Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Holy guacamole, what did Reno do to deserve the karma that's come their way this Summer?

Reno's Summer of Tragedy started in June, when an AMTRAK train and a semi truck tangled killing five and injuring 30. It's gotten even worse in the last three weeks. Tuesday after Labor Day, a quiet schizophrenic opened fire in Carson City's International House of Pancakes killing five including himself. Three of the dead were Nevada National Guardsmen.

I've spent a fair amount of time here on the Reno Air Races crash that killed eleven and injured 70.

This weekend Street Vibrations was the Reno/Sparks event. Sparks is the next door neighbor to Reno. Thousands of Harley-Davidson riders come to town to party with their brethren...except not this year. Rival motorcycle gangs came to Reno/Sparks to settle some score and it was settled inside John Ascuaga's Nugget Casino.

The conflict between the Hells Angels and rival M/C club, the Vagos began as a fist fight and soon shots were fired inside the crowded casino. When the smoke cleared, two Vagos were wounded and Jethro Pettygrew 51, head of the San Jose Chapter of the Hell's Angels was dead.

A few hours later, a drive-by shooting down the street wounded another biker and the Mayor of Sparks declared a State of Emergency, and cancelled the remainder of Street Vibrations (Though the Reno events would continue Sunday) The investigations continue...

I've gotta believe that this is it for Reno/Sparks/Carson City's run of Bad Karma. I spent most of a week hitting the Reno Media's websites in my hunt for data to help me understand Jimmy Leeward's crash, and the news is, the Reno locals acquitted themselves admirably.

You couldn't get near the Reno Blood Bank until mid-week for the crowds of donors lining up around the block. In the moments after the crash, a hundred medical professionals who were attending the Air Races as spectators rushed forward to help the stricken. Despite the trauma, most Race Fans wish to see the National Championship Air Races continue. In 48 years, these are the first spectator casualties. A better safety record than motorsports, football, and yes even baseball.

That's an awful lot of pain and trauma in three weeks for a small town...and yes, "The Biggest Little City in the World" is still a small town, as is Sparks. That small town "Can Do" spirit on display at these grizzly tragedies, made huge deposits into the Karma Bank Account. Surely the Devil's Ledger is balanced again.

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