vigilante city

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At Edmonton City Hall, I go on strike for this March 8 morning, a kind of compromise with myself to not work. To sit among others to celebrate International Women’s Day. And my thoughts turn to yesterday at dawn –

The violence in the shock of the real crosses over the frozen prairies and across the frigid Great Lakes to The Toronto Star to write this headline:

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At the Edmonton City Hall International Women’s Day ceremony, Alberta’s new Minister for the Status of Women Stephanie McLean, a lawyer and new single mother, says there is too much violence and not enough pay. Especially here in Alberta where the gap is a bloody Mississippi yawping maw. Today is Wednesday. 

On Tuesday at 6:30am, a woman dropped her husband off at work and en route home honked her horn at a man in a ‘silver Pontiac Wave’ who followed her to where she exited her car as he exited his, crowbar in hand, to smash her arms as she raised them, broken open,  to protect her head.

Here in Edmonton stories of violence abound. And women are disfigured and murdered in the Yellowhead Trail motel bathtub and later disembowelled in the Queen’s Bench law courts in the case of Cindy Gladue whose womb was unceremoniously displayed centre stage as star witness and key evidence projected larger than life for the jury.

But on Tuesday, the day before International Women’s Day 2017, the trope of vigilante violence is centred in the King Edward Park neighbourhood.  I tell friends, I’ve never heard of this story quite like this.

The police call it “road rage.”

Or “attempted murder”? “Homicidal mania”?

In King Edward, a bucolic residential neighbourhood named after royalty, a few blocks away from where I meet with colleagues to discuss our work.

This isn’t just more of the same, proposes a colleague. Capitalism. Neoliberalism. Alienation effects.  Castration anxiety & male impotence. 

But what about Trump? I ask, a broken record – that public pussy grabbing crapper of a leader. To Trump. Infinitive verb meaning to advocate violence and brutalize.

What about conjunctions? Remember Stuart Hall, says S.

Yes, this moment in history? I parrot. 

What about the nowness of now? When violent misogynous vigilantism preys on the winter-bleached bungalowed wartime housing where doting wives drive their husbands to work.

Isn’t this a departure from our everyday miscellaneous rapes and assaults in local news that beat down women betrayed by police, interrogators, whackers, courts, judges, prosecutors,and other administrators of injustice.

You see where I’m going.

In the nownessofnow, misogyny isn’t confined to the 150 post-Confederation years of unacknowledged serial dumping of beautiful young Indigenous women in remote settler farmer’s fields outside of Edmonton. Serial burial by colonization.

In the nowness now, whiteness is made visible in the crowbar vigilante’s commuter morning. A streetlamp brighter than a full moon night. 

Two witnesses still are unaccounted for. The walking dead?

Who hides him now?  “Police are looking for a white man, about 30 years old, standing six-foot-one and with a medium build, brown hair and blue eyes.”

Vigilante violence lights up whiteness. illuminates this field of dystopian dreams at dawn.

The day before International Women’s Day 2017.

In this zombie city now. 

We are all targets of steel crowbars.

March 8, 2017


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