So, spring of 1980. I was living on Parker Lane, which I’ve written about earlier.
It was late April, and it was late at night (or early in the morning, depending on how you tell time), and I was doing some schoolwork. Don’t remember what, exactly. That spring I was taking the basic journalism class, a class in Italian Baroque Art, a class in French Film, and a class about the Spanish Civil War. I don’t remember finals in any of the classes—I mostly had to write essays. So I was up late, reading—probably something for the Spanish Civil War class, which had a pretty heavy reading load. And I heard—sirens.
The sirens sounded close.
I got up and looked out the window.
A sedan stopped right below my window. A cop car right behind it. Another cop car went around and stopped in front of the sedan, and a cop got out. Two cops got out of the car behind the sedan.
As the first cop approached the sedan—the sedan tried to pull away!
Bang! Bang! The cop was shooting his pistol into the car!
BOOM! Bang! The cops behind were shooting with shotgun and pistol!
The sedan lurched up onto the curb.
I’m standing there in the window like an idiot. My first thought—they’re gonna shoot me! Like, just see me move up here in the window and reflexively shoot me.
I sort of stepped back and peered around the corner of the window.
The three cops went up to the sedan and pulled out the occupants and they beat those guys. Just stomped them.
I went downstairs and out the door to get a closer look. People from the other units were out, too. There was quite a crowd.
More cop cars arrived. An ambulance. Cops tore the car apart—pulled out the seats and tossed everything on the street. Looking for drugs? A weapon? The ambulance took one of the car occupants away. Cop cars took the others away. A tow truck showed up and towed the shot-up car away.
My roommate, TWS, had been across the street at Mother Earth. When the bar closed, he came home and I tried to excitedly tell him what had happened. TWS was unimpressed.
“Lowell, we were witnesses to a murder back in January. Cops shooting a guy is nothing.”
Maybe. Sort of maybe.
When I read the article top left, I called Jim Berry at the American-Statesman to offer my eye-witness account. He didn’t return my call.
Subsequent newspaper stories, below, say the cops got in trouble for shooting up the car. Good.
I wasn’t able to find any resolution on the incident. Nothing more on the guy who got shot, nothing more on the cops.
Probably nothing more happened, and, like most things, the incident was mostly forgotten....
Slow-motion coup, people dying of covid. All indices are up up UP--because what other direction would they go? All America is trending negative.
All of the answers, none of the questions....
(If the fucking pandemic doesn't wrap up soon, I'm going to have to learn more Roman numerals).
There was a tiny almost-plateau when Biden's victory was announced, but since then, all indices UP. Terror leading....
America is messed up! People need to stay safe and in seclusion.
Biden has taken the lead in our current election—a good thing!—and is likely to win. But here’s a memory of an election that went—the wrong way.
The stolen 2000 election. I’m still traumatized by that fucking thing.
I was driving a cab in those days. I went and voted (my man Gore!) and then hit the streets, hoping to make good money. And I did! It was very busy. Lots of activity.
At one point in the evening I was dropping off a journalist (from New York Magazine, I think) at the Governor’s Mansion. I was dropping him off on the Guadalupe side, and he was paying, when around the corner came a battalion of drunk frat boys chanting “Bush! Bush! Bush!” One of them had uprooted an unfortunate bit of shrubbery and was waving it around. And there were many other trips, and the night went on, and it got cold and rainy, and my cab was acting hinky—stalling and lurching.
Around 10pm I was going by the Governor’s Mansion again, and a DPS trooper flagged me down. I pulled over. One of the drunk frat boys—well, a drunk frat boy—was with him. “This guy’s had too much to drink,” the trooper said. “Can you take him home?”
That’s always an unpleasant thing to hear. But, yeah, I took the kid. At Guadalupe and MLK he bailed on me. A fare jumper! I pulled out my maglight and took off after him—I was going to smash the little fucker—but he dodged into a convenience store and cowered by the cashier and I didn’t want to smash him in front of witnesses and so he got away and he probably voted for Trump this year, the piece of shit.
I drove on. Made more trips. I listened to returns coming in on the radio, and it was grim. Gore conceded. I was bummed.
Then my cab broke down, on MLK by the university. I had passengers in the car—I called for another cab to take them, and then I called for a tow truck for my cab, and then I called for a cab for myself and I left my cab blocking a lane in the rain.
By the time I got back to my apartment more returns were coming in. I got in my personal car, went to the grocery store, and by the time I came back, Gore had unconceded and was ahead.
Judy Woodruff was on CNN being speechless. (This is about the time I stopped watching CNN—their coverage was lame. Over on MSNBC, Mike Brzezinski was scribbling numbers on a whiteboard and Lester Holt was calm and collected).
Anyway—the election went on for weeks. I was driving days part of the time, nights part of the time. I was watching tv at home, listening to the radio in the cab.
I drove some Japanese journalists around for a couple of nights. They said they were going to mention me in their story, and they sent me a link—but it was in Japanese, so I couldn’t read it.
One afternoon I was explaining the electoral college to a woman who was confused about the process, and she said—“You sure know a lot, for a cab driver.”
Yeah, fuck you, too.
I was in line out at the airport when Gore made his second concession speech. I was just—fucking sad. And angry.
So much was lost.
Terror passed Rage this week! Covid Terror, Election Terror--everything Terror.
And while, as I post this, Biden has taken the lead and looks poised to win--Terror ain't letting up. Covid is still out there, and Trump is very capable of wrecking shit between now and January 20.
I created these people but I can’t control their votes!
So—while we wait the outcome of this year’s election with TERROR—why not a memory?
Election Day, 1980. Tuesday, November 4.
I made the worst vote of my life that year—I voted for the dumbass Libertarian candidate, Ed Clark. And who was the Libertarian VP candidate? David Koch, of the infamous and un-American Koch brothers.
What the hell. I was fucking stupid. I was 22. Everyone is entitled to one bad vote. (Except this year).
I voted in the Morning. Maybe I went to class that afternoon. I don’t remember. Probably. But I went to the Deep Eddy around seven o’clock or so. Bartender KW was taping black balloons along the bar, in anticipation of a Ronald Reagan victory.
Then I went down to Club Foot to see Gang of Four! They were a great political second-wave punk band from Britain. It was a terrific show!
There was a little black & white TV on the corner of the bar, and when I left the music side of the club to get a beer I would check in on the returns. It wasn’t looking good for Jimmy Carter.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I cast my first vote, in 1976, for Jimmy Carter. I liked Jimmy Carter, but I didn't vote for him in 1980. Fucking stupid.
After the show I stopped back at the Deep Eddy. The mood was glum. Two old twin brother rednecks, Hans & Will, were pulling KW’s black balloons off the ceiling and biting them and saying vulgarities.
I went home and drank some cheap vodka and watched the election returns. I was—feeling sorry—for Jimmy Carter. And already feeling guilty about my stupid vote. Would my vote have made a difference? Really? Yes? No? I called a friend in Minneapolis and had a drunken late night chat, then went to bed.
I woke the next morning with a hangover, in Reagan’s America. Morning indeed.
Here’s Ed Ward’s review of the concert....
And here's Gang of Four!