Fiery the Angels rose, and as they rose deep thunder roll'd
Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc
- William Blake, America A prophecy.

Confessions of an Ex-Soldier, Ex-Cop and Ex-Con

Curfew and Cabbages

Friday, August 22, 2019

A couple of cops (not BR’s, but actual city beat cops) came in this morning right after we opened.

They didn’t look at me twice, city cops don’t get the fancy networked helmets and smart-ware that the private security forces do, apparently, at least not rookie foot patrollers anyway.

They ordered coffee and talked to John about putting up a curfew notice in the front window. We’d heard about the curfew already, of course. It was all over the local news this morning. There’s been looting down by the Navy base where the lights are still out and there was some kind of prayer rally in Balboa Park that turned ugly when the cops tried to break it up. The news didn’t call it a ‘riot’ exactly, but you could tell that was because somebody in Homeland Security told them not too.

I could tell John was pissed about the curfew in general, but there’s not much we can do about it. You’ve just got to love the Homeland Permanent Emergency Act, don’t you? So anyway he took the flyer and had me tape it to the front door – and he charged the cops double for their coffee, I don’t think he wants them coming back. After they left he said that it was probably better if people knew what the rules were, rather than get their heads busted because they ran out to get a 6-pack before the late show.

So, we’re under curfew between 10 PM and 6 AM. It’s not nearly as bad as the one the Feds imposed during the Peace Riots. And it doesn’t really bother me, because, well, I guess I’m used to being restricted after lights out, or just restricted in general. John was fairly fired up over it though.

“Goddamnit, Van,” he said. “How much more of this shit are Americans going to put up with? Tell me that?”

I didn’t have an answer, and I don’t think he expected one. I mean, what’s to say? The HPEA has been in place for what? Seven, eight years now and Americans are getting used it. Used to being in a permanent state of war. Used to following orders. It’s amazing to me how much has changed since I was a kid. Hell, when I was in the Army we used to swear our oaths to the Constitution, not personal loyalty to the President like they do now (Yeah, yeah, I understand why that was necessary). Nowadays people think that’s funny – swearing allegiance to a piece of paper. I don’t know, it didn’t seem funny to me back then, but things were different. I guess I was different. Congress doesn’t even talk any more about canceling the Emergency, and it’s not like talk would mean anything anyway, unless it’s the President doing the talking. So I just don’t see much point in bitching about it. And Stauch and the HPEA have made America a safer place, you have to admit that. I said something along those lines to John, and he looked at me like I’d lost my mind – but he’s a generation older than I am and I think he’s still living in the past.

We’re still cleaning up from the quake, but fortunately we haven’t had any more. It’s worse up north I guess. LA is under martial law (which should hardly be different from the norm, I doubt Angelinos will even notice). Not much news coming out of Anchorage today, but you can tell its bad up there. I saw Stauch on TV at Camp David, but didn’t catch the whole speech, just the part about staying calm and working together. He looked worried though, tired.

One of John's produce suppliers came by in the afternoon. He didn't have much, only about a quarter of what we'd ordered. And the prices have gone up again. I understand that it's different in the Midwest and the North where people can grow gardens, but here in SoCal the only place you can grow vegetables on a large scale in the San Joaquin. And the cost of water and Union labor have tripled in the last couple of years, according to John, and without the Mexicans a lot of commercial farms are going out of business. Coupled with the price of fuel (diesel is $10.15 a gallon here this week), and you just can't get produce any more. People have been trying to farm rooftops in the city, but there's only so much room - so people are forced to choose between solar panels or gardens. The supplier had a couple of bags of onions and a bunch of cabbages, and not much of anything else. John had me making coleslaw all afternoon while he was on the phone trying to find another supplier. I could tell he wasn't having much luck. He went out later and came back with a couple gallons of vinegar, so I guess we'll be making sauerkraut tomorrow.

If the current craziness would just slack off for a couple of months, maybe the country could catch its breath. I've been thinking that maybe I'd go by St. Mary's tomorrow and light a candle, it couldn't hurt.

Posted by VanDerDecken at 10:36 PM

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

I don't think swearing allegiance to a piece of paper is strange, especially since it's representative of an idea. I did it with the hippocratic oath in 2008, and again when I was sworn in to the Medical Corps in 2009.

As you say, times were different then. And I was, too. Both my oaths meant something different then than they do today.