The other day in Echo Park I came across a familiar scene: a cop standing over a group of adolescents while his partner ran their background checks. These kids — I’m guessing they were 12 or 13 years old — had climbed a fence into a schoolyard, presumably to ride their skateboards. Now the boards were scattered at their feet and they were face down on the pavement, most likely wondering what the fuck is wrong with this world.
I could relate to the little monsters because, sadly, even as a grown man I find myself hopping fences and skating spots at risk of being caught by actual gun-toting policemen. There’s not many places to skate in a congested city (oh wait, they just had the X-Games downtown, maybe those millions in revenue will trickle their way towards another tiny, over-regulated, overcrowded skatepark in a distant corner of LA) and a schoolyard is a decent place to cruise around in the open air to practice my craft, without worrying about getting hit by a car or endangering pedestrians and business-goers.
So hop and hustle I do, like I have since I was 13, to skate in relative peace until the cavalry rolls through. It’s embarrassing and laughable and scary. And as a taxpaying citizen, concerned as we all are about the state of our union, the conditions of our schools, gang violence, and so on, I can’t help but stagger at this irony that has been perpetuated in every American city for the past 30 years: kids are racking up criminal records, fines, and sentences for BREAKING INTO SCHOOLS TO PURSUE PHYSICAL EDUCATION. Aren’t our children fat and sad enough yet? Are physical challenge and creativity really that threatening to our society?
Do the Math: CITIZEN HEAR ME OUT! THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU! by Dave Reeves
There were Laws, but they were not feared. There were rules but they were not worshiped like laws and rules and cops and informants are feared and worshiped today. –Hunter S. Thompson, “Fear and Loathing in Elko”
If you are reading this magazine then there is a pretty good chance that you break some stupid ass law every other day. Be it dabbling in tax evasion, watering your lawn on Thursdays, smoking weed, walking your dog without a leash, or drinking two and half beers before driving home, you are overdue to beg for the non-existent mercy of some unlaid grinch posing as a judge (you know who you are, Kirkland Nyby). I’m here to tell you that being a white non-violent person with all your teeth will not be enough to save you from doing hard time for minor infractions anymore.
America has slid far past the point where a well-regulated militia would be able to relieve us of our vicious tyrants. The myriad weapons and tactics perfected over the course of our many stupid foreign wars are easily turned against the American civilian population. We are cowed behind the magic of infrared radar helicopters, electronic ball breakers, automatic weapons and a skein of surveillance cameras: the American population rendered naked to the aggression of a police state gone corporate.
I have seen the future and it is California. That which is not illegal is mandatory. If you find yourself in California, here’s what you should do: