No Comment

You may have noticed that we at the ‘Rag have been conspicuously silent on the biggest local news story of the last week, the shooting and murder that took place in Midtown this last weekend. You may or may not know that we here writers don’t work in concert, don’t get together and discuss these things much. We’re all pretty much independent in what we choose to write about about. Which is to say, I don’t speak for all at the ‘Rag when I say that I haven’t been able to write anything about last weekend’s shooting because I honestly don’t know what to say.

One thing I do know is that this type of killing is horrible and crushing to loved ones and friends of those involved. My heart goes out to all those affected. I don’t, however, agree with those who think that discussing this as a civic issue is somehow callous given the gravity of the taking of a human life. This is a civic issue that we need to discuss.

All that being said, however, I don’t know what to say or do to make Midtown (my neighborhood by the way) any safer. I also don’t know what type of programs, preventative or otherwise, we can undertake to keep 2nd Saturdays a vibrant and exciting community festival.

I’ve learned little from reading the Bee’s coverage of the events other than that local officials are “working on it,” which is good, and makes me feel a little lax for not being able to supply my own two cents to my government on how this entire situation has affected me as a resident and as a worker in the area. Worse, however, is the lack of instructive feedback given by the Bee’s usual cadre of sniping, narrow-minded commenters who, as always, appear more interested in insulting each other than offering critical feedback.

I spend most of my weekends performing at the Sacramento Comedy Spot (20th & J), and can say that 2nd Saturdays have been both a blessing and a curse for us as artists and performers. A blessing in that it brings people from all over the region right to our front door; a curse because the insanity that typically surrounds 2nd Saturday keeps many of our frequent customers away.

I’m well aware that our commenters here have a pretty unique and usually smart vision of what’s going on around town, and I guess I wanted to put this issue out there after nearly a week-long silence to see if anyone has anything constructive to say on how we move forward and how we make our city a better city for everyone.

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25 thoughts on “No Comment”

  1. What is happening to 2nd Saturday seems very similar to what happened to Thursday Night K st Market during the 90’s. When it first started it was a great place to go, spend some money and take in what Sacramento had to offer. Over time though, the word got out, and it was overrun with people/kids who had nothing better to do with their time then be where other people would be. A couple of fights and shootings later and the whole thing was shut down.

    Will this be the fate of 2nd Saturday? My guess is yes. Sacramento has a long history of just shutting down things that cause problems instead of actually spending the time to figure out what to do to solve them. It’s a real shame too, because a whole lot of business have come to rely on 2nd Saturday to keep their doors open.

    My suggestion is ramp up the police presence by 300% at least. There needs to be a police officer on every other corner. I know to some, that may seem a bit harsh, and to others it may seem like a waste of money. I disagree, Sacramento needs 2nd Saturday. Sacramento can grow if 2nd Saturday can grow and flourish. It needs to be a priority, to give an identity and culture to a city that has never had a very pleasurable identity.

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  2. The problem with progressive society (whatever that means, but which I support), is this: Children are treated like adults with rights.

    Children need to be treated like children.

    Adults who discharge their children onto the streets such that the rest of us are responsible for modeling behavior and providing object lessons regarding appropriate social interactions? These adults have abdicated their role as parents.

    It’s my understanding the vast majority of problems folks perceive on Second Saturday can be traced to behaviors enacted after the sanctioned event is officially over.

    LoriO and I have been at Tapas, for example, after Second Saturday and were dismayed by the number of kids (under 21) milling around the MARRS complex… apparently doing nothing “commercial” and simply cruising on foot… and there was an air of hostility, and this was months before the shooting.

    They — those in power — claimed there would be a curfew, yet there is a disparity between 18 and 21, such that they can’t really tell 3 years worth of “legal adult” punks to just go home, although said punks can’t go sit at a bar and happily spend money on alcohol, like a reasonable adult.

    So, I’m afraid it comes down to the obvious: We’re going to have to kill everyone under 21 but older than 17. A cull, I think they call it in rural areas. I guess it could also be considered a harvest, of sorts.

    Yes, it will be somewhat jarring and potentiall painful for a few parents for a few weeks — but, again, those folks already abdicated their responsibility to the rest of us, and thus left it up to us to deal with the problems they refused to solve, themselves.

    And yes, I’d probably be open to other suggestions, and may even come up with a few sound alternatives, myself, if I wasn’t already drunk.

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  3. Lunar: The problem is that we don’t have 300% as many cops to spare. It was a stretch for Midtown Business Association to pay an extra 5 officers this much, upping the number of police from 20 to 25. Even then, more enforcement isn’t necessarily the best answer–often that just increases the tension and the number of confrontations.

    I have flamed at great length about this on several online forums already, and while it may not seem like it, I do kind of have a life, so my time is limited. Basically, we need to expand Second Saturday in space and time: introduce some Second Saturday elements to other weekend nights or every day of the month (like street busking, street vending, street food) and expand Second Saturday into more neighborhoods (it is already extending down along the R Street corridor, but add Downtown, Del Paso Boulevard, Oak Park and maybe even Broadway to the mix.)

    The objective is to replace the current feast-or-famine approach with a larger overall level of foot traffic and interesting things to do in the city. Instead of 20,000 people once a month, 3000-5000 people 10 times a month. The end result is actually more traffic to businesses, but without the massive Second Saturday parking mess, traffic jam, crowd surge, and greatly increased need for police presence.

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  4. I found myself in the same situation as Eats when I heard about the shooting (about 5 minutes after it happened, ain’t technology grand?). I simply had nothing to say. We all know that this was an inevitable occurrence…Somebody was going to die on SS.

    Yet, this happens all the time. People get murdered in Sacramento and coincidence does not equal causation. The thing that pissed me off the most about this situation (besides the whole murder thing) is that it was re-framed the conversation to “how do we protect innocent people on SS” from “how do we make SS a community event that doesn’t make the community hate SS”. Because, for the record, I hate SS. I refuse to even drive through Midtown past 4pm on SS and I thank god that I don’t live in Midtown anymore for that specific reason. But I don’t think the biggest problem with SS is violence or public safety.

    Wburg has the correct answer, but answers are much easier than solutions. It should not be a choice between feast and famine, but how do we do this? It also shouldn’t rest on the shoulders of MBA or other small, underfunded community groups. This requires planning on a large scale. It requires collaboration and trust. We need to show that we can have a party without shitting ourselves, crashing the car and knocking up the neighbor’s cat.

    I hope that Sacramento can prove that we are grown-ups and can handle it. Unfortunately, part of this solution may be making sure that the kids are not invited to the grown-up party. Maybe another part of the solution is making sure that the kids table is fun enough that they will want to hang out there.

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  5. Okay, I stand corrected–the last train departs at 9 PM and they stop running about 10 PM. Which is still before the bar/club explosion happens at Second Saturday. I suppose I didn’t get the joke because I don’t consider “jests” based on steretotypes that funny.

    stickie: MBA isn’t enormous, but they are big enough to have paid staff and regular funding sources (due to the PBID), which makes them the most powerful organization in the neighborhood. They are working on some solutions,in conjunction with the neighborhoods, but the process has been slow. Hopefully things will speed up now that more people realize the potential stakes.

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  6. I’m with Stickie. I hate SS. I haven’t been to one since last spring, when I saw two drunks screaming and pushing each other off the sidewalk and into the people who were actually trying to get into an art gallery. I don’t want to see it end, but there has to be a way to make it adult-friendly again: I mean, like getting people to act like adults at a community cultural event.

    @RiverParkEric- I live in South Sac and gotta say my neighbors act a lot better than the people I’ve seen in Midtown on SS nights. I doubt if any of them have the time to waste at SS. On Saturday evenings they’re usually out playing basketball with their kids or organizing pickup soccer games at the neighborhood park.

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  7. It seems to me that when the cheap t-shirt and garbage jewelry people set up their over priced merchandise tables, the real interest in art and enjoying a community event died and the swarms descended. SS has become cheap and tawdry.

    If people like me stop going (people interested in art, may actually buy something small if it is offered, buy dinner & drinks)and lots of people in my category have stopped going, then SS doesn’t have a chance. If all Sacramento is capable of offering is a slightly scary garbage booth festival, have fun. I’ll stay home.

    As far as I’m concerned, the SS that I know and love has been gone for awhile and I am done testing out this new beast. I don’t get free cups of 2 buck chuck and some cheese while I push through crowded art galleries and enjoy an evening walk with my husband. I get 2 hours of pushing and shoving with some of my favorite galleries closed and crazy loud “music” and vendors trying to sell me their “art” for $100 a photocopy out of the trunk of their car.

    So… there is no point in mourning the potential loss of Second Saturday. It’s already gone. Perhaps we should re-name the event to avoid confusion. Second Saturday overpriced garbage fest? Slightly Scary Second Saturday(SSSS)?

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  8. How about a “Take Back Second Saturday” protest march? Get a mass of Midtowners, make signs that say things like “Go Back To Rocklin,” “Hipsters Get Out,” “Your Band Sucks,” “Ultra Lounges Are Lame,” “Get A Real Gallery,” etcetera, and march up J Street telling everyone to go home.

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  9. In August I heard car loads of guys driving around yelling things like “fvck Oak Park” “The Heights aint $h1t.” and so on. It was just going to happen at some point with that element out there. I agree that 2nd Saturday died a long time ago. If I enjoyed SS I would be in Oak Park or DPH on a regular basis. I am only 25 and most people I know hate SS right now. It is a good reason for us to go see what is going on in the city, Folsom or Roseville. Customer service at bars I pay the light bill for turns to crap on SS. Everyone is treated like a problem starter.

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  10. Aw! All the touchy feely-good people who now have responsibilities in the real world aren’t respecting all “cultures” any more. Brings a tear to my eye that the sheen of innocence and doe eyed acceptance of all “cultures” can so easily be wiped away by reality. Welcome to the real world kids. As I’ve said many times: Shootin’ and stabbin’ and stealin’ is part of my culture. If you disrespect my culture, I’ll shoot n’ stab you. So back off while I use “your” property however I want. An’ where’s my stimulus money?!?

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  11. Turty, what the touchy feely people say is don’t lump people in to a culture because of their skin tone. However if they act like, sound like, smell like, judge away. These people should have been chased away the second they started acting like fools.

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  12. Ah- “acting,” “smelling,” and “sounding” like… So we are talking about chasing people away based on a certain type of car “they” drive? Type of music? Certain type of food “they” eat? A certain age, way of speaking, walking, and living in a certain part of town? Certain manner of carrying weapons (Sikh much, anyone?)? A certain style of dress or manner of spening money?

    Maybe Nick can list all the ways “those people” “act” that gives them away as fools that should be segregated. Maybe segregated into their own “seperate but equal” Second Saturday? Careful Nick- you don’t want to list any foods/style of speach/music or cars that might tip your hand here, and show that you associate anything with a person’s skin tone and their “culture.”

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  13. wburg may be onto something with his midtowner protest march idea.

    But if you really want to fight fire with fire, then midtowners should form a gang. Could be called the Old Soul Locos.

    If you piss them off they will attack with a volley of thick framed glasses and retro bicycles.

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  14. Word, Mr. DMZ! Or the actists, smellists or soundists. . . As a “person of unique odor,” (/olfactorily challenged/poopie pants) I resent being stereotyped by people like Nick.

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  15. Turty, When I see yo drinking from a handle in the street you look like a fool. When I see you standing in the street for no good reason you look like a fool. When you park your car with the radio on full blast and the windows down, you sound like a fool. When you yell out what neighborhood you are from at people you know are not from your neighborhood, you sound like a fool. When you smoke weed while standing in the middle of the street you smell like a fool. When you urinate behind trees that are between the street and sidewalk(thus they have no “behind”) you smell like a fool.

    Sac PD did a good job of alloying these actions to go unchecked until the event was taken over by people who lack respect for the fun of others.

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  16. @nick – If SacPD had been cracking down on these things, would you have been active in defending them from the “racial profiling” and racism complaints.

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  17. Only when people stop treating me a certain way because they think I stink, will I be satisfied. My “culture” has historical connections to, and admires stinking. Some may call it offensive, but they are just ignorant throwbacks with no respect or tolerance for other cultures. That you believe that you “perceive” me as different from anyone else through one of your senses just means that you are intolerant, and YOU need to change. Nose Justice, Nose Peace!!

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