Ã¯Â»Â¿By SUE ANNE SALMON
Although I was arrested and charged with last spring's burning of the UK Air Force ROTC Building Annex and subsequently convicted in the minds of many outraged Lexingtonians before I was officially acquitted, I want it known that I had nothing whatsoever to do with the conflagration.
A friend of mine, however, claims he did see me unsuccessfully attempt to set fire to the new Office Tower Building on the same night the ROTC building burned by means of a homemade torch made from a rolled-up Kentucky Kernel. He claims I am responsible for a charred smudge on the northwest corner of the Office Tower four feet off the ground.
That story is also untrue. I might like the idea of bureaucratic and militaristic monstrosities going up in flames (the ROTC Annex seemed to me not even a good symbolic monstrosity), but as my father told a newspaper reporter, I've always been "even afraid to light a firecracker. " Ginger ale bottles are more my style, but mine are always filled with plain old ginger ale and never gasoline. Unfortunately, the Lexington police had to be convinced of that.
The evening of May 5 it happened.
Walking from the campus to my
Sue Anne Salmon is a 5', 100 lb. fly staffer who was arrested for arson immediately following the burning of the UK Air Force ROTC building last spring. This is her account of that absurdity.
home, which was on Lexington Avenue a block from Euclid Avenue, I had just crossed Euclid and stepped onto the corner of Lexington when two heavy-built men jumped from a van parked across the street. Each man tightly gripped one of my arms. My surprise at being grabbed was doubled when one of the men emotionally said, "You're under arrest for arson. " Then I noticed the men wore Lexington Police Department uniforms. Keeping their grips tight, they escorted me across the street to near the gold and blue LPD van.
A group of upstanding Lexingtonians had emerged from their cars parked on Lexington Avenue. They had waited for hours there while 30 or more uniformed state troopers stood awaiting orders in the university parking lot on Lexington Avenue. They had waited, watching LPD patrol cars, vans and motorcycles whiz up and down the streets. They had waited, watching students walking to and from the campus where a sit-in was taking place in front of Buell Armory.
They had waited for me -- the five-foot-tall, one-hundred pound girl with uncurled hair and wire-rim spectacles and wearing an old army shirt and blue jeans the accused arsonist of the Air Force ROTC Annex.
The policemen told me they had seen me earlier with a green bottle.
"But it contained Canada Dry Ginger Ale, " I told them. "And if you'll come with me, I'll show you that it is in the refrigerator at my house a half block from here."
But the policemen wouldn't even acknowledge that I was speaking.
One onlooking vulture, apparently a Lexington businessman, gnashed his teeth and screamed excitedly, "I saw her carry that '7-Up bottle' up the hill. " He gave me a threatening look and said, "And I'll testify against her too! "
Then, ironically, I was glad to have the policemen holding my arms. Otherwise, I felt that crowd of anxious Lexingtonians who had waited so long for just such a chance would be honored to tear me to shreds, to purge Wildcat Country of one radical villain.
A large LPD van came and I was put in the rear. As we started downtown, the policemen in the front of the van opened a small sliding window between the cab and the rear so I could hear their asinine comments directed at me: "Students should be studying, not setting fires, " etc.
In the municipal building, I was fingerprinted and photographed. The turnkey who recorded my name made some insulting remarks and gave me a small card advising me of my rights.
"You write for the blue-tail fly, don't you? " he asked.
"Yes, " I answered. "Why do you ask? "
"Oh, I've just seen your name on several stories in the paper. "
I had had one byline with the one interview I wrote in one of last year's seven issues of the btf.
And the fingerprinter asked, "You work for the blue-tail fly, don't you? "
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