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Hollywood Farmers’ Market Today

There is a Farmers’ Market that I like to go to in Hollywood, on Sundays. It is quite large, it runs almost three small blocks.

Today, I got there about 10:30 AM. I parked on a side street, and then walked to Hollywood Boulevard, where “you can see the stars,” “some that you recognize, some that you’ve never even heard of.” (“Celluloid Heroes,” The Kinks 1972).

Except that there was no market. Hollywood Boulevard was blocked by police tape for a few blocks. I saw three police vehicles parked inside the area of the market, and no activity in the market, no stalls or people. There were about six police officers standing a block north of Hollywood Boulevard. They didn’t seem like they intended to answer questions, so I just turned around and drove away. I was worried about running out of gas, because I had only a little left; I had planned to get gas about five minutes away from the market when I had finished shopping, but the roads were blocked or stalled, making it difficult to drive. But I was able to get to a gas station once I cleared the traffic jam.

I turned on the radio at 11am, and there was no report of anything going on there, except a story about a woman who was a victim of a motiveless attack in a parking lot in Hollywood, probably last night. I wondered if that was what closed the market.

I drove to another Farmers’ Market, in Beverly Hills. I asked a vendor who also had a stand in Hollywood, and he said, “There are different stories.” Another vendor said that there was an active shooter at the market.

I finally heard something about it on the car radio around noon. They said that a man had fired shots from a building overlooking the market, at about 7:30 AM, and was finally taken into custody. A woman who apparently was at the market, either as someone helping a vendor, or an early customer, said that she heard noises, and a man there said that this is gunfire, so she raced away.

Tonight, when I got home, I read an updated news article which said that there had been several reports of gunfire at the market in the morning. Multiple callers told Police Dispatch that a gunman had opened fire around 8AM from a building very near the market. When officers arrived at the scene, they saw a man throwing rocks from a balcony. The man barricaded himself in an apartment and would not cooperate with police. Several household objects were thrown down into the street during the standoff. No injuries were reported.

Officers quickly announced the closure for the day of the Farmers’ Market. The man was taken into custody about noon. Police said that they saw no evidence of gunfire.

No lessons here, just a sadness that we have devolved to this. Of course the police needed to do the safe thing, and close the market and get everyone out of there. Apparently this time there was no gun, no gunman. But of course there could have been, and tragically enough, there will be more of them. They can be anywhere, any area with many people, or maybe a few.

Everyone has a gun, it seems; some have many guns Some intend to use them, some get angry and use them, some are completely divorced from reality and social norms, and no one knows what they might do. Some are on drugs. Some are psychotic. Governor Reagan shut down many mental health facilities during his terms as Governor of California, and many thousands of people who were a danger to society, were let out into the streets without their medications. That was decades ago, but the problem persists.

Of course, there are shooters in upper class areas as well. One never knows if one is hearing a backfire, or someone throwing rocks or objects, like today, or shooting one of his many guns.

Is everyone who goes to a farmers’ market, or a concert, or a parade, in serious danger of having some psychotic or simply evil person shooting at them? One would hope not, but there are an increasing number of them.

The NRA, in its greed, and lust for power, let loose this scourge, and now they can’t and won’t control it. Republicans have no answers, they don’t even want to try to think of any rational ones, they just hope that each shooting vanishes from the headlines. Democrats try to do something, they passed an Assault Weapons Ban on Friday. It passed by a vote of 217-213. Two Republicans voted for the bill, along with 215 Democrats.

Of course the bill will go nowhere in the Senate, it will not even see the floor. And of course a number of very strange people will blame both parties for this, and blame Biden for “not getting it done.” Some will say that the parties are the same, and that they should vote for egomaniac crackpot Andrew Yang and his supposed new third party.

My thought is that if enough people voted in the midterms to keep the Democrats in control of the House, and give them enough Senate votes to make an exception to the filibuster, or get rid of filibusters entirely, an assault weapons bill would be passed, and President Biden would sign it. But too many people want to vote for Republicans because of inflation, not being cogent enough to realize that putting Republicans in a majority in either chamber of Congress, not only will not do one thing to improve the economy, it will guarantee that nothing will be done about any of the other issues which people strongly care about, and which a sizeable majority of Americans want significant action on.

Gun control is one of these issues. Republicans will make sure that not one significant gun bill will be passed, and nothing will be done about mass shootings, nor about the fear that so many people now have of going into open or crowded spaces. Democrats will try to actually do something.

Just another day. Very fortunately, no one was shot, or even shot at, at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. Not today, at least. Many farmers were unable to sell their crops, which some had driven 250 miles to sell. Many patrons were inconvenienced. One of the vendors in Beverly Hills, who did not know exactly what was happening, said, “Go home, relax there, it’s not safe out here.” One doesn’t want to do that, but it is a legitimate recommendation. Voting for Democrats in every single race in November, would help to improve the situation. But will enough voters be perceptive enough, and energized enough, to do that?


8 Responses

  1. The NRA, in its greed, and lust for power, let loose this scourge, and now they can’t and won’t control it. Republicans have no answers

    The NRA, much like the Republican party, used to be a good organization and both succumbed to greed and lust for power. The NRA in the early 60’s was still a decent organization, but by the end of the decade both they and the GOP were being corrupted. Today, the only thing the NRA has that appears not to be corrupted (assuming you leave out the bias of your instructor) is the gun safety classes.

    But too many people want to vote for Republicans because of inflation, not being cogent enough to realize that putting Republicans in a majority in either chamber of Congress

    IMO, this cannot be argued, and was the plan implemented by the GOP 40+ years ago. They have dumbed down so many people to the point that people don’t remember that the GOP is the party of Big Business (although money in politics has pushed the Democrats towards that camp too) and if anything has caused the inflation we are seeing now it is Big Business due to Corporate GREED (they all bow down to their profit Gekko) and shortsightedness. Although, I suppose though that the GOP can find some way to blame Biden for the stretched supply chains which are another major cause of inflation.

    • Apparently our supply chain issues will all be better if we just let Putin take over Europe.

  2. William,

    I understand your concern, but the real danger from firearms isn’t mass shootings by rifle in a crowded venue. It’s either suicide or one-on-one violence (often domestic or perpetrated by someone else you know with a handgun). According to Statista, from 2020 until today, 102 Americans have died in mass shootings. In the same time interval, over a million Americans died of COVID. That’s 10,000 times as many as died in mass shootings. Did you wear an N95 mask to the Farmers’ Market (I would)? 80,000 Americans died in traffic accidents in 2020 and 2021 (no figures for 2022 so far that I could find). Were you afraid to drive there, even though your odds of dying in a traffic accident were over 800 times higher?

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do something to reduce the incidence of mass shootings, but if you’re going to lock yourself in your house because you think the danger of personally being a mass shooting victim is significant then I think you need to adjust your perception of relative risk a bit.

    • Propertius, I always wear a KN95 or N95 mask while out. I do appreciate the comment, but I think that there are some misleading equivalences in the other dangers, in that one has some control while driving, even though of course there are terrible accidents which are in no way the fault of the injured victim. And no one who is not suicidal is at risk for committing suicide.

      The prevalence of shootings cannot be ignored. This was not a risk thirty or more years ago. Yes, there are other risks, and one tries to mitigate them, but they still exist. Many people who used to walk around at night, are much more unlikely to do so in recent years. There is something between being afraid of these events, and ignoring the possibility. In Europe, there is virtually no risk that a person is going to be a victim of a shooting, because the countries sanely limit access to guns. We do not, so we are not in that enviable position. I don’t know the answer to what law books sometimes term “the calculus of risk,” but people deal with it in various actions.

      • William, obviously you didn’t “lock yourself in your house” because of your experience at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. You went to a gas station nearby and then on to a market in Beverly Hills. Quite brave of you, I think, considering the circumstances and the uncertainty of the situation. As it turns out, there was indeed a man on a balcony firing a gun into the air near the Hollywood market. He was caught on tape doing so, but fortunately, no one was physically injured.

        I’m glad you are continuing to wear a mask when you go out. It does not surprise me at all that you are being very responsible with your own safety and that of others.

  3. It has been so many years since I have been there, and I can’t remember if it was the Hollywood or Beverly Hills market (I think the latter), but there was a large Hasidic community near one of them. I always worry that such a place could be a target.

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