Saturday, August 23, 2014

At the End of a Long and Lawless Day, Burque Media Represents in Ferguson

Article and images (unless noted) by Frances Madeson
New Mexico is love-bombing Ferguson.

One of the most positive concrete outcomes of the police brutality movement in Albuqerque this season is the founding of a community media outlet whose focus is media justice. With all due respect, we in the activism community refer to the local corporate paper as The Albuquerque Urinal, and the alternative press while seeming to engage with many issues of concern also manages to stop well short of providing information and perspectives that would fundamentally challenge the status quo. Into this gaping void Burque Media, whose tagline is Countering Lies, Exposing Truths, was born.

Image by Dinah Vargas. "A visual exploration of what it means to be from somewhere."

Along with the state flag, the Desert Spirits banner is representing New Mexico on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri this weekend.

"I almost feel like I'm going to war, like it's a duty," Dinah Vargas, co-founder of Burque Media Productions told me about the impulse to join the fray in Ferguson. "The violence, the threat is very real. But Albuquerque's still in this. No one said we're out. I feel called to go."

Partners in Media Justice--Dinah Vargas and Steve Kramer
1,037 miles separate Albuquerque from St. Louis County, but that isn't stopping Steve Kramer. He says he's primarily impelled by a desire to demonstrate reciprocity, solidarity. "We've had people come here to join us in our struggle. It was important to us, it meant a lot. Likewise, we will go there.

"As organizers ourselves, we're sensitive to the fact that they don't want troublemakers who can hurt their cause. We understand about outside agitators. But we reached out to organizers there on the ground, and got positive feedback as to our coming. We bring that sensitivity being involved in our own community."

Within hours three vast coolers were filled with supplies for the people on the ground contributed by people in the Albuquerque Police Violence movement. Medical supplies too.

Among the truckload of contributed goods, Nora Anaya, one of the Burque 13, made sure there were healing roots and herbs used by the Curanderas healers of New Mexico. Nora explained to me:

"The healing herbs I sent were what was used in times of old, when there were no doctors for thousands of miles--roots and herbs from the cabinet. For instance clove that you might use to spice a ham could take the pain from a toothache until they could find a way to pull the tooth. Or eucalyptus oil for asthma, a few drops under the nose helps clear the passageways.

"I sent contra yerva, one of the most powerful herbs that I've encountered. When you pull it out of the earth and it dries, it becomes almost rock like. It's grated and used in powder form and would be very helpful in healing wounds from rubber bullets, for instance. I sent two bags of contra yerva, and a parmesan cheese grater.

"And I meant to give them a quick lesson on healing facial wounds before they left. The best band-aid on the face is the skin of the shell of an egg. It has proteins and you can use a little of the egg white for adhesive. Hold it down with a little bit of pressure and it becomes like a second skin."

At the Enterprise Car Rental where we went to rent the truck--rows of vehicles from various law enforcement agencies.

"We're fighting a system of unlimited resources," says Steve Kramer.

"We'll have a different presence, being from Albuquerque," Dinah explained. "We're coming as citizen journalists, community people who have been through it. When the tear gas clears, the rubber bullets have been picked up off the street, and the press goes away, it doesn't mean that the problems go away. They remain."

Joining the entourage, Ledford Thomas who will be radio blogging on Burque Media. Thomas hopes to meet the Brown family while in Ferguson.

Thomas, a retired Account Manager for Sprint, sees this moment as a "defining moment." He sees "a Nation of People coming together around this." He hopes to document "the historical moment when change DID happen. I want to be able to tell my grandson that I was there."

Our friend Isaac Mitchell, who thanks to the APD will have no grandsons from Jonathan. (Dinah's image, I think)

After hours of preparation (including picking up gas masks, just in case), it soon came time to pack up the truck. Vi from Burque Media came with her young son to give her friends a sendoff of hugs, smiles and fine words. "These are my brothers and sisters in the fight," she told me brimming with a current of high emotion. "I want to be here with them before they go. The National Guard is in Ferguson, and that's bad."

"The police are shooting people," Vi continued. "Because they feel threatened by the color of their skin, or their clothes, all these superficial reasons. This is a Class War we've been engaged in for many years now, and it's all over the country. At Burque Media we're just trying to wake people up, and bring visibility to experience and knowledge from other places."

In addition to the many visitors who had come by to drop off supplies, many emails and other messages of support were conveyed. "This is a peoples' effort," Dinah explained. "We wouldn't be on our way if it weren't for the many contributions of cash and Western Union wires we received from about fifteen contributors so far. Every time someone said I wish I could give even more, I said What you gave is exactly what we needed. And it's true.

"We're going out there, and we might not see any action," Dinah said. "But we're going to get that second story, the one from the people, the story of the community. We live the struggle every day. City Councilman Dan Harris whined that he was tired of the public comments. He doesn't know what tired is. It isn't ever over for us, it doesn't ever end for us. And I don't think it can."

To help bring our friends home from Ferguson on Monday and to support the continued work of Burque Media, won't you please consider making a generous contribution. A Go Fund Me campaign has been established HERE.

Update: Watching the raw footage Burque Media has been sharing via Ustream is everything I personally hoped for. Dinah and Steve are bringing love, soothing people with their voices, words, handshakes, embraces. I can only imagine the richness of experience they will be bringing home to New Mexico, and am so deeply and hugely proud that they are our ambassadors to Missouri.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Best People--Santa Fe Stands With Gaza

Lambchop under siege in Santa Fe. (Photos except one by Frances Madeson)
Resistance in Two Acts.

Act One

On Wednesday, July 23rd, more than 50 New Mexicans came together from Albuquerque, from Taos, and overwhelmingly Santa Fe, to condemn U.S. Senators Heinrich and Udall for action and inaction with respect to Senate Resolution 498, which Heinrich co-sponsored and Udall did not oppose. The resolution, which was passed unanimously, supports Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas' rockets, and calls for the political marginalization and de-legitimation of Hamas. 

Although there is never a good time for savagery, political or military, the Senate passed its expression of blind support for Israel after the Israeli Defense Force had already commenced the evocatively named Operation Protective Edge, its deadly ground invasion into Gaza. For this one craven act alone the U.S. Senate should please do us all a huge favor and abolish itself—what possible good can come from an oligarchic political institution capable of giving notional carte blanche to a killing-spree perpetrated on an unarmed civilian population and then backing it up with over $3 billion in annual foreign and military aid, year after year after year?

Please don't look away, these are our bloody tax dollars at work--a mind-blowing $8 million a day.

Text of the letter delivered to Senator Heinrich:

Senator Heinrich, we are delivering this message to you today, because last Thursday, just after Israel launched its invasion into Gaza, you voted for Senate Resolution 498, to endorse the assault. You voted knowing the Israeli military had already killed scores of civilians by shelling Gaza from the sea, air, and land, and that civilian casualties would increase exponentially with a ground invasion.

It is because you and others like you in the US Senate and House unanimously support Israel militarily, and economically and provide diplomatic cover and protection from international and UN condemnation that Israel feels free to imprison and blockade Gazans and deprive them of the most basic human needs including clean water, adequate food, electricity, jobs, and freedom to travel. Now with your specific endorsement and promise of protection, Israel has escalated its war on Gazans to include massive murder and maiming of civilians,destruction of their homes. hospitals, mosques, schools, water and electricity supply, their sanitation system, and any place of refuge from the IDF’s firing of bombs, missiles, mortars, and machine guns.

Senator Heinrich your continuing endorsement of Israeli actions has, as expected, resulted in massive death and destruction in Gaza. Recent counts are over 600 Gazans killed, including over 80% civilians, 4,000 wounded, tens of thousands homeless, 900,000 without potable water, all caused by the Israeli invasion. You and your colleagues have blood on your hands.

We are Santa Feans outraged by the escalating apartheid developments in Occupied Palestine and the genocide being carried out in Gaza. We demand that the U.S. immediately cease all financial and military aid to Israel until a UN monitored ceasefire is carried out, until the blockade of Gaza is lifted, and until the Occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem are ended.

Civil rights attorney Jeffrey Haas in the blue cap and his son Justin holding the bullhorn were a model of generational resistance to the generational subjugation of the Palestinians.

Former Brooklynite, long-term Santa Fean, and brother to all--activist Joe Hempfling
I asked Joe,
What did we do here today?

It was an opportunity, we were doing something. But the trick is not to be caught up in results in an Anglo-Saxon kind of mode. We're a spoke in the wheel. We changed our own hearts today. In coming today, we stepped out of our lives, business was not usual today.

And this is what we have to do: Change hearts one at a time, starting with your own. LOVE—it's time has come.

Look at how many brothers and sisters we have all over the world!

Ilse Biel, one of the Burque 13. From South Africa, Ilse became a U.S. citizen so that she could risk arrest for civil disobedience without fear of deportation.

Always inspiring to hear, Consuelo Luz heals us and soothes us while she spurs us on.

Jeff Haas, one of the organizers of the action, also read this statement (sadly since the 23rd, the number of dead Gazans has trebled!):

I am here today to protest the escalation of Israel’s ongoing war against Palestinians.

I am here today to protest the killing of over 650 Palestinians, overwhelmingly

civilians, by Israeli bombs missiles, rockets, drone strikes and machine gun bullets.

I am here to protest the wounding of over 4000 Gazans, and tens of thousands made

homeless, and hundreds of thousands of Gazan refugees fleeing for safety with nowhere to go.

I am here to protest Israel’s destruction of homes, hospitals, mosques, schools

and today ...Gaza’s only power plant. Indeed Gaza’s entire infrastructure is being

destroyed and living conditions are even worse than before the recent invasion

when they barely supported subsistence.

I am here today to protest the ongoing blockade of Gaza, the virtual caging of its

people, and the daily deprivation of even subsistence items such as clean drinking

water, adequate food, and sanitation, electricity, and the right to leave.

I am here today to stand in support of the brave Gazan people who, despite taking

horrible human losses, stand together to demand an end to their imprisonment by


I am here today because I could not stay home and be silent, after watching,

listening and knowing what Israel is doing to Gazans.

I am here today because I have witnessed firsthand the abuses that Israel inflicts

on the Palestinian people every day in Occupied Palestine including stealing their

land, demolishing their homes, building a wall to segregate and isolate them, taking

most of their water for their pools and lawns and denying Palestinians water for

household necessities and irrigation, building settlements and protecting settlers

who shoot at Palestinians trying to harvest their olives, protecting Jewish Israelis

who invade Palestinians homes in East Jerusalem and throw out the occupants.

But I am here today mostly because the US and our Congress are the financiers,

military providers, and diplomatic protectors of all of Israel’s aggression. It is the

US government that supports and enables all of Israel’s atrocities and violations of

International Law and then provides diplomatic protection by vetoing every

UN Resolution condemning Israeli action.

Most recently our Senate and House of Representative, unanimously and

shamelessly voted to support Israeli’s bombing and invasion of Gaza. No one stood

up against the demands and threats of AIPAC. They are like the gun control lobby

on steroids and no Congress person has dared to stand up for human rights and

criticize Israel for the indiscriminate and intentional killing and maiming of civilians

It is the US that guarantees Israel that all its war crimes including its illegal

Occupation of the West Bank, its blockade of Gaza, and its regular and periodic

murder and imprisonment of Palestinians will not be met with UN sanctions or even


I am here to demand that our Senators and Representatives stop all military and

economic aid to Israel, until Israel ends the Occupation of the West Bank and

East Jerusalem, ends the blockade of Gaza, stops the arrest and imprisoning of

Palestinians without charge or legal recourse, and returns Palestinian land

Occupied by settlers.

I am here, as we all are, to call for an end to the horrible massacre that the Israeli

Military is inflicting on the people of Gaza. But like the people of Gaza, we are

seeking more than a temporary ceasefire. We are seeking a recognition of the basic

human and civil rights of Gazans to live free of the deadly blockade and embargo.

As Mohammed Omar wrote in and editorial in today’s New York Times,

The terms outlined by Hamas for a cease-fire are the same

as those the United Nations has called for repeatedly: open

the border crossings; let people work, study and build the

economy. A population capable of taking care of its own

would enhance Israel’s security. One that cannot leads to


End the Siege of Gaza! Stop the Shelling of Gaza!

Gaza Gaza don’t you cry Palestine will never


Act Two

Carmen Stone, whose dear friend Santa Fean Denny Cormier is currently in Gaza risking all to keep Al Shifa hospital from being bombed by making known his physical presence there, interrupting the utterly banal meeting to speak truth to Power.

Carmen Stone, about to be ejected from the meeting, up against Tom Udall's wall of fake sunshine.

On Saturday, August 2nd, Tom Udall invited his fellow member of the white man's millionaires club, U.S. Senator Al Franken, to schmooze with the proles at the Center for Progress and Justice in Santa Fe on the occasion of something or other--opening a campaign office, I think. Franken was one of the co-sponsors of Senate Resolution 498 and the chance to bring up the urgent emergency in Gaza to the very people who had endorsed it unconditionally was an historic opportunity we could not miss--not one but two U.S. Senators had materialized from the ether to hear our pleas and cries and demands.

Leslie Lakind, another brother to all, with Erin Currier

On Cerrillos about 40 people were standing with signs and other props. Susan Tarman from Amnesty International Santa Fe was there juggling three clipboards, each with a petition to Heinrich, Udall and Congressman Lujan.

Did the Democrats call the police?

Yes, they most certainly did.

It was really beautiful to see the Udall supporters in full regalia coming out to support the protest. One had to respect the sight of them there asserting their belief in a system of governance they still believe to be substantively affectable by citizen input. Though I personally do not share their worldview--I no longer believe that our institutions are salvageable and I am breathlessly waiting for them to topple of their own internal rot--I admired them for having the courage of their convictions in their own context.

Eta Gordon, one of the best of the best

I greeted Jeffrey Haas and shook his hand with overwhelming respect. I hadn't had a chance to tell him personally how very much I had admired his latest brief on the Mora County Anti-Fracking Ordinance, and what a great pleasure it was to read. It goes to the heart of the matter and stays there beating steadily, page after page. Each succeeding argument adds strength to the ones that preceded until the cumulative effect is one of undeniable intellectual triumph. It is a mighty challenge to the premises and merits of big Oil and Gas' right to bring their suit in the first place. I was in the presence of a towering legal figure, and I felt appropriately thrilled.

The senators were late. I don't know what happened earlier in the day at the Albuquerque action at the Peace and Justice Center where a similar event was staged, but whatever it was had clearly rolled off their backs like rain off a couple of duckies. The duo waddled in completely relaxed, even jocular. Franken in a $1,600 suit looking primped and pampered, wearing his wealth and power easily, a deep entitlement oblivious to privilege, which in his remarks he mistook for "luck." Udall knows better than to flash his opulence back home. His preppier-than-thou ensemble couldn't have been more Inside the Beltway, and his yellow polo shirt matched his campaign poster. It occurred to me that his handlers might be trying to insinuate a subliminal homophonic associative message--sun, son, reflected glory of his father who, as these things go, was known as a man of principle.

Al's tie is also a perfect match with Udall's campaign poster. It's not just colors that these two coordinate.

Udall, it turns out, is a deeply mediocre speaker who knows his audience and gives them exactly what they want--a patrician's reassurance of continuity, the sense that the familiar world of traditional platitudes and hegemony the white-haired audience has always held dear is still operational, the benign and benevolent wizard yet reigns unexposed behind the curtain. For that illusion they'll tolerate even his inane crassness--Udall introduced Franken as a grandfather, a pater familias, who could've made great sums of money in show biz, but was slumming in the U.S. Senate. As if his public service was some kind of sacrifice, and not the ticket to a Swiss bank account that it likely is.

A union hall for the NM film industry, the room itself is accustomed to show biz.

It was a great relief when Jeff Haas interrupted the meeting to talk about the war crimes in Gaza, but like Carmen, he was escorted by security out of the building. One of the well-heeled Democrats said to no one and everyone sotto voce about Jeff--He's an asshole. I saw the Dem's face when he said it-- ratlike, pinched, distorted with contempt. I can only hope his karma delivers him to this post or that he somehow otherwise comes to be confronted with the picture of the child above, and recalls his slur.

I held up my impromtpu sign, scrawled quickly on a page from my notebook--ABOLISH THE U.S. SENATE. Franken squinted to read it then gave me a look like, C'mon now, lady. I wish I could say that I had flustered him and that that was the reason his remarks were so diffuse and insincere sounding. But I have seen Al do his shtick before at a DLC21 event in Manhattan, and he was similarly vague and unimpressive. In Santa Fe his biggest laugh line involved a child and a microwave, but that didn't stop him from getting a standing ovation from the polite Santa Fe Democrats, who no doubt wanted to send him off with a good impression of their club.

To be honest, this Al's far more entertaining. Maybe Udall can get him to come rouse the troops!

Kay Matthews at La Jicarita has a good write-up of the event too, and hers includes a vid of Carmen being shouted down, and ousted. Somewhere Eleanor Roosevelt is not pleased. There's quite a lively comment thread following the post, though my last comment didn't manifest. I'll end with it:

Mr. Gomez:
I fear you’re missing the point of interrupting the meeting while the senators were present, although it’s a simple principle: Speaking truth to Power. (Not to the sycophantic aides or folks who were there to see a former tv star, be seen by Udall, or snack on some free refreshments.)

If you’ve been paying attention then you know by now that Operation Protective Edge is pretty much a natural gas grab tarted up to look like something else. and

Your precious Democratic senators went along with a military assault on an unarmed civilian population to get better business terms for Halliburton. Why don’t you spend some time thinking about the implications of that? Especially for New Mexico, given this state’s beholdenness to big Oil and Gas, not to mention its colonial history–past, present and future?

Bianca Sapoci-Belnap and babe

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

And the APD MRAP Goes to This Lucky Winner...

The Albuquerque Journal reported that APD’s 14-foot-tall, 45,000-pound Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle – aka MRAP – is going away.

Dear Ms. Madeson:

On behalf of Chief Gordon Eden and the entire Albuquerque Police Department, I am delighted to inform you that you have been selected as the winner in the “Take This MRAP Home Today” lottery

We've filled up the gas tank with the requisite 284 gallons, and the keys are in the ignition waiting for you. (Lucky monogrammed four-leaf clover keychain provided by APD Forward.)

The entire SWAT Team is detailing your new vehicle as I write this, and they're really putting their backs into it, getting in all those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. It's a great community event,so please come on down and pick up your unique prize today!

Very truly yours,

Janet Blair
Communications and Community Outreach Director
Albuquerque Police Department

Dear Ms. Blair:

Thank you so much for reaching out, but there must be some mistake as I'm pretty sure that I never entered the lottery. I eschew lotteries in general and especially have no need of an armored vehicle at this time. My Honda Fit is adequate for my transportation needs, and the few times a year when it snows, I just stay home. Plus, my trusted landlords assure me that there are no landmines on our property and none reported ever in the Santa Fe County vicinity. They are, however, concerned that at over 10 ft. high, it won't fit under my carport.

But thank you for thinking of me, and best of luck with scrapping it.

Thanks, but no thanks,

Frances Madeson

Image by Charlie Grapski
Dear Ms. Madeson:

How silly of me. I just conferred with Mayor Berry who has it on good authority from CAO Perry who got it from Chief Eden that we, by which I mean the City of Albuquerque, are throwing in a new carport.

It seems you and I both neglected to read the fine print, but fortunately ACLU-NM Exec. Dir. Peter Simonson, who's really good at this kind of thing, alerted us to the fact that down at the bottom in the teensiest of lettering is the proviso that a height-appropriate carport is indeed part of your winnings.

Please expect representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers in the next 72 hours to arrive at your casita to begin construction.

Also, I've checked the weather for the next few hours and while we might get some always welcome precip (we are in the throes of monsoon season after all), it's nothing your new MRAP can't handle. If it were to hail grapefruits, cantaloupes or even watermelons, your new MRAP, as I'm sure you already know, was built to withstand improvised explosive devices (IEDs). I'm wholly confident that your new MRAP can take Mother Nature's very worst, assuming it arrives, at least until we get that new rust-resistant carport up for you.

All to say, we really need you to get yourself down here with a valid NM driver's license before the end of business today. I'm sure you understand as the savvy lottery winner that you are that it would be a boon for all concerned if your bon voyage christening (we're prepared to smash an entire magnum of New Mexico's own Gruet Brut courtesy of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce) made this evening's television news.

Not to pressure you unduly, but KOAT, KRQE, and KOB are all running with the story as their lead. In fact, all of the really relevant footage has already been shot, we just need a smiling you behind the wheel getting on I-25 North heading up to the State's capitol.

And if we make the 6 o'clock broadcasts, as an extra bonus, City Council Prez Ken Sanchez himself plans to escort you to the Bernalillo County line!

With every good wish,

Janet Blair
Communications and Community Outreach Director
Albuquerque Police Department

P.S. An investigative reporter at KRQE has rather urgently inquired if you've thought of an affectionate pet name for your new MRAP yet? If not, please don't sweat it, we'll make one up for you. See you shortly!
Rob Perry as imaginatively rendered by Albuquerque imagist Dinah Vargas. (I must ask her what that P stands for.)
Dear Ms. Blair:

Whoa, whoa, whoa there, lady! I've just had a very concerning phone call from my Geico rep, who informs me that the annual insurance premiums for what you keep insisting is “my MRAP” will break my personal piggy bank. I'm not even waiting for my accountant to get back to me with the personal property tax consequences to tell you the following in no uncertain terms: please don't look for me at the christening ceremony. I find I have an unalterable pre-existing scheduling conflict.

I really must encourage you to find another lucky winner.


Frances Madeson

Chief Gordon Eden ready for his close-up. I must remember to ask Dinah why he doesn't have a P?

Dear Ms. Madeson:

Well, this is awkward, but I regret to inform you that your winnings (MRAP and carport) are not transferable. Civil rights specialist Simonson was adamant on that point. Or as he put it just moments ago, "Tell her I've gone back as far as the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and there's simply no wiggle room."

But I do have some marvelous news. APD Officers Anthony Sedler and Ramon Ornelas, just back on duty after the unfortunate shooting of alleged car-thief Jeremy Robertson (multiple bullets fired into his back as he fled from them), have volunteered on their own dime to deliver your now gleaming MRAP to your home. Not exactly sure of their ETA, but after dark for sure.

It's been a pleasure corresponding with you on this matter.

All best to you,

Janet B.

Dear Ms. Blair:


Sunday, July 13, 2014

James Boyd's (And Our) Hell

I'm participating in a group project to transcribe the 40 police interviews conducted in the aftermath of the infamous and ignoble shooting of James Boyd in the foothills of the Sandia mountains.  Here is the first snippet of the interview conducted with APD's Scott Weimerskirch the day after he voluntarily joined the death squad that ended the mentally ill homeless man's life. Not a shred of remorse. Sometimes words just speak for themselves.

Okay, today's date is Monday March 17th, 2014, it's approximately 13:42 hours and this is Detective Jeff Stone with the Albuquerque Police Department here at the Family Advocacy Center at 625 Silver. We are here investigating an Officer Involved Shooting that occurred up in the foothills area near 812 Piedra Vista, NE. This is in reference to case number 140023683. Present in the room, state your name: Agent Hal Page, New Mexico State Police. Also, Sean Wallace, APD. And we are here interviewing Scott Wiemerskirch.

Stone: Scott, can you just tell me who your employer is?

Wiemerskirch: City of Albuquerque as a police officer.

Stone: And what unit are you assigned to?

Wiemerskirch: I'm assigned to the Tactical Canine Unit under the Special Operations Division.

Stone: How long have you been assigned there for?

Wiemerskirch: Almost seven years.

Stone: What's your call sign?

Wiemerskirch: 754

Stone: And your man number?

Wiemerskirch: 2774

[Spelled his name]

Stone: Scott, how long have you been on the department?

Wiemerskirch: I started the Police Academy July of 99, so a little over 14 years.

Stone: Awesome. Alright man just run through me, I'll give you the floor, from start to finish, everything that you can recall about what you did last night.

Wiemerskirch: Last night, I was actually secondary on call. For a canine request. And shortly, probably around 17:30 hours I got a call from radio control from dispatch advising canine request to the foothills in reference to a guy that was armed with knives and threatened open space, officers, camping up there.

Upon hearing the call right away I was kind of concerned about that because, it's something like, they were saying that they told him, Don't come any closer otherwise they were going to beanbag him, things of that nature.

So at that point I asked them if they'd advise I believe ______________ who's also actually a lieutenant, and I advised here that I'd be also be able to help. Getting dressed to go to the call Officer Ken Ronzone who was the primary came in on the call, called me, and told me what was going on, and I told me I'd be there also, because concern of that time of the day, it was actually nice, the weather was nice, and I'm actually familiar with that area somewhat from biking and stuff and trail running. But realizing on a Sunday that if we got a guy up in the foothills in that area in open space, there's a lot of people and I'd want to have resources to try to contain him and stop him from moving around.

Along route to the call I heard there was another call in the valley which I originally was going to go to, but then hearing this I actually, I called Sergeant Silver who I was actually covering for, advising him of what was going on and I told him I was going to call another dog to handle the call in the valley. Because this, one based on the things I told you earlier, I thought it was a little bit more urgent.

Stone: Okay.

Wiemerskirch: So I continued on and proceeded from I-25 to I-40 to Tramway to Copper to turn in off La Cueva. And when I went on scene, even prior to that I was asking as I came up Copper ,if I needed to come off the top of the trailhead to provide self containment, or if I should come up to where they were at.

Officer Ken Ronzone advised me that I should just come up to where they were at. And also to deploy with my dog, and we went to the house at the address that you had mentioned, there's a gate to the backyard you go out to the open space. When I arrived on scene things I was concerned about...when I deploy I put on a headset to try to keep radio traffic down to a minimum. And grabbed my police service dog and proceeded to the gate. When I came out to the gate, I looked up to the east and I could actually see a guy in an elevated position above us by a formation of rocks, yelling down at a field officer and, also it was Officer Keith Sandy and Rick Ingram. The sergeant on scene was Jason Carpenter and I saw Ken Ronzone. Officer Ken Ronzone was talking about pulling people back down off the hill to create more distance. I also ran into Pat Hernandez to try and verify charges.

Basically what they told me is they're telling this guy to leave, and when they went up there he was in a camp, they told him, Look let me see your hands, they challenged him to come forward and he showed his hands and he actually pulled knives out of his pockets. So based on that they were saying they had him on Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer, so we had felony charges, and the guy was just real irate was what they were telling me. And I could even hear him up from up top of the hill yelling and throwing his hands up. When they wanted us to back up... Jeff McFarland had called me prior to me leaving my house and he says, Hey I heard this call and do you want me to head up that way?, and I was like yeah I could use the manpower.

After we were down below, I told the guys, Let's not back up. My concerns at that point that we had him out in the open to talk and all, but he had a camp, he had not been searched by any officer, he'd already showed aggressive violence toward officers, he was even making comments that he'd kill people. Concern I had is, I don't know what else is in his camp and I wanted to keep him in a position where he didn't have such an advantageous position such as high ground or a position of cover to engage us in case in his camp he did have a rifle, a gun or something. Because of the close proximity to not only the houses, but to the south there's people, there's even people that were occasionally passing on the trail down below and I felt if we backed up, and this guy went mobile we were putting the public in jeopardy also.

So I took that Officer McFarland to go to the south I wanted _______ and another officer went with him cause I wanted to have eyes on into that camp area, or the rocks where he was recessed back into, and I moved up down below with Officer Keith Sandy and Rick Ingram, and at the same time I was trying to have Officer Ken Ronzone take a team and go to the north, and started giving the positions out to flank the individual and also provide containment.

Even from our position, you can still any time you got a guy in an elevated position there and the position of disadvantage which was a concern ... when I initially got up there, we started talking to him and trying to find a viable, based on the crime of the felony, see if there was a viable deployment of a dog. And from that lower position there's a lot of cactus bushes, rocks, that the dog would have to encounter to try to go up there and it wasn't viable at all. It wouldn't have been a practical tool cause if he saw the dog coming, and he was in a position to observe that, that he could actually try to circumvent those tactics.

And I told the guys when they got up there that from here the dog would not be practical.

When I got there really no one was having any dialogue with him, so I tried to talk to him and told him you know, Sir, what's going on? I might have even called him dude, just trying to get him to talk and he started to explain how everything from the economy's going to collapse in five months, said his money, his identity taken away, was really upset about things, and he made mention of everything from white collar crime. And he's tried to talk to APD before but he's CSO and they pretty much kicked him out. And just irate with the whole system and he didn't get ahold of OSI and CIV, so now I'm thinking he's military too, and we need to do that stuff because you know we can't do anything, and I told him you know a) APD's here now, why don't we walk off this mountain and we can go talk abut this.

And then he, you know, he corrected me, It's not a mountain, it's a hill, and you guys don't have the right, and he said basically, he kept on referring to State Police about talking to them cause in my dialogue with him he was just getting irate. You know, Put down the knives and come down the hill. You don't have the right to do that. At one point during this whole interaction, on the lower part, he actually pulled out a knife in his right hand, and he made all kinds of gestures of throwing his hands up just really irate even to the point of, you know, You guys come up here. His whole demeanor was you know basically he was going to kill all us, and ________me at one point he even called me a punk and was going to kill me, and he kept on mentioning the State Police so actually I was...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Slimy Passage: In Defense of Ed Champion (And Everything We Hold Dear)

By Goodloe Byron

The other day my friend Ed Champion wrote and published a prolix screed about the stranglehold on discourse and literary style in the hands of the grossly untalented few in American letters who are rewarded for nonsense and worse by the powers that be in corporate publishing. He amped it up by concentrating his attention in this piece exclusively on some of the female offenders (the pictures alone are priceless), and got in big trouble with the gatekeepers of the status quo. "He's after our womenfolk, circle the wagons!"

In fact, there's a very ugly pile on, and in the din made by those calling for his big beautiful head on a platter, the word "misogyny" is being recklessly bandied about. It's often an absurd charge akin to "Witch!," but in this case it rings especially hollow. Ed is no misogynist, I am certain of it, in fact I'm offended on his behalf, and I'm not easily offended. As charges go it's not only scurrilous, it's unsupportable. Even a cursory glance (or listen) to the hundreds of substantive interviews with women writers available in his archives make that rapidly and undeniably evident.

So why was it reached for, the laziest most convenient and damning slur? Curse you Ed Champion, you're a ..uh...uh...uh...misogynist!

All the usual reasons I imagine--to discredit and demonize him in order to neutralize his critique, which  at the end of the day, is powerful! If it were not powerful would Newsweek  bother insisting/dictating that he must NOT be engaged with...?

Evocation of the M word is an efficient way to blow Ed away instead of having to deal with him, in this case with his sulfurous furor at being so outrageously excluded from a livelihood in letters, even a meager one, while others in possession of talents far inferior have second acts, third acts, and beyond. I imagine for someone so invested in the possibility of a reformed corporate publishing industry as Ed is (many of us have long ago given up that ghost), watching someone as pathetically ungifted as Gould get another shot at a readership must be akin to watching Dick Cheney resell another invasion of Iraq. Are we really going to lose Fallujah again?

I feel him, not only because he's a friend, but because his cause is just--Ed's got chops in spades, his work is full of vividities such as this one from the essay in question:

"But she’s still the same scabrous and manipulative opportunist that she was when she deflowered a 14-year-old boy at the age of seventeen."

That's a marvelous mouthful spoken aloud, and the collection of words sends a postcard directly to the right frontal-lobe, the site in the brain where humor resides. On the level of vocabulary alone he's formidable--e.g. scabrous. With that one word Ed conjures adolescent knees, injury, and (extending the joke a little further) the freshly fornicated boy skating off on his skateboard with alacrity, maybe checking his billfold wondering why it's now far lighter... But let's face it, Ed Champion could recuperate the entire OED and the score would still be Ed Champion: no way, Emily Gould: yes please. Who's making these crazy-making decisions? On what possible basis?

For heaven's sake Ed doesn't hate Emily Gould personally any more than you or I do; I doubt he hates anyone. But he probably hates, and if so I think rightly, how low corporate publishing has gone in degrading itself. And who better to exemplify that nadir than Gould whose crassness is her trademark (Ed didn't invent or exaggerate that). That's ALL her.

From accounts in the media I gather that the most offending sentence from Gould's perspective was this: "But when a minx’s head is so deeply deposited up her own slimy passage, it’s often hard to see the sunshine."

I love that line--it really makes you think. What's Gould's problem with it? Is it "minx?" Does she want to try and deny that she's an impudent and cunning woman? After all, this is the woman who by her own admission instructed her publisher's publicist  to say that she was "the voice of her generation."  Sorry, but minx is legit.

What did she think he meant by this term--"slimy passage"--that renders it a woman-hating statement? Slimy has several meanings: 1) covered in slime (I don't think he meant that), and 2) very dishonest, bad or immoral. (I would choose this one given the context of what he was talking about, spreading baseless gossip for profit.) Passage means 1) a long, narrow space that connects one place to another, 2) a narrow space that people or things can move through, or 3) an act of moving or passing from one place or state to another. (No. 3-ding, ding, ding!)

Ed is a skilled and nuanced writer, chances are excellent that he's not even saying the lowlife thing she imagines he is. If I had to put money on it, given the context of the statement, I'd say that he was referring to her lax business practices at Gawker. Her head (meaning her thoughts, her intentions) was focused on  how she could move herself forward along her trajectory towards being a well-compensated ($200,000 for her first tome) professional author. The word "deposited" should give us a clue. This is money talk, not body parts. In all honesty I ask, how is this misogynistic?

Okay, one might say there's ambiguity in the statement. He's generous like that, he's not going to insist on any particular reading. But if this is how Ms. Gould reads, how do you think she writes?!

 Even if Ed were saying, and I don't think he was, that she's got her head up her ass (a common put down--so and so has his head up his ass, meaning blinded to his own actions) how is this misogynistic?

The only way I can torture this phrase into something woman-hating is if he was saying that she had her head up her twat. But this is a leap, there's absolutely no textual proof! Furthermore, it's totally counter intuitive that Ed, who is in a long-term and loving relationship with a lovely accomplished young woman (with an awfully good head on her own shoulders), and who wishes to advance in traditional publishing, which everyone knows is a female-dominated business, would disparage a vagina by calling it a slimy passage. That's ALL Gould's hermeneutics, you can't put that on Ed, at least not and look at yourself squarely in the mirror without cringing.

And you cannot, you must not, condemn a man, especially a writer who has spent years carrying hot boiling water for Literature, for a crime as truly serious as woman-hating without better proof than that.

 Not on my watch.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Power has greatly abused its authority in New Mexico and some of us are trying to do something about that in various arenas, but particularly in the struggle to end police violence in Albuquerque. We're confronting power, we're directly challenging the people who lay exclusive claim to it, and we're rebalancing the power relations between us. 

Our efforts must be working quite well, because the city administration's tactics are gaining in repugnance what they lack in credibility—witch-hunts of one stripe or another, patently obvious perversions of our own institutions to punish us for defiance in the face of lawlessness. For what is Unconstitutional Policing if not the zenith of lawlessness?

The results of a new KRQE poll are telling. As is this remarkable video footage of what is being purported to be the basis of a felony charge ludicrously pending against David Correia, one of the Burque 13.

More Dirty Dancing than the Dirty Dozen, I'd say.

In grossly over-charging  David (as the video plainly shows and the New Mexico Mercury reports) Power's lackeys do our job for us--eyes are opening to injustice; people, and not just White people, are shaking off their stupor.

According to the autopsy report, Mary Hawkes,19, took three kill shots. Bullets at a downward angle entered her ear, neck and shoulder. APD Officer Jeremy Dear, her acknowledged shooter, is still at large.
The sheer fact of the over-charge, however, the show of force it represents, is presumably intended to have a chilling effect on our ever-growing coalition. But with a pile of five dead bodies this Spring of Sorrows, Mary Hawkes' among them, the over-charge is having the opposite effect—it's warming us up, instead. And in case you were wondering how low some alleged journalists can go...?


In threatening the mother of the boy in the video with "child endangerment charges,” a boy whose father was killed by the APD (they forgot to mention that in their story), they have succeeded in pissing off just about everybody else not already outraged by the killings. 

COA Rick Perry wants the boy's mother to sink to her knees in fear and despair, but before that happens he'll have to get past:

Nora Anaya

 Dinah Vargas

Frances Madeson

and a few other uppity women we know.

Further attacking our friend's family is a non-starter. Ditto to not-so-subtly threatening parents who bring their kids to marches and rallies. Somehow I don't see that message going over so well with the Respect Albuquerque Women coalition. Not at all. In trying to terrorize a single mama of three with the state-sanctioned kidnapping of her children, they've probably quadrupled our attendance at Roosevelt Park. And damn if Dinah didn't see them coming when she created this!

More information at

Plus, I hear we've successfully booked Mala MaƱa! So whatever else happens on Summer Solstice at Coal and Sycamore, it's going to be a spirited day of beautiful music, dancing and community.

Speaking of the human community, I just sent this lady a letter. It only takes a minute. 

Chair-Elect Mary Lynn Roper - NM Broadcaster's Foundation
President/General Manager KOAT-TV
Albuquerque, NM 87125-5982

Charlie gave me the idea. My letter reads:

Dear Ms. Roper:

I don't know whether you were sabotaged, blindsided or undermined by staff, but this propaganda parading as journalism is on you. With so much at stake, we're all watching you very closely to see how quickly and well you handle it. Good luck.

I am also posting this letter online as part of the "Over-Charging" blogpost on Written Word, Spoken Word. Please feel free to respond in the comments so everyone may have the benefit of your answer.

With every good wish for a thorough Spring cleaning,

Frances Madeson

Sent to Roper via email on 6/7/14