Tag Archives: fear

All News Stories Mentioning the Gun Fight in Front of Our Loft

5 Oct

I scoured the news to try to find out what happened at our lofts. There was one article and 4 peripheral mentions of the gun fight at our lofts.

Here is my story of what I observed that night for comparison:

St. Louis hopes solution to summer crime is combo of enforcement, youth programs

ST. LOUIS — City officials on Thursday outlined a plan to combine enforcement and funding to deter crime in the summer months.

The city will devote $1 million in Community Development Block Grants to provide summer programming for children and teens, including camps, pop-up events and three meals a day, officials said at an event with community partners at the O’Fallon Park Rec Complex YMCA.

At the same time, police patrols are being increased, said Heather Taylor, deputy director for the Department of Public Safety. The police department will use data to determine when and where officers should patrol to help reduce crime downtown and in the Downtown West neighborhood.

The dual tactics come amid concerns about an uptick in crime in the downtown area recently and as students are wrapping up classes ahead of summer. Taylor said keeping kids engaged and providing them resources is critical in creating a safer city and a better future. “I actually grew up in St. Louis city, and rec centers are why I’m here,” Taylor said. “… I grew up in the ’90s where homicides were at their highest in the city of St. Louis. If it wasn’t for rec centers, having that outlet and those resources available to me, I wouldn’t be a college graduate.”

The city and St. Louis Public Schools worked together to create Summer Fun STL, a series of youth camps, programs and pop-up events that will take place at seven locations from June 6 through July 29. The offerings also will include three meals a day for kids ages 5 to 17. City officials hope to serve about 700 kids with the programs. The locations are: Nance Elementary, Oak Hill Elementary, Ashland Elementary, Walbridge Elementary, Patrick Henry Downtown, Yeatman Middle School and Peabody Elementary School.

The Gateway Region YMCA also will provide programming with funding from the Prop S Youth at Risk Program. More information on the city’s youth summer programs is available at www.stlouis-mo.gov.

Paired with the new programming, the city is boosting police enforcement efforts. Officers will work 12-hour shifts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. And during peak crime hours — 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. — the city will increase traffic enforcement, air support, specialized units, park rangers and deputy marshals. A collaboration with the St. Louis Sheriff’s Office also will provide an increased police presence on Washington Avenue and Market Street.

The city began increased patrols of downtown about a month ago, and this week announced they have worked with rentable electric scooter companies to shut down the service at 7 p.m. in the downtown area after residents complained of safety hazards created by the scooters.

Additionally, Lt. Col. Michael Sack announced the city’s public safety department has developed an incident mass notification system in partnership with federal authorities, highway patrol and local agencies, to help the city investigate large-scale violence and mass shootings. Sack is the commander of the Bureau of Community Policing but will take over as interim police chief next month when Chief John Hayden retires.

6.) https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-louis-hopes-solution-to-summer-crime-is-combo-of-enforcement-youth-programs/article_b50b0c28-9379-582a-afff-77077a3d8763.html

Downtown ambassadors in St. Louis act as ‘eyes and ears’ to spot trouble, offer help

ST. LOUIS — On a warm June night in downtown St. Louis, a woman walked frantically around Kiener Plaza. She spotted two men in bright orange vests, ran up to them and asked if they’d seen a man with two small children. The kids were her godchildren, she explained, and the man had called to say they were stranded downtown, with no car. His phone had then died. The men in the vests, part of the Downtown Youth Ambassadors, had been paying attention. One asked if a child in the group had curly hair and a grayish shirt. Yes, the woman replied, in relief. “I think I saw them that way, but I’ll keep a lookout,” said the ambassador, pointing west toward Citygarden. When asked by a reporter if similar situations happen often, he nodded. “All the time,” he said, as he and his orange-vested partner continued walking throughout downtown.

The Youth Ambassadors program was created a year ago through the Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District, a special taxing district that pays for cleaning, security and other services in the city’s entertainment and employment hub. A group of ambassadors, who are mostly school resource officers, patrol the streets every weekend to help visitors, answer questions and spot trouble. One of the primary objectives of the program was to help address mayhem and crimes that have occurred downtown, especially among teens. The ambassadors’ roles drew heightened attention this spring, as large groups of juveniles roamed the streets on electric scooters, with some occasionally breaking into fights. On the first Saturday in June, two teen girls were wounded when gunfire erupted as two groups of juveniles began fighting around 8 p.m. In 2022, at least one teen has been injured by gunfire in downtown every month.

On some nights, the ambassadors witness the aftermath of shootings and fights. Sometimes they rush to help victims of violence. They communicate with police, even when they just sense trouble may be brewing. They also serve as deterrents, stepping in to talk with teens, some of whom they recognize, before mischief turns more serious. Other days are much calmer. Ambassadors will give out directions to visitors trying to find their hotels after sightseeing near the Gateway Arch, or dish out restaurant recommendations to Cardinals fans. “We’re just eyes and ears here to make sure everything is going OK,” said Janice Dickerson, one of the ambassadors.

Forming the program, recruiting ambassadors

The Youth Ambassador program is similar to one started years ago by the Downtown St. Louis CID, but the new version was crafted by Ron Johnson, a retired Missouri Highway Patrol captain. Johnson was appointed by then-Gov. Jay Nixon to head security in Ferguson after the police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. He retired in 2018 after three decades in law enforcement and launched a security consulting firm. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner hired Johnson’s firm in 2019 on a one-year contract to serve as a liaison between her office and police.

Kelli McCrary, executive director for Downtown St. Louis CID, brought on Johnson’s firm to help improve safety downtown.

The neighborhood organization has allocated about $100,000 to the Downtown Youth Ambassador program. McCrary says there may be room to grow the program in the future.

Last summer, Johnson drove around for nearly eight weeks and spotted a trend: large groups, sometimes 30 or more youths, on Washington Avenue and along the grassy park areas along Market Street, from Memorial Plaza to Kiener Plaza. His next step, he said, was trying to address how to break up the “youthful” large crowds, which he noted sometimes included older teens and young adults. “I didn’t take the approach ‘Well how do we stop our youth from coming downtown?’” he said. “I didn’t take the approach of ‘Well how do we arrest ourselves out of an issue? But how do we make sure that we can all exist and enjoy the treasures of downtown?’”

Johnson met with Kelvin Adams, superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools, to ask for recommendations from the district’s resource officers, who are trained in de-escalation and crisis intervention, and to help form the team of ambassadors.

Today, most of the ambassadors are resource officers who roam school hallways with students and often recognize those students while working downtown. There are also a few other school employees and retired police officers in the program. “I just love kids. You just have to for this job,” said Cortez Ward, one of the program’s supervisors and a resource officer at Gateway Middle School. Ward is one of about 40 ambassadors working part time on weekends.

The ambassadors are instructed not to disarm people, and they do not have authority to make arrests. They are equipped with vests and radios — and their experience working with youths. “When the kids can see themselves in you, that’s how you form a relationship with them,” Johnson said. “You see them and they see you, and they can begin to put themselves maybe in their position. And when you’re trying to talk to him or her, that’s a better opportunity for them to listen.”

‘You can’t stop everything’

Ambassadors believe they can earn the trust of youths and other residents. Nancy James, an ambassador and former police detective, says some kids will come up to her to warn of trouble. “They’ll point out who has a gun or who is starting a fight,” James said. When trouble does hit, the ambassadors often have to intervene.

One night in May, James took cover when shots rang out near Kiener Plaza. She then calmed a young girl who had a graze wound on her back. James said she connected to police by radio and helped get in contact with the injured girl’s mother.

The ambassadors say that parents have a role to play, pointing out, for example, that they’ve seen adults drop off large groups of kids and then drive off. Police and city officials in recent weeks have pleaded with parents to supervise kids more carefully downtown; some ambassadors say those pleas may help explain why downtown on recent weekends has been calmer.

Others say the city’s ban on scooters downtown has sent a message to kids that they should avoid the area.

Johnson, the program director, says the youths heading downtown are not coming from just one neighborhood, or even just the city. He believes regional leaders, from across St. Louis County and the Metro East, need to work together to establish activities and events for youths on weekends.

One ambassador, Carole Dent, a former police officer and currently a parole officer for the Department of Corrections, says some “terrible” incidents have overshadowed the downtown experience. Dent says a small group of “bad actors” is usually at the center of trouble, with most other teens just running around scared. But she added that she has just as many good memories as bad, recalling teens taking prom pictures downtown in the spring. “You can’t stop everything,” she said. “You don’t know how much we’ve stopped either.”

7.) https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/downtown-ambassadors-in-st-louis-act-as-eyes-and-ears-to-spot-trouble-offer-help/article_bdd90261-0d06-52d4-a51f-96ae414cf2bd.html

100 Shots Fired Between Downtown St. Louis Rentals

It’s not the first shooting at a downtown short-term rental this year

By Benjamin Simon on Wed, Jul 20, 2022 at 3:04 pm

Short-term renters fired up to 100 shots at each other Wednesday morning. Nearly 100 shots were fired during a shootout between short-term renters early Wednesday morning, according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Around 1 a.m. in the Downtown West neighborhood, an argument broke out between parties staying on the 1900 block of Washington Avenue and on the 400 block of North 20th Street. Shortly after, a nearby resident told KSDK that they’d heard shots similar to “machine fire” for two to three minutes.

Initially, witnesses stated to police that the shooting took place between separate Airbnb renters. They have since clarified their statement to say that the shooting took place between “short-term rentals.” An Airbnb spokesperson confirmed to RFT there are no active or recent reservations at either property on 1920 Washington or 411 N. 20th Street.

Two people were injured, according to the police’s incident report. The police noted that they arrested two suspects and seized “a large quantity” of narcotics and firearms in one of the rental units. This is the most recent incident in a slew of deadly shootings this year at short-term rental units in the downtown area.

In early March, a 16-year-old was shot and killed in the Ely Walker Lofts. A few weeks later, two teenagers were killed at a birthday party at Cupples Station Loft Apartments. Both were thought to happen at short-term rentals.

During the police department’s weekly crime update on Wednesday morning, Lieutenant Angela Dickerson said she doesn’t believe there’s an “ongoing problem” with violence in downtown-area short-term rental units. Police spokeswoman Evita Caldwell said the violence stems from a few “bad actors” who are “doing things they aren’t supposed to do or doing things they are not disclosing to [short-term rental] owners.”

In March, LaShana Lewis, chair of the St. Louis Downtown Neighborhood Association, told KMOV that the area was looking into restrictions on downtown rentals. “Given recent events … people seem to be now making sure that we have some sort of wrap-around [for] requirements for having [short-term rentals], especially in downtown,” Lewis said.

This story has been updated to remove all references to Airbnb on July 21 at 11:57 a.m.

1.) https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.riverfronttimes.com/news/100-shots-fired-between-downtown-st-louis-rentals-38139252%3Fmedia%3DAMP%2BHTML

Police: 100 shots fired in Downtown West neighborhood, 2 injured

One resident said the shots sounded like a machine gun and lasted for as long as two or three minutes.

Author: Alex Fees (KSDK), Elyse Schoenig

Published: 8:07 AM CDT July 20, 2022

Updated: 5:40 PM CDT July 20, 2022

ST. LOUIS — Dozens of shots were fired in St. Louis’ Downtown West neighborhood early Wednesday morning. One resident said the shots sounded like a machine gun and lasted for as long as two or three minutes.

Police said the shootings happened at around 12:30 a.m. near 20th Street and Washington Avenue. Police said their mobile reserve units reported hearing “a hundred” gunshots. Officers believe there were groups at separate parties involved and people were feuding and shooting at each other. 

Police said a 20-year-old woman was found in the area of 20th Street and Washington Avenue. Police said she was a passenger in a car that was hit by gunfire near the scene of the shooting. She was taken to the hospital for treatment. The driver was not injured.

Officers found another victim with a gunshot wound to his foot. He was also taken to a hospital for treatment. Police said he was also one of the suspects in the shooting.

5 On Your Side spoke to several people in the area who say they’re at the point of wanting to move out. “This honestly has to stop,” area business owner Nicole Jenkins said. “I grew up in the City of St. Louis and I’ve never seen it like this.” Jenkins’s concerns were echoed by many of the other area business owners. “It’s disheartening because you want your customers to feel safe,” Ashanti Moorehead said. Jenkins said she wants more action, like increased police presence, and more surveillance. “I think there needs to be officers on feet for what needs to take place and occur here,” Jenkins said. At the end of the day, she said her passion is serving her clients. She said if her safety and theirs are at risk, it’s time to take her passion and move it somewhere else.

“I caution the investigation is very preliminary at this juncture,” said St. Louis Police Lt. Mathew Karnoski. “There were two groups of individuals shooting at each other. We are in the midst of recovering dozens and dozens of shell casings and so far, we have recovered three firearms and arrested two people.”

Police said witnesses said the parties were hosted at Airbnb rentals.

A spokesperson for Airbnb noted there were no active listings or reservations at either property.

Karknoski said two handguns were recovered at the scene.  “One has been outfitted with a device to make it a fully automatic weapon, and we’ve also recovered a 223 AR-style pistol,” he said.

Police also seized a “large quantity” of suspected narcotics from the scene.

Downtown resident Dale Carney lives at the intersection. “I was almost asleep and heard the gunfire,” said Carney. “I basically dove under the bed. I called 911 right away and got through in a second, luckily. I told the lady 20th and Washington, gunfire. Lots of gunfire. When I was talking to them, it was still going off, so I’m sure they probably heard it over my phone.”

9.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/shots-fired-shooting-airbnb-downtown-west-st-louis/63-116543b2-253b-488f-86d6-42599cf2f3cd

This is our police report:

There are literally 13 people aressted for our incident, ages ranging from 16 to 47!

Here’s some pictures where I marked where we were (mostly circles) in relation to where the most major shooting occured (the line on the sidewalk 4′ under our window and the x’s and *):

And I think the spaces between demographics and heading of “State of Missouri” in that police report means an officer (“special victim”) might have been involved.

From what I saw, it was probably cross fire, because the police were not close during the actual altercation. I think it would be plausible that one of the gunmen with his back to our loft, and shooting across our parking lot an another young person (also armed and shooting) may have clipped a police car or something like that.

The “x” are where police cars finally came to, after the shooting was mostly over. Maybe 1-3 shots happened after I saw police.

This is how Saint Louis news described our gun fight involving 13 people and possibly an officer:

It’s weird that a whole-ass, multi-person gun fight is being framed as cars being shot??! The one article (the ONLY one that talks specifically of the gun fight we witnessed) directly addressing 7-13 people shooting automatic weapons was reduced to ballistic damage on 15 cars. It is hardly accurate or reflective of what actually went on–and nobody cared to gather information or report what actually occurred.

I’ll post the Reddit chain about our gun fight in a different entry.

2.) https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/15-vehicles-damaged-overnight-during-rapid-gunfire-in-st-louis/

a “special victim” is defined as:

Downtown violence, 12-hour shifts, dwindling roster stressing St. Louis police

Some commanders have shared their feelings about the current state of affairs in memos obtained by 5 On Your Side.

Author: Christine Byers (KSDK)

Published: 5:56 PM CDT August 1, 2022

Updated: 6:26 PM CDT August 1, 2022

ST. LOUIS — Hundreds of shots fired, two innocent people caught in the crossfire, bullet holes in multiple cars and buildings downtown this past weekend.

All of it comes at a time when the city is forcing officers to work 12-hour overtime shifts, which have led to impassioned memos from commanders scrambling to fill cars as the police union estimates 102 officers have left the force so far this year.

Mayor Tishaura Jones stood with Maj. Renee Kriesmann during a weekly downtown safety briefing Monday, and cited a December 2020 study paid for by the Regional Business Commission when asked what her plan is to retain and recruit officers.

“(The study) showed St. Louis actually has enough officers, they just need to deploy them in the right way,” Jones said. “And so we have been looking at our deployment strategies, along with the Center for Policing Equity, to make sure that we can deploy our officers in a smarter way and also making sure that we’re deploying our alternative responses. “So we have Cops and Clinicians, we have a diversion program that takes a little bit of that burden off of officers responding to every call.” She also said St. Louis isn’t alone in its struggle to find officers, which she found out while attending an event sponsored by the National League of Cities. “There wasn’t one mayor at the table who also isn’t experiencing an officer shortage,” she said. “So it was not just St. Louis, it’s Tacoma, Washington, it’s Jackson, Mississippi, it’s Union, Georgia, it’s Savannah, Georgia, it’s Montgomery, Alabama. “These are all cities, including more that are experiencing an officer shortage in the midst of a nationwide labor shortage.” Maj. Renee Kriesmann outlined the weekend’s violence, and added: “It’s not a big secret that we are short some officers, however, what we’re trying to do is use the officers that we have to keep them visible.”

Internally, some commanders have shared their feelings about the current state of affairs in memos obtained by 5 On Your Side.

On July 13, Lieutenant Michael McAteer wrote to the Technological Solutions & Investigations staff, letting them know he would be calling on as many as 10 of them to return to the streets. The unit typically works at headquarters on technology-based policing at the Real Time Crime Center, monitoring cameras during incidents, ShotSpotter calls and other intelligence-based investigations. “I am afraid that I must ask your help in making some extremely difficult decisions as we move forward,” he wrote. “As a good supervisor, I am sure each of you has paid attention to the agency’s staffing crisis, and have anticipated the potential impact this might eventually have upon our division. What comes next cannot be of any great surprise at this point.”

He told his staff he met with Interim Chief Michael Sack during the first week in July.

“He was quite candid in sharing staffing issues: 124 officers removed from the manning table last year; down another 140 officers from there, minus another 75 on various forms of long-term leave/sick/limited duty. Altogether, it can be safely estimated approximately 340 fewer cops than the Department fielded just seven years ago. Sadly, I cannot say that we have reached bottom. As other agencies step up their recruitment efforts and fill their vacancies, it is only common sense that they would seek out seasoned officers from the St. Louis Police Department. Unfortunately, even with mandatory staffing requirements, the districts continue to struggle with properly staffing patrol vehicles. In essence, this staffing issue has now become an officer safety concern.” He assured his officers he argued to keep the staffing level in the Intelligence Unit as is, arguing the unit provides a high-tech approach to crime strategies, moving officers out of the unit will cost the department specialized training and experience and the unit’s stats speak for themselves. “While these arguments have prevailed in helping us avoid cuts in past situations, the scope of the department’s existing crisis most certainly overpowers everything,” he wrote.

Sack wrote to a memo to sergeants and officers Friday, in which he talked about crime summaries officers read every day. “What they don’t contain is equally important. That is, they don’t note the efforts each of you takes to serve. Incidents seem to pile up, one upon another. Call, followed by call, followed by report writing, maybe a booking and an email to the (Circuit Attorney’s Office) mailbox. Each day you come to work and go through your shift. Some shifts may seem like a repeat of the previous day. I know this is difficult for you. I know the 12-hour shifts are a strain – not only on you, but your families as well. We watch each week as our officer-peers leave for other agencies or retire. We encounter challenging situations and endure it all with professionalism and compassion. Our Department is not unlike others. Other agencies struggle to retain and attract officers. While we may not be able to control retention, we can control our response to the challenges we face each day. This is a difficult time for law enforcement. Please know that I appreciate your efforts and that what you do makes a difference in the lives of many in our community…I humbly ask you to continue to carry on as best you can, to work hard and do the right thing. The community is counting on each of us. Please keep focused on your service and perform your duties proudly and safely. Thank you for what you have done, and what you will continue to do as we serve in this challenging time.”

Barely more than 24 hours after that memo went out, officers at Central Patrol reported hearing about 100 gunshots just past 2 a.m. Saturday. Calls then came into 911 soon after reporting shots fired near the Architect Stunning Lofts in the 700 block of N. 21st Street. There, police found 15 cars damaged by gunfire and 50 shell casings.

A few hours later, two people were dropped off at a hospital with gunshot wounds, and police believe they were involved in the shooting.

At 3:14 a.m. Sunday, a 78-year-old woman and a 55-year-old man were struck by gunfire in the 1300 block of Convention. Both survived their injuries, but police found 100 shell casings at the scene along with nine apartment windows and five cars damaged by gunfire.

Police also reported between 200 to 300 juveniles congregated in and around a new event space called The Den in the 1300 block of Convention around that time.

When asked whether the 12-hour mandatory overtime shifts may continue in the fall months, she said department leaders evaluate that question every week. So do the officers.

3.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/local/st-louis-downtown-violence-police-department/63-927ca100-a7c5-40a9-b47a-6055745d9d8d

Cool’s Interview:

4.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/01/downtown-west-residents-asking-city-leaders-police-intervention-after-violent-weekend/

Teen shot, killed inside transit station on Monday in St. Louis

“It’s just so scary to think that this happened inside a bus and train station where so many people were,” said a woman whose brother tried to buy a ticket.

Author: Robert Townsend

Published: 5:30 AM CDT August 2, 2022

Updated: 5:30 AM CDT August 2, 2022

ST. LOUIS — “It’s scary to think that this would happen in a station like this where it’s really business,” said a concerned woman, who asked that her identity be released.

Witnesses told police in mid-afternoon Monday a mask and hoodie-wearing, young guy stormed through the front entrance at the St. Louis Gateway Transportation Center at south 15th and Poplar Streets near Enterprise Center. Within moments witnesses said the gunman shot a teenage boy in his head and killed him.

Police say the boy was sitting in the lobby.

“It was just so crazy. We saw the young man’s body just lying there on the floor. That could have been one of my family members. It’s just sickening,” the woman told 5 On Your Side’s Robert Townsend.

Multiple police officers rushed to the scene, put up crime scene tape and started talking to witnesses. The station was packed with dozens of travelers at the time. The woman, who spoke with 5 On Your Side, says her brother was trying to buy a train ticket just minutes before. She asked that her name not be revealed. “The witnesses said the young man who was murdered was sitting in a seat in the lobby. The guy came in the building, stood behind him and said ‘what’s up now,’ pulled a revolver out of his pants and shot him” said the woman.

Greyhound and Amtrak operate out of the station. Customers say ticket counters for both companies temporarily shut down after the deadly shooting.

It happened after a violent weekend in St. Louis.

Police say early Saturday morning two innocent people were caught in the crossfire when hundreds of gunshots were fired near north 21st Street.

Back at the St. Louis Gateway Transportation Center a frustrated Jhordy Sanchez couldn’t buy a bus ticket to Columbia. “I’m just going to go to the airport and catch a shuttle bus. This is such a big inconvenience It’s bad publicity for Greyhound and bad publicity for St. Louis,” said Sanchez.

Nobody else was hurt. Police quickly took a teenager into custody thanks to eagle-eyed witnesses. “These people were very helpful that when they saw that, they remembered and provided us with a lot of information,” said Major Ryan Cousins with the Metropolitan St. Louis Police Department. 

However, that’s little comfort for this weary woman. “I’m tired of the violence and I’m ready to get my family out of town and move,” she said.

Hours after the shooting, both Greyhound and Amtrak were once again selling tickets and running again.

5.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/teen-shot-killed-inside-greyhound-station-st-louis-missouri/63-f9ee95fa-dd35-49ae-a77c-8ad9d4fc2cb7

Downtown leaders to city: Spend more to make downtown St. Louis safe

ST. LOUIS — Downtown business leaders want City Hall to spend more money making the area safer. And they say if that doesn’t happen, the whole city could suffer.

Officials with Greater St. Louis Inc., the region’s business development organization, said Thursday they want city leaders to use part of an unprecedented haul of federal aid to put up more surveillance cameras, upgrade street lights and take steps to slow down traffic on roads like Fourth Street, Broadway and Tucker Boulevard.

The request follows more than a year of problems with high-profile shootings, drag racing and late-night mayhem that has at times fostered a sense of lawlessness in the heart of the region. Residents have complained they can’t sleep at night. Some business owners have worried the bad headlines will scare clientele away, and others have considered relocating themselves.

“A catalytic infrastructure investment from our city government is critical to restoring confidence,” said Jason Hall, Greater St. Louis Inc.’s CEO.

A spokesman for Mayor Tishaura O. Jones was noncommittal Thursday. “We will absolutely take a look at their recommendations,” said the spokesman, Nick Desideri. “Our administration remains committed to improving public safety in downtown St. Louis.”

The city has worked to dampen downtown troubles: It shut down a troublesome nightspot on Washington Avenue last summer, reassigned more police to the area in the fall, and banned electric scooters in June after reports of roving bands of unsupervised youths. Jones also convened a public safety task force with city officials and business executives to monitor progress downtown and respond to problems.

But on Thursday, some of those same executives were asking for more.

Hall spent the first part of a press conference Thursday talking up downtown’s strengths as a hub for high-income employment and tourism, with a growing residential population and plenty of redevelopment potential. He also noted reasons for optimism: The new MLS stadium. The plan to revive the vacant Butler Brothers building. A tech startup’s announcement Wednesday it’s opening an office on troubled Washington Avenue for more than 200 employees.

But Hall also conceded the pandemic took a hefty toll. The number of jobs downtown has dwindled. Office vacancy rates are up. Sidewalks are crumbling, graffiti is covering buildings and high-voltage wiring is hanging out of light poles, Hall said. “We cannot compete as a global city if we allow this to be our front door,” he said.

8.) https://www.stltoday.com/business/local/downtown-leaders-to-city-spend-more-to-make-downtown-st-louis-safe/article_459821d7-5e58-510d-b9e7-9ec3a4bf398c.html

Police investigate after man was shot near Downtown St. Louis

By Kelsee Ward

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:12 AM CDT

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – Police are investigating after a man was shot near Downtown St. Louis early Monday morning.

The shooting happened near Washington Avenue and North 18th Street at around 3:14 a.m. Police said the man was shot in the chest when they arrived on the scene.

The investigation is ongoing.

Copyright 2022 KMOV. All rights reserved.

11.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/15/police-investigate-after-man-was-shot-near-downtown-st-louis/

St. Louis City police, public safety leaders address recent uptick in homicides

By Gabriela Vidal

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 8:46 PM CDT

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – As summer winds down, the City of St. Louis Is facing a growing crime trend in homicides. “Unfortunately, we were slightly ahead of where we were last year,” said Public Safety Director Dr. Dan Isom. The City of St. Louis currently has 129 homicides. At this same time last year, the city recorded 121 homicides. The last four happened on Sunday night in a span of five hours. “Any homicide, any loss of life is distressing, but when it happens in such a short period of time, [it] is certainly cause for concern,” said Isom. “Also, in addition to the fact that we don’t find any connection between the four.” Isom said St. Louis police believe the homicide that happened off Grand and Broadway was the result of an altercation between several people, and police have some potential leads on who the suspects could be.

During Monday’s downtown public safety briefing, Isom addressed questions as to why St. Louis is experiencing an uptick in violent crime, he attributed it to several factors. “One, we’ve had a serious explosion in these stolen KIAs and Hyundai’s, which I think offer availability for mobile crimes, and they are being used in certain violent crimes,” said Isom. “This is one issue that has changed and accelerated in the last month or so.” Two, he says it could also be the rise in dangerous weapons on the street. “Meaning guns that can be transitioned to fully automatic. Of course, a gun that is fully automatic is going to be way more lethal than one that’s not,” said Isom. “I think our primary focus right now is enforcement in trying to slow down the violence that’s happening in this community through physical presence, through intelligence, through trying to close these cases as quickly as possible to hold people accountable.”

As of August 20, only 54 percent of homicides have been solved in the City of St. Louis.

“It has been reported that our numbers are down somewhat significantly from last year as well in terms of officers,” said Isom. “However, we have been doing the 12 hour shifts to compensate for that.”

News 4 checked in with the St. Louis Police Officers Association on what they think has contributed to the rise in recent violent crime. President Jay Schroder believes the ongoing shortage of police officers is among the issues that has taken a toll on the community. Right now, he says the department is about 300 positions short. “We’re drastically underpaid compared to departments all around. We used to be one of the better paying departments and now we’re $20,000 dollars behind our people in St. Louis County, so we’re not competitive. We’re not keeping up with the rest of the folks around us,” said Schroder. “It’s going to be a team effort for everyone. it’s going to have to be the police department and the city, they’re going to have to get behind their policemen, to pay their policemen. And they’re going to have to show the guys that ride the streets every day that people actually care.”

Earlier this June, SLMPD institute 12-hour mandatory shifts on the weekends for police across the city to address some of the growing crime trends over the summer, but that policy is expected to end at the end of the month. However, Isom says the city’s focus will still be having police presence in high crime areas. “We will continue to look at personnel and our manpower and try to adjust it to the areas we think will have the most impact,” said Isom. “We have worked officers very hard for the last couple of months working 12-hour shifts, and it certainly has helped, but we have to recognize that we have to give officers a break as well.”

“I’m really hoping that in St. Louis we’re able to say from this point on, we will begin to scale up what works, because we can get out in front of this,” said James Clark, Vice President of Public Safety for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. Clark tells News 4 that for years he has been saying the solution is prioritizing education and outreach in communities and homes where the crime is taking place. “It starts with the neighborhoods, and it starts with resources in the neighborhood,” said Clark.

Yet, amid violence this past weekend, there was a new symbol of hope on display in the city. A peace sign is now up on display on the wall off 4230 Manchester Avenue in the Grove. Kyle Holbrook, a Miami-based muralist who created the artwork, tells News 4 this is part of an anti-gun violence initiative he started over a year ago. “It’s bringing awareness to the issue, an epidemic that we are in as a city and as a country of gun violence, but it’s not anti-gun,” said Holbrook. St. Louis marks the 42nd city he’s been to in the country to create one of these murals, and he hopes to reach all 50 states by sometime next year. It is especially important to him after losing 46 friends to gun violence over the course of his life. “And the intent is families will know and friends of lost loved ones will know that this is done with their lost loved one in mind,” said Holbrook.

Copyright 2022 KMOV. All rights reserved.

10.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/23/st-louis-city-police-public-safety-leaders-address-recent-uptick-homicides/

Article Weblinks:

1.) https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.riverfronttimes.com/news/100-shots-fired-between-downtown-st-louis-rentals-38139252%3Fmedia%3DAMP%2BHTML

2.) https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/15-vehicles-damaged-overnight-during-rapid-gunfire-in-st-louis/

3.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/local/st-louis-downtown-violence-police-department/63-927ca100-a7c5-40a9-b47a-6055745d9d8d

4.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/01/downtown-west-residents-asking-city-leaders-police-intervention-after-violent-weekend/

5.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/teen-shot-killed-inside-greyhound-station-st-louis-missouri/63-f9ee95fa-dd35-49ae-a77c-8ad9d4fc2cb7

6.) https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-louis-hopes-solution-to-summer-crime-is-combo-of-enforcement-youth-programs/article_b50b0c28-9379-582a-afff-77077a3d8763.html

7.) https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/downtown-ambassadors-in-st-louis-act-as-eyes-and-ears-to-spot-trouble-offer-help/article_bdd90261-0d06-52d4-a51f-96ae414cf2bd.html

8.) https://www.stltoday.com/business/local/downtown-leaders-to-city-spend-more-to-make-downtown-st-louis-safe/article_459821d7-5e58-510d-b9e7-9ec3a4bf398c.html

9.) 9.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/shots-fired-shooting-airbnb-downtown-west-st-louis/63-116543b2-253b-488f-86d6-42599cf2f3cd

10.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/23/st-louis-city-police-public-safety-leaders-address-recent-uptick-homicides/

11.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/15/police-investigate-after-man-was-shot-near-downtown-st-louis/

Gun Fight Timeline of Landlord Action

4 Oct

Sat, July 30, around 2 AM (time of gun fight):

I sent this right after I spoke with 911, the shooting was still happening as I wrote and sent this text:

(13 hours and 39 min after gun fight) I didn’t hear back at all so at 3:39 PM I sent some questions to the landlord.

No response.

Sat, July 30, 11:56 AM (10 hours after gun fight):

I didn’t hear anything back by text. I thought I should get it in more formal writing so I sent the landlord an email detailing the event and asking for an update as well as action:

He never responded to me, personally. So we have no idea what happened, what caused a shooting, if anyone of the shooters lived, or rented an Airbnb at our loft, if the shooters were still around…. We don’t know how good the camera footage was, if it was turned over to police, or even if anyone cared enough to do an investigation.

Wed, Aug 3, 2022 (4 days after the gun fight):

We could see a lot of papers on a door down our hallway. But we weren’t brave enough to go read what they said. As you can see, that door is between 2 other apartments. And it’s past the stairwell, where you don’t need to ever go, as it dead-ends. So if we crept over there someone might see us being nosy and there wouldn’t really be a plausible explanation for being over there.

But the orange color made me think it’s possibly an eviction notice.

Silence from the landlord for 6 days following the gun fight right outside our windows.

Friday, Aug 5, 2022 (6 days after the gun fight):

This is the first we’ve heard from the landlord after a major incident

Same day:

Mon, Aug 8, 2022 (9 days after gun fight):

The voice sounded so angry and possibly violent that she left the full trash bag out in the hallway and went back inside our locked loft!

Thurs, Aug 11, 2022 (12 days after the gun fight):

The landing was full of trash and furniture. It looked like someone cleaned out their apartment. Did one of the shooters live right on our floor? The apartment that had the orange sign on the door was open and maintenance was in there cleaning.

Literal Gun Fight at our Loft

31 Jul

Went to bed early to fully enjoy the weekend. It seems like we’re always tired and fatigued so we don’t do much. But…

Awoke to a bang. Goose is 16 years old and doesn’t see well anymore, especially in the dark so I thought he stumbled on his rubbermaid ladder getting on the bed, as he sometimes does. Heard another crash and glass. I thought- Goddammit what did the cats knock over?! thinking the commotion was inside the loft. Then there was loud persistent bangs (bang bang bang bang bang bang bang, I think 7 initially?) and my first thought was, what the fuck?! Someone is banging on our window. Again?!

This had happened to us in Utah. Someone repeatedly came to the space behind our apartment and banged on our bedroom window with their fist, scaring the wits out of us. Was it a meth-head, just a passerby? But it wasn’t a one-time thing either. The person came back and knocked on the back window a second time. Did they plan to rob us? To rape us? Kill? We didn’t know, but it felt targeted because none of the other neighbors had the problem. When the person returned, we thought that was really unhinged and I was too terrified to open the curtains and look who it was. So I knocked back from the inside, thinking it might be a cat or something, or if the person knew we were home it would scare them away. This brazen person knocked right back with more force, so we knew they had no fear or qualms that we were inside. Anyway, that was a big part of the reason we didn’t renew that lease even though the location was really ideal.

Back to yesterday. So I thought some mofo had gotten some implement and was striking our window. We’re on the 2nd floor, with only storage units beneath us, so the sidewalk between the parking lot and our unit isn’t all that far above (it might as will be 1st floor on the North side). I thought they were using a broom or rake or something. The B in the pic is where our bed is and the line is where the loud noise was coming from-probably 3-5 feet under our window is the front sidewalk.

Cool was up first and peeking out the blinds. She said, “Hit the deck!” Which seems like a funny thing to say now. But I was disoriented and wanted to get my bearings, so I peeked out the blinds too. What I saw was two approximately 20 year old black men shooting back and fourth across the parking lot with automatic guns. There have been all kinds of car break-ins, stolen catalytic converters, and an armed gang of teens stealing Kias in Saint Louis, and I think across the country. So I thought- Oh great they got into the security gate and are going to break-in, and possibly steal our cars. What a headache!

The circle is our North window, and the 2 Xs are where the shooters in the parking lot were:

But they seemed to have no interest in the cars, only shooting each other. So I knew it wasn’t the car thieves after all.

I got on the floor and called 911. It was the first time I had ever called.

Because in 2005, when our crazy landlord literally broke the front door down to show the house to potential renters, it was my roommate at the time, Eileen, who called. I just hid in the closet and cried with her (I was 22 and terrified).

Back to Saturday: And I was on hold. I would have been surprised and appalled, but I had seen true crime where 911 had put them on hold for like 20 min in some short-staffed, high crime area. And at that time I didn’t even know that was a thing! I thought the whole point of 911 was immediacy for emergencies. But I worked though my shock and disgust when I watched whatever show, so when it happened to me I thought- That checks out. While I was on hold the recording kept loudly saying wait on the line or something like that every few seconds. Heaven help you if you’re trying to quietly hide from an attacker or something.

While I was waiting, the shooting outside had been continuing the entire time, but now I also heard commotion in our 2nd floor hallway. I think I heard exclusively female voices (I can’t be sure there were no men, but I don’t remember any) all loudly and excitedly chattering. I didn’t know if neighbors woke up or if people had run inside to hide, or if the shooters had gained entry. I was afraid to get close to the hallway door because my 911 message was loud, and also I didn’t know if any of the gunmen were inside the building. I half expected banging or shooting at our apartment door at any moment and didn’t know what I would do in that scenario.

I was still holding for 911 and went more to the interior of the loft, but Cool was still in the studio area and had called 911 (after me) and was already talking to someone. I didn’t want my loud recorded message to make her call unclear. She was describing the scene to 911 and saying there were many people outside in masks and head-coverings, all with automatic guns with silencers and some long extended attachment. I hadn’t realized there were many people out there.

After what felt like 10 min, I walked to the living area and someone answered my call saying it was 911 this is (something that started with a C, I don’t remember now). I thought it was weird they didn’t ask for my address like they always do on television shows, but proactively provided it first thing. I was also surprised that I remembered the address correctly and without thinking while under stress, bc we move so much. We have only lived in Saint Louis for 4 months.

I said there was shooting and the operator wanted to know how many shots had been fired. I hadn’t been counting but it would be like 7 rapid-fire shots at a time, then like 2 one-offs, but continuously since we woke up, so I really didn’t know. I said, probably 80, I’ve been on hold and they’ve been shooting this whole time. He must have asked how many shots 3 times! While he was on speaker phone, another burst of shots rang out right next to the wall where I was standing (pic below: the star is 7-12 shots and the K is where I was. The C is where Cool was) and he said- We’ll send someone right over. Before he hung up on me I said, Please hurry, our apartments are completely lined with windows!

It felt like a lot of waiting on hold for 911, but I guess time was weird because of the stress of continuous shooting and the fear.

Right after the call to 911, I texted the landlord saying there were 7(?) shooters with automatic guns who had been shooting for the last 20 minutes, and informed him 911 had been called. No response.

We keep the blinds in the living room partially open all the time. Because the cats want to look out the windows even when we’re sleeping and they’ll ruin the rental blinds if they’re not raised taller than a cat. As such, I had a clear view of the area in front of the loft’s main entrance, and could see a portion of the stairway.

The marks are where I was looking out and where the people were kinda standing and planning their next move. The X closest to the door was a masked boy, probably 16, carrying a long, automatic gun. The next X was a maybe 20-22 year old girl, no mask, no gun, just standing as if no shooting was occuring. The the biggest X was a husky guy in a mask also carrying a big automatic gun that I estimated to be no more than 23 years old.

They all looked relaxed, and non-chalant. None had angry expressions. They didn’t look like hardened professionals, or gang members. They were sort of standing around. I considered taking a picture or video since I had such a clear view and it was dark in my loft so I don’t think they were really looking up at me. My camera takes shitty pictures in low light if the case is on my phone, so I didn’t want to stand there removing my phone case, and knew the quality would be bad if I didn’t. My impression was that these were dumb kids who didn’t understand the consequences of their actions. Nobody looked like they were out to be a murderer. Nobody looked scared in the least bit. I didn’t think they looked like hardened criminals, just 16-23 year olds without developed brains, but with automatic weapons.

As the shooting continued, and we waited for the police to show up, I looked out the North window, sat on the treadmill, looked out the West window, back to the North window… I finally saw two police SUVs on the street outside the property. But they left. I was afraid because it went quiet that the police would say it was over and just leave without intervening. I went back to the West windows and when I did I counted (in case I needed to be a witness) 7 people go from the entrance, up the stairs. I quickly went to the North side windows to get a look at the group.

At the North side an unmarked truck pulled up and parked in the middle of the aisle. A regular, ununiformed guy got out and I didn’t know who it was, but they didn’t seem like police. He was heading toward the stairs to the loft entrance. Right toward the big group that had been shooting for the last 15-20 minutes. I was concerned that he was alone, and expected some sort of altercation.

There was no fuss. I don’t know who he was or if he engaged with the group. They just continued on their way. I was struck how casually they were all walking. Just slow, regular pace, in a group. I thought they must be trying to play it off like they were just innocent passersby. But at least 2 of the guys still had masks and face-coverings on. All 5 gals looked to be in club attire. No masks, booty shorts, mini skirts, heels, and flip flops. Cool said one of the gals was carrying a to-go box from a restaurant. They gals had been outside most of the time of the shooting looking just casual, as if a gunfight wasn’t happening. Anyway, at no time did any of the shooters or gals looked stressed, angry, perturbed. It was creepy how calm and casual everyone was.

I noticed two sets of police lights, but they were pretty far from the action. In the pic: The X on that corner of the intersection, but further North, halfway up the next block. Later, I saw a car driving along the street behind our parking lot, and they had to change lanes. So I knew there must be a police car right at my X with its lights off. The group of gunmen were at my circle in the pic, heading toward the carrot demarking the pedestrian gate. A few minutes later a police car sped down the street with another following soon after (the small Xs).

But because of the landscaping (it’s much more established and thicker than in this pic) I couldn’t see what happened. I didn’t know if the shooters casually walked away or if they were arrested. There was no altercation inside the gates.

Police strolled slowly and pretty calmly on foot, and sort of stood in front of the building. Soon a group of police were walking through the parking lot, standing, people were going outside, there were gals in skirts standing around, 2 random people left on the sidewalk as if a half hour gun battle had not just taken place. I saw 2 puppies off leash! Everyone kinda standing around chatting like this just happens every day, yawn. It was fucking bizarre.

Everything sort of settled down and we went back to bed. Sleeping nervously with much paranoia. Would they come back? Later in the morning I looked everywhere I could think online to find out what happened. No news story. No neighbors talking about it on the Nextdoor app. I looked up our complex name on there. And 47 weeks ago someone said they lived here and it was terrible, especially at the pool, because there were a whole bunch of units being used for AirBnB.

I looked up our address, and sure enough there were literally 10 listings for units within our building, 3 of them superhosts with 47-ish reviews each. So it’s a major thing. And I don’t know if people are breaking our lease, which does not allow subletting, or if they’re paying the landlord extra or something for the privilege. I can’t imaging a building owner would want to take on the liability, or mess with that potential legal entanglement–but some people only care about money.

No word on Twitter or Reddit either. I couldn’t find anything on the police blotter. It’s as if a half hour shoot out with automatic guns and at least 12 people weren’t armed and around our loft! One stray bullet could have easily broken our windows and killed us. Even sleeping in bed we are right next to the window and could have been shot. Nobody cared? It was the biggest, most dangerous thing we ever lived through in any place we ever lived, and it was just quiet and over.

I strained to overhear conversations of the other residents as they entered the complex (remember our windows right by the door). Some lady said she called 911 because she has a 6 month old, and was irate about being on hold. She said there were people driving and randomly shooting. Which I knew firsthand was false, because I had front row view to the entire thing. It was planned because they were wearing masks and head coverings. They weren’t random because they were contemplating how to get in the key-fobbed entrance of the building. So I don’t know if she jumped to conclusions or heard some mom-story that minimized their culpability. But I knew that was not what happened. I also didn’t know if the shooters lived here, if someone was followed home from the club and victimized, or if it was a crazy AirBnB altercation. Another lady walking by mentioned she was a nurse (phew, file that away for the future–reassuring) and said this place is ghetto now and hadn’t been last year.

The landlord who will text us about towing aberrant cars at the drop of a hat, and who griped at everyone via text about chicken fingers in the pool–didn’t say shit! Can you believe the landlord did not reprimand or reassure, or inform us what happened? He didn’t give a fuck. It was fucking weird and delinquent.

I thought there was a small chance the police had asked the owner not to say anything because of an investigation or something. So I emailed him a description of what happened in case legal action is necessary so there’s a record. I wanted to know if anyone was arrested, if the cameras were checked, and if we needed to make statements as probably the best witnesses to the whole scene. I also wanted to know if this was an AirBnB situation, and if he was in on it or clueless. Mostly, I just wanted to hear from the dude. In part, I said:

We couldn’t see if any arrests were made for the 7-12 people involved. As such, we don’t know if there will be a continuing problem. Did the cameras show if the gunfight was someone who lives here or one of the many units listed on Airbnb for this complex? We don’t know how afraid to be.  Can you tell me what safety & prevention measures are being implemented?

Nothing. No response. A fucking shooting popped off and no word from the asshole. So we’re trying not to panic. It might be a one-time thing. But we’re also not locked on Saint Louis or Missouri. With the major flooding and major violence right on our doorstep in one week, it seems like a good time to open our minds at least to moving. Even though I still have major moving-PTSD and DO NOT WANT TO MOVE ALL OF OUR BELONGINGS ANY TIME SOON. Also, money. It’s expensive to move, and I don’t know where we can afford to go, or if it will be any better. So we’re on standby. How many traumas do we have to endure in 2022?!

To stick to a habit do ‘in a row’ [Lesson confirmed in 2021]

13 Jan

Like running, flossing became easier once I decided to try to do it as many times in a row as possible without breaking the chain. 

There is just something about accumulating a bunch of successes in a row that makes you not want to give up.  I made it to 447(?) (there is a pic of this on the goal entry) before I legitimately forgot to do it and broke the chain accidently. 

I had alarm set to go off daily.  But if it went off at an inconvenient time I could snooze it.  At bed time I checked all my alarms and made sure to do them and dismissed everything.  In the morning, I pulled down the alarms, and tucked up out of view was “floss.”  Damn.  I just plain forgot, then didn’t see it…

And once there is a break in the chain it’s harder to get back in the habit, because it’s a fail. So without the chain holding my goal together, I skipped other occasional days after that. But not too many, because it’s SUPER-scary not going to the dentist for literal years.

But also I don’t want Covid about it. And it just seems very high risk to sit in an unventilated room with my mouth wide open for a long period of time, splashing water, and a strangers (or 2) hands in my mouth. Especially not knowing the hygienist, dentist, receptionist, other patient true vaccine statuses.

So I’m back on the flossing wagon.

Don’t Jump Ship

14 Nov

Kaylor was real. And I think they’re still together.

I have no insider information. I’m not in PR, and I’m not super-engaged in any fandom. I only hear current info after the fact, and I’m not up on the latest liked tweets, gossip columns, or sightings.

But I am a gay gal who just celebrated her 11 year anniversary with her soulmate (yesterday, 11/13 actually). And I also listen and analyze song lyrics. And between those two sources of knowledge, I think Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss are still together.

Karlie preceded Taylor’s secret album drop with a cardigan, and the exact album imagery–13 days (Taylor’s favorite number?!) prior. Let’s unpack that:

1) How would Karlie even know? No one knew. Even the magazines and people that usually get albums early, in order to write their reviews, were surprised with the album drop like everyone else. Would an ex know?

2) Covid is on the scene. It’s harder, or disallowed, to gather. Getting inside information when you’re not an insider is even more difficult than usual. And Taylor said she wrote folklore in quarantine. So even if she started a bit earlier, how did Karlie know specific details if they weren’t together?

3) Have you heard Taylor’s catalogue? She has never been exactly friendly with past exes. These boys that upset her, even when it was a mutual show-mance, got some bitter lyrics sent their way. Taylor has been known to hold a grudge, and to put shit-heads right in thier place. Even Diana Agron. Everything I know about Diana is through the lens of Taylor’s music, and it’s not exactly positive. So why would Taylor just sit back and let Karlie walk all over her? We’re majorly underestimating Taylor’s self-worth and grit. She is not a doormat! Taylor has the people in her life that she wants to be there.

4) If Karlie spoiled a secret album drop bc of ill-intent, baiting, or hate–don’t you think Taylor’s team would take legal action? Taylor is the queen of NDAs, and has all the money–she’s not afraid to sue. Her team has litigated the smallest copyright infractions. Do you really think Taylor would let an ex spoil the surprise with no consequence?

Everyone is turning Kaylor off primarily because of a People article. We know People is not a reliable source. How many times have they reported that Ellen Degeneres and Portia deRossi are broken up? How many times has Jennifer Aniston been pregnant in that magazine? And we know they’ve reported Taylor Swift’s various engagement and pregnancies–that never came to fruition.

Even if the teams feed them the articles–what evidence is there that Karlie is actually pregnant? She might be, IDK, but let’s not jump to conclusions based on one or two sketchily sourced headlines. Couldn’t it be that the Ku$hners currently have bad publicity, and the team is trying to add a sympathy card? Divert attention? People are less likely to be haters when a baby is involved. Babies would change the narrative, and provide good, sympathetic distraction from an election loss and criminal accusations. I really have no idea about these things. What I do know, is people shouldn’t just jump to conclusions over one magazine announcement. Wait until more facts are garnered. My guess? There’s no baby. But we’ll see what comes to light.

OK, we talked about how the source is incomplete at best, fabricated at worst. Now, let’s discuss the logistics of a pregnancy. I hope you know, gay people don’t just fuck the opposite sex. That’s not a thing, and it’s disgusting for people to admit the Ku$hner has a long-term husband, and that Karlie is bi (more likely lesbian) but still assert they had sex with each other. I’m a gay, and would NEVER mess around with a penis–it’s like the #1 rule of lesbianism. Desire for children or no. And to think a gay man would have intercouse with a woman–Just. No. And why would he do that–it would make his husband, Mike crazy and hurt their relationship (the real relationship).

Yes, I know there are alternate ways to make a baby. But let’s talk careers also. Don’t you think the Ku$hners have been a little busy with the election and all? And Karlie is constantly working, and in the public eye. Are they going to so abruptly change their M.O. and career trajectories to start a family? I mean, it’s possible, but let’s use some critical thinking skills also. I thought they were in a lavender marriage precisely to further their respective careers?

Aside, from not buying into incomplete, sketchy-sourced evidence, and logistic implausibility of a pregnancy, I have personal experience with relationships. Mine is solid. I’m happy, and so is my mate. But I broke up with my mate before and kicked her out of our apartment after 6.5 years together.

Some mean girls we worked with were jealous of my schedule and took it upon themselves to punish me by sabotaging my and my mate’s relationship. And my trusting, somewhat naive mate, fell right under their manipulations. My mate mean-girrled me after 6.5 years together! And we broke up. I was upset–still am. The situation sucked very bad. But you don’t choose your soulmate, Invisible String is absolutely correct. So despite misgivings, I let my mate back into my life. I wouldn’t do that for anybody else. I’m happy to cut off toxic relationships, usually–I’m no doormat. But your soulmate is special. She is my heart, and even though what she did is unforgivable really, I am more happy with her in my life then without. I am not whole without her. So we’re together and she’s sorry that ever happened, and changed her behavior. People grow, and I chose to let us grow together.

Sometimes long term relationships have blips. And having experienced it firsthand, I think many times they can be overcome. And I think Taylor feels the same. I think she considers Karlie her soulmate. And after all the yearning, dreaming, and wanting a fairytale ending–I don’t think Taylor is going to let that slip away easily. She wrote The Lakes to follow Hoax, to show the listener that yeah, all the content of Hoax sucks, and is depressing and toxic–but there’s still that rose that grew out of frozen ground (mentioned in Hoax), and Taylor still wants to take her muse with her. And if you think that muse is some boy–you have ZERO gay-dar!

I think Taylor feels topsy-turnvy more because of internal homophobia than anything shitty Karlie is doing (which let’s not forget Taylor does this hurtful bearding stuff also). Internal homophobia is what drives being closeted, and it leads to depression. Living a secret, closeted life is both high-maintenance and mentally/emotionally taxing. I was closeted (still am in some circles), and it feels BAD. Of course Taylor is sad. Bearding is stressful and phony and horrible to put an S.O. through.

When my mate and I visit my rural hometown, I never touch her, and want us to appear to outsiders (who are bigots) as just friends. And when I say “friend” or “roommate when those small-town people press, I feel ugly and disgusting inside. I feel ashamed with myself for not being stronger. Even so, the fear outweighs all those feelings. Now amplify that by a million for Taylor and Karlie. And they’re both participating in that game of secrecy. it’s a lot of stress.

What I’m saying is–don’t be a weak Kaylor and give up so soon. Taylor and Karlie may have broken up, but the evidence we have is not very great. At least wait for more substantial proof.

Politicization of Pandemic

23 Mar

I want to catalog everything that’s going on, because it’s not every day you live through a global pandemic.  But the news is coming so fast and it’s just an overwhelming amount, and so much of it is questionable (maybe or maybe not based in fact) so it’s too difficult to say everything.

hope fear

I can tell you I’m scared our work will make us go to the physical location too soon.  And they can do that even with a shelter in place order (which AZ doesn’t have & probably won’t get) because we are in the healthcare industry.  Which along with military, media, etc is exempt from shelter in place.

I’m worried because we work in one big room with 200+ people in it.  Low cubicle walls, no real barriers.  The air is recycled.  We share 2 bathrooms with even more people–the customer service reps inhabit the entire other side of the building and use the same bathrooms.  And I can always hear people coughing and sneezing, all the times.  So I’m worried.

I intuitively knew that even though everyone was touting wash your hands, wash your hands, that it isn’t enough.  Because even for regular colds and flues, if someone coughs or sneezes or breathes on you it’s in the air and you breath the germs.  And sure enough, research is coming out that the virus lives in air for 3 hours!  Not to mention on surfaces for hours and days depending on the type.

So I want to continue to work from home.  And I’m angry at anything that threatens that:

 

America’s capitalism– big business, stocks, and making money always gets prioritized above all else in this country.

Trump–  he has ulterior motives to make the economy look good so he’s trying to downplay the severity of this virus, limit testing so the stats don’t look as bad, lying about mitigating solutions because he wants to sweep this under the rug quickly but prior to this pandemic got rid of all the experts who could do that.

Republicans– because it’s always money with them.  They want to bail out big corporations, and signal to people this isn’t a big deal, just go on with business as usual (aka get back to work to make $$$).

Doug Ducey– who is a Trump lackey so is also trying to downplay the virus to help business.  He wouldn’t order a statewide closure of non-essential businesses like bars and restaurants.  He doesn’t wanna hurt the economy even though it’s inevitable, AZ’s population is old and there are a lot of multi-generational families here, and lives should come before money.

stupid/sheep/republican/ignorant/callous/etc people– the ones who are not changing their behavior at all and are probably directly spreading it by going out sick, or indirectly by going about their regular routines as asymptomatic carriers.  These are the people that are going to spread the virus to everyone, and I hate their inability to use reason and logic and not be in denial and/or selfish.

My work– because wash your hands just won’t cut it, and I suspect they know that but will prioritize productivity over our health.

opposing parties

So far we have 1-2 more weeks of work from home, but I’m dreading that they’ll call us back to the building despite the science…

Why Does Taylor Swift Act That Way?

23 Sep

After doing a lot of Taylor Swift research in general, and Kaylor factoids, I was thing about Taylor’s possible feelings and motivations.  The underlined are topics that came to mind, and I want you to read it bearing in mind things that go on in the Swift-verse (I tried to made up a word for Taylor Swift’s world, and I’m not sure it worked out).  The following is laying the groundwork for what’s happening with Kaylor and why.

 

Being in the closet:

fear of getting caught

fear of other’s people’s reactions

fear of losing important people in your life

fear of career setbacks

fear of being bashed

fear of who you become when you give up being (thought of as) straight

sadness at not fulfilling (heteronormative) expectations

sadness at not having an easy love/life

sadness at missing out

sadness about being the odd man out with friends and society at large

not being sexual at all-as a way to avoid it

being “too busy” for dating/love-so that people stop asking

being ultra-private-to signal others not to ask about it

feeling defensive

feelings of persecution

feelings of being alone, the only one

feelings of not being supported

forcing straight relationships (then feeling detached from them)

dating the opposite sex, but it’s weird/not what you had thought

internal homophobia

using homophobic language–so others won’t suspect

acting more straight

having very close same sex friendships

having confusing feelings regarding friends

being confused about boundaries

talking about the opposite sex to throw others off

staying away from ‘out’ queer people (guilty by association)

planning ahead-to avoid awkward topics, situations, or damning evidence

anger at having to hide

anger that life is harder for LGBT members

anger at a small dating pool

anger at homophobes

anger at people that “tolerate” gays

being hyper-aware of pronouns and manipulating them

language with a double-meaning

using wardrobe, jewelry, color to signal other gays, but stay hidden from everyone else

swearing others to secret

threatening same sex partners not to let on

not acting couply in public

saying your lover is just a friend

coming out to certain, trusted people, but not large groups, or known homophobes

 

Not knowing Taylor Swift personally, but being alive in the world, I think she may experience some of these feelings.  Lyrics, interviews, dates, and persona could maybe relate to a lot or most of these.  You can’t rush a person’s timeline.  Taylor has to come out when she’s ready (or if she is ever ready at all). 

A lot of these are truly founded worries the LGBT individuals have about making known their ‘difference.’  The list above comes about with politics, language, expectations, seeing openly gay people struggle.  This stuff doesn’t just come out of nowhere.  For example, Ellen Degeneres is an ‘it’ gal today sure.  But she lost everything when she came out–and for a long time afterwards. 

Instead of taking that trajectory as  ‘it’ll work out, come out– see how good Ellen is doing?  I think it should be a cautionary tale.  It was scary and even today I would characterize Ellen as a reluctant gay icon.  She came out for personal reasons, so she could live authentically.  I And when that happened she lost everyone.  Except a small group of LGBTQQA.  She didn’t wanna play to only gay crowds.  Didn’t ask to represent a whole population.  She was thrust in that role because of how big a deal her coming out was at the time.  But that other stuff wasn’t a choice she made–she played to exclusively gay crowds because suddenly, no one else would see her.  She was boycotted.  Ellen was cancelled.  People see her current success and forget all of that.  She didn’t even really mention her gayness at all in the beginning of her talk show.  She had to sort of play it straight again to get the status she has attained.  She finagled her way back into the mainstream. 

There are many more examples of people cut down after coming out.  So if Taylor is planning to come out (which I greedily hope she does, b/c it would make me personally very happy) I think she’s right to be cautious and do it carefully.  I would not want to see people throw her away, especially in the world of music where women are treated as a dime a dozen, totally replaceable by the next pretty blonde.

 

Gay-Dar

Because of all the closeted tactics, gays automatically learn to identify “family” and there is a knowing wink and nod, exchanged.  I think to some extent most gay people (and some straight) have honed their gay-dar.  It’s a practiced skill based on signals, non-verbal cues, and some stereotypes.  My feeling is that gays from conservative or churchy backgrounds are especially good at it, because the rural gays have to be more secret and underground.  

Does Taylor Swift’s Easter eggs relate to this?  I think so!

On the pod-cast I was listening to, they asked if Ellen Degeneres know Taylor Swift.  My feeling:  absolutely.  You can sense the two have a rapport.  Think of the episode when Ellen asked Taylor who she’s dating in kind of a knowing and cheeky tone.  And Taylor said, “My publicist told me not to answer that.”  I think Ellen knew what was up.  And whether or not Ellen has been told explicitly, I think she’s clever (and experienced enough) to know the signs when she sees them.

 

bearding

I’m not going to get into this as much, because it’s not really in my personal experience, but bearding is a good way to remain in the closet.  Because if you’re dating the opposite sex you obviously can’t be gay-says the public at large.  

This one speaks for itself.  And is the subject of so many theories in Kaylor.

 

Heteronormative/heterosexist

This is the societal attitude that everyone is straight until proven gay.  And when I say proven, I mean you won’t accept subtle signs, or obvious scenarios–it has to come from that person’s mouth.  The only other way is actually seeing sex.  This mentality is pervasive.  It’s just assumed all little girls dream of their big wedding day with whatever groom chooses them.  Guys are assigned the role of going out and chasing women for sex.  From infants when everyone is so curious about gender, roles are assigned to the sexes, and LGBT has no part in that.  It’s placed on everyone, and if that’s not who you are, it’s your responsibility to ‘come out of the closet’ as not straight.

I feel like 95% of Taylor Swift’s fans believe she’s straight.  They see long hair.  A feminine-looking gal, narratives of dating men.  Even when evidence to the contrary is presented, most fans refuse to believe she might be romantic toward women (too).  And they get angry at Kaylors for “pushing a narrative” when all Kaylors are doing is reading clues that Taylor Swift, herself, has placed.  Kaylors are hunting just like all Swifties, in the way that Taylor has asked and expected us to do.  I think some people, no matter what evidence was presented, would refuse to take stock in that.  Because of heterosexism, homophobia, or ignorance.  A lot of straight people don’t know that they know a gay.  Therefore, they don’t know what characteristics go with that.  Or they might have only experience with the most ‘out’ gays.  Which are only one type of gay.  To be fair, not a bunch of gays have come out, so people don’t realize the LGBT is diverse and there are all types, not just the super-flamboyant and stone-butch that are unable to hide, and are obviously gay.

 

OK, so there I think is a good foundation to see Taylor’s motivations and how it could possibly substantiate the Kaylor theories.

2016 in Review: The Bad–and there was plenty

2 Jan

what a shit-show

Lots of bad stuff happened all year.  Cool’s mom died which caused a cascade of bad reactions and terrible events.  Cool’s bipolar was off the heezy, up and down and up and further up–making life complex and terrible.  My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo surgery and radiation.  My dad was diagnosed with early Parkinson’s Disease.  Those events aren’t in my countdown, because even though they sucked–they aren’t MY events to claim.  But they did negatively affect me.

 

Here’s how 2016 started:  I had to work on New Year’s Eve 2015.  Of course either everyone else either planned ahead and took the day off, or called out sick.  But I was still in my first 90 days, so I wasn’t yet eligible for any time off.  So it was me and my supervisor for half of it.  Till she coerced another co-worker to come in by reminding him that he wouldn’t get paid for the holiday if he didn’t show up to the shift immediately proceeding it.  This was typical stuff for my work history–I was used to Noh’s Ark 20s-something shenanigans.  While I was at work, Cool was getting her drink on.  Mind you, we had been abstinent for 2 whole years.  And we had not discussed adding alcohol back into our lives–she just grabbed it impulsively.  And drank it.  Even though she was home alone.  Long story short, by the time I rushed home from work for the countdown, Cool had already over-done it, was tired, then went to puke.  And she vomited, not down in the toilet, but from above–so it got everywhere!  It was the bad omen that started 2016.

vomit

The year went on like that–one thing after another.  I spent a lot of time writing my music blog.  I spent a ton of time editing pictures, writing descriptions, and putting in order–my good moments of 2016.  These moments sucked.  I’m tired of thinking about them-tired of dwelling on them.  I’ll quick-write these and be done.  I’m worn down from 2016, and hoping for a very tranquil 2017.

 

 

 

 

Bottom Moments:

9-I got a flu.  For the first time I can remember–aside from childhood sicknesses.  My fever lasted 5 days!  I was miserable.  I lost a week of unpacking and errands.

8-I got the impossible raise by negotiating.  This one hurts because it should have been such a GOOD moment.  But then my boss ruined my moment by being an ass.  He doesn’t like me and makes no bones about it.  He wished his favorite employees had earned the big raise instead, and resented the fact my pay is so high now.  He said, “You got lucky.”  Ummm, nice.  What a douche!  Also, Cool ruined my celebration by picking a fight–one of our biggest fights ever.  Not awesome.

7-The moving process, because it is always a headache.  We had to hire movers because the washer/dryer unit weighs 240 pounds.  Nothing is simple when you are moving from a basement to a third floor unit 35 minutes away.  Cool works days and I work nights so we had to work alone.  And then, I hated the stupid, non-functional layout of the new apartment, and not being able to unpack.  What a money-pit.

6-Our cute neighborhood with so much potential suddenly went downhill.  It went from quiet with tons of potential to ghetto and dangerous in about three weeks.  A homeless family made camp in our apartment’s parking lot.  People started walked by, peering into our living room window, casing the joint.  The police started showing up to various units routinely (see blog).  Starting to feel unsafe walking from my car to the apartment when I got home in the early morning hours felt awful.  Knowing the owner didn’t care about our safety and wellbeing, and wasn’t going to do anything to improve the situation was frustrating.  And learning that no one else could help us, because it was private property felt hopeless.

5-Cool got in a 6x roll-over accident and totaled her car.  But she lived.  It’s a miracle.  Except it happened 1 week before we moved!  The timing for it was the worst.  And I had to call out sick twice as a result of the crash, possible head injury, then her anxiety about it.  And now, I have to do all the shopping, all the errands, and take her to the pharmacy and anywhere else she needs to go.

4-working with effing lazy people every day.  Doing way more then my share of the work–every day.  Seeing my lazy co-workers be–lazy.  Resentment.  Getting held hostage by slowness of coworkers despite doing all the work.  Going home late in every scenario.  Being tired all the time.  Starting the next shift tired, and doing all the work (tired) again, in the hopes of leaving earlier and getting more sleep.  Failing at this night after night.  Really got me down.

3-Working with Catty.  I started dreading work every Monday.  I didn’t want to talk at work.  I didn’t want to stand up at any time, lest be judged by her.  I didn’t want to turn my head.  I felt self-conscious.  We had to trade recs and it was horrible.  She was a bitch and made me feel small and edgy.  She was my boss’ friend.  She had been there much longer and knew everyone.  She hated me.

2-Cool ambushed me.  And I found out she had gone “Mean Girls” against me for quite some time.  I broke up with her and kicked her out of the apartment.  Then, I had to work with the bitch (the afore-mentioned Catty) who initiated the whole thing–every Monday.  Sitting immediately sitting next to her, and having to trade requisitions to verify stressed me out!  Cool was ridiculous, and everything was tumultuous.  Suddenly, I felt very alone in Utah–in the world.  I was furious, and knew she was being THE WORST, yet my heart hurt.

1-window harassment (because the fear lasted longer then Cool’s ambush).  When someone started harassing us by knocking on our bedroom window several times, it was time to go.  I lay awake at night listening, anticipating with dread someone coming back, and breaking in.  I heard sounds, saw lights.  I had to plan what to do if someone got in when we weren’t home.  When we were sleeping.  While I was alone.  When Cool was home alone.  We had so much dread.  It was awful.  And in a horrible year of a lot of big, awful events–it was the worst.  By just a little bit.

Trump Terror

11 Nov

I was actually happy when Trump got the Republican nomination.  I thought Jeb Bush, with his family-backing, and Texas oil money, and far-right support was more of a threat.  I highly doubted anyone would take Donald Trump seriously.  I mean, all he had going for him was money and trash-talk!  I felt voting for him was akin to voting for a Kardashian.  They’re in the same camp–you know their names from the stupid stuff they say and do on television, but you don’look to them for any serious leadership.

And I knew if nobody took Trump seriously (because HOW could they!!!) that whatever democrat was running would be a shoe-in.  I wasn’t sad to see it was Hillary.  I had actually voted for her over Obama in the primary that first time around when she ran.  I knew her face, thought she worked really hard as Secretary of State, and yeah–I wanted a woman in the White House.

But I thought women’s rights were farther ahead than they actually are.  I really think if Hillary were a man, things would have played out differently.  It would have been an EQUAL assessment of two candidates.  Not just a singular attack on one and blind-spot toward the other.  They would have dug into her dirty laundry–sure–that’s part of the political game these days.  And believe me, they ALL have their share of dirty laundry.  The political machine is so caught up in money now, that ALL candidates that make it to a certain lever most certainly made back room deals to get funded.  They all owe somebody.  Every politician has to water down a certain policy they care about, because a special interest group contributed to their campaign.

That makes them all lairs.  They all manipulate.  Every politician is shady.  I expect it.

But they would have used the bad stuff to equal disadvantage, apples-to-apples.  They didn’t.  When people called Hillary a liar, I was like–yeah.  Of course.  But what I didn’t expect was to people to hold that against Hillary in a militant way, when they didn’t hold the male politician to the same standard.  I would challenge that every accusation, every piece of dirty laundry found on Hillary was used against her in a more drastic way then it is used against any man that has run or held office.  People were a LOT harsher on Clinton then they’ve been on most males in politics.

The patriarchal double-standard reared it’s ugly head.

Even so, I didn’t think the country would go for Donald Trump.  How could they?  He is a caricature.  He’s all fluff and propaganda, and realty TV!  He has no political experience, no solid policy ideas, only hateful sound-bites.  His business dealings were murky.  The guy claimed bankruptcy and didn’t pay taxes.  He wavered on issues, and lost all three debates.  His supporters were the trashiest, most backward, belligerents in the country.  He got caught candidly admitting his penchant for sexual abuse.  Americans would not get behind any of that.  We might like to see the train wreck on TV, but we expect more decorum and have higher standards for our president.

The leader of our country–the leader of the world.

I was in absolute shock when we didn’t.

This week was difficult.  I felt suddenly scared and alone.  I knew every person from my small town voted republican.  I felt since Trump is against many of the minority groups I belong to (women-in social standing, impoverished, gays) that my Utah work managers were also.  My hometown was also.  My Facebook friends were also.  My parents were also.  I was suddenly marginalized.  Cowering at the fringes.

And my groups are actually dominant groups OF the marginalized groups.  The illegals, people of color, transsexuals, Muslims–all have it way worse.  If I felt scared and alone, how must THEY feel???

I saw many Trump supporters come across my Facebook feed.  And they shut-down dissent by telling anyone liberal or sorry about the win to “get over it.”  They discounted their opinions, silencing their views.  I try not to make waves on Facebook.  Or at work.  I know I am more progressive then my small-town peers.  I understand I have lived in more states, have more education, watch documentaries and learn about issues.  I’m a moderate, but a progressive one.  That sets me apart from most loud political views.  I get that people that just don’t know, don’t necessarily hate, but they are ignorant.  I can let some things go.  And I am usually quiet.  I scroll past the politics that are opposite to my views, the hate-memes, and ignorance.  Because these people are family.  Or they are my past.  I grew up and went through every year of schooling from kindergarten to senior year with some of these people–it’s just not worth it.

But when people started hassling Cool on her Facebook page, I stopped to think.  She was upset and posted why.  People wrote long diatribes, personally attacking her.  People told her to shut up about it.  People said to “move on.”  And in a society that just accepted what Trump stands for, and voted him in the highest office–I decided we could no longer afford apathy.

A lot of the reason he got voted in was because people didn’t like either candidate so they didn’t vote.  A whole, big section of youth, and moderates, and democrats just didn’t vote.  Which left privileged people to make our decisions.  People whose lives look nothing like mine.  People who don’t have the same problems and worries as me (or other marginalized groups).  It made me think a lot of that Holocaust quote, which I will not directly quote (because I’m too lazy to go search for it, and I already have more tabs open then I like) so I will sum the sentiment up:  They took the criminals, and I was not a criminal so I didn’t say anything.  They took the gypsies, and I was not a gypsy so I didn’t say anything.  They took the Jews and I was not a Jew so I didn’t say anything.  So when they came for me–there was nobody to speak for me.

We always have to remember how the Holocaust started so nothing even remotely similar can repeat itself.  It’s not just about some tyrant stealing power–it’s the apathy and silence from the real majority that allows that to happen.

And Cool and I spent a very large part of the year watching WWII (and everything around the periphery of that) shows, interviews, and documentaries.  I know what apathy can lead to, I know how things got started in Germany back then.  So I felt motivated to stand up where I could in my own life.  I made a new policy that I would not be silenced by the privileged few.  I would not stand down as a woman.  I will not hide as a gay.  I will not let my poverty minimize my power.  And I wouldn’t stand by and say nothing when others were hassled–not anymore.  I will act with integrity and stand for what I believe in.  Even if it causes confrontation.  I will deliberately show my ethics and speak my morals.  I have to counter the negativity and hate that was just sanctioned by a vocal majority by stopping the silence and apathy.  First in my own life, then maybe even on a larger scale.

Here’s what I wrote to Cool (and her frenemies on Facebook):

hypocracy

 

And I wrote to her (and those frenemies of hers):

“Words of wisdom: I will not be shut-down or silenced. I will continue to voice my ethics and let my values guide my actions. Hate has no place here. Don’t let societal pressures make you falter. Speak your mind. Speak your truth.”

Because right now it’s super-important for all those just marginalized by the ignorants and the haters to have a voice.  Remind people we’re here and we’re just as valid.  And we have dreams, hopes, and rights.  We deserve an equal chance.  We deserve respect.  That dissent is not unpatriotic.  To speak out for injustice is as American as you can get.  It’s what this country was built on.

I also got brave and wrote from my heart on my own Facebook page.  Knowing I was outnumbered by right-wingers.  Knowing there was hate for my groups just under the surface.

“I try to keep politics off my page. Nobody really wants to hear it–you’re not changing anyone’s mind. And I don’t identify with either party. I think with all the money, and lobbyists, and Super-PACS all candidates that make it that far have to be corrupt just to be in the game. But I am in shock and dismay.

For me, this 2016 election result is not about red or blue, winning or losing, it’s about standing for my values, and modeling my ethics. I will not be shut-down and I will not falter in defending my morals for fear of antagonism. It’s not about, “move on, get over it.” Trump’s values do not align with mine. And friends/family I hope I know you well enough that Trump’s quotes/feelings are not in your heart either.
This is a country of immigrants, mentally ill, minorities, women, gays, impoverished, of “other.” Big-Money shouldn’t have the largest and last say in all matters. As a proud American I recognize how fortunate I am to be born here and at the status that I hold. But that’s all it was–luck, completely out of my control. I will raise my voice to defend the little people– outsiders like myself–because that’s the kind of person I am.
If you can’t respect that, if you are ignorant to the sentiment of this message–mostly I feel sorry for you. And a little afraid. For myself, for the others like me, for this great country, and for you. God bless, and may the universe be kind to you and yours.”
I was disappointed I only got 3 likes and one comment–none of those from family.  So the fears and isolation are real.  Those people on my Facebook WOULD turn against me.  I have to watch my mouth and watch my back.
But I will not be silenced.  I will not go down without a fight.
I took my new personal-policy of not being silenced to my job yesterday.  Crissy bought us ice cream.  She got 4 different flavors of candy bars.  Derick the Douche loves Reese’s PB cups best, so she specifically got ice cream in that flavor for him.  He claimed it before he saw it.  The rest of us decided which flavors we wanted.  Derick then saw the ice cream, and saw his flavor was smaller then the rest.  He said he wanted oreo instead (it was the biggest).  But an Indian gal had already picked that one out.  White, male, privileged, dominant Derick the Douche wanted it, and pushed for it.  She conceded.  I spoke up–“No Siama already chose that one.”  And I like PB, and didn’t particularly care which ice cream flavor I ate (I love ALL ice cream!) so I told him to take the Twix one I had picked.  He pouted and tried to take hers anyway.  I put my foot down.  Which, I never would have done before.  He’s always that way.  It was none of my business.  But under my new policy, I was not going to stand by and let him bully a minority and take the (perceived) better ice cream away from her.
I used my policy a second time in the same night.  A chronically slow, co-worker, who is always late, always lagging on his buckets, and actually disallowed to do basic tasks because he messes up, ruffled my feathers.  I always do the document imaging at work.  My co-workers don’t like to.  Everyone is supposed to do it.  We even have it assigned to a certain color.  But I do the lions share-no matter what color I am assigned.  Night after night.  Because I am a hard worker.  I’m motivated.  And it needs to be done.  I’ll do the scanning–ALL of the scanning.  Night after night, month after month, year after year-I do the majority of the scanning.  To the point, they don’t even know HOW, some of them, including the boy in this story.
For once, Crissy (who is just a sub and usually doesn’t work) was helping with the scanning.  She got stuck and didn’t know what had gone wrong, and this kid (Josh) was near so went over to help her.  But since he never scans, didn’t know how.  And they all just KNOW that I’m the scanning bitch at work.  In an accusatory tone, he called my name–like ‘YOU fucked this up, now come over and fix your mistake so Crissy can finish our work.’  That’s what his tone and body language said.  And he’s used that tone on me before.  Usually I let it go to keep the peace.  Even though it’s a totally inappropriate tone for work, and completely condescending.  I usually let it go.  Even though it makes me mad and makes me feel ‘less than’ I let it go.
But last night I called him out on it.  I said, “Are you asking for my help or accusing me of something?”  And he still looked agitated and a little hostile toward me so I continued, “You don’t need to use that accusatory tone on anyone at work–especially when you’re asking for their help.”  Turns out, I had not messed anything up.  But even if I had–so what?  And um–scanning is not MY job.  They are supposed to be doing their share and they never do–so don’t come accusing me of anything regarding scanning!  Anyway, Crissy had pressed something wrong, and it was no big deal, I simply showed her how to fix it, and we went on with work.  But my defense had made the kid mad.  He was storming around, slamming his stuff, and had a shitty demeanor for the rest of our shift.
But I wasn’t silenced.
And that felt good.  In a week where shock and horror ruled.  So I will continue on, living ethically, not hiding behind fear or apathy.  I will act with morality, defend those without a voice, and stand up for my beliefs–because they’re just as valid as Trumps, and those who voted for him.

The Security Breach

24 Oct

We had to move to our apartment (in a new state) sight-unseen.  We have 2 cats.  And a strict budget–especially at that time, b/c moving is expensive!  No one called us back in Salt Lake City.  Everyone who responded at all, never even read our out-of-state situation, and invited us to a showing.  When we couldn’t make a showing “tomorrow” they just didn’t correspond with us.  It was everyone.  How nice for realtor’s in SLC that it’s a seller’s market.

Bottom line:  We pretty much had to take what we could get.

It was OK.  The apartment was a little larger and better then what we had in Spokompton.  The neighborhood was quiet, but had tons of potential.  The park across the street was not like the ghetto-homeless situation of Mission Park near our apt in WA-state, but largely empty.  And quiet.  And they did lawn maint like 4 times a week.

But recently things have slowly started to change.

Every once and again there will be a homeless person sleeping it off under a tree in the park.  Someone parked their shopping cart 5 blocks up on the sidewalk next to the main street.  Nothing big.

The change from quiet to icky came with this homeless family.  A man, woman, toddler, and dog lived in their car.  And parked the car in our complex’s parking lot.  Like, every night.  Nobody seemed to notice, and they stayed under the radar for 5-6 weeks.  Everything started sliding downhill after that:

8/17/2016:  Wrote in the apartment portal that homeless people were living in the car in our parking lot.

9/2/16:  Texted the manager that the homeless people were still parking/living in our apartment’s parking lot.  Was informed the manager was out of town and instructed to call police about it.

9/13/16:  We came back from an out-of-state week-long trip and suddenly the homeless family in the car weren’t around anymore.

Wed Sept 28:  A knock on the bedroom window at 11 PM.  Cool had turned on the bedroom light to change for bed, and the knock came.  Then there was the sound of some tool trying to pry open the window frame.  She didn’t want to call 911 only to find it was a squirrel not an emergency (and she was still a little manic) so she she ran out of the apartment, to the entrance of the back alley.  She held up the flashlight app on her phone, but our window is toward the 300W street-side more, so the person she saw was not detailed.  She DID see a person in black clothing, holding something red (a cigarette or a pen light?) and at our window!  She called 911 and they sent 6 police officers and a dog.  They did an official sweep of the apartment, holding up guns, and calling for intruders.

I wasn’t too, too concerned though.  Because I thought it was probably a crime of opportunity.  There is an apartment on 300 W, and its parking lot is behind their building.  It ajuts to the end of our (dark, abandoned) fire alley.  They must have had problems with prowlers because they no longer park cars behind the building, favoring the side of the building, which is visible to the street.  They also installed a bright light in back.  The light illuminates a portion of our fire alley, but the first window in the dark is ours.  So I figured someone just went to the first dark window they saw.  And the person must have been dumb or not sober.  Because Cool had just turned on the light when she heard a knock–and who breaks into an apartment when the light is on, meaning someone is home?!  And a bunch of cops came in about 5 minutes, so I figured whoever it was went along their way.  And would never be back.

Fri/Sat, Sept 30:  The next door neighbor fixed the hole in the fence between the dark parking lot behind the next apartment and our fire alley.

Sat Oct 1:  I closed the black-out curtains, tucking them between the dresser and the wall.  We are watching a movie in the living room, and there are a lot of people outside their apartments talking, smoking, and drinking.  I hear what I think is Goose fussing with the curtains, trying to get in the window sill to look outside (it’s his fave thing to do).  Thinking he might pull the whole suspension bar holding the curtains down (and holding my dinner at the time) I ask Cool to go in the bedroom and check on him.  She reports someone is knocking on the back window.  I’m scared–who comes back a second time?!  I was too scared to open the curtains and see who it was.  I would be face-to-face with them, and that’s too much!  My adrenaline was pumping from the fear and I banged (3+ times) on the inside of the window with my fist, hoping to scare the would-be intruder away.  I banged a 2nd time (3 loud knocking sounds), while Cool was on the phone with 911.  Whoever was on the other side of the window. . .  Didn’t startle away–they knocked again.  This told me about their frame of mind and made me even more afraid.  I knocked on the thin wall of our bedroom, hoping to get help from the neighbor.

Bronco ran out to the fire alley, but all was quiet.  A police officer arrived about 20 min after our call, and stayed a long time, hearing our story, the neighbor’s opinions, and offering suggestions:  Lights in the alley.  Remove the abandoned/broke-down cars b/c they are a thief/vagrant attractant (and a fire hazard).  Put razor wire along the top of the fence surrounding the alley.  The police officer did not seem impatient or eager to leave.  I could hear calls on his radio on a busy Saturday night, but he made sure to get the whole story and he made sure he answered all of our questions.

We were afraid all the time at this point.  It felt like we were waiting with dreaded anticipation for someone to come back and try to get in.  I was afraid to open the windows.  I didn’t want to shower when I was home.  I was afraid to sleep and let my guard down, in case someone tried to break in.  I checked every noise to make sure it wasn’t someone trying to get in the apartment.  Every time the cats jumped in or out of the window, I was alarmed.  I listened for footsteps in the alley.  I felt stressed and unsafe.  Cool became crazy.  She started hearing things.  She wouldn’t go to sleep when I wasn’t home.  When I finally coerced her to sleep so that she could make it to work in the day, she wouldn’t sleep in the bedroom.  She had all the lights in the apartment turned on all the time–even while she was sleeping.  She started bothering the neighbors, asking them to check the alley.  We were scared in our apartment.

Sun Oct 2:  We were also scared about being away from the apartment for 11 hours, because someone could get inside.  So I took 1.5 hours of vacation and left early (forfeiting some of my weekend double-time) to go guard the house.  We bought a bat, a strong flashlight, and strong, locking bars to block the window and the door closed.  After work at 6:30 PM we inspected the fire alley (carrying the bat) and saw a broken bench was propped up on the chain link fence.  It looked like maybe someone had attempted to throw it away at the dumpster across the parking lot–just my theory.  And someone else came along and dragged it over to use as a step-stool over our fence.  We pushed it away from the fence and it folded in half, making a crunching/squeaking sound.  It ended up about 2 feet away from our fence and folded sort of in half (because it had already been broken).

Mon Oct 3, 1 AM:  I awoke to hear that same bench being moved.  It happened only briefly.  No one came to our window.  In the daylight I checked, and the bench was still away from the chain link fence.  I wasn’t going to mention it to Cool, because she was already freaked, and I wasn’t 100% certain (just 98%), but Cool mentioned she had heard it, so I know it happened, b/c we had both heard it.

Wed Oct 5 a pack of stray cats were eating from our bird feeder and making a tapping sound on the window.  Cool thought it sounded like the knocking of before so she knocked on our neighbor’s wall.  We absolutely know the first 2 incidents were a person though b/c the first time Cool had run outside and actually seen a person.  And the 2nd time, I had banged HARD on the window.  Hard enough that my knuckles were bruised the next day-and I never bruise.  No animal would have sat there for that banging.  And I had done it multiple times, twice.  It would have startled away any animal.  And after I had banged, someone knocked back at me.

Thurs Oct 6, 12:30 PM:  A man was sitting in Bronco and Cough’s parking spot, which is directly across from my living room window.  My curtains had been open.  I took a pic, but his head was down.  He stood and looked into my apartment so I called the non-emergency police line, but before I could complete the call, the man meandered to 300 W.  I asked for police patrol.

11PM:  heard walking in the fire alley and a quiet jangling (like keys in a pocket).

10-6-16:  Texted the apartment manager asking when any safety measures will be taken–never got a response.

10-6-16:  Wrote in official apartment portal-

Someone tried to break into the bedroom window this last Wednesday (9/28) at 10 PM. On that occasion, a person knocked on the window, then used some sort of tool to try to pry the window frame apart. Luckily one of us was home and called 911. We also reported the incident to management the next day, but so far no additional security has been completed. Saturday (10/1) at 8 PM, someone came back to the bedroom window and knocked. I pounded the window to scare them off–and they tapped again. We called 911 a second time, and the officer gave us some tips: 1) The cars on the side of the building are an attractant to burglars and homeless people. Some are also in violation of fire code. 2) Get a motion sensor light. 3) Put razor wire along the top of the entire fence, because someone is probably climbing over. 4) Consider a gate on the back side of the fire alley. I need to feel safe in my apt–please make some changes soon so we don t have to move.

Sat Oct 8, 5 AM:  Saw flashlight through blackout curtains (through sleep mask while sleeping).  But for certain.

Sat Oct 8, 5:10 AM:  Thud on bedroom window.  Goose ran behind curtains and stayed, so it may have been a cat.

Sun 11 PM:  tromping in fire alley (may have been police patrol).

Mon 1:40 PM-police drove by front of apt.

Tues 10/11, 3 PM:  marked police car was sitting on the street next to the park.

Wed, 1 AM-ish:  I got home from work, and the homeless car was parked street-side at our apartments.

Wed 3:15 PM:  the same man that had been sitting in front of the window last Thursday slowly walked past our window toward 300W.  He was with another guy, and they walked slowly, looking in the apartment.  The neighbor also came outside and commented how the two guys had been leering into his apartment–so it wasn’t just me that noticed.  I called the police just to make a report.

Wed 4 PM:  The apartment manager (Royal) was leaving and we caught him.  He has been on the job 4 days Bryson left in Sept?, a woman took over for a week, Dusty was with us for a week or 2, now this guy.  We asked for locks or lighting or safety measures and he said the management company couldn’t do anything–it was all up to the owner.  He was defensive and scoffed in our faces as if we were being hysterical and unreasonable.  He kept saying they are not the police and cannot have 24/7 security.  I tried to tell him there were things that could be done–such as the police suggestions.  Lights for starters.  I also said we were coming from a place of frustration, b/c we were living in fear, and no one from the apartments had even acknowledged our requests/complaints.  And no action had been taken.  He told us he/the management company couldn’t do anything because everything was up to the owner.  We don’t have contact info for the owner.   Royal said the owner wouldn’t do anything–and didn’t have to.  He also told us the housing association doesn’t regulate apartment owners.  The conversation escalated to a confrontation for sure.

Wed 4:30 PM:  The police called back to get a full report of all the incidents.  I recounted the 4 incidents we called about and offered the other 2 that I thought/hoped were the police.

10-13-16, 12:45 AM:  Noticed homeless car parked street-side at our apt as I got home from work.

Oct 15-16:  Started looking for a new apt.  Contacted several options located around work.

10-16-16, 1 AM:  Someone moved the bench.  We then heard footsteps in the back alley.  After an hour, finally called the non-emergency police line to report it.  While on the phone with the dispatcher, flashlight shined in the bedroom.

10/16, 2 AM:  2nd flashlight swept across bedroom–assumed/hoped it was the police.

10/17/16:  Went and looked at a unit in a different apartment complex.  Turned in our application for it.

10/17/16, 2:30 PM:  A homeless man and woman with a bike and a sleeping bag were on the walkway directly above our apartment waiting for the neighbor to get home.

10/17, 12AM:  Possibly homeless car parked street-side by our complex.  Looks slightly different than the homeless car that I remember before, but still the same size and color.  A woman was outside of the car, and stuff was on the complex lawn outside the passenger side.

10/17, 12:35 AM:  Flashlight through bedroom window and footsteps, assumed/hoped it was the police.

10/18/16:  Application for new apartment approved.  The new landlord just needs a reference from our current apartment.  She calls and calls, but cannot get through.  Cool makes a dozen phone calls to random places because our management company has no evident contact information, and we never had contact info for the apartment owner.  Finally, a different complex managed by the same company gets in contact with the regional office who gets in contact with Royal, our apartment manager.  He is annoyed anyone is contacting him.  When Cool asks him to contact this new apartment landlord, Royal off-handedly mentions how our current owner contacted him and said they didn’t want to renew our lease.  We are out at the end of December.  Also, his demeanor on the phone was annoyed/rude.

So I’m not sure,

  1. why, out-of-the-blue the owner (with whom we’ve had ZERO contact) would terminate our “lease.”
  2. I’m suspicious our confrontation with the new manager, Royal, where we asked for ANY security such as lights or removal of concrete blocks and broke-down cars from the fire-alley had everything to do with this given the timing.
  3. We don’t have a lease until December.  The only lease we ever signed for this current complex was the first one when we moved here.  It was for 6 months, and ended October 2015.  That lease specifies that if no other lease is signed, it defaults to a month-to-month arrangement.  And month-to-month is an additional $100/month.  I’m sure we just slipped through the cracks, because it’s been a full year since our original lease expired and no one asked us to sign another lease–or raised our rent price.
  4. I am concerned about an eviction.  I don’t want it on my rental history.  And WHY?  We just passed on info from the police about amping up security.  We’ve paid all our rent, have been quiet, and clean.  We’re actually great tenants.  We just demand things like hot water, flushing toilets, and ask for ANY security measures.
  5. I’m SUPER concerned once they find out we don’t actually have a lease through December, they will put us out in 15 days, without cause, per our original lease conditions.  That’s October 30.  Our new apartment isn’t vacated and available to us until Nov 15. . .  And that’s before any carpet replacement or painting that they will surely do, driving the date back.
  6. We had to band over backwards to contact the manager–and he had already known about our non-lease renewal–when was he going to mention this to us??!
  7. I’m so, so, so glad we were all but in a new apartment at that point, because this news would have REALLY flipped me out if we had to start from scratch.  It’s not always easy to get into a new apartment.  Especially with cats–and he have a price range that can’t budge b/c we had absolutely no notice or time to plan/save.

later that day (10/18/16) I typed up a formal notice of termination for the current apartment.  It asked that we get a walk-though in order to redeem our deposit, and that we leave last day of December (or mid-Dec if they are willing to pro-rate rent).  And I typed it into the apartment portal online.  There is no formal address to mail it to, and that makes me nervous.

10/19/16:  Dropped formal leaving letter off where we drop rent, since we have no contact info for the management or owner, and there is no formal office for anything, and we can’t even send it certified mail.

10/20/16:  Paid $400 deposit at new apartment.

10/21/16:  Our letter with prospective move-out date still hasn’t been acknowledged.

10/24/16, 12:30 PM:  A group of 3-6 people dressed in rags had a bike and shopping cart and bags on the sidewalk between our complex and the studio property next door.  They seemed to be hanging around, and I wondered if that was a new bus stop or if the park was doing some kind of maint and asked them to step off that property for a time.

2:35 PM:  When Cool got home from work the group was still loitering around on the sidewalk.  We closed all of our curtains b/c where they were standing had a direct view in our apartment.  After we did our afternoon workout, about 3-ish PM, I looked out and they had moved along.

10/25/16:  Our letter with prospective move-out date still hasn’t been acknowledged.  Cool called a lot of numbers trying to see what recourse we have if they just never respond.  Because I don’t want to go and get slapped with abandonment fees.  No one knows–everyone just gave her more phone numbers to try.  We texted the number for the apartment managers and heard nothing.  So Cool called the number.  Royal is no longer our person.  Now we have Brian.  This is the 5th manager we’ve had since August (2 months).

10/28/16:  Still haven’t heard anything about our lease (they think we have), and acknowledgement of our end date, or a walk through.

10/29/16, 5-ish PM:  Saw the police go to apt #2, two doors down.  Eddie, who lives there, said someone in a red hoodie had banged on his front window (blinds closed) and shouted his name.  The police and Eddie came to our door, because we were peering out our (blinds open) window, and since we had had trouble with banging on our window.

10/30/16, 3PM:  The homeless car parked inside the laundry area.  Looked they’d been in our apt complex for awhile and were very comfortable here.

11/1/16, 10:38:  Noticed the homeless car in the complex parking-lot by the laundry area.