Home Sweet Home

Last week Jim Schutze wrote about open-records guru Russell Fish getting booted from his apartment for speaking up at a management-sponsored crime meeting ("Scapegoats," March 25). Fish got steamed and walked out when he discovered that the so-called Crime Watch meeting at Celery Stalk Apartments in North Dallas was really a sales pitch for prepaid legal services.

Next morning his manager, who had just written Fish begging him to renew his lease, hand-delivered a notice telling him to be out by the end of the month.

Fish decided moving was the better part of valor and started looking for a new place right away. But he told Schutze that every place he applied to called Celery Stalk for a reference. A series of apartment managers told Fish they couldn't rent to him because Fish had talked bad to the Dallas Observer about his current landlord. Fish says one leasing agent even mentioned Schutze by name and said he would never rent to someone who would talk to a person like that.

Schutze felt a certain responsibility, which he says was an unfamiliar sensation. "For a while I thought it was acid reflux."

But as luck would have it, the manager of a newer, nicer complex called Schutze and said he was looking for Russell Fish, "...because that kind of involved citizen is the tenant I want." Fish found a new home. Schutze found extra-strength Calcium Tums in natural and artificial assorted fruit flavors. Everybody's fine now.

Fair and balanced sucks: Your regular Buzz correspondent took last week off for vacation, to rest and catch up on some home repairs. We're back, feeling pretty relaxed and stress-free now. Very mellow, as we used to say in the '80s.

This is not a good thing.

Here's why: We've been trying to work up a good sense of outrage over the killing of Jabari, the escaped gorilla shot by police at the Dallas Zoo two weeks ago. We feel we owe it to the half-dozen or so people who wrote in to lambaste the cops over the incident. Buzz on occasion gives money to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, so we're naturally inclined to anger over Jabari's demise. Besides, we like lambasting cops.

On the other hand, with time to relax and reflect, we've wondered what we would have done in the cops' place--gun in hand, facing a large, charging, pissed-off, baby-biting ape. Personally, Buzz would have screamed like a girl and run like a cheetah, but we're not trained peace officers. In their shoes, we most likely would have emptied the gun and then felt just terrible about it afterward (and screamed like a girl). So the cops get a pass from Buzz this week.

Then we were thinking about teeing up on the letter-writers, who were moved to write us notes on the death of Jabari but said not a word about the death of Allen Simpson, a 23-year-old Pleasant Grove man who died of asphyxiation in December after Dallas police used a controversial neck restraint on him. We also usually enjoy smacking around people whose priorities are way out of whack. This coulda been a twofer, allowing us to criticize the cops and our correspondents.

On the other, other hand, Simpson was idiotic enough to run from and fight the cops attempting to arrest him on drug charges, while Jabari was a poor ape in a cage, doing what poor apes do. In fairness, the comparison just doesn't hold. Jabari most likely never even heard the song "I Fought the Law."

But that's the problem with vacation. You relax. You read a few good books. Your mind opens, and suddenly you have all these hands and a distressing sense of fairness. And you end up with this sort of mealymouthed column.

Not to worry, though. The happiness will soon fade, and Buzz will be back to our usual, cranky, smarmy, biased self. We figure about three days back at the office should do the trick.


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