The Week in Review
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24 This week of smart judges, garish sex, and concentrated bursts of deadly violence kicks off today with a concentrated burst of deadly violence. This one was concentrated in the Pacific Northwest, where the past weekend brought a freakish five episodes of gunfire, leaving three people dead and wounding eight others. Today the Seattle Post-Intelligencer laid out the basics: Episode #1 occurred around 2:00 a.m. Saturday in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, where two people outside of Venom nightclub were shot and wounded and "five men suspected in the shooting fled in a gold Lexus sport utility vehicle." Episode #2 occurred 15 minutes later about 10 miles south of Seattle in Skyway, where an argument among several men at the Afriq restaurant spilled outside, where three men were shot; two escaped with non-life-threatening injuries while 22-year-old Paljor Thong died at the scene. (The gunman remains at large.) Episode #3 occurred Saturday afternoon in Tukwila, where two 16-year-old boys were gunned down in Westfield Southcenter mall; one escaped with non-life-threatening injuries while the other—16-year-old Daiquan Jones—died at the scene. This gunman also remains at large. That gets us through Saturday. Episode #4 occurred during the first minutes of Sunday in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood, where just after midnight a 22-year-old man was shot and killed inside Vito's nightclub, and Episode #5 occurred early Sunday evening, when two young men—one 16, one 17—were found shot and nonfatally wounded in a parking lot on Rainier Avenue South; the gunmen behind both incidents are—surprise!—still at large. Now the backstory: As the P-I reports, police suspect that at least five of the weekend's shooting victims (basically all but the guys in Skyway) had ties to the same street gang in South Seattle—the 74 Hoover Criminals, described by local gang expert Gabe Morales as one of a group of South End gangs engaged in a long-running feud with gangs in the Central District. Morales tells the P-I that the weekend's high number of victims heightens his concerns about reprisals. "I think the police are on top of it," said Morales. "But unfortunately, as soon as the pressure backs off, I think the South End is going to start blasting around the CD." Condolences to the friends and family of all of the weekend's victims, and confidential to Central District dwellers: practice ducking.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25 In much more hopeful news, the week continues in Florida, where today the nation's only outright ban on gay adoption was struck down as unconstitutional. Details come from the 53-page ruling by Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge Cindy Lederman, who ruled that Florida's 31-year ban against gay citizens adopting children violates equal protection rights for both the children and their prospective gay parents. In defense of the ban, Florida lawmakers warned of the "dark cloud hovering over homes of homosexuals and their children"—a desperate attempt to justify prejudice with prejudice that Judge Lederman shot down decisively: "There is no rational basis to prohibit gay parents from adopting. It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person's ability to parent. A child in need of love, safety, and stability does not first consider the sexual orientation of his parent. The exclusion causes some children to be deprived of a permanent placement with a family that is best suited to their needs." Thank you, Judge Lederman, and congratulations, Florida.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 26 Today we turn to the controversial burst of in-your-face heterosexuality that's burning up Minnesota, where last Saturday's college football game at the Minneapolis Metrodome climaxed with the public coupling of a man and a woman in the handicapped stall of a men's restroom, where they were reportedly cheered on by a crowd of intoxicated gawkers until University of Minnesota police arrived to separate the lovers and cite each for indecent conduct. Today brings a plot-twisting update from the Des Moines Register, which identifies the cited participants as 26-year-old Ross Walsh of Linden, Iowa, and 38-year-old Lois Feldman of Minneapolis, the latter of whom tells the Register that she had "so much wine" before kickoff that she doesn't remember walking into the restroom or even meeting the man she had sex with in the stall. "I don't know what happened, but I don't deny that it did happen, because obviously there are police reports," said Mrs. Feldman, who says she remembers sitting in the stands one moment and the next "being slammed around by a cop and screaming. Apparently I was panicked and very uncooperative." As for the sex she doesn't remember: "It's ruined my life," said Feldman, a married mother of three who lost her job as an administrator at an assisted-living center following her indecent-conduct citation. The day after tomorrow, Mrs. Feldman will officially suggest foul play: "Everybody thinks something got put in my drink," Feldman will tell the Daily Times Herald, addressing the unremembered sex once again. "I would never ever do that. My kids are my life. I go to church every Sunday." Nevertheless, police reports make no mention of the incident being anything but mutually consensual, and University of Minnesota police chief Greg Hestness told the Herald, "All I can say is the actions went on for some period of time with many witnesses on hand, and no one reported either party objecting."
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 27 Speaking of a controversial conquest that's maybe just a rape: Today brings Thanksgiving, the U.S. holiday devoted to family-style gorging and explicit gratitude. On Last Days' 2008 thanks list: Our fella/family/friends/ridiculous dog, Allison the duster-huffer from A&E's Intervention, Harvey Milk and Sean Penn (the joy both took in playing the former is a marvel), and everyone across the nation whose eloquent outrage transformed the passage of Proposition 8 into such a positive thing. Onward.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28 The week continues with Black Friday, the self-hyped "biggest shopping day of the year!" whose name was made sickeningly literal this morning at a Long Island Wal-Mart, where hundreds of rampaging shoppers surged into the just-opened store, smashing the door off its hinges, knocking down numerous people, and trampling a 34-year-old maintenance worker to death. Meanwhile in California, shoppers at a Palm Desert Toys R Us store scrambled for cover after gunshots were fired; police arrived to find two people dead at the scene. To quote Perry Como, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 29 Today Last Days turns to the history-altering atrocity that ended this morning in India, where 10 young men armed with rifles and grenades spent the last few days carrying out a bloody rampage across the city of Mumbai, killing at least 173 people (including six Americans) and wounding 295. As the Associated Press reports, "A previously unknown Muslim group called Deccan Mujahideen—a name suggesting origins inside India—has claimed responsibility. But Indian officials said the sole surviving gunman, now in custody, was from Pakistan." More to come, condolences to all.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 30 Nothing happened today.
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