This is a store with a loyal following of die-hard fans who know that they'll always be able to get great recommendations and great ideas at the store. In summer 2007, I took my writing class from Clarion down to the store for the midnight launch of the final Harry Potter book and I've never seen such a rollicking, awesomely fun party at a store.
Mysterious Galaxy: 7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite #302 San Diego, CA USA 92111 +1 858 268 4747
The Xnet wasn't much fun in the middle of the school-day, when all the people who used it were in school.
I had the piece of paper folded in the back pocket of my jeans, and I threw it on the kitchen table when I got home. I sat down in the living room and switched on the TV. I never watched it, but I knew that my parents did.
The TV and the radio and the newspapers were where they got all their ideas about the world.
The news was terrible.
There were so many reasons to be scared. American soldiers were dying all over the world.
Not just soldiers, either. National guardsmen, who thought they were signing up to help rescue people from hurricanes, stationed overseas for years and years of a long and endless war.
I flipped around the 24-hour news networks, one after another, a parade of officials telling us why we should be scared. A parade of photos of bombs going off around the world.
I kept flipping and found myself looking at a familiar face. It was the guy who had come into the truck and spoken to Severe-Haircut woman when I was chained up in the back.
Wearing a military uniform. The caption identified him as Major General Graeme Sutherland, Regional Commander, DHS.
"I hold in my hands actual literature on offer at the so-called concert in Dolores Park last weekend." He held up a stack of pamphlets.
There'd been lots of pamphleteers there, I remembered. Wherever you got a group of people in San Francisco, you got pamphlets.
"I want you to look at these for a moment. Let me read you their titles.
WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED: A CITIZEN'S GUIDE TO OVERTHROWING THE STATE. Here's one, DID THE SEPTEMBER 11TH BOMBINGS REALLY HAPPEN? And another, HOW TO USE THEIR SECURITY AGAINST THEM. This literature shows us the true purpose of the illegal gathering on Saturday night.
This wasn't merely an unsafe gathering of thousands of people without proper precaution, or even toilets. It was a recruiting rally for the enemy.
It was an attempt to corrupt children into embracing the idea that America shouldn't protect herself.
"Take this slogan, DON'T TRUST ANYONE OVER 25.
What better way to ensure that no considered, balanced, adult discussion is ever injected into your pro-terrorist message than to exclude adults, limiting your group to impressionable young people?
"When police came on the scene, they found a recruitment rally for America's enemies in progress.
The gathering had already disrupted the nights of hundreds of residents in the area, none of whom had been consulted in the planning of this all night rave party.
"They ordered these people to disperse — that much is visible on all the video — and when the revelers turned to attack them, egged on by the musicians on stage, the police subdued them using non-lethal crowd control techniques.
"The arrestees were ring-leaders and provocateurs who had led the thousands of impressionistic young people there to charge the police lines. 827 of them were taken into custody.
Many of these people had prior offenses. More than 100 of them had outstanding warrants.
They are still in custody.
"Ladies and gentlemen, America is fighting a war on many fronts, but nowhere is she in more grave danger than she is here, at home.
Whether we are being attacked by terrorists or those who sympathize with them."
A reporter held up a hand and said, "General Sutherland, surely you're not saying that these children were terrorist sympathizers for attending a party in a park?"
"Of course not.
But when young people are brought under the influence of our country's enemies, it's easy for them to end up over their heads. Terrorists would love to recruit a fifth column to fight the war on the home front for them.
If these were my children, I'd be gravely concerned."
Another reporter chimed in. "Surely this is just an open air concert, General? They were hardly drilling with rifles."
The General produced a stack of photos and began to hold them up.
"These are pictures that officers took with infra-red cameras before moving in." He held them next to his face and paged through them one at a time. They showed people dancing really rough, some people getting crushed or stepped on.
Then they moved into sex stuff by the trees, a girl with three guys, two guys necking together. "There were children as young as ten years old at this event.
A deadly cocktail of drugs, propaganda and music resulted in dozens of injuries. It's a wonder there weren't any deaths."
I switched the TV off.
They made it look like it had been a riot. If my parents thought I'd been there, they'd have strapped me to my bed for a month and only let me out afterward wearing a tracking collar.
Speaking of which, they were going to be pissed when they found out I'd been suspended.
They didn't take it well.
Dad wanted to ground me, but Mom and I talked him out of it.
"You know that vice-principal has had it in for Marcus for years," Mom said.
"The last time we met him you cursed him for an hour afterward. I think the word 'asshole' was mentioned repeatedly."
Dad shook his head.
"Disrupting a class to argue against the Department of Homeland Security —"
"It's a social studies class, Dad," I said. I was beyond caring anymore, but I felt like if Mom was going to stick up for me, I should help her out.
"We were talking about the DHS. Isn't debate supposed to be healthy?"
"Look, son," he said. He'd taken to calling me "son" a lot.
It made me feel like he'd stopped thinking of me as a person and switched to thinking of me as a kind of half-formed larva that needed to be guided out of adolescence.