Bad apples

I thought Apple Chill and the motorcycle festival and the associated traffic management was handled very well today.

Unfortunately, a few idiots have chosen mess it up for the rest of us. "Two people have been taken to UNC Hospitals Sunday night after four shots were fired on Franklin Street." - News

UPDATE: "Forty-five minutes after the initial shooting Jarvies said police received another report of gunshots fired several blocks east of 110 W. Franklin Street. In a third incident, a gun was brandished, but no shots were fired." - N&O: Three people shot in Chapel Hill


Thanks for clarifying that Diana. Something sounded askew.

I was a t Franklin and Mallette. David Beck, thanks for your comments about all of this; that is the type of discussion that our society needs to engage in.

Terri, you jumped right to the whole 'you're insulting the black community' thing. Exactly my point. That type of rhetoric makes it nearly impossible to discuss race in America.

David wrote: "Terri, thanks for your kind words. I agree that the education gap is also a big problem. I also think that there is only so much the schools can do and that they are trying to do a lot but that it's easy to blame them."

David, You must have missed my tirades on the relationship between poverty and school performance. To me, dropouts and inclusion in programs like FOCAL are barometers of where we are in this community with racial equality.

Mark--If you want to talk about race relations, I'm all for it. My objection is to calling After Chill a cultural event. Culture implies an aesthetic or a transmission of knowledge to future generations. A large group of people gathering for the sole purpose of socializing is not a cultural event IMHO.

Mark, glad you appreciated. I wish more people would chime in. Terri, I agree that such ed programs are good barometers but I worry that too often they end up being more of a "blame the schools" measurement than a barometer. If only our teachers would do more... haha

I found this webpage very interesting and sobering.

Well David, that's my point. We shouldn't be expecting the schools to do it all. Schools can't cure poverty. Regardless of how much money we throw into reading coaches and tutoring, if a child is hungry or sleepy, she is not going to perform well. When teenagers don't feel they are valued or that they have choices, they become at risk of dropping out. The problems in the schools are reflective of our community failure--not that of our teachers. If kids join gangs, we need to act as a community, not expect the schools to fix it. This isn't just a perceived problem, there is plenty of confirming data from the schools that this community is failing many of our African American kids.

Culture: The system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning.

"After Chill" therefore could be a cultural event, whether intended or not.

From Terri - "The problems in the schools are reflective of our community failure–not that of our teachers. If kids join gangs, we need to act as a community, not expect the schools to fix it. This isn't just a perceived problem, there is plenty of confirming data from the schools that this community is failing many of our African American kids. "

Don't forget that although the above may be true, that people ulimately make choices, and are responsible for the bad choices that they make. Some of the bad choices are made because of poor role-modeling coupled with sinking values (culture of violence/misogyny).

This problem is very complicated, but before it is solved, we need to be honest about why the problem exists, or it will never be remedied...

As someone who was in high school only 4 years ago, I think a swift kick in the pants would really go a long way to curbing discipline problems. Also, schools need to realize part of their mission is to make citizens, not just people with high-school diplomas.

I'm sure we all know folks we went to school with who were able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps in the worst of conditions after everyone wrote them off, and I'm sure we all know folks that came from good families, had everything going for them and still threw it all away.

All the education and role modelling in the world can be crammed down a kid's throat, but if he or she has no drive then there's not much point to it.


I don't think anybody's arguing that it isn't a Anthropology 101-style cultural event. Note that culture can be a very small subset (hip hop culture, gang culture, "Warcraft" culture, Carrboro culture, Morrison Residence Hall cuture) of members of society.

We're arguing whether or not it was an important African American cultural event. Not whether or not it was an example of *a* culture holding an event.

Make our kids citizens? I don't think that is on the study list for NCLB or NC End of Grade Tests, North Carolina Competency Tests, ABCs, etc.

Do away with standardized tests for students and you might actually teach things like personal responsibility.

Ginny - I understand what you are saying but here's what I think is happening - people are dancing around the angry elephant in the room which is this: there is a problem with urban culture. Not everyone who is involved in urban life is a problem, of course. In fact, many aren't. I don't mean to generalize. But here's what you said earlier:

"Anyone who confuses gang violence, drugs and harrassment of women with black youth culture has a very sad view of black youth culture."

Perhaps you are making a differentiation between black youth culture and black urban culture...

But let's not ignore statistics. As I said before, if we don't acknowledge the problem, which is a culture of violence, misogyny, etc...the problem will never go away. And as I said, it's a very complicated problem. But to ignore any tier is to do a disservice to the very people we need to help...

After Chill is a confluence of multiple cultural rituals, expressions, and interactions, many of which clearly constitute "African American cultural event(s)." All it takes is a few conversations with the participants of After Chill (who happen to come from all over this state and region) to realize this is an event that is by and for African-Americans that expresses something important about what it means to be African-American. Maybe some of us don't find these elements very palatable - maybe they don't 't fit into a formalized, "well-behaved," version of African-American culture found at some step shows or some Stone Center sponsored events, but these cultures are real, and they cannot not be disregarded, just as we cannot disregard white rural cultural expressions of shooting ranges and hunting or any other cultural expression we don't find appropriate.

That said, After Chill and the opposition to After Chill both are fundamentally about race. The call to shut the event down and the fear it generates is likely justified... something has to be done to stop gun violence, and the Chapel Hill town council's to cancel Apple Chill is one rational response, but that does not change the fact that underlying all of this is racial tension.

For one night a year, Chapel Hill is overwhelmed by crowds of black people many of which don't have a permit, don't have a organized schedule of events (at least not organized through the email chains and printed bulletins we come to assume is the def. of organization), don't care if they slow down traffic, don't follow our rules for town conduct, and don't subscribe to our cherished sense of how one is supposed to act in Chapel Hill. How ostentatious the displays are! How wasteful the gasoline, how irresponsible the thousand dollar rims, the nudity, and the noise! Or as one commenter on this forum put it:
"What is frustrating about the post-AC gathering is that there is no control. No one was invited, no one is registered, nothing is planned, we do not know when everyone will go home."

But have we considered for a second that that might be the point. To disrupt. To resist. To poke holes into our politics, our routines, and way of life. To expose our contradictions as a town even as other contradictions are exposed. Have we thought about how obnoxious Weaver St. and Priuses are to some populations in the country, how empty our proud, liberal pronouncements sound, and how self-serving and arrogant our desire to carefully regulate everything that takes place in this community into a logical, rational, efficient, progressive system? Has the town even consulted with the black residents (and not just the leaders) of rapidly-gentrifying Northside about their response to After Chill (I honestly don't know)?

What I find great about After chill is that it represents a real opportunity for many of us to challenge our sense of what Chapel Hill's community constitutes and to rethink our identity as a town. I've always joked that one night of thousands of people driving pimped-out cars and motorcycles in circles more than makes up for all of the steadfast efforts of Carrboro bikers and walkers to reduce carbon emissions. How wonderfully grounding! How good to be reminded that riding a bike isn't doing much to save the world (and fails to address so many issues) even as I realize how much more important it is to continue riding it.

This is why I find After Chill to be one of the most interesting things that takes place in Chapel Hill year after year. Like Mark Chilton, I too skip out on Apple Chill, and much prefer the ostensibly chaotic congregation of After Chill. This year I tremendously enjoyed all of the conversations I had while navigating my bicycle through the crowds of cars from Carrboro to S. Columbia. It has energy and vitality. It is a real EVENT, or THE EVENT: something that really disrupts the social order.

Harassment and assault have to be stopped. Our gun laws must be enforced. Public safety must be ensured. But we must also deal with our inability as Chapel Hill citizens to deal with the unplanned, the outside, the "chaotic." (Though all one has to do is drive in After Chill's car lineup to realize that there ARE organized codes for driving and social behavior that everyone else is following). But we must find a way to handle an event that isn't meant for most white Chapel Hill residents. Sure, After Chill can be loud, disruptive, annoying, offensive, and in some cases dangerous and violent... but what else is it? What is it trying to say? What opportunities does it present?

Instead of fomenting in communal outrage (how dare they come here without permits or authorization? How dare they make my 10 minutes drive last 100?), why not look at the history of After Chill, why it happened, how it happened, what brought it about? How phenomenal that an event of such magnitude could take place with such an organic organizing structure. How interesting is it that BW3's and McDonald's stay open but the rest of West Franklin shuts down. How incredible that this event more than Halloween, more than violence and burnings after basketball games, causes so much more outrage.

I was glad to see the posts about After Chill's history. Explorations like these are ways we can begin to see this event as far more than mere gangbanging and cruising (though those things are important as well), but as the beginnings of a reaction to or a resistance of something about Chapel Hill, UNC, the US, or us. Something that simultaneously participates in and strikes out against the quaintness and beauty of a small-town arts festival.

Is After Chill about exclusion, finding ones own space? Is it just gang-banging violence? Or is it mere political disruption, as we saw in recent urban riots in France? Or is it something else entirely?

I have a feeling that as much as the town tries to avoid this next year through roadblocks or Apple Chill cancellations or other creative schemes, people will still come. Maybe in smaller numbers, but they will still come. And maybe next year, more Chapel Hill residents will look at After Chill as a learning opportunity: as a beautiful chance to let our identities be shaken and our deepest assumptions challenged.

Then, instead of ranting in self-aggrandizing moral outrage about how inappropriate and disgusting topless women and blaring speakers are (on campus! and with families!), or how inconvenient it is to wait in traffic, we'll come to understand our community (the smaller ones and the larger ones), and its many greatnesses and contradictions in more nuanced, more wholistic ways.

Excellent points, Chase. Thanks for writing this.

It's worth keeping in mind that in the mid-90's the Town banned the Grateful Dead from coming back. Even though there wre no more than a few inconsequential drug arrests & no violence. The problem was compounded by not allowing Deadheads to set up during the day in the parking lots around the Dean Dome. So thre was a predictable traffic mess around rush hour.

Before the Dead came to town, local law enforcement handed out flyers to local schools warning them of the dangers of Deadheads coming to town and asking them to report any tie-dyed suspicious characters that would likely be lurking around the schoolyard to foist drugs on some unsuspecting innocent schoolchildren. (It begs the question, what were those cops smoking?)

Obviously, the basketball celebrations caused more harm and violence - one person being killed in the early 90's - but these events were never questioned in the same way.

This points out that one aspect of this is not necessarily racial, but arises out of fear of what people just don't unerstand.

The value of "women have a right to feel safe from intimidation, fear and violence" is clashing with the "every minority expression of cultural revolt is a valid and welcome learning experience" value.

Sounds like Ruby and Chase choose Option B.

You're confusing my opposition to AfterChill with me thinking that it's intellectually uninteresting and devoid of any messages. Chase had a few good points about interpretations of these messages, and I think in many ways he's on the right track. But I certainly wouldn't encourage the sarcasm with which he played down the legitimate concerns -- about minors being sexually exploited, women from being harrassed, and the fact that many of the people attending AppleChill INTEND to create fear in others (both other AppleChill participants and Chapel Hill residents) and use it to feel powerful.

Many of you didn't go to After Chill, but if you read the comments from the people on the petition, the Facebook group online, and the personal experiences of others (particularly women) you'd find that my experience is not atypical. I'm just one of the only young women at UNC who posts on this board. (Also, Chase, bear in mind that you're much more of an adventurous/fearless risk-taker than most people --I've seen you riding your bicycle at all hours of the night in all sorts of neighborhoods.)

So, while I appreciate a more complex interpretation of After Chill, I'll still stick with my "Take Back the Night" attitude of protecting everyone's right to feel safe.

I didn't mean to play down the legitimate concerns, though I recognize that my post in many could have. I meant it more as an exploration of how interesting Apple Chill/After Chill is more than a commentary on or recommendation for policy. Sexual harassment is absolutely unacceptable, as are all forms of violence... and we have to figure out a way to prevent and bring to justice such things (through our community, police, laws,etc...). I didn't mean for my comment to feel like an attack on you Ginny or anyone else (the video recording topless women episode has been reported widely and referred to in many newspapers). And I'm sorry if my sarcasm had a coarse quality. But I like your "Take Back the Night" attitude. Wouldn't it be great if large numbers of people interested in raising awareness about sexual assault, misogyny etc... were to join people on the street for After Chill? What would happen? What new community space would be formed?

I think there are ways of recognizing that all cultural revolts are filled with all sorts of different things many of which disgust - look at the history of every social movement pretty much anywhere. Dealing with these complications and contradictions is in many ways the biggest challenge social movements have and we have here in Chapel Hill when working toward a more democratic, empowering future. Even if we as a community conclude that After Chill has to be shut down, that doesn't change my belief that we don't have to privilege a person's right for sexual autonomy over cultural resistance rights or vice versa. Instead, I think we need to have a new framework that doesn't see such things as discrete or distinct.

At least this whole thing caused one of the best local headlines in recent memory - the Chapel Hill News article entitled: "The Chill is Gone".

I applaud your vision of a more socially complex Chapel Hill, and I think you are right in challenging the community's cultural entrenchment. But your celebration of After Apple Chill seems more like cheerleading for chaos than a desire for genuine positive social change. I just can't get my head around the idea that someone might find redeeming qualities in mayhem and senseless violence.

Surely there are better ways to rid ourselves from a Disney World mentality without exposing our citizens to mortal danger.

Mark M., the best headline of all time is "Hooker Says Shoplifter Must Pay."

Hooker = chancellor
Shoplifter = law professor


If I understand Chase's message, it's that the positive aspects to After Chill are being dismissed along with the bad and that we all lose as a result (an argument against assimilation). It's a valid point, don't you think?

It strikes me that the Halloween observance is ENTIRELY about engaging in inappropriate behavior - dressing up as demons etc. The behavior becomes slightly acceptable for one night a year on Halloween and so you see people dressed as everything from Jesus to 'Hooters Girls.' And so long as the crime aspect doesn't go too far, then Halloween is okay, right?

Catherine, I don't know if you remember the student publication at UNC The Phoenix, but it was published ofr many years and then folded. After a few years, some students organized to bring it back and the DTH ran an article headlined: Phoenix to Rise from Ashes.

Halloween appeals to a significantly larger proportion of the town that is funding the event. The police know how to deal with Halloween. Halloween is recognized nationally as a holiday, and celebrated in most communities across the country. The festivities also begin after 9-10 p.m. when little demons, etc. have gone to sleep. There is also a difference between acting inappropriately and acting illegally, and beyond that a difference between acting illegal with no victim (underage drinking) and acting illegal with victims (stabbings, shootings, killings.) That said, I'm all for making it more difficult for out-of-towners to come to piggyback on our Halloween celebration.

FYI, I'll bite at the personal dig -- a Hooters Girl costume consists of a tank top with thick straps and a pair of gym shorts. And if underage Hooters Girls were lifting their tops for older men with video cameras, then I'd be arguing against that too.

Not to appear to be tag teaming with Ginny, but I've gotta say the whole idea that intimidation, violence, and yes, as I phrased it in an editorial that has drawn several dozen letters to the editor for and against, thuggery is something with positive aspects FOR US THE RESIDENTS OF CHAPEL HILL AND STUDENTS OF UNC is ridiculous. I'll be getting my anthropology degree in a couple weeks so I know how to bullshit about culture with the best of them but saying After Chill has redeemable values FOR ANYONE LIVING IN CHAPEL HILL is just plain silly. Anyone who's not a space cadet and actually goes out after dark during After Chill knows Ginny is right.

If the cops won't go in groups of less than four for safety, why would you ever think things are OK? I'm sorry, but I'm lost there. Please explain.

I agree with Ruby that Chase Foster makes many excellent points. And like many others I will miss in some ways Apple Chill and all of the associated excitement (chaos?) of After Chill. But I cannot fault the Council for discontinuing its sponsorship of the event.

Chase states "Harassment and assault have to be stopped. Our gun laws must be enforced. Public safety must be ensured."

The people who would pull out a gun in an argument are not people who bother to register their firearms beforehand nor are they likely to be concerned about laws against harassment and assault. And yes, they are a very small, but deadly, minority of the people attending After Chill. But I have tried to put myself in the shoes of the Council members and imagine what I would say to the familiy members of an innocent victim killed by a stray bullet. And I cannot imagine a single thing that I might say that could begin to justify having exposed citizens to such a demonstrated risk . Perhaps someone will figure out a way to weed out the bad apples and let the 99.9% of good ones express themselves but over the last several years no one has been so committed to seeing this event preserved as to take up this challenge and present the Council with a viable solution.

How do other cities manage events with millions of attendees and NO shootings? Case in point, Chicago's "Taste of Chicago" - a weeklong event that gathers up to 750,000 people of every race in one day.

Here is an email from Kevin Foy:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kevin Foy
Date: Apr 27, 2006 1:03 PM
Subject: RE: Apple Chill

NOTE: Mayor Foy and the Town Council received hundreds of messages via phone, email, fax, letter, and in person. He expresses regret that he cannot reply to each personally, but instead wrote this response which he feels address many of the concerns found in those messages.

I have heard from many Chapel Hill residents, and from people around the state and nation, since last Sunday's Apple Chill. Nearly every one was in favor of an immediate end to the festival, an action that the Town Council took on Monday night.

Chapel Hill has a reputation and a tradition for responsive government, and on most important decisions the Council invites and celebrates public comment, debate, and idea-sharing. The involvement of this community in its government is one of the key strengths of the Town.

In this case, before making the decision to end Apple Chill, we had years of public conversation and debate. Each year after the event, the Mayor and other members of the Town Council were inundated with public comment. As a result, in 2003 the Council formed an advisory committee to study the problems surrounding the festival and make recommendations. The advisory committee included a diverse group of 19 citizens representing downtown merchants, downtown churches, artists, neighborhoods, and others. In developing its recommendations, the committee met ten times and held two public forums. The Council adopted many of that committee's recommendations, including incorporating the motorcycle show and providing free transit to the event. But the incidents of violence, particularly immediately after Apple Chill during what came to be called "After Chill," continued to increase in number and severity.

Last year, Chapel Hill Police noticed a disturbing increase in the presence of street gangs in Chapel Hill during Apple Chill. The Town therefore deployed nearly 75% more officers during the event this year. These 235 police officers, including men and women from surrounding jurisdictions, did an outstanding job considering the circumstances they faced – a relatively small but dangerous number of people in a large group of peaceful festival-goers. I thank the Police, Fire, and Public Works personnel for their professional and courageous service on Sunday and into Monday morning.

Public safety is the Mayor and Council's top priority and responsibility to the people of Chapel Hill. Sunday's events showed that, despite the Town's best efforts and financial backing, we cannot reasonably protect public safety in the face of escalating violence on Apple Chill Sunday. A few people have expressed concern about the speed and manner in which the decision to end Apple Chill took place. In my opinion, it would be a dereliction of duty to continue funding and planning an event that is inherently dangerous to citizens and visitors in Chapel Hill. Further public discussion would not change that.

Other people contend that Chapel Hill's growing concern over "After Chill" was merely hostility to the predominance of African-Americans who participated in the ad hoc gathering. This is simply not true. The Town made a great effort to incorporate the activities and people who traditionally enjoyed After Chill into the main event of Apple Chill. We were successful at that; we were not successful at stemming the violence that occurred. Chapel Hill has continuing problems relating to race and class, as does most of our country. We have not shied away from confronting those problems, including through the Council's Continuing Concerns Committee, which grew out of the process to name Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. For people who have a serious interest in efforts to work toward social justice and racial progress, the Committee is a start, and I encourage citizens to join.

These events have been saddening to the community; hundreds of thousands of people safely enjoyed Apple Chill throughout its long history, and now it is gone. Our community has been shaken by violence – twice this week, in fact. Yet, as we move on, we should recognize the opportunity that has resulted.

We have the chance to redefine how and when we celebrate as a community. On May 22, the Town Council will hear a report on the social and economic costs of the annual Festifall and Halloween Celebrations. All of us can and should participate in a public conversation about encouraging and organizing fun, unique, and safe activities for our community.

I invite all citizens to join in public dialogue on these issues to continue to improve our Town. Again, I offer thanks to the many people, both town employees and others, who put their personal safety at risk Sunday to protect us.

Kevin C. Foy


John McCann, a columinst in the Durham Herald Sun wrote a column this morning touching on race, the town-gown thing in Durham and the city's image. He also touched on Apple Chill, saying:

"You halfway wonder if the answer's somewhere in what Chapel Hill did the other day in canceling Apple Chill after two dudes were shot when the thing was over.

"Uh, can I tell you? The troublemakers were from Durham, and one flashed a gang sign as paramedics loaded him into an ambulance.

"It's like Chapel Hill said, the street festival got too black, so we nixed it to keep property values high.

"Which is the stuff of stump speeches heading into Tuesday's primaries, especially for Durham's district attorney race."

Not for anything, but didn't Airport Road get a name change to forge some sense of inclusion in the Chapel Hill community, and if not, why? Do the people who fought for this change feel some emptiness about this gesture? I'm really asking (not rhetoric) and hopefully someone can answer.

Actually, it's funny how much proccess was afforded to the re-naming of Martin Luther King Blvd which I always thought was about as much of a no-brainer as ending Apple Chill is now.

I don't get it: how was Mark's reference to Hooters girls a personal dig at Ginny? Or am I misunderstanding?


On an old incarnation of Ginny's personal blog, she was dressed in a Hooters girl outfit. I don't know if it was a personal dig or not -- I mean, it could well have been, but it's not like she's the only one who ever wore that outfit.

McCann always makes my brain slide over to one side of my head - he gave an answer, but what was the question?

From today's eventually-to-be-paywalled HeraldSun

The town of Chapel Hill figures it spent about $134,700 on hosting this year's Apple Chill street fair and handling events both during and after the official hours of the festival.

That total includes about $85,700 in costs for police, although Town Manager Cal Horton said the figure for police costs still could change.

That's a chunk of change.

Surely we can "recover" some the arts events that have slipped Carrboro-way with an investment of just $65K?



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