Stephen Blackmoore

In Which I Am Tired Of Being Angry

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Jul 032013

L.A. Noir hasn’t been updated in a while and I’ve been thinking lately about why that is.

The last time I updated this site was back in May.  Before that was March.  Before that was February.  If you look at the number of posts over on the right it shows a pretty consistent rise and fall over the last several years.

Not for lack of things to write about.  A LOT has happened that I could write about here.  I’ve sat down almost every day fully intending to write about the latest jackass bank robber, heinous murder, weird crime, or police outrage and I just can’t do it.

And I realized recently it’s because I’m angry.  About everything.  Not just angry, but RAGING.  Big things, little things.  The NSA, money, anti-woman legislation in states I may never visit, Congressional bullshit, people dealing with medical crap (both diseases and the ass-fucking we call health care), neighbors making too much noise, people being bad to each other, my own complicity in the problem, my lack of power to do much of anything about these things.

I’m a cynic at the best of times but I haven’t been this angry in twenty years.

And then a couple days ago I saw a video.  It shows a man being arrested by some Hawthorne police officers.  And his dog gets into it.

And the cops shoot the dog.

You can find it.  I’m not linking to it here.  I don’t want to watch it anymore.  It’s floating around the internet now.  Sparking outrage, as it should.  Showing the police as thugs, which considering Hawthorne’s history I think I’m safe in saying they are.  Then there’s the owner.  He wasn’t helping things.  It seems he was pretty intent on creating a confrontation, though god knows not that particular confrontation.  Nobody came out of this situation looking good, though the police clearly came out looking worse.

I sat down to write about it and realized I couldn’t.  In fact, if you think about it, I still haven’t.  I just wrote about it in context of my anger, not in context of the thing itself, which lately seems to be the only way I can write about much of anything.

Of all the things that this site has been about, it has been about my anger.  That’s what’s fueled it over the last eight(!!!) years.  That’s what it’s always been for.  A place to put my anger so I don’t have to think about it for a little bit.  Not letting off steam so much as setting it aside for a little while so I can focus on other things. Crime in Los Angeles has really just been a convenient proxy for the anger.

But lately I’ve just had too much.  Rage fatigue.  The anger has made me tired and the tired has made me angry and back and forth and jesuschristijustwantittofuckingstop.

And of course NOT talking about it adds to the problem.  If I (or you or anybody) stop making noise about the injustices in the world all it does is help the people perpetuating the injustice.  And I don’t want to do that.  I want them to fucking stop it.

So I’m not sure what to do about all this except take a break for a bit.  I don’t know if I’m going to start up the blog again.  I think so.  Because there is too much bullshit (both tragic and hilarious, sometimes at the same time) in this town not to document.  But it’ll be a while.

In the meantime I’ll be raging over on Twitter, probably.  @sblackmoore if you want to hear me making an ass of myself.  It’s something I’m good at.

I’m taking an official break from the blog for the rest of this year.  As opposed to the unofficial one that I’ve already been taking.  Maybe less, maybe more.  We’ll see.  It’s not disappearing or anything.  And really, it could use a decent re-design.  And CITY OF THE LOST over on the side there needs to get replaced.

Rage fatigue, man.  Shit’ll kill you if you’re not careful.

Criminal Tip #982,377: Don’t You Pee On The KFC

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May 252013

Colorado Springs, CO

Way back in the misty days of 2000, Miguel Sanchez allegedly stabbed someone in Los Angeles. A lot. Like a lot a lot. “Multiple stab wounds” is how they say it. Usually means it’s not just a couple pinpricks with a darning needle. Then he allegedly stabbed somebody else, presumably not as many times as he stabbed the first person but enough times that it was kind of an issue. I mean, really, it doesn’t take much in the way of stabbing to cause problems. Once is usually enough.

Anyway, so Miguel goes and stabs these folks and gets hit with four felony charges. Two attempted murder, one aggravated mayhem and one assault with a deadly weapon. He does what just about any of us would do in a situation like that.

He ran.

But now, thirteen years later, he’s been caught. In Colorado Springs. For pissing on the wall of a Kentucky Fried Chicken.

After seeing him painting the outside wall of their establishment with a hazy shade of yellow, workers at a KFC called Colorado Springs police, who promptly picked him up. Would have been fine. He gave a fake name after all. FAKE NAMES ALWAYS WORK. As long as they don’t fingerprint you. Which, of course, they did, leading to their uncovering that he had a warrant out for his arrest.


Good thing they don’t need any DNA evidence for this one. “Hey, Bob, whatcha doin’ today?” “Gotta go scrape that wall for a PCR test. Hope no hobos have been in that alley tainting the evidence.”

Guy’s looking at 10-20 years and possibly a life sentence because of poor bladder control. I see a new Depends ad campaign on the horizon.

Ho Ho! That IS A Knee-Slapper!

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Mar 292013

Los Angeles, CA

Dark days, my friends. Dark days, indeed! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that terrible viper of abuse has reared its ugly head to destroy your families, shatter the lives of all you hold dear!

But fret not! For with all other drugs swept away, and all problems of abuse solved, Federal and local law enforcement agencies have set their sites on this scourge! This most ignoble of gasses! The dreaded NITROUS-OXIDE!

Seriously. They’re cracking down on Whip-Its. As opposed to whippets, which the L.A. Times does not seem to realize is a particular type of dog. Man, if you’re huffing a whippet just go drown yourself in shame right now.

Last week a joint taskforce of the LASD and assorted Federal agencies went after 17 business and nine delivery vehicles for selling nitrous.

They called this… wait for it… Operation No Laughing Matter.

Good fucking Christ. What, is it suddenly 1968 again? Is Nixon in office?

Is Nitrous dangerous? Well, yeah, of course it is. There’s this little problem of oxygen deprivation, which is a direct cause of being “too fucking stupid to live”. The technical term is asphyxiation. Put your dick in your hands, a tie round your neck and suddenly you get to slap “auto-erotic” in front of that.

Other side effects? Well… B-12 deficiency? Problems in pregnancy after chronic exposure? A particular type of cerebral lesion after several hours. Oh, wait, no. That’s only in rats.

But addiction, right? It’s gotta be… No? No addiction? Huh.

So why is this shit illegal again? Oh, wait. In many places it isn’t. Seems in California possession is a misdemeanor. In fact, it’s not even classified as a drug. It’s handled by the FDA under the Food Drug and Cosmetics Act. In fact, a violation of that law is what some of these people got hit for. And not having it, it’s used in welding, after all, but for mis-branding it.

This is up there with L.A. county going after raw milk distributors a few years ago. Come on, if you’re going to have a crackdown on something, try cracking down on something that isn’t stupid.

You know, for a change.

Imagine This At The Siege Of Antioch

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Feb 272013

Mexicali, Mexico

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a marvel of modern engineering! A device so useful, so simple, so absolutely ingenious that it boggles the mind!

Behold! It is The Mexican Weed Cannon!

That’s right. Police in Mexicali seized a pick-up truck mounted air cannon that they say has been used to lob packages of marijuana over the border and into the lucrative markets of the United States.

But is it, really? Maybe these are tests for something less sinister? I don’t know about you, but I see that and think Fifteenth Century Siege Weapon. I mean, come on, in the back of a pick-up it’s more mobile than a trebuchet, easier to aim and fire than a bombard and would look really badass at the next SCA get together. Toss some duct tape and burlap around it, slap on your Kingdom’s colors and go to town, baby!

Because marijuana cannon? That’s just stupid. I mean, what’s gonna happen? Will they get their scattered, poorly aimed product to the markets they want? Or are they just all going to get picked up by Arizona State Troopers?

That’s a trick question, by the way.

Noir At The Bar L.A. #10!

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Feb 222013

That’s right, folks. We got another Noir At The Bar comin’ at ya. Our tenth, in fact. Yep, we’ve been doing this since July 2011 and we’re not planning on slowing down.

Sunday night, March 24th at 7:00pm at The Mandrake Bar (2692 S La Cienega Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90034).

Yeah, we’ll be starting earlier than usual for this one. The bar’s got something else going on at 9:00.

For those of you who don’t know, Noir At The Bar L.A. is a semi-monthly reading event where we have a handful of crime authors read their shit to a room full of drunks and a good time is had by all.

This month’s line-up: Todd Morr (CAPTAIN COOKER), Josh Stallings (ALL THE WILD CHILDREN), Todd Robinson (THE HARD BOUNCE) and me, reading from DEAD THINGS.

So come on down, get your drink on and booze it up with a bunch of hard-boiled miscreants.

The Dead Lady In The Water Tank Story Just Got A LOT Weirder

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Feb 202013

Los Angeles, CA

Police have confirmed that the body of the woman discovered yesterday in the rooftop water tank of the Cecil Hotel is in fact that of Elisa Lam of Vancouver, Canada, who was last seen at the hotel on January 31st.

She was discovered there after hotel residents complained of water pressure issues. Seems she was clogging the pipes, or something. No word on how long she’s been in there or how much she… uh… contaminated the building’s water.

One of the weird things about this is that the police still aren’t sure that there’s any foul play involved. Why, I’m not really not sure. Presumably there aren’t marks on her body indicative of such. Whatever their reasons they’re not saying just yet.

That of course begs the question, “How did she get into the tank?” something we may never get an answer to.

To make things even more confusing / creepy we have some video footage from the elevator taken some time before her death (hat tip to the L.A. Weekly.

Clearly there’s something going on here. She’s obviously distraught, though over what it’s impossible to tell. There’s something going on outside of the frame. Also, the doors opening and closing in the latter parts of the video, not to mention the strangely long time it takes for them to close in the first place, just adds to the freak-the-fuck-out factor.

I’m not about to guess as to what this means. There are very capable men and women on the LAPD who are scratching their heads over this right now, I’m sure, not to mention an army of Internet watchers and armchair forensic scientists picking this video apart.

However, I would like to leave you with this. The Cecil has, as much of Skid Row and Downtown’s Historic Core, quite the quite the storied history.

And that’s not even getting into the ghosts.

It’s Shit Like This That Makes People Drink Evian

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Feb 192013

Los Angeles, CA

The thing about staying in hotels is that you have to worry about things you don’t necessarily need to when you stay at home. Bed bugs, for example. Loud, grunty sex next door. Maids stealing your shit. Dead bodies in the plumbing.

This morning, after hearing a complaint of low water pressure, an employee of the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles checked the building’s rooftop water tanks and discovered a body inside. It is believed to be that of Elisa Lam of Vancouver, Canada, who went missing a few weeks ago and was last seen January 31st at the hotel. 

Police can’t officially confirm it’s her until the coroner’s taken a look, but it’s a pretty good bet.

Assuming it’s Lam and she went into the tank the day she disappeared that means she’s been in the building’s water supply for two and a half weeks.

Corpse water.

Think about that the next time you stay in a hotel.

No, Seriously. Stay Away From This Guy

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Feb 072013

Corona, CA

Christopher Jordan Dorner, 33, is wanted in the shooting of three police officers, one fatally, and the murders of a college basketball coach and her fiance.

Oh, and he’s an ex-LAPD officer.

Here’s the gist. Apologies if it gets complicated. Crazy so often does.

Seems Mr. Dorner filed a complaint against his training officer a while back and was let go. Monica Quan, the daughter of Randy Quan, the officer who was Dorner’s representative in his disciplinary hearing, was murdered along with her fiance over the weekend.

This morning someone, presumably Dorner took a shot at a couple of officers working a protection detail, wounding one of them.

Then, not long after someone, also presumably Dorner, ambushed a couple of Riverside police officers in their car, killing one and seriously wounding the other.

How do they know it’s Dorner? Easy. His manifesto, of course.

It’s long. It’s a manifesto, of course it’s long. But here’s one of the more choice passages.

The Violence of action will be HIGH. I am the reason TAC alert was established. I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty. ISR is my strength and your weakness. You will now live the life of the prey. Your RD’s and homes away from work will be my AO and battle space. I will utilize every tool within INT collections that I learned from NMITC in Dam Neck. You have misjudged a sleeping giant. There is no conventional threat assessment for me. JAM, New Ba’ath party, 1920 rev BGE, ACM, AAF, AQAP, AQIM and AQIZ have nothing on me. Do not deploy airships or gunships. SA-7 Manpads will be waiting. As you know I also own Barrett .50’s so your APC are defunct and futile.

Did I mention he was in the military? He was in the military.

He is, in a word, troubled. In two words, batshit crazy. Or is that three? Is it hyphenated? I can never remember. Asshole, isn’t though, is it? Ass-hole? Asshole?

Whatever. Guy’s off his fucking nut and the CHP has issued a 9-county alert looking for this guy’s car.

He’s driving a 2005 blue or gray Nissan Titan. California license plate is either 8D83987 or 7X09131. Black, 33 years old, 6 feet tall, 270 pounds.

Assume that he is armed. With BIG FUCKING GUNS. The cops certainly are. They’ve already over-reacted to a blue pickup in Torrance and shot two people who, surprise! aren’t Dorner.

So tensions are a touch high. If you see the gentleman in question, stay the fuck away from him, call the cops and get to cover. Even if he doesn’t shoot you, the cops might. 

You really don’t want to be caught in a cross-fire.

Where The Wild Things Aren’t

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Jan 092013

Los Angeles, CA

Crime has been dropping steadily in Los Angeles for the last ten years.  How much?

Well, to use homicides as an example, in 1991 the CITY of Los Angeles, not County, clocked in at 1025 murders.

In 2012?  298.

That’s a drop of about 340%.

Year Homicides Year Homicides
1991 1025 2002 645
1992 1092 2003 506
1993 1077 2004 518
1994 850 2005 490
1995 838 2006 481
1996 707 2007 398
1997 566 2008 388
1998 419 2009 314
1999 432 2010 297
2000 548 2011 298
2001 605 2012 298

And because I just love me some charts, take a look at this Matterhorn-like plunge.

Impressive ain’t it?

So impressive, in fact, that the New York Daily News has declared that Los Angles is now the safest big city in America.  Who’da thunk?

Now I don’t know if that’s necessarily true.  I haven’t looked at numbers from the rest of the nation.  And it’s not like we’re not still pretty jacked up out here.  We still have a fuckton of crime.

It’s hard to draw comparisons between cities.  Compared to, say, New York, L.A. has about a third the number of police (~10K versus ~27K) and half the population.  But the geography and policing challenges are different, so it’s not apples to apples.

Either way, it’s good news.  I’d really rather not see the Nineties again.

The Thing That Should Scare You Is That This Isn’t New

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Dec 282012

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles has been doing a gun buyback program for a few years now after other cities like Compton had so much success with theirs. The idea is that you show up, drop off a gun and get a gift card for things like groceries, toys, electronics, that sort of thing. All of this is no questions asked. In 2005, the year Compton started their program, they pulled in 220 guns.

The other day, L.A. did a collection and pulled in 2,037 guns, including 75 assault weapons, and…

Two rocket launchers.

Yep. A couple of light anti-tank weapons. They’re “non-functioning” in the sense that they didn’t have any actual rockets. Granted, getting hold of said rockets is not a simple thing. But, come on. ROCKET LAUNCHERS. This is military ordnance designed to take out a tank.

The fact that there were a couple of LAWs floating around is bad enough, but the problem I really have with this is that it’s happened before.

Yep, back in May L.A. had another buyback and pulled a rocket launcher in with that one, too.

The fact that there are rocket launchers out there being turned in for groceries makes me wonder what else is out there. One is a fluke. Three in less than a year is not.

The number of guns being turned in is growing every year. Are we going to start seeing more military hardware alongside all the AK knockoffs and Saturday night specials? RPGs? Maybe a Claymore or two?

On the one hand, I hope so, because this shit needs to get off the street. On the other hand I hope not, but only if that means it isn’t there to begin with.