Live Music Capital – or City of Crime? – an outsider’s view of Austin
The Austin leg of our trip was one that I’d particularly looked forward to – its reputation as the live music capital of America, its hosting of the South by South West music festival, and its legendary son Stevie Ray Vaughan were just some of the reasons we were excited. But a different view of the city, a darker side, has emerged during our time here.
There is a huge Police presence for one thing, and the local news is reporting murder and acts of vandalism on a regular basis. But when you add to that the lunatic Joe Stack who decided his complaint against the IRS would take the form of a terrorist attack on their building, only a few blocks away from us, things really took a downturn. What is it in the American psyche that turns a part-time bass player in a country rock band into a kamikaze pilot? -and just how much problem could he have had with tax, given that he had the luxury of a $300,000 house to set fire to – AND HIS OWN PLANE????? Am I missing something here? Is it the American dream? Are you entitled to blow your countrymen away if you don’t have excessive wealth?
That sorry episode aside, as we left to go out last night, we noticed a gas station being taped off as a crime scene with Police and Ambulance in attendance, and wondered at what had occurred. But that was nothing compared to our return. We discovered that our Motel had been turned into a taped off crime scene also, and we were stopped and interrogated before being allowed to drive in. After ducking under our very own crime scene tape, Two doors down, the apartment had been taped off, and the place was crawling with Police and a Crime Scene van was parked outside our window for the entire night. We were assured that we were in no danger, which we naturally didn’t believe for one second. If they were screening visitors to the site, who were they looking for?
It saddens me that a country that has such an open-hearted, friendly and generous side seems to be infected with such a high percentage of bloody lunatics that give it a bad name. Let us not forget, only a little way to the North is the town of Waco, or perhaps it should be called Wacko, given the events that unfolded there some years ago, following the catastrophic ‘meeting of minds’ between the FBI and a bunch of religious nuts.
Texas tourist industry take note, our view of Austin has been tainted by what we have seen here.
Let us hope that someone, some day, cleanses this cancer from society before twilight’s last gleaming.