Rudolfo Carrillo is a native New Mexican and was the news and music editor at Weekly Alibi from August 2015 until March 2020, where he used the pen name “August March” to write about Albuquerque culture, history and politics. He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico’s fine arts program. As well as being an award-winning writer, Carrillo is a painter and sculptor. His recent work is currently on exhibit at Six O Six Gallery at 606 Broadway Blvd. SW, through December 26. Carrillo’s award-winning writing and analysis have been featured at international academic conferences and in notable literary journals as well as local media outlets like the Albuquerque Journal. In February he will present work written for this site at the 43rd convocation of the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association. His latest creative writing can be read at Infinity Report with the link here: http://infinityreport.blogspot.com
EDITOR’S DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this article are those of Rudolfo Carrillo and do not necessarily reflect those of the political blog www.petedinelli.com. Mr. Carrillo was not compensated for his guest column.
Rudolfo Carrillo Guest Column: Wholly Night
UP WITH THE MOON
I am writing this update to you as the long night moon floats overhead. It is late in the year called 2021. It’s cold as hell outside and I let a stray cat that I call Pye come in for the night. He meows a lot but likes to curl up with my poodle Leo and keeps the old dog warm on nights like this one.
There’s a teevee in the background blaring out a show from the 1990s where all the cops are heroes and full of a tough sort of altruism. During a commercial break, a holiday favorite called Silent Night plays while a montage of hope fills the screen. The phrase “sleep in heavenly peace” drifts out of the flat screen and disperses itself sweetly like smoky Frankincense through the room. My weekend has just started.
Since I have been ensconced in a tangle of wires and databases during this past week, I figure the best thing to do is to wake up the iMac Pro sitting on my desk and viddy the local news.
During the pandemic, I programmed Siri to respond to me in the accent of female human English speaker who attended public school somewhere west of the Severn River in Great Britain. For a moment I am overcome by hiraeth as the AI loads a local news site, per my directive.
That abstract wistfulness is quickly replaced by a quick glance at the headlines. Even the bright lunar-lit sky seems diminished as the words come into focus.
THE NEWS FROM TOWN
Another pedestrian has died in a hit and run event in Albuquerque. Once again, the driver fled the scene and had to be tracked down by local law enforcement after the fact. Last weekend a child died in similar circumstances—after visiting the River of Lights. The man allegedly responsible for that incident has yet to be found and arrested.
“BCSO: Pedestrian Hit, Killed in Nob Hill” by KOB Web Staff, at kob.com, December 18, 2021.
“Police Identify 7-year-old boy killed Sunday in hit-and-run” by Elise Kaplan, December 13, 2021, in the Albuquerque Journal.
And though many in this city have contemplated and addressed crime in the city, few have spoken openly about the lawlessness that has haunted this town since the pandemic began to rage. Since I have used up enough letters on the verbose poeticism that introduced this missive to you, citizens and leaders of Albuquerque, I believe that I will have a go at it.
ABQ’S INVISIBLE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY
Law enforcement in the city is practically nonexistent, as is police security in public spaces and at events throughout our city. I’m not going to get wonky on you and spill out a grip of statistics on the matter. You and I both know it’s true.
When was the last time you saw a beat cop walking through Downtown? When was the last time you saw a speed trap on Lead or Coal Avenue? How about a APD DWI checkpoint or a police cruiser prowling through the university area after dark?
More specifically: how did an all-terrain vehicle, presumably driven by an individual who had been drinking in Nob Hill, end up on at major city intersection near the river—miles away—in the middle of large, on-going public holiday spectacle?
The simple answer involves the abandonment of this city’s citizens by a police force controlled by a regressive union and the fumbling inaction of a city council that continues to meet online, blithely unaware of conditions on the street, effectively keeping its distance from both disease and decisiveness.
“Police reform groups criticize police union’s campaign, call for sanctions”, by Annalisa Pardo, at krqe.com, June 8, 2021.
Every night, from my little home in Downtown Albuquerque, I hear hot rods and motorcycles racing, raging down Central or Lomas. I am told that it’s even worse in the heights, where Montgomery Boulevard has been turned into a dangerous drag strip.
In late November a 58-year-old man “heading to pick up dinner with his dogs” was allegedly killed by a drunken man child doing over 100 miles per hour on Montgomery Boulevard near Morris.
Police: Teen accused in deadly DWI crash was driving nearly 100 mph”, by KRQE Staff at krqe.com, November 29, 2021.
CALM AND BRIGHT
These tragic incidents are shocking. To make matters worse, the mayor and his leadership cadre have had absolutely no comment on the lapse of law and order and the consequent rise of lawlessness across our town. Nor have any of them, or the city council for that matter, risen to question the role of APD in this cruel upsurge of post-pandemic anarchy.
In fact, it’s almost like Keller has disappeared. Before the recent municipal election, dude was everywhere. Get this: A few days before he trounced Sheriff Manny, and after he had a heated confrontation with that same opponent after a teevee news debate, Keller oddly but coincidentally appeared all solito at the restaurant I was working at—after I roasted his butt over his failure as a political progressive and transformation into a pure politician, on this very site—to press the flesh. I hid from him after taking his goddamn order for a Detroit style pizza over the phone.
Anyway, after he was re-elected he dropped from public view. One hopes he’s still reading. He certainly isn’t hanging out at the Launchpad with all the other heshers.
TAKING A FLIGHT OUT OF ALBUQUERQUE
Interestingly, Keller’s huge, HR defining millennial pick for head of the Albuquerque Sunport, Nyika Allen quietly announced that she had left her position a few days after hizzoner’s re-election. That’s a coincidence too, by the way. We all know that candidate Gonzales’ attempt to implicate the mayor in an ethical lapse was a sick, below-the-belt hit from a fighter who found himself on the ropes for the first time in a long time, but the totality of those incidents points to something worth noting.
Albuquerque aviation director take position with Oakland International Airport”, by Chris Keller in Albuquerque Business First, November 5, 2021.
The point here is that the leaders of this city have been so involved in their own sense of privilege and public presentation—the propagation and success of their own political personae—that they’ve forgotten about the very serious issue of managing an out of control police department that has also all but disappeared from public view, and therefore criticism. Keller and Co. also seem to have forgotten how important it is to respond quickly proactively and with a deep sense of empathy when innocent citizen lives are threatened by those not bound by the social contract.
“Monitor slams APD’s Backlog of force probes”, by Elise Kaplan in the Albuquerque Journal, November 16, 2021.
ONE ORDER OF “GET FIGHTING MAD”, PLEASE
I’d like to see Keller get fighting mad about the senseless innocent citizen deaths we’ve all had to soldier through this past month. I’d like to see hizzoner do something remarkably clear-headed and progressive after the latest damning report from DOJ settlement overseer James Ginger—but apparently the only thing that can get the dude out of his corner is the fear that he is not as good looking to his constituents as he is to himself. That and pizza with the sauce on top.
Or maybe these words: it’s the long night of the cold moon, after all.