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A Visit to CHAZ (CHOP), Day of the Shootings, Sat 6/20/2020

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Early afternoon, Saturday, I decided to make the 60-mile drive to my old neighborhood, Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA, to see CHAZ or CHOP, or whatever they call the evolving or devolving People's Masada-like standoff against Western Civilization, the aging pillars of possible prejudice, non-inclusivity, madness, and maybe sprinkling of magical thinking.

I was hungover from the night before, so had not heard of the early morning murder, which is probably the way to go, hungover that is, when visiting a turbulent (some people say) country.

I-5 traffic was marvelous, especially for a Saturday. Covid and cultural wars had kept drivers at home. A 3-hour drive became only one.

I pulled off the Olive Street ramp, made a right turn, left on Pike; and bam!, there I was in my old Broadway Boulevard haunts. Back in the day, it was blue collar, then turned uptown and gay, and is still going through growing pains.

Quickly, I found an parking spot on 10th Avenue, off Pine, next to Elliot Bay Book Company, butted up to the edge of Cal Anderson Park. Entering the CHOP zone through a 2-foot gate was easy, no guards about. It looked like a street fair, albeit a noisy one. People were speaking English, a little marijuana in the air, no big deal.

I will let my video and pics do the talking. Like I said, I had not heard about the shootings. Nevertheless, my impressions were that blacks seemed a little subdued, perhaps tired (with good cause, in the diurnal sense), while white people, particularly the women, seemed more energetic. There was a slight buzz about, nothing intimidating. Communal concerns were evident, although swirling, in the gardens and free-food tables, like a metropolitan mashup, with no central theme. Likely, things would change at night.

My Youtube video: https://youtu.be/tK-opQwdcMg

The guy with the megaphone, Moses on the batter's-cage, misguided angel or shock jock, was preaching to an un-adoring choir. Four other guys on the cage were trying to make him come down; one guy had a telescopic baton, but probably had not attended rock-climbing school, and thus, left him alone. Either that or the idea of a Christian breaking his neck at home plate might not play well with the movement. One person died earlier that morning. Who needs another Icarus in the headlines?

The drive home was uneventful, except a Climate Crisis crew blocking traffic, near Dick's Drive Inn, but only for a minute between lights. It occurred to me that making car engines idle at stops, would make global warming worse, but ironically enough, it is the message that is important. A few people honked, but were soon free to drive on.

It was evident that Capitol Hill was abuzz, while downtown Seattle had little to show, the shops boarded up, the sheen gone, a few people at sidewalk tables, drinking IPAs, and looking subdued. No longer a vibrant city, the once-showcase of the Northwest seemed locked down in a state of grey.

I took the express lane home, reserved for car pools, with at least 2 passengers. Going fast, I passed a sign that said "Report Violators." Maybe it was my half-cured hangover, or perhaps I had a dyslexic moment: did it say, "Violate Reporters? Were they talking about me?"

(Article changed on June 26, 2020 at 03:27)

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Conceived on west coast, born on east coast, returned to northwest spawning grounds. Never far from water.


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