PITCH THE TENT, I'LL START A FIRE
the winds of political posturing blow at City Hall we can
only sit and watch as another opportunity passes our city
by and no one makes a legitimate effort to capitalize on it.
Yes, riot season has come and gone again with nary a shattered
storefront window or so much as a trash can fire.
York City was blessed with the 9/11 attacks enabling them
to draw seemingly endless international sympathy and attract
unprecedented TV and press coverage. All of a sudden New York
City was just the greatest place in the world. Everybody who
was anybody just had to be there and wade through the rubble.
They now have an anniversary gala slated, certain to induce
even further doting and pampering from around the globe. But
not all cities can count on such a windfall and that is where
Buffalo has to learn to do for itself.
that the token, ephemeral heat wave has blown through town
unheeded and cooler evenings are common order, the opportunities
for riot that depend on endless, scorching-hot days that bleed
over into relentless, humidity-soaked nights, with no respite
in sight, fade like the whine of a siren from a lone ambulance.
The window for riot opportunity is narrow in climes like ours
and we did not pounce, when the summer was ripe, barely clinging
to the vine, on the plump and tender plum of civic chaos.
Now the juices of that fruit ferment sourly with every preseason
we sit idly, awaiting heat waves in summers to come, we should
remember that full-scale, all-out civil unrest could be the
usher that passes the collection plate down the pew of national
and international pity. It could present a real chance for
us to legitimize our unmitigated whining before the heretofore-blind
eyes and deaf ears of the rest of the country.
among us has not grinned at imagining the egg on the face
of the network news anchors like Peter Jennings, Dan Rather,
and Sheppard Smith when they realize that Buffalo is ablaze,
gripped in pervasive terror, struggling to restore order and
tend to our wounded while they're not even sure where the
hell Buffalo is on a map? Who, we ask you?
the glory days of the '60s, with their triumphant milestones
such as the Watts Riots of '65 and the masterpiece of Detroit
in 1967, could serve to inspire us when next the cloud cover
passes, exposing us to the protracted singeing of a merciless
sun. And let us not be daunted by a dwindling population.
Remember the people of Ft. Lauderdale, Newark, NJ, and just
last summer Cincinnati--all cities smaller than or comparable
to Buffalo in size--who have performed famously in the
destruction of their own property and the intimidation of
their own relatives and neighbors.
sectors of our municipality need to step forward and be the
spark that sets off the glorious conflagration. If its not
going to be a riot that puts us in the limelight then perhaps
we should investigate potential terrorist activities that
we could attract to Western New York.
talk of possible future terrorist attacks have centered around
New York City, again, the Sears' Tower in Chicago, and even
the magnificent bridges of California. Now the authorities
even consider landmarks and cities in Europe to be at great
risk and still no mention whatsoever of Erie County. All the
cities and regions that receive the most media coverage and
speculation in this realm already get much more exposure and
attention for other of their attributes--such as their
cultural features, entertainment attractions, historical significance,
and natural beauty--than we do for our ailing and atrophying
facades and infrastructure.
is high time for us to stand up and demand to be noticed.
Buffalo has just as much to offer prospective rioters and/or
terrorist groups as many other tertiary markets in America
and we should be damned if we sit idly by and watch as European
cities take what we rightfully have coming to us.
to spike the punch bowl, someone from the community will take
the initiative to incite some smaller-scale street melees,
exposing the antiquated methods of our emergency response
details. This might make our community more attractive to
potential arsonists and assailants. Perhaps someone will even
demonstrate the lackadaisical state of our security forces
by employing some noxious agent of bio-terror in one mass-transit
medium or another. Maybe some faction from within the law
enforcement ranks will take actions appropriate to enraging
large segments of the population.
are all avenues that need to be explored. We simply cannot
allow summer after summer of opportunity for senseless and
widespread violence to pass us by. We cannot sit blithely
by as huge crowd after huge crowd gather fatuously at our
sporting events and rock concerts, un-terrorized.
hope these words will inspire reflection and the compulsion
for accountability in these matters. We implore the leaders
of this community to try something new for a change: lead.