Beyond Man and Machines, Chapter 5.
Kansas City, 1900hrs, 25th December 2011
Hearing the news of a large fire in the centre of Kansas City, the KMBC news helicopter is sent in to cover the story. As it approaches the outskirts of the city it passes over the suburbs. The lights of almost every home is on. Christmas decorations cover the houses, almost as much as the snow. It is a time when most families are sitting down to eat Christmas dinner. The glow from peoples Christmas Tree lights, TVs and porch lights beam out into the night. Seen from the air it looks like a street in a scale model village.
As the helicopter gets closer to the City Centre, street lights start to flicker. Some people stand on the street outside their houses talking amongst themselves, looking into the direct of the city centre. The helicopter carries on. The street lights flicker with greater intervals. More people are out on the streets, some walking together towards the City Centre.
The helicopter passes two people who seem to be in a fight, one seems to be a woman. Residence watch them from a safe distance. The chopper moves doggedly towards the centre like a moth to a flame. The traffic gets busier and more frantic the closer they get.
More and more cars are driven away from the centre, some cars speed through the traffic, recklessly weaving past other cars. As they get closer to the centre, the traffic is bumper to bumper, bottle necked behind a bus that has broken down, no traffic can get past. People that have abandon their cars move quickly on foot away from the centre.
A four by four pushes through the traffic, colliding with abandoned cars, pushing them out the way. It builds up speed, jerking as it nudges cars to one side. Seing the road is blocked it drives through peoples front yards, smashing down fences and skipping over ponds. It clears a good distance and picks up speed. A young child runs out into her front yard to catch the family dog. The driver of the four by four instinctively swerves to avoid her, colliding with a telegraph pole. The occupants burst out of the front windscreen as it impacts, sliding along the pavement. One body sliding under the abandoned bus, the other contorting horribly under the impact as it hits the front tyre.
The helicopter carries on, reaching the outskirts of the city. Small groups of people seem to be fighting each other in the streets. Debris and burning cars litter the street, some cars with the passengers still in them, unmoving. As they get closer to the smoke and the city centre, larger gangs are seen fighting amongst themselves. Other groups attack houses, trying to gain access. Others seem just wanting to escape the chaos trying to run but getting cornered by other gangs. Shots echo throughout the city. Fires burn and individual screams add to the constant chorus of the mayhem.
Smoke bellows out of houses, burning litter fill the streets. Shots are fired out of upstairs rooms, city lights flickering on and off for increasingly longer intervals, giving glipses of the violence, as if fighting to stay alive to show it. The helicopter flies down the main high street and it is now possible to see the towering infernal that is the department building. Even while it burns, looters steal TVs and blue ray players. A looter with a TV runs out of the shop, only to be knocked to the ground by a police night stick. The officer continues to repeatedly bash the looter as he lays on the ground. The helicopter, seeing something more interesting than the inferno and cop beating, continues down 25th street.
The chopper hovers over a large crowd of eigthy to one hundred people, holding planks of wood, baseball bats and pistols amongst other weapons. They approach another group that stand still, unflinching, just on the fringes of the choppers searchlight. There is a roar from the larger crowd and shots are fired as they charge towards the smaller group. The search light pulls away from the scene as fireworks start to hit the helicopter.
Hours later, when the footage is played back. High pitched, distorted, inhuman screams are heard just above the noise of the helicopters engines. Emanating from the direction of the two groups.
The helicopter pilot overcompensates to avoid the fireworks, hitting the tail rotor on a telephone line. The chopper is still functioning but the tail rotor starts to smoke. The helicopter pulls away from the scene, rising high to avoid the fireworks. As the chopper leaves, the camera pans across the city to a blockade of police cars around the police station. As the helicopter moves away, officers can be seen using the cars as cover, firing into the approaching crowd. The crowd is not deterred by the gunfire. Before the chopper pulls away the camera catches the officers becoming overwhelmed by the rampaging mob.
The helicopter moves away from the centre, heading back to the station, crossing the river. On the other side of the river, residents that are, as yet, unaffected by the events elsewhere in the city, watch the live news coverage from their TVs. The noise of the broken tail rotor can be heard as the helicopter passes them overhead.