19 + 1 White Mums

Originally posted on Jan 13, 2011 @ http://radio.azpm.org/kuaz/

I voted for Gabrielle Giffords but I’m not sure it was 100% legal. Been living in my car since Sept. The economy. What was I supposed to put down for my new address? Random dry wash off the Rillitto? Besides, where I usually slept was just a few blocks from where I used to live so I figured it’s the same.

Last Sat when I stopped for gas the cashier told me an emergency room nurse had just been in, end of her shift, said Congresswoman Giffords was DOA. So don’t feel too bad NPR & Fox. Jane @ the Chevron got it wrong too. Sunday afternoon I was going to the library to use the internet to look for work but it was warmer than it’s been for awhile, so I thought I should carpe diem & clean my “house” instead, long overdue. There’s a nice little park off of Grant that has nice thick (for Tucson) grass where I could spread out my stuff & sort through it. On the other side there was a gathering of some sort. Maybe a kid’s birthday party (though I didn’t see any piñatas).

This guy kept walking, a little stiffly, just circling & circling the park’s perimeter. When he walked by me I saw he had a big semi-auto pistol in a holster in the small of his back. What with the day before & all the rumors I wondered. Thought about calling 911. But then, second or third circuit, he walked over to check ME out – he was friendly about it, but still I could tell that’s what he was doing. That’s when I saw he had a TPD badge pinned to his belt. Maybe it was just a coincidence but I’ve lived here about 30 years & never seen that. A plainclothes cop acting like a secret service agent @ a party @ a public park. Tucson was always a pretty laid back place.

A little later a guy in the house across the street came out & put up a sign in his yard, musta been left over from the last election. He looked around defiantly after pounding it in. Next day, I found some flowers on sale @ Frys. White mums. They weren’t much, though it was half my food / gas allowance for the day. Widow’s mite. Went back to the sign. Counted out 19 flowers.

Then I thought about a relative of mine, about the same age as JLL. They just let her out of the state mental even though she begged them to let her stay. But they just said as long as she takes her meds she shouldn’t be a danger to her mom or herself or anybody. I counted out one more flower & left them by that sign that said Gabrielle Giffords For Congress.

Note: As this post reflects, there was some confusion re. what happened in Tucson on January 8 of last year. Facts were initially – sometimes still are – misreported. On January 13, 2011, I knew only that 19 people had been shot, either killed or wounded, by Jared Lee Loughner. I have since learned that there was a twentieth victim who was injured but not by gunfire. I considered “Photoshopping” the above account of my actions & changing its title in order to acknowledge that 20th casualty but felt it, if not Gollumish, at least slightly Sméagolly, more so than not, to do so.