Friday, February 08, 2013


Image credit: skunks
Every night, there are helicopters, swirling overhead nervously seeking, watching, hovering.

Meanwhile, all yesterday and today, an intense manhunt is afoot. A violent man, bitter about his firing from the LAPD several years ago, is on a murderous rampage, already killing three people, including a cop and a young engaged couple, all in the name of revenge. Last I heard, they were chasing him through the mountains.

Here in Southern California, I hear about killings every single day; I'd forgotten about the region's pervasive homicide. Part of our lore, I suppose. I can't help but compare it to the quiet life in North Dakota and really, it comes down to math.

Turns out, murder rates in California and North Dakota are actually quite similar, thanks to massive population growth in North Dakota's oil fields on the western side.  Per 100,000 people, just .5 people were murdered in NoDak in 2008; in 2011, it was 3.5. In California in 2011, it was 4.8 - a vast improvement from 1996, where the murder rate was 9.1.

All day long, the LA media screams, "Murder! Murder! Murder!" because there are 38 million+ people living in the Golden State, compared to 700,000 in NoDak. More people means more beings that kill and die, simple as that.

And being Los Angeles, the media is constantly pining and frothing for new gore and the monster must be fed. The button-downed culture of the Midwest keeps a check on sensationalism. Here in LA, there are no buttons, all the shirts are wide open - off, even.

There's also an inherent wildness about the place - all these races and cultures swirling together in one hot soup, plus all the traffic. All the desperate people who have come here to live out a dream and find reality instead. People live - and die - here in big sweeping gestures. It's grand, and sad.

Meanwhile, life goes on. Should I run today? Oh, look it's raining. I need to get some money from the ATM for Debbie's birthday party at the Gaslamp bar this evening. It's 80s Night, so there may some foul neon-colored shots that must be consumed as Flock of Seagulls or Tears For Fears plays in the background. Do I have any hairspray?

The real question is, would I rather have a sky full of buzzy, ominous helicopters or low-flying crop dusters raining pesticides?

How about kites? Anyone fly those anymore?


After posting this, I went downstairs for lunch and found this in the newspaper's op-ed section: "Helicopters Buzzing LA County Must Be Regulated", about a proposal written by Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and Adam Schiff.

No comments: