This monumental week of serial shootings, thwarted terrorism, and record-breaking darkness got off to a pissy little start today as a Seattle police officer filed a lawsuit against the mother of a man shot and killed by Seattle police. Justice buffs will recall the case of Aaron Roberts, the 37-year-old motorist pulled over by a pair of police officers in Seattle's Central District on May 31, 2001. After attempting to flee the traffic stop--dragging Officer Greg Neubert in tow--Aaron Roberts was shot and killed by Officer Craig Price, with a formal inquest jury finding Price's shooting to be justified. Today the Aaron Roberts saga took a turn from tragically sad to tragically stupid, as Greg Neubert--the officer dragged alongside Aaron Roberts' car--filed a lawsuit against Aaron Roberts' mother, charging Deloris Roberts with negligence for allowing her troubled son (Aaron had a prison record) to borrow her car. Neubert's attorney insists the lawsuit isn't intended to punish Deloris Roberts or exacerbate her grief. "It's intended to recover compensation for the party that was injured by the automobile," Susan Sampson told the Associated Press, identifying Neubert's injuries as "symptoms from back sprain and strain" from being dragged and falling from Deloris Roberts' Cadillac. Never mind that Neubert is targeting the car's owner because the car's driver was shot dead--for an eloquent explication of Neubert's shameful litigation, Last Days turns to Seattle Times columnist Robert L. Jamieson Jr., who wisely pointed out that Officer Neubert's "stated 'pain and suffering' was incurred as part of the dangerous job he is paid to do. When you get injured on the job, you get workers' comp. You don't go after little old ladies.... For the still-reeling Roberts family, what Neubert is doing is the ultimate insult to the ultimate injury. He deserves a swift kick in the ass."


Speaking of swift kicks in the metaphorical ass: Today brought a significant blow to countless citizens' self-willed sense of security, as news agencies reported on the two Pakistani men apprehended Saturday at Sea-Tac International Airport after one of their names showed up on a terrorism watch list. According to federal criminal-justice sources, the two men--one aged 36 with a British Columbia driver's license, the other aged 29 with a New York driver's license--approached separate airlines at Sea-Tac, paying cash for one-way tickets to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. Alarmed by the two men's almost ridiculous adherence to the dangerous-terrorist stereotype, airline employees contacted the authorities, who confirmed that one of the men's names appeared on the federal no-fly list. The men are being held at Seattle's immigration detention facility while authorities investigate where the men entered the U.S. and whether they did so legally.


Nothing happened today (unless you count the five Seattleites shot in three separate shootings within five hours of one another. Two died, three survived; police are investigating).


Today brought the biggest blackout in U.S. history, affecting some 50 million people from Michigan to northeastern Canada to New York City, where the 29-hour blackout reportedly cost the nation's largest city about $1.05 billion--or $36 million per hour. Within four days, al Qaeda will claim responsibility for the blackout, which the Abu Hafs Brigades will identify via communiqué as an Osama bin Laden- ordered strike on two important East Coast electricity supplies, designed to hinder the American economy and please the Iraqi people. Whatever. (And whatever its cause, 2003's annoying, expensive blackout inadvertently showcased some praiseworthy changes 9/11 engendered in the American people, particularly New Yorkers; had the blackout happened before September 11, every inch of downtown Manhattan would've been looted like an Iraqi palace.)


As a shockingly regular smoker of pot, Last Days always hesitates before criticizing the drug use of anyone else. But after reading Dr. Stephen J. Fallon's minutely harrowing account of methamphetamine addiction in all its ego-expanding, logic-distorting, friend-repelling glory, we feel we can honestly say that nobody should ever do crystal meth. Syndicated in today's Seattle Gay News (where Fallon's lucid, typo-free prose stood out like a sore thumb), "Tina Can't Be Tamed" offered an inside view of crystal's insidious charms. Certainly this is a generational issue; when Last Days was regularly frequenting "the bars," fags weren't doing much more than booze, pot, and the occasional Ecstasy. Now, thousands of gay men who wouldn't allow a non-boutique moisturizer to touch their faces seem more than willing to snort or shoot some crap cooked up in the bathtub of a Pierce County mobile home. And what for? Six-hour boners? Alternating feelings of creative omnipotence and existential impotence? Gray skin and loose teeth? Barely functional insanity? Don't do crystal. (And if you're already doing it, please stop.)


It's a mind-fucking fact that's inspired books from Job to Jung: Sometimes God is a sick motherfucker. This cruel truth was made hideously apparent this morning in Houston, where 35-year-old Dr. Hitoshi Nikaidoh of Dallas reported for work as a surgical resident at Houston's St. Joseph Hospital. As a member of the 2003 class of the University of Texas at Houston's medical school, Dr. Nikaidoh had been voted the epitome of a good physician by his classmates; he'd also become a devout Christian, with aspirations to become a missionary doctor to the indigent. But at 9:30 this morning, as Dr. Nikaidoh was stepping onto a second-floor elevator in the hospital's main building, the elevator doors suddenly closed, pinning the doctor's shoulders before the car moved upward to sever the doctor's head. Adding trauma to tragedy, a female hospital worker was in the elevator at the time of the accident; according to police reports, the unnamed employee was trapped in the elevator for 15 minutes with Dr. Nikaidoh's head before she was freed and taken to the emergency room in shock. At least one hospital worker told the Houston Chronicle that these particular elevators had been experiencing problems, and that maintenance crews had been trying to service them the previous week. Stay tuned for any and all significant developments in God's most flagrantly fucked-up deed since the 2000 presidential election.

·· Meanwhile at today's Island County Fair in Langley, 40-year-old Doug McKay--co-owner of Post Falls, Idaho-based Paradise Amusements--was spraying lubricant on the tracks of the Super Loop 2 roller coaster when his hair got caught on a car full of fairgoers that pulled McKay at least 25 feet in the air. "It basically scalped him," said sheriff's spokesperson Jan Smith to the Seattle Times, adding that hundreds of fairgoers witnessed the fatal accident, and that "grief counselors were on hand."

SUNDAY, AUGUST 17 Nothing happened today (unless you count Seattle Hempfest, described by Hot Tipper Tristan as a bland yet harmless event reeking of nag champa and highlighting the plight of a previously unacknowledged victims' group: Grimy Children of Itinerant Plastic Marijuana-Leaf Lei Salesmen).

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