Every year, in San Francisco, people gather in The Castro for Halloween. It's a tradition; people come from miles around. When I'd go, it was always hectic, but a lot of fun. The city's tried to make it less hectic - putting a curfew on the event, trying to clear the streets -- but last night, 10 people were shot. And I'm no soothsayer, but I'd guess this means the end of The Castro as a Halloween destination. I can't imagine what it must have been like in the crowd -- diving for cover, trying to not get shot -- and I also can't imagine what would make you open fire in a crowd full of people. I also can't imagine how the hell someone capable of that can, or should, have access to a gun. I like violent movies -- if they're well-made -- and I always go kinda crazy when I hear people suggest violent movies cause violent behavior; my glib response to that is If that's true, then there shouldn't be a single person left alive in Japan. Because even if violent movies lead to violent behavior, guns make violent behavior super-easy and efficient.

Last night, I had a few friends over, served some pumpkin loaf, threw on Invasion of the Body Snatchers, watched Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams run around a nightmare version of San Francisco and went to bed early. I woke up, checked the news and read about a different, real nightmare of San Francisco, and today my thoughts are with the people I know who live near The Castro, with the victims and their familes. If The Castro's Halloween party goes away, I'll miss it ... but parties can be replaced, while people can not.