Friday, April 10, 2015

loose and nimble

In the wake of the Walter Scott shooting in South Carolina, a NYT reader suggested disarming policemen.  He wrote, "...The moment they get into a scuffle with a non-compliant suspect, the issue arises of them (sensibly) fearing that they'll lose control of the gun."

It sounds like policemen (peace officers) in England and New Zealand do not carry guns. ...


Yesterday I was typing here an outtake from James Wolcott's Lucking Out, a book about working as a writer in NYC in the 70s.  Crime was much higher in the 70s than now, in New York and most other places, so considering

the Walter Scott killing,

crime, and


made me think of Wolcott's description of big-city living in a high-crime era...

I like his writing:

"nimble footwork and ninja awareness of impending action"

"find yourself staring down the barrel of a hostile street"

"never knew what the hell might fall from the fire escapes" ...

--------------------- My own experience of NYC in the 70s was as a tourist, on a church trip during high school, and a school trip during college -- both visits about 3 or 4 days long.

On the college trip a couple of other BU students and I went walking around the city -- (at the end of the day we stopped for a sandwich and discussed "Star Wars."  Or -- they discussed and I listened...)

Walking around, we went down 42nd Street and that area, & the sidewalks were so full of people, wall-to-wall, curb-to-curb, going, hurrying -- a bubbling, swirling mass of humanity, busy, intent, wary.

And walking swiftly through and by the sidewalk crowds were young guys murmuring with both subtlety and urgency, "Loose joints, loose joints.  Loose joints." 

Guys would come by us, saying this -- "Loose joints" -- and they would pass by and be gone, and then there'd be more guys coming along -- "Loose joints, loose joints" ... and then more after them.

And then when you walked far enough, you'd run out of "loose joints" guys -- you were now in a different neighborhood. ...

(I figured either those guys were trying to communicate to random passers-by that they had done yoga exercises that morning and were feeling very limber, or else they might be offering marijuana cigarettes for sale. ...)


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