The Best Damn Thing About Living in Southern California
Run away freedom bug! Run away!
Well folks, we've made it to another Sunday and already I know what you're thinking. I know you guys all too well. You're thinking, "Oh Jesus, what is Spokker going to complain about this week? Are there pets in horse food? Oh no is he going to uncover the horrible fast food conspiracy? Wait, don't tell me, he's going to talk about that stupid indecency bill again. WHAT'S IT GOING TO BE JONES?!" Alright alright calm down you fat chub. Today I will not be complaining. No sir. You will not find any complaints in this update. No bitching. No preaching. No nothing. Today I am going to talk about something that I truly love. Something that fills me with a great happiness. I am going to look deep down into my heart and share with you my greatest joy in life. It is indeed the greatest thing about living in Southern California. It's almost a nightly tradition for me. That's right folks, it's my most favorite thing ever. I practically live for this shit.
I love the high speed chase.
You're sitting there in the car, at home, or on the toilet, and after a hard day's work you turn on the radio and listen to the Conway and Steckler Show. They're talking about the price of homes in Southern California for the thousandth time and you're just about to fall asleep right there with a turd hanging out of your ass. But elsewhere in SoCal something sinister is going down. Some jerk off is getting pulled over for speeding. The problem is he's got something like 30 warrants out for his arrest and he's on his 2nd strike. Most Californians only have about 2 to 3 warrants out for their arrest so this guy must have done something really bad. Instead of pulling over he decides to speed off, taking the police along on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride through Los Angeles.
There is a tradition at the Conway and Steckler Show. Whenever there is a high speed chase they will interrupt whatever they are doing and cover it. They could be interviewing the President of the United States and they will cut away without a moment's hesitation to cover a high speed chase. This valuable public service lets drivers know where the chase is headed and allows them an opportunity to get out of the wa- oh fuck it. The bottom line is that people love watching high speed chases. Let's face it, people have a morbid fascination with public disturbance. When houses are sliding down muddy hills in Malibu, people watch. When wildfires are consuming everything in their path and homeowners are drenching their roofs with water LIKE THAT'S GOING TO DO A FUCKING THING, people watch. When some idiot gets stuck in a raging river during a heavy downpour, people watch. They watch these poor suckers getting airlifted out of a river and in the back of their mind they would love to see the whole goddamn helicopter just crash into the water and explode. It's exciting. It's great television. And as long as it's not us or anybody we know, we love it. Be honest. You've downloaded the Indian tsunami footage and watched in awe. You've seen autopsy photos. You've seen the beheading videos. Dismemberment, decapitation, and disemboweling videos, they're all out there. That's why web sites like Ogrish and Rotten exist. Few people can turn down a good accident video.
He led police on a long chase. But police led him on a short trip... TO JAIL!
I love high speed chases for a few reasons. First, they are instant and frequent drama. They happen practically every few nights if not every night. It's a struggle, a human drama being played out on live television. There's that small chance the guy might get away. There's a chance he may plow into the center divider of the freeway and go out in an awesome fiery display. Most of the time they just end with the idiot driving into some guy's driveway or running out of gas and slowly surrendering. But you never know. That's what we are watching for. How's it going to end? Secondly, I love the oh so captivating banter between the news anchors while the chase is being covered. They always state the blatantly obvious in such a concerned and contrived manner. In one recent chase the anchor said, "He seems to have slowed down to 35 miles per hour. The slower the better. The best thing for us would be for him to pull over." NO SHIT YOU NICE HAIR HAVING FUCK! And sometimes they say the dumbest things. During the same chase the anchor said, "Maybe he's looking for a gas station." Uh, yeah, he'll just whip out his speedpass and fill up while the cops watch lovingly. The best thing about a high speed chase though, is when the guy running from the cops uses his turn signals. In one instance this guy had around 20 cop cars after him and he put on his left turn signal before he made a U-turn. Thanks for putting the safety back in high speed chases buddy. Maybe you can get a good driver discount on your sentence.
Over the past few years there has been some controversy over the coverage of high speed chases. And it all started with Daniel Victor Jones. Daniel Victor Jones is to high speed chases what Janet Jackson is to the indecency debate. And he didn't even lead police on a chase at all! One day this guy with AIDS who was denied coverage by an HMO bunkers down on a freeway overpass in Los Angeles with his dog and his pickup truck in the middle of fucking rush hour. He dials 911 and garners the attention of both police and the media. After setting himself and his dog on fire with a goddamn Molotov cocktail he runs out of the truck and rips his burning pants off. He then reaches into the cargo bed of his truck and pulls out a shotgun. He puts it to his mouth. So here's this guy in his underpants, his truck is on fire, and he's got a shotgun in his mouth. What does the local station KCAL 9 do? THEY ZOOM THE FUCK IN. So they zoom in on this guy and as if on cue, he blows his fucking head off with the shotgun. You could almost see his skull implode as chucks of brain matter go flying out the back of his head. He slumps onto the concrete in a pool of blood while children who were just settling in to watch the Power Rangers watch in horror (He also left behind a videotape with his suicide message on it which makes me wonder. Did he check the tape to make sure his message got recorded before he committed suicide? Because that would be pretty funny if the tape was blank or contained an old episode of Family Ties).
After that you could literally hear every single Los Angeles radio personality cheer at the bounty of shit God just gave them to talk about. This event was the topic of every single talk show for the next few weeks. You could not tune into KFI, KABC, or KLSX without hearing about it. Everything about it was gone over with a fine toothed comb. Should the media cover events like this? Were the news stations right in zooming in on the guy? Should the news have a seven second delay? Should the local news tone down their coverage of high speed chases and public disturbances and all that bullshit? Are parents not monitoring their children's television viewing enough? All that shit. And for a while everybody was screaming and complaining about the news covering this event like they should have just turned the camera off the second something exciting was happening. IT'S THE NEWS YOU DUMB ASSHOLES. They're supposed to cover shit like this! When things happen they put their cameras on it in any way possible and let it play out on it's own. Are we supposed to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the giant squid in the kitchen? Over time everybody sort of forgot about the incident and the news still covers high speed chases as shamelessly as ever. And I love them for it.
When you decide to run away from the cops you'll generally be dealing with three different agencies depending on where you started and where you are going, the California Highway Patrol, the LAPD, and the Orange County Sheriff. Most high speed chases start and end on the freeway so the majority of high speed chases are handled by the highway patrol. The highway patrol has a "wait and see" approach. They let the suspect go on for as long as he wants until he runs out of gas or has to take a shit really bad. Unless you are weaving in and out of traffic or running over women and children and dolphins they won't bother you much. If the chase started on Los Angeles surface streets you will probably be getting chased by the LAPD. Now the LAPD is merely a shell of their former badass selves. After years and years of allegations of police brutality they will no longer kick your ass the way they used to. It's really a shame. Then there's the Orange County Sheriff. These guys are really underestimated these days. Only a few chases start in Orange County so they don't get to see a lot of chase action. But if you are ever unfortunate enough to see these guys in your rear view mirror you better watch out. They will set their own squad cars on fire and drop them on top of yours with a helicopter. They have heat seeking missiles and flame throwers and landshark cannons. Every Orange County Sheriff's Department officer can power up like Goku and go SSJ all over you. If by the grace of God you end the chase alive, they will not wait for you to get out of your vehicle and lay on the ground with your hands over your head. They will run up to your car, open the door, and RAPE YOUR FUCKING ASS. The sheriff himself will jump on top of you and stick his giant cock into your asshole and fuck you so hard your baby's mama will feel it. These guys do not fuck around. You've heard of the phrase good cop bad cop. These guys are all bad cops. You will not be able to poop for weeks.
The vigilante motorcycle guy is a mysterious friend to children and senior citizens alike.
Another variable in the high speed chase equation is the vigilante motorcycle guy. These guys are usually men in their late 20s to late 40s who ride on motorcycles with police scanners looking for trouble. When they find a high speed chase in progress they will tailgate the suspect. There are high penalties for interfering with a police chase so why do they do this? Some say they are the ghosts of past high speed chases. Others say they are loose cannons who got kicked off the force for getting too many results. To me, they are like dolphins that follow boats on the high seas. Whatever motivates these brave men, they are an integral piece to the high speed chase puzzle.
The most famous "high" speed chase of all time was the O.J. Simpson low speed chase media carnival bonanza of 1994. On June 17th O.J. was scheduled to turn himself in to the LAPD for the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. The problem was, the guy never showed up! Everybody was standing around twiddling their thumbs going doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo and asking, "Where's O.J.?" Three hours after he was due at the police department the LAPD finally decided to go look for the guy. Later that evening police saw Simpson's white Ford Bronco going north on the 405. Al Cowlings, who was the helmsman of the S.S. Murder Truck, told police that Simpson had a gun to his head. After that Cowlings and Simpson led police on the slowest goddamn chase ever recorded. Cowlings drove Simpson, who was most likely contemplating killing himself, to Simpson's Brentwood home at speeds far below the speed limit.
More than 90 million people in the United States tuned into the chase and watched as the events unfolded live. I remember seeing the helicopters and hearing the sirens as the chase rolled right by my house. People got up onto the overpasses holding signs and cheering O.J. on. Regardless of whether Simpson murdered his wife or not, people cheered for him to get away! It was a circus. In the midst of excitement rational thinking gives way to frenzied fanaticism. During the chase few people really cared whether he did it or not. They just wanted to see something exciting happen, something to break up the mundane humdrum of everyday life. And as long as they can watch it from the comfort of their living rooms, the rest of the world be damned. Still, you have to give it up to a guy who has the balls to run from the police. No matter how hopeless their escape plan may be, no matter what they did, no matter how stupid they appear to be, one thing's for sure, they know how to cause a scene. And we all benefit from that.
High speed chases will always be a staple of Southern California culture. As long as they continue running, we will continue watching. Okay, so a guy running from police might plow into a family of nuns every now and then. One day I may be driving home from work and a guy who didn't feel like stopping for the police will rear end my car and cause me to vomit the contents of my asshole onto the pavement. Even so, it's a small price to pay for top notch entertainment!