this is all i know by
channe@cryoterrace (copyright 2001 all rights reserved)
in a riot, shot by a rookie, joining the fifteen others who had
died in similar riots. The news media hyped it, hair-gelled news-magazine
anchors shrilling the death as if it were Armageddon, and we bought
it, chewing it around our teeth and letting the saccharine into our
had been David Raat, and he was a farm boy from just outside the city,
given to chewing sweetgrass or flicking open a Zippo in just a certain
way, the kind that got your cigarette lighted between your two favorite
fingers. He grew up, and went to college, screwed a few girls, loved
one or two of them, graduated, moved to the city, and lit his cigarettes
in front of Lowe's Market with the boys from the Safeway until he was
shot through the chest by a cop during the Riots of '25.
to tell just how many people died during the madness of that summer,
but Dave Raat was different, because he was the first, because he was
the spark that blew the installation to atomic proportions - no, to
subatomic proportions. Any history teacher worth its salt will slip
forth, on demand, the account of David Raat's martyrdom, give you the
details or even the camera account of the aim, the click, the blast,
and the quick tracing of redness on the t-shirt. Even the small sound
that marked the end of his life, the cry of the rookie for backup, the
slow reddening of the faces of his Safeway buddies, the quick flash
of a gun not regulation...
you've seen it, just like everyone else. David Raat, Poster Boy for
the Revolution, media martyr, dead before he knew just what he started.
prided himself on two things: his initials, and the fact that he had
become assistant manager of the Safeway in less than a year. At twenty-one,
he swilled beer in public, crushed cigarette butts with his bootheel,
hooted loudly at tight-bottomed ladies who passed by, even held down
what passed for a girlfriend (a thin, two-dimensional rat-like thing
with fake blonde hair and a wan smile).
David Raat's roommate.
Snyder became a very famous man in the months after he was arrested,
feeding the media tidbits between court sessions, sessions that were
inundated with reporters who swarmed like enraged locusts around the
courthouse door bandying questions like "What about the officer
that shot David Raat?" They caught pictures of him on the way back
to the jail, unrepentant, head held high. He'd answer questions with
a dignity you don't normally see in the criminally poor. He used good
English. And his girlfriend cried his innocence behind crocodile tears,
And they began
showing up at the courthouse, carrying placards
emblazoned with "Free J.D." and "Remember Raat" on
them, nonwithstanding the fact that if David Raat was still alive, he'd
get quite a laugh out of it and then go find another joint to smoke. One
of them even threw a rock at the prosecution's attorney; it hit her leg,
bruising it, and the tabloids had a field day.
it bubbled, it simmered on the pavement of the courthouse, between sneaker-soles
of the spectators and behind the eyes of one J.D. Snyder.