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Shot in the Dark [May. 8th, 2007|11:30 am]
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[Current Location |Home]
[Current Mood |defeated]
[Current Music |Holland, 1945 - Neutral Milk Hotel]

We finally got out of bed about an hour ago to assess the damage.  Lauren is putting together some tuna sandwiches and I am sitting on the porch after having cleared away the broken glass from our front window.  I had to vacuum the couch so I could sit on it, but the whole neighborhood looks like a war zone now.  My neighbors are picking up trash around their house, scrounging around for usable stuff.  The cars parked in the street - a lot of them have smashed-in windows and have been flipped over, or burned.  My car is completely destroyed.  I don't even want to think about it.  Here is what happened last night.

Around 1, Lauren and I went to sleep in my attic bedroom.  So far, pretty normal.  As we were drifting off to sleep we heard some gunshots, the crackle of breaking glass and a car alarm.  It was finally here, we realized: the rioting was bound to happen to us.  The hippies had had enough.  Lauren got out of bed and looked out the window facing the street - she said she didn't see anything, but the sounds of more gunshots prompted her to come back to bed.

Brendan came running up about ten seconds later, and we could hear the sounds of people waking up downstairs.  We all went downstairs to check the locks on the doors and move some furniture up against the windows and stuff.  Luckily I decided to bring my bike into the basement, which Lauren had to help me with.

Within minutes there were students pouring out of houses, either engaging rioters or joining them.  It was utter pandemonium.  When the first crowbar hit the first car on our block, I swore: that tank of gas was for nothing!  We watched helplessly from our darkened living room as the chaos spread throughout the street for what seemed like ages.  It was really only probably about ten or fifteen minutes before the police arrived with tear gas.  I proposed we all go up to the attic at this point, because it was less likely we'd be affected by the tear gas up there.  There was more shooting - from the small window in the attic, it looked like the police were being shot at and pelted with stones.  Someone was throwing Molotov cocktails, which caught a garage on fire.  I was amazed at how long they stood their ground despite being antagonized like that.

It was kind of inevitable that the police would open fire at the student rioters.  I wish they hadn't - but simultaneously I wish they'd done so earlier.  Like I said, my car is destroyed, my front windows are all blasted in, and a couple of the rioters tried to get into our house to escape the police.  There wasn't much I could do, but Brendan chased them out with a microphone stand.

The radio is saying today that four students were killed and twenty-three injured.  It sure looked like there were more than that last night.  Out on the street today it's eerily quiet.  There is a police barricade at the intersection of my street and State Street.  We were supposed to get some people together for a bike ride out to the countryside today to get some groceries, but I think we're going to have to wait.  My mom just called to make sure we were all okay.  She was kind of mad about the car, but there is nothing I could really do about that.  I really feel like we're on our own now.
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Big Shoes to Fill [May. 3rd, 2007|05:26 pm]
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[Current Location |Home]
[Current Mood |tiredtired]
[Current Music |Rock Music - Pixies]

We're so typical.  I am usually really skeptical about the hippies and socialists who go out and protest things, but from what I've been reading, stuff in the world is actually getting bad.  I went out to the protest on the Diag today with my girlfriend, Lauren.  I know that in other places things have been getting violent.  Today was just a bunch of hippies playing guitars and singing songs about conserving nature and stopping war.  There were a couple activists who spoke from the steps of the Grad Library but they really didn't say anything particularly incisive or interesting.

When I last talked with my mom, she told me to be careful, don't do anything brash, because if we all keep our heads through this we'll make it out okay.  Sure, mom, I said.  This is Ann Arbor - we're used to protests.  She should know, she was here in the late 60s and early 70s.

Some of the guys from Critical Mass and I are setting up bike salvage operations.  Dan and I really want to build some fixed-gear bikes for a lot of the students who don't have any.  (Maybe we can trade repair services for groceries?)  The Student Bike Shop's prices are a little off-the-wall, and besides, the stuff we've been collecting are mostly throw-away parts.  They'll be cheap and efficient, and faster than walking.  I've been working on my second bike in my basement.  I think it'd be cool to get a group of U of M students to do a big bike ride to Lansing or something.  We'll see.

The police have been out in force at the rallies, though, and I heard that the other day at the Administration Building there were a couple of arrests.  I didn't know any of the kids who got arrested but Dan was there and he said that there was a lot of mean words exchanged between some cops and a couple of the more hardcore student protesters, and someone threw a rock.  I guess you get what you ask for.  I'm glad things aren't more violent, but I'm worried that that one rock will be the first of many.  Naomi said jokingly today that she was going to learn how to make Molotov cocktails.  Just in case.
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