pjbogart wrote:Walter is a police officer who loves the local music scene. He is well-respected by hipsters and senior citizens alike. No one speaks ill of Walter, in part because we all know deep down inside that being a cop isn't always a fun job. It's important that you always maintain control, largely because you have a gun on your hip and anywhere there's a gun, there's the threat of violence.
Let me state categorically that Steve Heimsness is even more of an asset to this community as a Law Enforcement Officer and as a fellow human now than he was before this happened. He is one of us; he belongs here, in this community, and he's earned a great deal of appreciation for how he goes about his work and for who he is as a person; and he retains high levels of goodwill and support. Heimsness belongs to this neighborhood, is one of many who define this community and make this city what it is. He is Walter; he is a foron.
My condolences to family and friends of Paul Heenan. I didn't know Paul but I've known tons of guys a lot like him. Sounds like he lit up those around him and lived a rich life, even if he hadn't figured out yet that flawed vocalists make the best rock singers, and I'm sorry for your loss.
I have no desire to indulge in any cheap rhetoric about officers tempered by the job or traffic in not-very-useful-right-about-now western-noir archetypes of wounded constables determined to do what has to be done. That's all crap. Don't think you can say this about any other city or guy but if anyone can come back and be better for it, Walter is that capable. Or so I'd like to think. And I don't have any real basis for that belief other than limited DPForum and neighborhood interaction.
Officers don't come through these things unchanged, and coming to terms is never easy, but I am hoping we see Steve out there in the neighborhood again in due course. In the bars as a guy and on the job as an officer. I gather from several posts upthread the mistake may've been in thinking, among musicians at least, that Steve could ever be a friend only, when week-in and week-out for 40 to 60 hours Heimsness couldn't be anything other than Officer Friendly. It's obvious, but it has to be pointed out that respect has to flow both ways.
Now there'll be some recalibration in a number of areas; that's not on Walter, and that's not unhealthy. There's still a lot of good policing that'll need to be done. Navigating-while-trashed in the Wonderland That is White Madison could be throttled back without crimping the general lifestyle. Apparently it needs to be said out loud that Drunken Home Invasion either inadvertent or with mal-intent happens far more regularly than anyone is willing to admit or even wants to think about. It's been going on since forever, in certain quarters you hear about it all the time, and statistically it was only a matter of time before an incident took a bad turn.
Dorms to frats to downtown apartments to homes in outlying areas; doesn't matter. (Junior year one HS classmate, better equipped in sound judgment and smarts than most and visiting from UMn the night before Halloween, found himself upon returning from the bars locked out and unable to wake his host (whom he'd lost track of during the night) -- so he clambered up onto the second-floor front porch and entered the flat through a window .. . tiptoeing around the sleeping dweller in the front bedroom and right on into the main area only to discover he wasn't even in the right house.)
But someone else died that night. The officer who felt comfortable checking out a local show and praising local musicians. He doesn't simply feel awkward, he feels like the enemy. Even when he's among friends who offer him forgiveness and understanding, he'll always feel those eyes, angry and full of mistrust. The old Walter is gone and the man who replaces him will never be quite the same.
The shooting rips a big tear in the social fabric, but jumping to say Walter's a pariah is the wrong way to go. Embracing what we have, what makes Willy Willy and what makes Madison one of a kind, embracing Walter, is that much more vital. Things will be different and Walter will undergo some changes, but Walter is still Walter. The next guy may not be one of us. We're all still here and so is everything Walter knows, so I look forward to seeing him in bars and at events up and down the neighborhood. I get what you're saying but I'm not on-board with saying two men died that night.
Steve Heimsness loves good music, but that doesn't mean musicians are The Deciders here. He'll be in the bars and cafes on duty and in time as a fan and customer, and I hope he'll be made to feel at home. Almost all of these places are more bar than music club, except maybe the Barrymore or the High Noon, as a dozen threads in TDPF and more articles perpetually testify that they're not music venues, but just bars. Which is to say, explicitly, that a ton of the customer base at these joints, music fans but not musicians, may honor your grief and the loss of Paul Heenan and still welcome Steve Heimsness as one of our own. Don't know anybody else I'd say has that kind of credibility.
To Walter-- to Steve Heimsness, I say only this. The Minutemen will not fail you. I know what you're thinking. I still listen to Double Nickels
practically every other day and that song is not about you. d boon is dead but Mike Watt still works the thud staff. Our neighborhood still needs a righteous bass line and I hope we'll see you back on the beat.
Please note: this comment emphasizes one aspect of this tragedy, but by no means does it overlook the loss of Paul Heenan or diminish what he meant to those who knew him.
. . . I can't help but feel that this entire story is some modern version of a Greek tragedy.
It's Robert Johnson and Johnny Cash territory, so put it in a song. "Two men died that night" is not the right note to strike here. I get where you're at but that's not helping.