[PREV - THINK_OF_CIRCLES] [TOP]
Once around the edges April 30, 1992
After the conference, we're driving
down Mission, looking to make a
right on 9th St or so. A bright red
car is sitting at an odd angle in
the middle of the road. Why isn't
this jerk moving? There's a
flashing red light in the window.
Two cops are sitting in the car,
wearing black helmets, waving night
sticks. We give up on turning "Huh. Some kind of Rodney King
there. As we drive away, I catch a sympathy riot?"
glimpse of crowds on Market St.
I meet a friend's housemate. She
starts to tell us about what was
going on at Market St. I laugh
and nod about it, and she said:
"Were you there?"
I told her about the cops in riot gear No, I really
in the unmarked car. hadn't been
She tells us more:
"It was really _weird_. People
would go 'Look, they're coming!'
and close up shop, and lower those
"But that makes sense!" I said.
"No, but it was really weird, like..." Like what?
And other things she said:
There were thousands of people there.
There were video cameras all over.
She felt safe there, even though she's white.
One person said "Thank you for coming."
But she said that maybe if she'd really known what was
happening in LA she wouldn't have felt safe.
Much too late to do any good or bad,
I saw a magic marker notice in the
window of a closed bookstore on
Haight: a schedule for the
demonstration. Glide in the
afternoon. Ellis later on.
Walking up Market St, from Oak to
4th St at 10 PM. The streets full
of small groups of people cruising
around, like the parking lot scene
after an arena rock concert. Lots
of cops, and sirens. I was wearing
wool: pants, sweater, jacket, and
feeling self-conscious. Am I a target? I'm wearing wool
today in order to
Broken glass in the street from the pass for a Suit.
windows. Radio Shack. Other small
stores. Newspaper machines pushed Can I complain if
over. I'm mistaken for
They're hitting the wrong
people. Because the right Because they It's easy for
people are hard to hit. don't see the _me_ to pass.
faces behind I can change
Can you blame them? the windows? my clothes.
What else could they do?
Striking at the innocent.
They're not much better than the
cops who beat King.
But the system has failed.
It's demonstrated it's unjust.
"Revolutionary right to over-
throw it." Right?
Who organized this? What did the
guys at the Glide Memorial Methodist Is the looting
Church tell these people? What and vandalism just
about "_Respect_ the neighborhood!" opportunistic?
Isn't this war? Should
Willingly doing evil in blamed
hopes that it will on the
correct a greater evil. demon-
Waging war means hurting strators?
Of course things are out
Maybe I should've been out here.
Too busy running around after Science
to have even heard about it.
But would I really want
to associate with these
people? Look at what
I'm always fence sitting.
Looking for a pure Cause.
I _believe_ in this one! For once
The acquittal really _is_ they're not
an outrage. fighting
Maybe I could have tried over Marxism.
to help keep things calmer.
A couple of girls come Some guys walking passed yet
down the street holding another crew of window
signs like: repairmen:
N O J U S T I C E. "And this is just the
N O P E A C E. _first_ day!"
F U C K T H E P O L I C E!
Two people on a small motorcycle,
both dressed in leather. He stops Some woman is
the bike at an intersection, while arguing with a
she videotapes some burning debris. cop. I hear
As I get near the Marriott Hotel,
cops keep ordering me to detour. A
cordon of police guard the windows
of Nordstroms. A trio on motorcycles
stop me from going down the alley
behind Big Heart City. The doors
of the hotel are "barricaded" with
wood blocks. Someone removes the Because I'm wearing wool.
block as I approach the door, Because my skin's the
to talk to me. I show him my right color.
conference badge, he lets me in.
Then I hear someone talking about
how the cops have told them not to
let anyone out on the street.
"Are you serious?
I wouldn't have come I should call the FBI
in here if I'd know that." and report them for
A piece of glass stuck to the bottom
of my shoe scrapes along the floor.
I pick up my stuff. I try to
concentrate on the poster session.
I wave to an acquaintance, but avoid
talking. I make eye contact with a
woman I've never met and we smile at
each other, but I keep going. I
over hear someone say "Did you see
some of the action out there?" Like An appreciation for
he's talking about a football game. chaos? Yeah, okay.
I don't belong here.
I leave the hotel.
"Good evening sir. How are you?"
"Do you know there's a curfew?" I hadn't realized there was
"I know what's going on." a "curfew".
Random vehicles of mostly white
kids (the motorized analog of Who has authority to
the black foot soldiers? the declare a curfew?
counterpart of the police
cars?) cruise the streets. How about the right of
A voice from one of them,
heavy with irony:
Is he mocking someone? Well, it is anarchy all right.
Or just celebrating the But unfortunately it's also chaos.
Three cops are hustling a black girl
in a white skirt into the back of a
car. "FUCK. YOU." she yells into
one's face. He replies sweetly in a
high voice "Fuuuck, YooUuu." Good, they're being cool.
"I didn't break no window."
"Well you were robbing someone,
She spits on their shoes. He says
"Oh, yeah..." calmly. Yeah, they're definitely
I walk by another smashed window, Being Cool.
a big stereo speaker just inside.
And you know, it _is_ only day one.
On day two they broke up a curfew The amount of liberty
demonstration by arresting we're willing to sacrifice
people two hours *before* the for just a little safety...
curfew went into effect.
I wasn't there for that one, either.
Luckilly, they came up with an
excuse to fire that bastard Hongisto
(the Police Chief) soon afterwards.
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