Am I allowed to say this?

Against my better judgment I watched a few minutes of the UCSB shooter’s video.

He seemed gay to me.

Is that a thing that can or should be discussed? Even if for no other reason than to suggest that the pathology of killers might be much weirder and more complicated than we might like to think? (Because don’t we all crave easily comprehended narratives? Especially when something this awful happens?)

Can I not say it because it’s offensive to say a despicable person “seems” gay when what I mean is just I’m making a guess, a hunch based on no actual evidence, based only on a subjective perception, so subconscious I can’t even articulate it? And thus it’s skewed somehow, I can’t even know in which ways, by cultural biases, assumptions, and cruel stereotypes?

I don’t know.

Whenever I go to the source document of a story I discover or at least begin to perceive some complexity that has not survived the filtering down to me.

In this case, let me do it for you.  Let me save you an unpleasant experience and bring back the information that my perception, watching a few minutes of this guy, was that his sexual conflicts and confusions may not have been what he said they were, that he might have been deluded and confused sexually beyond just the ways he claimed he was.

Sometimes the adventure gets out of hand

Always interested in stories how people keep their minds together in solitary confinement.  Here is a good one from a NY Times obituary today, of Robert J. Flynn, “who spent five and a half years in a Com­mu­nist Chi­nese prison dur­ing the Viet­nam War, al­most al­ways in soli­tary con­fine­ment, af­ter he was shot down on a bomb­ing mis­sion.”

“I’d think of my fam­ily,” he said. “I’d plan par­ties, birth­days, an­ni­ver­sa­ries for ev­ery­one. And I would imag­ine that Kathy bought some land in Alas­ka and gold was dis­cov­ered there. And I had the biggest gold mine go­ing. I had all kinds of peo­ple work­ing for me — peo­ple I knew. And I ran a big imag­i­nary cor­po­ra­tion. That’s what I did.

And gee whiz what a great quote at the end:

“I wouldn’t want to do it again,” he told The News Jour­nal in re­call­ing his cap­tiv­i­ty. “But it was part of the ex­pe­ri­ence of my life. Life is sort of an ad­ven­ture. Some­times, the ad­ven­ture gets out of hand.”

(that’s him on the right, from UPI/NYT.  Corporate flow chart from GMP Hawaii.)




This New Yorker blog review of Patricia Lockwood‘s book reads like delightful nonsense to me.  It reminds me of writing bullshit papers for English classes.

Take this sentence

Lockwood is famous—more than thirty thousand people follow her on Twitter—but the source of her fame is almost entirely owing to her tweets and not to her poetry.

1) Does that count as “famous”?  I have no idea what famous is anymore.  My cousin Mike has fifty-seven thousand followers, is he famous?  Coffee Dad has 125,000 followers, is he famous?

2) “Lockwood is famous – look at how many Twitter followers she has – but the source of those Twitter followers is almost entirely owing to her tweets and not to a thing that is not her tweets.”

3) isn’t her whole point, the whole reason to write an article about her, that the separation between her tweets and her poetry is kinda porous?


Dianne Feinstein

Helytimes isn’t usually the place for politics.  But we’re easing back in here after a long hiatus, and something this morning got my engines a li’l fired.

A perfectly nice person who’s my friend on Facebook posted this:

Now I’m a sane person who values his time.  Not gonna comment on some guy’s Facebook post certainly.

But this one did get me steamed.

I don’t know what specific quote this is referring to, if any, where Dianne Feinstein maybe claimed she’s a gun expert because she looked at lots of pictures of guns.  No source is cited except a link to the “Cold Dead Hands Guitars, Guns And Posters Giveaway Contest.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Dianne Feinstein specifically mentioned as a villain to anti-gun control folks.

What got me steamed is that Dianne Feinstein is a terrible, terrible target to pick – pardon the metaphor – in an anti-gun control crusade.

I know hardly anything about Dianne Feinstein.

Except, one of the few things I know about her is that SHE SURVIVED A WORKPLACE GUN MASSACRE.

On November 27, 1978, disgruntled* ex-City Board of Supervisors member Dan White went to San Francisco City Hall and shot the Mayor, George Moscone twice in the chest and then twice in the head.  Then he went over and shot Supervisor Harvey Milk.

From a San Francisco Gate article on the anniversary of the shootings:

[Feinstein’s] office was on the other side of City Hall. She heard a door slam in Milk’s office, heard shots, saw the killer run out, went in herself and found Harvey Milk’s body. “I put my finger to see if there was any pulse, and it went in a bullet hole in his chest,” she said the other day. “I think of it as if it were yesterday. I remember Harvey’s body, his blood on me. I see it all.”**

With the Mayor now dead, Dianne Feinstein, president of the Board of Supervisors, became the acting mayor.

Here she is that day, around 2:30:

That’s how she became mayor.  You might say it was the major event in her political life.  In fact, if you truly hated Dianne Feinstein, then maybe you should become a gun control advocate, maybe if there’d been more gun control she would’ve just stayed as a San Francisco local politician.

Oh, also, separate incidents: some people once shot out the windows of Dianne Feinstein’s beach house (she’s super rich) and one time somebody put a bomb outside Dianne Feinstein’s window.  San Francisco was pretty weird in the 1970s.   With all that weirdness in the air, you know what Dianne Feinstein did?  Dianne Feinstein used to carry a pistol in her purse for safety.***

What makes you an expert on guns?  Shooting a lot of guns?  Knowing a lot about the mechanics, makes, models and varieties of guns?  Yes, that’s a kind of expertise.

But I dunno, in my opinion if you survive a gun massacre you get a little bit of cred on the issue of gun massacres.

My point is I wish there were some easily digestible and sharable video in which Dianne Feinstein herself made this point in such a clear, pointed manner, shutting down some chump for reals, slamming somebody who is obviously ignorant of her history with guns and gun massacres.  But I can’t find it.

Maybe my point is I wish The West Wing was still on, so Toby or Josh or best yet Leo could sum this up in a much punchier, pithier way than I ever could.


Helytimes will return to regular broadcasting as soon as possible!  Here’s a picture of a church in the Atacama desert of Chile, no filtah.



* “You always hear about ‘disgruntled.’  Is anyone ever ‘gruntled’?” – Seinfeld maybe?  Or did I make this one up?

** the account of this event on this wikipedia page seems to be slightly inconsistent with the cited source, Randy Shilts’ book The Mayor Of Castro Street.

*** Mayor of Castro Street p. 207