Someone cue Gene Pitney: It ain't pretty, a town without pity. And Phoenix has been that town for the family of Carol Gotbaum, the 45-year-old mother of three who recently pulled a Harry Houdini-like death dance in a police holding cell at Sky Harbor Airport after being popped for disorderly conduct.
Most of you've seen the crappy-quality video of the 110-pound Gotbaum getting arrested by three burly cops and have heard how Gotbaum was headed for the Cottonwood de Tucson addiction-treatment center when she flipped out during a layover at Sky Harbor. The Bird won't snore you with details. If you've been holed up in a copper mine for the past fortnight, check this tweeter's bloggin' bro, Feathered Bastard, who's been on the story like a pair of fishnet stockings on Oscar de la Hoya.
The latest is, Phoenix Police Department spokesman Andy Hill's confirmed there's more video. No duh there, seeing that Sky Harbor has more cameras than Vegas' MGM Grand. Better video would help determine if the bulls were crushing the poor lady with their bulk. Or if they were kinder than lambs.
Louie Sanchez III
There's no video of the cell where the hysterical, and possibly inebriated, Gotbaum sat shackled, handcuffed behind her back. She was found sitting on the floor with her head on a bench, handcuffs across her throat. The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's determination on the cause of death is pending.
Gotbaum was arrested "about seven minutes" before 3 p.m., according to Hill. She died at 3:29 p.m. This pecker doesn't believe P-town's finest set out to harm Gotbaum. But someone nabbed for a minor offense isn't supposed to be kaput a half an hour later, self-snuffed by her own restraints.
Too many pitiless P-towners are pointing digits at the deceased, kinda like what Jodie Foster's rape-victim character goes through in The Accused. Here's the popular spiel: Gotbaum was a crazy drunk, and the police can't be blamed. Her privileged family's at fault for allowing her to travel alone. There's even been a schmear of anti-Semitism. One blog commenter, for instance, noted Gotbaum was from "Jew York" City.
This pelican's proboscis has been rubbed in this locally by yokels at the Arizona Republic and on talk-puke radio KTAR, which spews bile and hatred 24/7. KTAR's second-string evening douchebag, Larry Gaydos, did a recent show where it was all about piling on the grieving family.
"The family let this woman down," Gaydork announced, later adding, "They're gonna kick themselves every day because nobody accompanied this woman out to Arizona."
Never mind that Gotbaum family attorney Mike Manning, known for whipping Joe Arpaio's fanny in court on wrongful-death suits in Maricopa County gulags, has pointed out that Noah Gotbaum, Carol's husband, had to stay put and look after their three small kids. Or the plain fact that Gotbaum shouldn't have been able to strangle herself, if that's what happened. This clown Gaydos, like many other P-towners, doesn't wanna hear it.
"Everything looks like it's on the up-and-up," he tutted. "Everything looks like it went the way it should have."
If everything went the way it should've, Larry, Gotbaum would be in Tucson right now, taking the cure.
"I'm surprised anybody would say that," Manning told this magpie. "When you encounter someone who's physically or emotionally ill, and is obviously so, you have a whole different set of responses than you would to someone who's threatening others."
Manning agrees police should've intervened. He disagrees with how they intervened. Manning claimed Carol Gotbaum had been dry for nine days, wasn't going through withdrawal, and was being encouraged by her counselors to travel solo.
"She told Noah, 'You've got to trust me. I've got to do this by myself. It's the first step in my mission to get well,'" explained Manning.
Maybe someone should've flown with Carol Gotbaum. But did she deserve to die because she was traveling alone? Our taxes pay the police to handle a lot tougher situations than a freaked-out female at the airport. The Gotbaum incident should've been easier than a trip to Dunkin' Donuts for the cops.
As for the Repugnant, its editorial reaction was that of a Zona shitkicker stung by the scolding of city slicker tabloids. The daily took Manning to task for earnin' his keep as the family's mouthpiece. Manning "needs to learn the meaning of shame," read the paper's October 4 commentary.
Au contraire, hacks. You've got that shame chapeau on the wrong cranium. Manning's multimillion-dollar wins against the Sheriff's Office have resulted in Arpaio's deadly restraint chairs being discontinued. Manning's yet to take any legal action on behalf of the Gotbaums. But if he does, and if that results in fewer deaths in police custody (like the one last week of the less-well-connected local, Archie Poole, who died after being cuffed by PHX cops), who'll be eatin' the shame hat then?
Immigrant-rights activist Elias Bermudez, Minuteman leader Chris Simcox, and Mexican drug-runners all in on a cockamamie plot to kill Sheriff Joe? MCSO knuckleheads actually fell for this pile of falcon feces?
Big-time, according to a recent article in The PHX's paper of record, which detailed how gullible goobers at the Sheriff's Office got played. Chief Larry Black, Arpaio's head of special ops , explained to the Republic that the MCSO shelled out a half-million dollars investigating info from a confidential "informant" alleging Simcox's Minuteman Civil Defense Corps wanted to bump off Arpaio to "rally more support for their cause."
Never has there been a better argument for lie-detector results not being admissible in court, because Black claimed this "informant" passed one at first. (The Bird is asking for the public records on that unbelievable tidbit.)
The MCSO brain trust actually believed Bermudez was helping the Minutemen take out a hit on Joe through big-time narco gangsters! What was the MCSO smokin'?!
Joe's handlers even hustled the lawman and spouse Ava out of their abode, shuttlin' them from one fleabag hole to another. In the Republic's story, Joe gripes about having to eat a Denny's hamburger instead of his Easter ham. He almost sounds like some decrepit dictator, like, say, Cuba's ancient commie leader, Fidel Castro, a doddering figurehead not even in control of his own person.
"When I have to move out of my house," huffed Arpaio to the Republic, "from one dumpy hotel room to another, I don't blame my staff. It's their job to protect me."
Isn't Joe sentient enough to realize when his dunderheaded deputies don't know their keisters from a groundhog hole? Jesus, if they'd tried hidin' you in Tent City, Joe, would you have gone?
"He doesn't have it upstairs anymore," Bermudez observed to The Bird. "Most of the stuff he puts out in the press, he's practiced and memorized. One-on-one, when he's not guarded, he mumbles, he says incoherent things, he introduces [MCSO flack] Paul Chagolla to me five times in the space of 15 minutes."
MCSO investigators interrogated Bermudez in June about the alleged plot, but Bermudez didn't learn 'til recently that the Sheriff's Office finally had it figured for a crock.
That's why, when The Bird chatted with Bermudez in August about the hubbub over that pic he circulated of Arpaio in Ku Klux Klan garb, Bermudez said he believed he was going to be arrested ("Grand Wizard Arpaio," August 23, 2007).
"The sheriff feels that I might be part of a conspiracy to take his life," Bermudez asserted then.
It ain't the first time the MCSO's been caught chasin' pseudo-Sirhan Sirhans. Most famously, there was 18-year-old parolee James Saville, whom the MCSO unsuccessfully tried to entrap in a fake bomb plot in 1999. A jury eventually acquitted Saville after the poor kid spent four years in the slammer awaitin' trial ("The Plot to Assassinate Arpaio," John Dougherty, August 5, 1999).
"I don't think they've ever confirmed that there's been any sort of plot that didn't originate with the MCSO or someone talking to them," opined Joe foe Mike Manning, who mentioned several "plots" against Arpaio that have bubbled up over the years. "I just think it's an attempt [by the sheriff's office] to create drama where none exists."
To this taloned tallywhacker, Louie Sanchez III looks like he leapt right out of the pages of Mike Mignola's Hellboy comic books.
He didn't, but the 27-year-old PHXer has leapt into the pages of the recently published coffee-table tome Ripley's Believe It or Not: The Remarkable Revealed, where he's featured on page 79 in all his horny glory.
See, he's got the largest set of implanted head protuberances in the world: one inch tall with a one-inch-in-diameter base.
Who says size doesn't matter?
"I entered this Dear Mr. Ripley contest for freaky people," Sanchez informed this sandpiper during a meet at the Paisley Violin coffee house. "The prize was a trip to Ripley's Museum at Niagara Falls, and $5K, I think. I didn't win. But a lady from Ripley's got back to me a few months ago and told me I was going to be in the book."
Sanchez is stoked by the fame. Well, added fame. He's already well known in the body-modification community as the "Mexican Mutant" for his horns and his split tongue, among other things. Down in his "junk," as Sanchez calls it, he has genital beading, a ring through his urethra, and a little barbell that sits just beneath the head of his wiener.
He's also got huge, two-inch-wide "eyelets" that hold his earlobes open like a bagel. There were other piercings in his face, but he's taken a lot of 'em out. Still, it's those man-antlers and his tongue that, he bragged, hook him up with the ladies. Currently single, with a vasectomy under his belt, he's been mentioned (believe it or not) as "most fuckable" on BME, or Body Modification Ezine.
"I was at a convention a couple of weeks ago, and one of the girls looked at my horns and was, like, 'Wow, those are cool implants,'" boasted Sanchez to this bemused blackbird. "I lean over, and say, 'You like that? Check this out.' I stuck out my tongue, made the two sides of it clap, and crossed them over. She was, like, 'Ohmygod!' Her boyfriend didn't like it, though."
Sanchez works at PHX's Kaos Softwear, which produces the same extreme jewelry that he wears. The company's co-owned by Steve Haworth, the local bod-mod guru who single-handedly pioneered the genre of 3D body art. Haworth's also known for the flesh-hook suspension group Life Suspended, which he cofounded with performance artist James Bound.
Haworth designed and implanted the horns Sanchez sports, putting them in without any anesthetic back in 2001.
"Administering anesthetic would be practicing medicine," Haworth told The Bird, who then asked the bod-mod god if there was a lot of blood when he inserted the lumps of fine-grade silicone beneath the skin of Louie's head.
"Depends on your definition of a lot of blood," he replied coolly. "The gauzes I use are four-by-four-inch square. I might go through two or three of those in a procedure."
Maybe 500 people worldwide have horns, Haworth estimates. But Sanchez is the only dood with "sixth-generation" horns meaning that horns of ascending size were implanted six times to incrementally stretch Sanchez's skin. The whole process took over a year.
Why would anyone wanna fuck with their head to look like the Greek god Pan? Seems Sanchez was working as a piercer for the Glendale shop Body Creations when he decided he wanted to do something to show he was "dedicated to the industry." Something hardcore. Something he couldn't hide. So he looked up Haworth and got the first "generation" of his Satan spikes.
There was only one problem. His then-boss, Body Creations owner Jerry Frederick, warned him against getting extreme body-mod work done that Frederick believed would freak out customers. When Sanchez arrived showing off his new nodules, Frederick fired him.
This worm-wrangler called up Frederick to converse about the hypocrisy of it all. Frederick was unapologetic:
"Let me tell you something. Putting horns in your head isn't body piercing, dude."
Commented Haworth, "It's the most ironic thing in the world. Louie's working at a piercing shop, comes in with horns, and they go, 'Whoa whoa whoa, that's too extreme. We're letting you go'? It shocked pretty much everyone in the body-modification community, almost around the planet."
Not to mention that Body Creations might've benefited from the free pub of Sanchez's appearance in the Ripley's book if it'd been tolerant of his horns. But that's all ancient history now.
Sanchez admitted that his noggin bumps are "a little bit for attention." But he added, "This is my body, and I want to see what it can go through. Plus, it pleases me."
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.