Come Up and See Me Sometime — Bring Your Gun

by Steed Dropout
Berkeley, California
March 12, 2012


Subject to impulsivity when unrested, I found myself in our police headquarters atrium-lobby to learn why our chief sent an armed information officer to the home of a local reporter at 12:45 a.m. last week seeking corrections in the reporter’s piece.

Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t know the story? It went viral within hours of being reported in major media.

On the way into police headquarters, I chatted with one of those models who work as T.V. reporters.

The model, and two other journalists on her crew, was in a van with one of those sky-high curly antennas.

A passing Berkeleyan interrupted us with gibberish about getting his own feed from the antenna. I was too tired to say, “yeah them suckers are powerful. I don’t have to tell you that you can get your personalized feed.”

One of the model’s cohorts, said to the nut, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

After 42 years in Berkeley, I know what the nut was talking about.

This man is resting in the atrium of Berkeley police headquarters after being mugged on the streets of Berkeley. Photo by Ted Friedman.

The model said the police public information officer was stonewalling her on the chief story.

The model was told by the pistol-packing PIO Sgt. that “we have nothing to add to the information we’ve previously released.”

“I’ll see what I can get,” I said grandiosely. I wanted her to think that local reporters had the edge. In fact we don’t. It’s the opposite. Most of our officials would rather talk to the majors.

“Good luck,” the model said. I’ve heard good luck from hundreds of models over the years. I’m too short to date models. And I’m old.

At the end of a 50 minute wait, I left a handwritten note for the PIO sergeant.

The note: “I’m here to offer my support [which will be taken as bullshit] for the department. And by the way, you can come up to my apartment anytime. Be sure to bring the gun.”

I might have said worse, like, “be sure to bring the gun…THAT’S SO HOT!”

Fancy-schmansy. Shot from outside Berkeley police department headquarters, recently. Isn't that Dropout, left in a rain hat? He left his fedora at home. Photo by Ted Friedman.

[Editor’s note: Readers at Berkeley Reporter, a newspaper of the mind, will be glad to know that Steed Dropout, our leading reporter, showed some restraint for once].

My note was sexist, verging on sexual harassment. Would I have said that to a man?

By evening, I received an e-mail from a lieutenant, (I was expecting to be arrested for taking liberties with an officer), who sent a compendium of the department’s official statements. In a subsequent e-mail, the lieutenant noted that both the sergeant and he had gotten the humor.


I was unwilling to invite him up, with his gun, for fear he’d kick my ass. Why did I think the female sergeant would not?

I e-mailed the lieutenant a summary of a whistle-blower’s e-mail alleging sexual misconduct in the department, and asked if he’d heard about it? Stay tuned, BR readers, for more on the Berkeley Hills Murder, and BPD’s public confidence crisis.


When local stories [not ours] go viral, Berkeley becomes a meme, and our sobriquet, Berzerkeley, becomes the central metaphor controlling major media stories on us.

The majors’ stories scream: look what crazy Berkeley is doing now.

Local coverage is muscled aside.

You can’t even background your next story, because the virus event hijacks your search terms.

When the chief-in-the-night story broke, I feverishly re-read my own piece to see, if I had erred. My previous post for BR documented my time-consuming efforts to get it right.

I needn’t have worried. The department is fixated on the majors.

The reporter, whose early morning adventure with Berkeley police went viral, writes for a media conglomerate, but he lives in Berkeley, and covers major local stories.

His name, not mine will be etched in the minds of millions.

I console myself with the rationalization that the media-famous reporter will be forgotten after the next virus hijacks your mind.

Yet we wait for our chance at fleeting fame.

Editor to Dropout. Provoke a police chief or two. Get female sergeants — with guns — to visit YOU in the night. Stop with the Clark Kent Daily Planet timidity.

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