Columns

Last Days

Last week, Last Days reported on Roger, the downtown clothes salesman who stopped reading The Stranger because of its relentless vulgarity. This week, Last Days honors Roger and his sensitive brethren by composing a column that is 100% profanity-free. To fill the gaping void left by the deletion of our usual sex-obsessed smut, we will focus exclusively on the only subject left: horrific violence.


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 1
Our terrifying week of firebombings, rape, and murder got off to a somewhat tepid start today when classes at Eastlake High School (on Washington's Sammamish Plateau) were canceled after administrators learned of violent threats made against students and staff members in an Internet chat room. School officials have revealed little about the content of the threats, except to tell the Seattle P-I that they were "very specific in their violent intent." No harm came to the closed school, and classes resumed without incident the following day. (Spooky coincidence: Before Eastlake opened in 1994, its faculty visited Columbine High School to gather "school-reform" tips.)

··Also today: Another incident of violence narrowly averted, this one from Austin, Texas, where Texas Governor and Republican presidential front-runner George W. Bush sustained abrasions and a bruised hip after he dove from the path of an out-of-control dump truck. And while diving from the path of an out-of-control dump truck is smart, elsewhere Bush revealed himself to be very, very dumb: In an interview with a Boston television station last week, Bush -- holder of two Ivy League diplomas, an undergraduate degree from Yale University, and a master's from Harvard Business School -- was asked to name the leaders of four countries in the news. He could name only one. (Which is one more than we can name, but we're not running for the freaking presidency.)

(Note: The term "freaking" is allowed.)

··And one more thing: In the wee hours of this morning, Seattle's downtown Gap store was firebombed. No one was injured in the Molotov cocktail-induced blaze, which damaged nearly $7,000 worth of blandly attractive clothing, and police have released no details on potential suspects. Still, we have our suspicions, ranging from early WTO protesters to savvy Gap advertising reps launching their new ad campaign, "Everybody on Fire."


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2
The week's bloodbath began in earnest today in Honolulu, Hawaii, where disgruntled and armed Xerox technician Byran Uyesugi burst into a Xerox warehouse and killed seven of his Xerox workmates. It should be noted that while all major media reported this story, not one referred to Uyesugi as "a copycat killer." (Yeah, that joke sucked, but let's see you be funny without cuss words, you blankin' blankhole.)

··Also today: the continuing saga of Oregon's premiere teenage gunman, Kip Kinkel. Last year, 16-year-old Kinkel fatally shot his parents and two classmates. Today, on the opening day of Kinkel's sentencing hearing, a police officer read from Kinkel's journal, which contained recipes for bombs and Molotov cocktails as well as a page of furious rants: "My guns are the only things that haven't stabbed me in the back. Kill me, oh God, I don't want to live. I am evil. If there was a God, he wouldn't let me feel the way I do. There is no God, only hate." As Whitney Houston once sang through a mouth riddled with bulimia-induced tooth decay, "I believe the children are our future."


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3
Today the Kinkel spirit took root in an unnamed Seattle man who strolled into a Lake Union shipyard office and opened fire with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, killing two men, injuring two others, and putting our fair town on the idiotic-random-workplace-shooting map. The gunman, described as a light-skinned man in his mid-20s with a moustache and scruffy beard, is still at large.

··Also today: Last Days was informed that in last week's column, we mistakenly referred to P-I reporter Kery Murakami as a woman. We would like to confirm that Kery Murakami is very much a man, as he so thoroughly proved when he came to our apartment, kicked us in the stomach, and fractured our skull with a nine iron. (Of course that is a lie, but we've got a "horrific violence" theme to uphold.)


THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4
After the months of anguished outcry and unprecedented media coverage, in the wake of near-necrophilic political commodification and those ridiculous one-year-death-anniversary buttons ("Remember me?" as if queers couldn't recall anything beyond their last crystal binge; wrong -- we remember everything), today the saga of Matthew Shepard came to something of a close as co-killer Aaron McKinney bargained his way out of the death penalty and into two consecutive life sentences. Wyoming Judge Barton Voigt wisely rejected McKinney's attempts to invoke the "gay panic" defense (in which a heterosexual man is propositioned by a homosexual man and is then instinctively driven to tie him to a fence and beat him to death), and Matthew Shepard's father got in a few choice words in closing. "I would like nothing better than to see you die, Mr. McKinney," said Dennis Shepard, adding this sweet coda, "But now is the time to heal."


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5
Oh, for God's sake: Today the Associated Press reported on the hideous case of Louis Brooks, a convicted rapist in Daytona Beach, Florida, who, after serving six years of a 15-year sentence for sexually assaulting a 68-year-old woman in 1992, was recently released from prison -- only to rape the same woman again. "I'm going to kill you for putting me in jail," Brooks reportedly told his now 75-year-old victim, before assaulting her and stealing her wallet and car keys. Never mind that such retaliation rapes are a key reason why many victims neglect to come forward in the first place; Last Days sincerely hopes that the twice-wronged granny has the strength to heave the mothra-freaking book at that mothra-freaker, as well as at the bullshot judicial system that made this atrocity -- every rape victim's worst nightmare -- not just possible, but easy.


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6
On a lighter note: Today in Jammu, India, a bus plunged into a gorge, killing 54 people and seriously injuring 17 others.


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7
As this week of terrors comes to a close, Last Days longs to leave readers with at least a teensy ray of hope about life in this mindlessly bloodthirsty age. For that, we turn to a perennial source of soulful, non-violent wisdom. No, not Oprah -- Frances of Assisi, the 13th-century Italian saint known for his simplicity, devotion to poverty, and love of nature.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light,
And where there is sadness, joy.
And please God, please
Let me cuss again.


Please send your non-violent Hot Tips to lastdays@thestranger.com or phone the 24-hour Hot Tip Hotline at 323-7101 ext 3113.

 

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