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Growing Pains

The Valley is getting crowded. We used to joke about laying down on Old Town Main St. for a nap. Now I can’t even cross it without nearly getting run over. Peacocks used to stroll through town every morning. Haven’t seen one in years. They all got run over. Now they’re talking about putting in a bunch of roundabouts along Hwy 260 between Cottonwood and I-17. Traffic circles are much better than the stop and go of stop lights but I would have preferred the freeway they started way back when. I guess we can expect wall to wall development starting at the Camp Verde Town Limits and extra time getting to the freeway. Our little hidden valley has been discovered and is now on the map not just for weekenders escaping the Big Valley but by Snowbirds, for richer and poorer migrating north for the summer. All these people need to be accommodated and can put a strain on our hospitality especially when these people bring their troubles with them. Big city amenities bring big city problems and where are you going to find ’em? Why Walmart of coarse. Walmart, everyone knows, is everything to everybody and if you’re traveling it’s a “safe” monitored place to camp in the urban jungle. Or was, but no longer is in Cottonwood. The Gavers were the poorer variety of snowbird, down and out, eight people living in a broke down Suburban camping out, like others, in the Walmart parking lot. Maybe they overstayed their welcome but somehow they got in a tussel in the Walmart bathroom with Walmart employees. The situation then moved to the Gavers Suburban in the parking lot where we are able to watch the police’s arrival on the only one of three dash cams that supposedly was working. Much of what followed looked like a “Keystone” Cop episode especially with the sound off. The cops couldn’t control anyone. You can watch it here…https://youtu.be/zv5Cbgn4TOU . With the sound on you see the police approach a calm situation and demand to separate and question everyone. The father? Says he will not be separated from his family and seconds later a cop tackles one of the boys from behind. The “melee” goes on for 8 minutes with the father shouting “You’re hitting children”, “Put that thing down”, “You’re acting like Nazis”. The mother screams most of the time or asks “Why are you killing my family?” The boys are heard yelling “Don’t touch me”, “Stop It”, “I didn’t do anything”. The police ordering them to “Get down!” “On the ground” and then one cop is heard saying “Get down or I’ll shoot you Motherf..ker” Much of the fight is off screen to the right or behind the Suburban out of this camera’s view, but what about the Walmart cameras? And the camera from inside the store for the initial confrontation? It’s been a month and we have nothing from the DPS. Every where else they get video the next day. We have a very edited version from Cottonwood PD claiming the Gavers are super humans immune to mace, tasers , billy clubs and gun shots sent to make the PD look bad https://youtu.be/ib2EyQFr5Yk   . The policeman appears to have been shot in a fight over his gun in a scrum on the ground. The Gaver boy was killed in the scrum by a shot point blank in the head by a policeman outside the scrum. I still have questions about how and when the 2nd Gaver kid was shot. More videos would answer a lot of questions but my experience says if we haven’t seen it by now we may never see an unedited version. What is clear is that a probably minor incident in Walmart was escalated when negotiation or even retreat and wait for backup would have worked better. Isn’t that the truth in all of these unarmed suspect shootings?

You can watch snowbirds from a safe distance at the 15th annual VERDE VALLEY BIRDING and NATURE FESTIVAL @ Dead Horse State Park & Whole Verde Valley all weekend and you can even hear them “SQUAWK” World-renowned bird show @ Mary D. Fisher Theatre. If you really want to give a hoot go to Jerome for the J-Town Hootenanny! 3 Days of Fun & Music! But if you want to dance its a Reggae/Ska Dance Party –The Cultivators @ That Brewery, Miller, Martin & Ki “Rockin’ & Blue” @ The Marketplace Cafe, The Retros and Combo Deluxe @ 10-12 Lounge, and watch Sweet Baby Ray and Even Sweeter Evie DeSylvester teach those cowboys @ Old Corral how to play harmonica. The Band Perry is at Stargazer Pavilion @ Cliff Castle Casino, Rajeev Taranath Master of Indian Classical Music @ Old Town Center for the Arts and Thoroughly Modern Millie @ Mingus High Auditorium. You’ll find me out there somewhere, but not in the Walmart parking lot. Go to AzRiffs.com to find out when.

Old Town Dave