Messengers of Chaos

Instagram: Street People of Los Angeles

The universe keeps sending messengers. Runners. Heralds.

I picked up a young man from a house party Saturday night.  He had two brand new MacBooks tucked under his shirt. He spent the entire ride bragging to a friend on the phone how he had just stolen them from his unsuspecting hosts.

He was from Chicago, on a weekend furlough from the Marine Corps base in Twentynine Palms.  He got himself a motel room in Hollywood, hit the bars, met some girls, accepted an invitation to a house party, saw two laptops in an empty room and couldn’t think of any good reason to just leave them there and now couldn’t wait to tell people, and didn’t mind my overhearing every word.  A Marine, no less.

How much of this do we attribute to a particular morality he carried with him from Chicago and how much to a cultural understanding Los Angeles has become a City Without Handcuffs? There’s no way to know.

We are coasting on the assumptions of a high-trust society when the basis for that trust has eroded and may no longer be present.  We are behaving as though America 2019 was still operative.

Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly, “On The Town” 1949

On Friday a group of West Point cadets on spring break in Florida decided to do some blow. And why not? I would have. In fact, I did, many times, in an era of safety before the Russian roulette of drug consumption brought about by Fentanyl. Four cadets overdosed on the spot. Two more overdosed through secondary transmission while administering CPR. Six dead in the yard of the rental house, a seventh now on a ventilator.

America has lost nearly 200,00o people to drugs since the passing of George Floyd. The majority of those deaths were Fentanyl-related.  Unlike opium, which is produced around the world, the precursor chemicals are solely from China.  The distribution networks run through Mexico.

It’s almost like…a military invasion.  But no one is allowed to call it that.

If you want to sap the will of your opponents, send in a pestilence.  Like Lenin to St. Petersburg on a sealed train in April 1917, courtesy of the German Army.  By October Russia abandoned the front, and he was in the Winter Palace establishing his “dictatorship of the proletariat”.

Vladimir arrives at the Finland Station

America will take more than five months to collapse. But it won’t take twenty years either.  She is undergoing a Great Unwinding from a constitutional republic to an oligarchy run out of San Francisco and New York.  She has no enforced borders and no guaranteed rights not subject to revision by corporate managers. She has “elections” nullified by the administrative state.  Her citizens no longer possess local control of schools or zoning or bodily autonomy. The only monopoly on violence is held in trust by the media who licenses its use to preferred groups.

She is transitioning…into something of which Buffalo Bill and Davos might approve.

Counterintintuitively, Van Nuys may fare better than the rest of the country.   Most of the shitty things have happened here already. It’s baked into the cake.

The Quickening Signposts

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For the people who purport to speak on behalf of the American Blue Half….this is the answer to all social ills.  If we could just raise the marginal rate to….wait, wait a minute, is that child walking away?

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Why is it I'm seeing more scenes like this?
Why is it I’m seeing more scenes like this?
And this?
And this?

Chaos, coming

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You can feel it out there on the street now. Twenty years of sound public policy going up in smoke.

Along the Metrolink tracks, where I once saw two or three parolees and drug addicts during a single walk, I now see twenty.

At the North Hollywood Metro station, I step out of the car and a grown man on a child’s bike starts circling me as I cross the parking lot, making a whoop-whoop sound, circling tighter and tighter, till he’s almost clipping my knees, muttering incomprehensibly. A radio hangs from his neck on a string, blasting pointless static.   The Sheriff’s deputies who monitor the plaza entrance don’t lift a finger as he moves on to the next unsuspecting commuter.

On the train I meet two men with prison-issue telephone scars.  Two, in five minutes.

At home I turn on the TV and the mayor of Baltimore is granting “those who wished to destroy, the space to do that as well,”  to a backdrop of burning liquor stores and pharmacies.  The district attorney follows up by indicting six police officers for murder for failing to secure a prisoner with a seat belt.  In the ensuing month Baltimore records it highest murder rate in 40 years. Seemingly sober people appear on cable panel shows scratching their chins, wondering if cause and effect could be related.

The distance between those who effect policy and shape our discussion of it (The Clerisy, to use a term of art), and the rest of us has become unsustainably wide. There is a particular species of American who waxes sanctimonious about Social Justice but would never tolerate Section 8 tenants on his block for five minutes. They love chewing on phrases like mass incarceration, comfortable in the knowledge the parolees are headed for Van Nuys.   Such people are ascendant now.

The chaos is coming west.

I’m old enough to have seen this movie before. It doesn’t end well.