Saturday, June 30, 2007

Peace Marches

Running from the gas in the UT crowd

I remember some of the Peace Marches, though I don't remember much. Most of them went on without me; somehow I was always somewhere else. I was not very deep in the "feet on the ground" politics, but sometimes the crowds would attract me. I knew what they were about, but I didn't know any "ringleaders" as the media likes to call people at the head of any "snake". Of the couple of marches I attended at the UT campus in Austin, I recall being gassed in only one of them. I don't know why it started because I wasn't that close to the front of the crowd to see who did what to who or said what! All in a couple of seconds the crowd had reversed it's direction and was running back over me. A gas canister came sailing over their heads and hit my friend John Bowen in the ass! Two seconds before he'd been beside me, but he was quick. He had just had time to turn around and be a few long gaits ahead of me when he was hit in the bottom. John was one of my two roommates at the time. Later he said it hurt. But at the time, the bad part was the tear gas enveloping him. I was close enough to him that I began to tear up immediately and to feel choked, although I could see well enough to squint my eyes and turn crosswise to the crowd and head for the nearest large building to hide in, out of shooting range of whatever might happen next. Once inside the cool building I sought water at the nearest location. The bathroom might have been better, but the water fountain would have to do! Then I just let my eyes continue to tear. Other people crowded into the building behind me to do the same thing. I knew a few of them. I suppose we congratulated ourselves and each other on not catching any bullets, though later it became clear that there hadn't been any bullets and not many of the gas canisters. The papers said next day that some of the students had become unruly. Maybe so, I wasn't well placed to see any of it. So it happened, yes, but to some extent I'd have known as much to have stayed home and read about it in the paper. My roommate John became a little bit famous, but it didn't last for long. We went home and smoked a little dope, listened to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and were quietly glad that we hadn't marched at Ohio State. For us, it was just a small adventure; we hadn't lost anything at all. Not to mention, anyway.


  1. Ah, those were the days I pulled crowd control on abandoned military bases in Mississippi and pulled black northern men and white women out of old buildings where they were protesting...something...segregation I suppose. It was just a job to me.

  2. No black men and white women fucking, you say? What old buildings? Were they trespassing?

  3. Yes, they were trespassing and I'd say there was a little poking going on. It was somewhere near Greenville, I think, a closed Army base.

    The inside where they heldup stunk to high heaven...used rubbers and shit everywhere. Made you want to be sympathetic toward their cause!

  4. Don't know what you mean by being "sympathetic", but I guess it was some kind of irony. Okay.


Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! (At least put on your socks and pants.)