Collapsed bridge leaves mess, quarantines locals
August 3, 2007 5:03 PM   Subscribe

Deliberately turning her camera from the wreckage, That Red Girl gives us a look at what's going on in her now quarantined life mere blocks from the recent Minneapolitan bridge collapse.
"Several neighbors and I stood in our driveway late into the night debriefing the day. We now live in lockdown. Police must escort us around. We must meet any guests at the corner, they cannot approach the building alone. Residents are told to ask people they do not recognize to show their keys and prove themselves. We joke about seeing everyone’s “FOBs” to those we know well. The dogs are all leashed, tying themselves together as they try to play like normal. It’s frustrating to everyone that we can’t run around as normal. The word “quarantine” is tossed around. People are nervous. One of the residents hasn’t been seen since Wednesday morning. She may be on vacation… no one knows. We see one of the neighbors being interviewed on the corner and a few young girls trying to flirt with the police to gain entrance to our complex. The dogs continued to wrestle and we continued to talk."
posted by taursir (34 comments total)
WTF? Lockdown? After a random freak disaster?

Glad to see you're okay, hon.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:10 PM on August 3, 2007

If they're flirting with cops, it's morbid.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:38 PM on August 3, 2007

Disaster reporters are dicks, this has been the news at 11.
posted by anthill at 5:40 PM on August 3, 2007

huh? Did I miss a memo? Why the lockdown? I can't get the redgirl links to work. Just getting lag over here.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:42 PM on August 3, 2007

This feeling of hers might work as a song:

"This is what everyone is talking about. I cannot escape it. The radio is full of reports. The newspapers aren’t reporting on national news. It’s only this. It’s only my front yard. "
posted by anthill at 5:45 PM on August 3, 2007

Ah, I think I get it, they are essentially quarantined because the area is so mobbed with people trying to get pictures that travel in and out is difficult.

The police are probably escorting the residence to keep them from being taken advantage of by the horde of strangers camped out on their block.
posted by quin at 5:47 PM on August 3, 2007

anthill writes: This feeling of hers might work as a song: "This is what everyone is talking about. I cannot escape it. The radio is full of reports. The newspapers aren’t reporting on national news. It’s only this. It’s only my front yard. "

Hmm. Are you suggesting this as the August MeFi Music Challenge? Well, maybe you should: the mods haven't gotten around to giving us the new one yet, and here it is 3 days into the month!

BTW, I can't really get this blog to open properly either. From the quote in the FPP though, it looks a bit like the law enforcement officials are doing their little practice drill for the real deal. The real deal being, of course, that day when full martial law is declared and the Constitution is suspended. They know it's going to happen sooner or later, and they need to get a feel for it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:55 PM on August 3, 2007

The lockdown is just because of the media and rubberneckers? Seems pretty crazy, and frankly unamerican.
posted by delmoi at 6:01 PM on August 3, 2007

The coral cache worked for me.
posted by puke & cry at 6:03 PM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

"The police are probably escorting the residence to keep them from being taken advantage of by the horde of strangers camped out on their block."

This reminds me of Christmas at Interlochen in Arlington Texas. It gets bombarded by 'tourists' every year cuz The Have-Somes like to gawk at Have-Too-Muches as they cause their electric bills to skyrocket.

There's so many Christmas lights, the affluents who actually live there either need security escort to come and go, or they just vacation away from home all month to the Bahamas, and put their lights on timers.

If you've ever seen the Christmas lights on Interlochen, you know it's more of a travesty than that bridge. scroll down to see the map - that whole residential neighborhood becomes one big traffic jam every December!
posted by ZachsMind at 6:21 PM on August 3, 2007

the lockdown is to keep people seeking photos or bridge chunks from getting hurt climbing around the ruin or making off with bridge chunks. The entire bridge will be laid out, just like in an airplane crash, as part of the investigation.
posted by vrakatar at 6:30 PM on August 3, 2007

You forgot about the black helicopters, tinfoil, and the fact that dude, jet fuel can't melt cement.

Heh heh. Tinfoil. You're funny. Of course you're right, though: martial law and suspension of the Constitution is so utterly unthinkable, so completely outside the realm of possibility in the USA, that it's obviously lunacy of the highest order to even suggest that it might happen.

And I'm sure that unswerving, blind faith the essential Goodness and Honesty of Our Government and Corporateocracy will serve you well in life, item! Like, why worry, right dude?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:38 PM on August 3, 2007 [6 favorites]

If you want explanations, follow the news - don't speculate or try to follow random blogs. The police have said the entire area is treated as a crime scene. They have to preserve evidence for the investigation into the cause and they need to keep people out of the area for their own safety. Moreover, people on the location interfere with the efforts of the rescue workers and investigators.

The police have stated that they plan to decrease the area locked down after they've advanced the recover effort a bit further and after the President's visit on Saturday.

This isn't some massive conspiracy, this isn't some undemocratic or unamerican exercise of power - those are knee jerk reactions by people that have little connection to this disaster and no perspective. Just let these hard working recovery works get their job done.
posted by Muddler at 6:44 PM on August 3, 2007 [3 favorites]

....which is not to say that it is not freaky and scary for the people whose hood has turned into a lockdown zone. or that cops are always cordial.
posted by vrakatar at 6:50 PM on August 3, 2007

Zach, the site was slow for me. Cache here.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:54 PM on August 3, 2007

Err here
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:55 PM on August 3, 2007

"If you want explanations, follow the news - don't speculate or try to follow random blogs."

*hypnotic eyes*
*spooky voice*
Because the news would never lie to you. Katie Couric is America's Sweetheart. News reporters are your friends. Steve Inskeep would never steer you wrong. You want to take Christiane Amanpour out for an ice cream sundae.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:56 PM on August 3, 2007 [2 favorites]

I think you've made some good and level-headed points there, Muddler, and overall I wouldn't necessarily disagree with them. I'd simply say, however, that a "knee jerk reaction", when in relation to observations of police and governmental exercise of control over the general populace, is not necessarily a bad thing. Living in a democracy calls for citizens to be watchful, alert and indeed suspicious of any moves toward the curtailing of civil liberties. When people stop doing that altogether, and indeed just "follow the news" (that would be, say, FOX? CNN?), and listen to what "the police have said" (uh... yeah), and simply leave it at that (satisfied that they have the whole story and that democracy is still well and enshrined), well, that's exactly when people with authoritarian designs are at their happiest. That's when they can start to get their job done. And to pretend that there aren't people with authoritarian designs, in the USA and in positions of power in government and law enforcement, is some serious head-in-the-sand stuff. And when the mere suggestion that there are such people (and that they may enact, say, suspension of the Constitution) is met with accusations of tinfoil hat wearing (as item did above), well, that strikes me as some pretty classic knee-jerking, right there. But knee-jerking against what? Being mindful that authority is likely to overstep its boundaries? That the machinery of state and law enforcement might become oppressive?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:18 PM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have no idea what axe some of you have to grind, but this is not the time nor is it helpful to speculate and second guess minor inconveniences to a few locals due to the recovery efforts.

There are multiple press conferences being held daily by all levels of officials, from those in the ERs on up the Federal government. I'm getting my information from the police chief, fire chief, mayor, rescue workers, governor, MNDOT officials, NTSB, and federal investigators to name a few - not to mention countless experts, eyewitnesses, on sight photographs, and, oh yes, my first hand witnessing of the event as it unfolds.

The people I've named are not the people you name and blame, they are not the nightly talking heads nor the type of people who gain from these press conferences. They are largely people pulling double shifts as they work hard on scene to coordinate efforts to locate those missing and piece together what happened here in Minnesota so it doesn't happen again wherever you live.

I'm getting very tired of MeFi vultures sitting back at their computer desk hundreds or thousands of miles away looking for some interesting speculation to throw out on the net to fill their boredom. You guys don't act like you care about the actual tragedy. You seem to be on here commenting for pure entertainment value.

Some of us on MeFi live and work near the bridge. Some of us saw the event happen. I saw the dust rise when the span went down, I was at the bridge shortly after the collapse and saw that night the thousands of people flocking to the scene, milling about, blocking traffic, and creating chaos. I can without reservation tell you that pushing back the crowds and keeping the press at a reasonable distance is the right tactic for keeping this recover effort going. The mess that was the relatively open access to the area the night of the collapse had to be stopped. If you'd actually even read that blog, you'd see that a great deal of it is complaining about the intrusion of the people and the media - not the "lock down" imposed by some MeFi boogeyman with a badge.
posted by Muddler at 7:25 PM on August 3, 2007 [6 favorites]

"You guys don't act like you care about the actual tragedy. You seem to be on here commenting for pure entertainment value."

Katie Couric would never lie to you. Look into her eyes. Those eyes are as wholesome and truthful as apple pie and baseball and all things American. You're getting very sleepy. Your eyes are getting very heavy. Look into Katie Couric's eyes. She'd never lie to you. Buy more american made products.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:29 PM on August 3, 2007

Quit typing my name in bold, dammit.

How 'bout small bold? Like, item. That OK?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:32 PM on August 3, 2007

flapjax, I likely broke more laws today than you have toes on your feet.

Uh, congratulations, I guess... But... we're talking about breaking laws here? I'm losing you.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:34 PM on August 3, 2007

I almost jaywalked the other day...
posted by ZachsMind at 7:34 PM on August 3, 2007

Someone, I can't remember who or where, wrote recently about how strange it is that Laura Bush can come here and, by her presence, get access to the site and simultaneously disrupt the activities of all the rescue personnel trying to work there, whereas those of us who have spent our lives in this city, driving over that bridge every day, are denied access, and hence are unable to connect the televised/photographed visuals of our new reality with the experiential reality of the bridge we've driven over daily for years, decades.

Muddler, I get what you're saying, but I would add that as someone who remembers watching that bridge being built, back in the '60s, and who sat in her house a mile away from the bridge Wednesday night listening to the sirens wail -- it's hard for me to truly grasp the enormity of what's happened here without being able to see it. Shamefacedly, I was biking around thatredgirl's neighborhood Thursday noon, trying to find a vantage point that wasn't locked down. Not because I was looking for cheap thrills, not because I'm some sort of vulture, but just because I couldn't find a way to connect the footage I was seeing on TV with my own long-lived experience without having the chance to actually *see* things. I've been good, have respected the police tape and refrained from being pushy or intrusive. But dammit, it's hard not to feel some sense of -- I dunno, membership or fellowship with this bridge, this neighborhood, and hence with what happened here, and to feel some resentment at politicians and Fox News having more "legitimacy" of access than us long-timers do.
posted by Kat Allison at 7:41 PM on August 3, 2007 [9 favorites]

This reminds me of the controversial plywood viewing platform in NYC after 9/11; it was the only way to *see* the site at that time, and many thought it ghoulish. Maybe it was, but it seems to be an inescapable human impulse to see disaster for ourselves. Maybe to make it more real.

There is something powerfully attractive about massive destruction; otherwise, people wouldn't chase tornadoes. And even when we know something is bad (like a car wreck) we somehow feel the need to stop and look and see *how* bad it is.

(/ot) oh and Zach, I spent hours of one December night as a child "seeing" Interlochen; what a waste. I think the idling car fumes I breathed are in my lungs still.
posted by emjaybee at 8:02 PM on August 3, 2007

Man. Some people take life way too seriously.

In the past week and a half, I've been in close proximity to three separate explosions in the Dallas area. These things happen. Fortunately none of them were as terrible as what happened in Minneapolis, but that's more a matter of luck than anything, and here in The Big D, our luck is waning.

We got a mixmaster, just south of where JFK breathed his last, that looks like poorly cooked spaghetti. We got overpass bridges all up and down I-35 and 75 Central that were constructed by the lowest bidder with questionable resources and materials, prefabricated and built to go up before the next rush hour started - not to last. In fact Central has been under construction practically ever since they opened it - in the past ten years they've added lanes and taken away lanes and built more overpasses cutting deeper into the sedimentary rock and pushing closer up against businesses that threaten to choke this major artery of human traffic in and out of downtown Dallas. The fact we haven't lost any lives (that I know about) is a bloody miracle. They got signs saying traffic fines double when construction guys are about, but that doesn't slow anyone down, and the guys fixing and building the roads are under a lot of pressure to have finished all this construction back in 1985, at less than half what it's cost. Yet they're still at it and property taxes continue to increase, but there's no convincing anybody that longevity or quality are even being considered at this point.

Seattle, Louisiana, Kansas, It's like this all over the country. Construction workers put their life on the line for a paycheck. People drive over these roads every day, as industrial business and major transport arteries squeeze ever closer together, and like a game of musical chairs you never know when you're gonna be the one to blow up next, or look Newton square in the eye as the law of gravity takes you down along with a few miles of cement and steel.

Every time - and I mean EVERY time I get out there, I'm painfully aware that this time could be my turn, when my luck runs dry. If I could afford it, I'd be agoraphobic, but I gotta pay my bills, so I get out in this every day. If you don't laugh about it, you're gonna git an ulcer. So. Lighten up!
posted by ZachsMind at 8:18 PM on August 3, 2007

I didn't preview a second time. Missed emjaybee's note. See? You agree with me? Interlochen's more atrocious! I got that car fume cough too!
posted by ZachsMind at 8:20 PM on August 3, 2007

The least the reporters can do is clean up their garbage. Jesus.
posted by mediareport at 8:53 PM on August 3, 2007

Wow! What a coincidence! Because I was just mentioning on some other thread here at The Grand Olde MeFis is that what I hear is...

...that there is no cabal.

Yeah, but that stuff about the US being in a perpetual state of militarily enforced emergency, now that's a fact. I mean, who could argue that? And why would you want to...



posted by humannaire at 9:22 PM on August 3, 2007

This is why they need to barricade the site. Damn Scientologists, freakin' ghouls.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:21 PM on August 3, 2007

5ff: those bastards just moved into a hallowed place of my youth and I'm mad as hell about it.
posted by baphomet at 11:31 PM on August 3, 2007

There are multiple press conferences being held daily by all levels of officials, from those in the ERs on up the Federal government. I'm getting my information from the police chief, fire chief, mayor, rescue workers, governor, MNDOT officials, NTSB

I love how after writing this, the poster bitches about the media. Who are press conferences held for? The director of the NTSB, when he goes before the press to say that this horror was an anomaly, is not saying this for your informational benefit, or else he'd just put that info out on a release and be done with it, then get back to work. He has something to gain from the press conference (even in providing info to the public via the media is partially on his mind), for he operates in a political universe (he was intimately involved with Nixon's CREEP, for cryin' out loud).

The quintessential example of a pseudo-event is the press conference, which functions as a sort of extended and lopsided interview. A press conference is obviously not a spontaneous event; it is planned (usually by politicians) with the express purpose of having reporters of various media attend and reproduce it. However, press conferences are also planned to give the impression that the reporters are getting a scoop, that they are discovering and gathering information, rather than simply acting as a mouthpiece for the press conference's organizers. This relationship is symbiotic; reporters need content for their consumers and politicians need to get their message across.
posted by raysmj at 11:52 PM on August 3, 2007

You want to take Christiane Amanpour out for an ice cream sundae.

This is just too true. Yet her bulletproof vest keeps thwarting cupid's attempts at making this happen for me.
posted by srboisvert at 3:11 AM on August 4, 2007

Christiane Amanpour is hot! =)
posted by ZachsMind at 10:41 AM on August 4, 2007

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