Monthly Archives: December 2004

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Crazed Fan Shooting at Columbus Metal Concert

Last night in Columbus at a concert by the band Damageplan at the Alrosa Villa club, a crazed fan shot guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott. The band was allegedly only about a minute and a half into their first number, “Breathing New Life“. The gunman then began shooting into the crowd. Apparently, audience members Nathan Bray and Erin Halk were among the dead.

According to a later and more official statement on the band’s website, drummer Vinnie Paul was all right but vocalist Pat Lachman may have been shot. (Other posts seemed to think it was Abbott’s brother, but at least one report had Lachman shot in the leg and then having the gun misfire at his head.) A bassist from one of the opening bands apparently tried to shield the musicians and was shot himself. At least two security guards were shot, and other fans were shot at. A police officer nearby got in through the back door of the club and shot the shooter.

Some reports claimed the shooter blamed the guitarist and his brother/bandmate for breaking up their former band, Pantera. This was unconfirmed. The shooter was also reported as having taken a hostage at some point, and as originally having gotten in by jumping the fence, but the information was secondhand. Still another story claimed that the shooter got into an altercation with security because of crowdsurfing, which led to the shooting.

The band website’s messageboard appears to have some semi-official information, but has been overrun both by grieving fans and truly vicious trolls.

We will probably hear more about this (ad nauseam). But I would like to extend my condolences. I doubt I’d ever find myself at a metal show, but I don’t even know how I’d feel if one of my musical heroes was killed in front of me. More to the point, it sounds like some very good people have been killed and wounded. I’m sure everyone’s thoughts and prayers will be with them and their families.

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The East Is Orange

The place is Ukraine. Once upon a time, Vikings, Slavs and the Volga created a feisty young trading empire called Kyivan Rus. It traded with Constantinople, became rather abruptly Christian, and left behind legends of noble knights who were half gods — the bogatyrs. Further legends followed: the Tatars, the Cossacks. But the stories grew sadder as Ukraine fell into the power of its daughter, Russia: peasant revolts, Cossack revolts, the Crimean War, the millions who died in the Holodomor, the many who died in WWII. Even when Ukraine became free again in the aftermath, her people have still been oppressed: by corrupt government, unleashed Mafiosos, and arrogant business ‘oligarchs’.

But “Ukraine is not dead yet,” warns her national anthem, “nor her glory, nor her freedom.” The people of Ukraine are out in the streets — over a million of them in Kyiv alone! They wear orange, and they support an honest politician (Yushchenko) over a Mafioso who’s served hard time in prison for robbery and assault (Yanukovich). It is cold; it snows hard; many sleep in shifts in tents, while others are crowded into apartments of friends they’ve just met. But they are happy, and donations ensure there’s more than enough food and warm clothing for everyone. The babushkas are making sure of it.

For this is not a revolution of the young, but of everyone, from little old ladies and mountain men with huge bristling Santa-beards to sober middleaged workers and businesspeople to the students and military and police. “It’s time,” they say. They sing, “Together we are many; we cannot be defeated.” They are no longer on their knees, and they don’t want to go back. Ever.

There are other people watching. In tortured Belarus, the resistance rallies and wears orange. In other places, opposition parties visit Kyiv for inspiration or good ideas. In Georgia and Estonia and Poland and Hungary, they urge them on or come to Kyiv to help.

And somewhere out there, the Christian saints and the pagan bogatyri stand together, watching their people, seeing them stand up, strong and brave and free.

Bogatyrs

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Not Posting Again

I haven’t been posting much lately, and it’s not because there’s not a lot of interesting things going on. Miyazaki’s adaptation of Howl’s Moving Castle is out in Japan; you can download trailers from www.nausicaa.net. I’ve discovered a webcomic based on Rurouni Kenshin called “Battousai High”. A new Russian filker named Aleksei stopped by on rec.music.filk. Iran’s trying to get nukes; North Korea’s up to something. My album was about to be recorded, and then Stuff Happened again. (I’m cursed.) And there’s an orange revolution going on in Ukraine.

I’ve just been reading instead of posting, that’s all.

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