On the Streets: Sirens beckon
Sirens and bangs have returned to Capitol Hill. On 22 September it sounded like the police turned every siren on in the city. I was working on some stuff at home and thought there must have been a 10 alarm fire somewhere. It's always hard to tell where sounds are coming from. But after a while I got the sense that the sirens weren't really going anywhere. It was odd. I read later that they were using the sirens in conjunction with protest activity. Maybe I'm imagining things, but it sounded like a new "tactic".
I went for a walk in the drizzly summer to fall tonight. I was talking into my Röde Wireless mic, which is a paired system. The transmitter was tucked in my jacket's outer pocket. I heard the sirens again, went in search of them, and found them at Broadway and Pike. Man there were a lot of police. They were following a march for Breonna Taylor.
I heard a few people mutter "cop". Once is random, three times is something to note. I remembered a few minutes earlier walking by some people and hearing someone mention "he's got a camera". I had my camera bag, but the only camera I had was my phone. I'm used to having a camera, though, so I didn't think anything of it.
I was trying to edit some video on the fly near Rancho Bravo when two men walked by.
"You a cop?"
I stopped what I was doing and walked after them.
"I'm not a cop. What makes you say that?"
I've got a DIY COVID buzzcut, and I wear a hat all the time, because it's a DIY COVID buzzcut. Messenger bag. I look enough like a cliché out of place poorly-trained undercover cop that you'd think it'd be a sure sign that I'm not a cop.
"You've got a camera. I've got a camera."
I nodded, but it wasn't until later I realized that he mistakenly thought the Röde mic was something akin to a Go Pro or a body cam. The penny dropped. It's the blue "on" lights. Everyone is so suspicious these days that glowing lights lead to conclusions.
"I'm not a cop."
"Who do you work for?"
Ugh. "I'm a freelancer." A soon to be failed freelancer. I didn't bore him with the details.
"You on YouTube?"
"No, just my blog."
"Are there really a lot of undercover cops walking around?"
"Yea, a lot."
So much suspicion. I'm sure I'm on private FB or signal chat groups labeled as a cop. I wanted to keep following the march, but my bright green rain jacket (cop standard issue for standing out in a crowd) gave me pause. I thought there was a chance that there was a flood of watch out for bright green jacket cop texts floating around, so I decided to call it a night. And I heard that Heidi Groover was covering it, so might as well go home and follow a pro. If you stumble on this blog from outside Seattle, check out Heidi Groover at The Seattle Times. You'll be able to say you've been following her for ages when she hits the national stage.
I'm posting the audio/video below. It's a bit of a strange combination. The audio rolls for a long time on a black screen before getting to a short video portion. I was too lazy to add some text for the black screen part. The video kicks in about the 6 minute mark, out of 8 minutes total.
Note - I deleted a 2 second portion of audio. As I was getting out of the way of the advancing police I backed into a street sign or something. I figured that since it was 2020 I was bound for a fall. I let out some weird ass pathetic moan of despair that no one needs to hear. You can question my journalistic integrity, but since I don't get paid for any of this, I'm choosing to preserve my dignity. (I may have made a mistake with the audio/video render by forgetting to switch from high bitrate to medium bitrate. I don't really know what that means, but I suspect it could affect system resources or bandwidth or something.