A good argument can be made for keeping bad news secret, but the problem with that argument is bad news kept secret ends up causing so much destruction in the subconscious of the people involved, that airing out the bad news is the least destructive way to deal with it and offers the best chance for healing and transformation. It also stops the perp from getting away Scot-free.
More about Legal Schnauzer …
Major’s first wife, Gail, whom I knew pretty well, told me around the time Major went missing in March 2010 that she had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer maybe two years earlier. She told me Major’s and my stepsister, Suzanne, was dying of a very bad cancer, didn’t have long left. Suzanne was Joann’s daughter. Suzanne died later in the year Major killed himself – 2010. In middish 2011, Major’s and my first cousin, Charles “Bubba” Major killed himself with a pistol and left a suicide note in his own handwriting. I was in regular email dialogue with Bubba since Major first went missing. Bubba wrote a number of times of his having a very rough go in his life. I knew he probably was at risk and I tried to get him to come down to the Keys to live. But he never came down. I was not entirely suprised Bubba killed himself, and wished I had tried harder to intervene. Gail died late last year – 2011. We had a wonderful hour and a half telephone conversation maybe ten days before she passed over. I laughed until my sides split. She laughed plenty, too.
Despite my writing to and telling Schnauzer much of what you just read about those people passing over, Schnauzer from time to time has tried to make their deaths out to be mysterious and unresolved and somehow perhaps tied into Major’s death and other intrigues Schnauzer is promoting.
Two more things about Schnauzer bear mention.
First, Schnauzer keeps writing that before Major’s body was found, Chip Hazelrig traveled from Birmingham to Key West to see me. This is preposterous. Chip did not know me, I did not know him. He know of me because he had been partners in oil and gas deals with my father for around 20 years. I knew of Chip because I had heard his name mentioned in passing a few times by Birmingham people, but not by my father. I did not even know Chip and my father were in business together. I had no idea what Chip looked like before he called me and said he was in Key West with a friend, who really liked to fish. They had come down from above Miami, where his friend’s boat was kept. The friend had worn Chip out fishing, and he took a day off and decided to try to look me up, having heard I lived in Key West, which I then did live there. Chip did did not know how to reach me, I only had a cell phone. He said he went into a Duval Street bar and asked the first man he saw if he knew Sloan Bashinsky. The man said, yeah, he knew me. No, he did not know how to reach me, but maybe the man beside him, his drinking buddy knew. Yeah, the drinking buddy had my cell phone number. Chip called me, I answered, we met five minutes later. I knew then it was arranged by angels.
Mostly we talked about Chip’s business and friendship with my father, and only a little about Major, who had been missing a few days. I said did not yet have any sense of what had happened to Major. Chip clearly loved my father. We talked maybe an hour. Part of it was about the lawsuit my father’s widow and estate and business lawyer and trustees had filed against Chip and his partner’s oil & gas company for an accounting, H & W I think was the company’s name. Chip said the accounting was pretty loose, my father liked to operate on a handshake, and he liked to roll the dice on oil & gas bets. Over the years he won more bets than he lost, did pretty well if you aggregated the big tax write-offs with the royalties the good wells paid out. Sounded like my father, doing it on a handshake. Chip said he and my father once got dragged to a meeting by the future plaintiffs mentioned above, and they grilled Chip and my father until he told them to run the potato chip business and he would run the oil and gas business. That, too, sounded just like my father.
All of that I published and Legal Schnauzer read, but very little got reported by Schnauzer in that way. But for running into someone who had my cellphone number, Chip would not have found me. He did not come all the way down to Key West to see me, when he had no clue how or where to find me, nor did he know for sure I was even in Key West. Do you think Schnauzer would travel all the way to Key West to find me, not knowing for sure I even lived there, or how or where to find me, if I did live there? Not a chance.
Second, Schnauzer wrote an article saying the gunshot wound on the left side of Major’s head could not have been a contact wound because there was no stippling, which is a scattered pattern found on the skin after a gunshot is fired 18-to-6 or perhaps less inches from the skin. A contact wound is caused by the muzzle of a gun pressed against the skin when the shot is fired. There is no stippling with a contact wound. In the autopsy report, the coroner’s pathologist said there was no stippling. The Coroner said it was a contact wound, the very opposite of what Schnauzer reported in his article.
According to the Coroner’s report, Major’s wrists were somewhat loosely tied by a rope to a rope somewhat loosely tied around his waist. There was some range of motion of his wrists and hands. Enough range of motion, apparently, for the Coroner to conclude Major could have pressed the muzzle of the pistol against the side of his head and pulled the trigger, a contact wound with no stippling; the antique pistol identical to the antique pistol in his father’s home. Maybe Schnauzer got mixed up when he wrote it was not a contact wound because there was no stippling. Or maybe Schnauzer mixed it up on purpose because he wanted his readers to believe the shot was fired from a distance Major could not have pulled off with his wrists tied the way they were tied. Maybe Schnauzer wanted to eliminate any possibility that Major shot himself, even though he never saw the body or the ropes or the contact wound or the absence of stippling.
Adding to the intrigue, Schnauzer published the misinformation just a few days after the co-author of the Schnauzer article, Lori Moore, had told me in an email that there was no stippling, it was a contact wound. I jumped Lori’s bones about her and Schnauzer saying it was not a contact wound because there was no stippling. I told her she was in deep shit. Before that, Lori was writing to me a lot, calling me her good buddy, etc. That would be Lori Moore of Dothan, Alabama, another self-styled investigative journalist.
I took Schnauzer to task in a reply I sent in as a comment to his inventing it was not a contact wound and to other parts of the article I did not agree with. Schnauzer wrote back that he would not publish my reply because it was not well written and did not meet journalistic standards. I wrote back that real journalists allow fair reply to their articles and do not hold their critics to journalistic or even well-written standards. And real journalists don’t twist the facts to get the result they want to get.
If anyone is interested, United States District Judge Clarence W. Allgood — see the first portrait in A Few Remarkable (Birmingham) People I Have Known in the right-hand menu of the home page of goodmorningbirmingham.com — came to me in a dream around dawn one morning and said there was a federal court case being tried by some people who were not trying it well. He said I was not doing anything wrong and would be getting leads. For me, federal court in dreams meant God’s Court. I try lots of cases there. I wondered what God’s Court case this was? Later same day, the woman told me about Major and the secret gay society in which he ran. Same day, I found a new Legal Schnauzer article about Major. If you google Legal Schnauzer, that should take you to his website.
This “article” is the Judge Allgood dream playing out. I never know when any God’s Court case is over. This one has had many phases. I imagine I will post this phase to goodmorningbirmingham.com. Beyond that, I am clueless, other than Schnauzer and Lori Moore both are on trial in God’s Court and I am glad I am not standing in their shoes.
Sloan Bashinsky, Major’s older brother