A Nurse with a Gun

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Legacy of Kristen Brydum

"Right now I'm rolling into New Orleans. I really don't know what to expect. An old friend of a new friend offered to pick me up from the station and get me to the house of another friend of a friend. I am overwhelmingly grateful to the strangers I have met along the way who have been willing to go out of their way to welcome me to their cities. The sun is setting on the bayou-licked lands and I am truly fortunate. I have rounded this beautiful Southeast corner on the Crescent line today and from now on I am westward bound."
Those were the last words she wrote. Two days later, her dead body was found on a sidewalk in the 3000 block of Laussat Place, in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. EMS paramedics responding to a call of a shooting were unable to save her. For two more days her body lay unidentified in the New Orleans morgue.

Kirsten Brydum, a young woman of 25, died after being shot multiple times in the head. Ms. Brydum's body was finally identified by a friend and by her fingerprints. Her killer(s) had apparently taken her wallet and her identification, as well as the bicycle she was riding. She was traveling about the country, and living off the offerings of strangers. She began a journey with an Amtrak train pass, in search of what she called "collective autonomy.

Her sojourn first took her to Manhattan where she marveled at the items people threw away. Brydum was known in San Francisco for her association with the "Really, Really Free Market," where people barter a variety of goods and services. Her next stop was the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, where she joined protesters. Then, she rode the train to Philadelphia, and finally to Louisiana.

Ms. Brydum was last seen leaving the Howlin' Wolf dance club on South Peters Street in the Warehouse District at approximately 1:30 AM on September 27th. She wore a green and white striped shirt over an off white dress, with flip flops on her feet and a feather in her hair. She was alone with her bicycle. Her killer(s) remain at large.

Ms. Brydum's friends, family and acquaintances, in their grief, deserve the utmost respect. Ms. Brydum herself may be upheld as a model for others to aspire to. That often occurs when we try to make sense of a death that we believe came too early. I suspect her mourners will strive to reconstruct her into a free spirited martyr. She was an idealist with a life of accomplishment ahead of her. Now she is dead.

"She was a woman with a huge heart and a huge brain, compassionate and wise beyond her years," declared one friend from San Francisco.

No. Face the truth. She was naive. Kristen Brydum was either in denial or ignorant of the dangers that were around her. Either that, or she had a death wish. She depended on dumb luck and the gratuitous indifference of strangers for her very survival. She was not wise beyond her years. She was a hippie chick cavorting around the country so she would have stories to tell. She was not doing research on some "collective autonomy." She was accomplishing nothing other than gathering experiences to promote a lifestyle that feeds off productive people in society. It is that frame of mind which brought about her demise.

Kristen Brydum was twenty-five years old. An adult. She was responsible for herself. I have to wonder if she would have ridden her bicycle through South Central Los Angeles at 1:30 in the morning on a Saturday night. I doubt it. She was familiar with the random violence there. Why did she so blatantly ignore the dangers elsewhere? Did she believe she had an invisible aura of protection that would inform predatory vermin that she was there to help them with some ethereal Utopia?

I don't know what was in her head, but I do know post-Katrina New Orleans. I can only consider her actions in that arena, and those actions were stupid. Damned stupid. They would be stupid if a 10 year old child proposed them. That a 25 year old woman did them speaks volumes of her naivete and lack of appreciation for her vulnerability in a hostile world. In New Orleans, she was an outsider, easily recognized as such by her accent and her wide eyes in a city infamous for it's drug lords, institutionalized crime and random murder before Katrina. Post-Katrina New Orleans is even more dangerous as the same resident drug lords and rival gangs searching for a piece of the action jockey for position, and petty criminals kill with impunity for bicycles and crack cash. Her supposed intellectual superiority born of a life of priviledge would not protect her from predators there.

There are some who will no doubt say Kristen Brydum would be alive today if she had a gun. That's doubtful. A gun is not a panacea for ignorance. Without the will to use it and the intelligence to keep you from having to use it, a gun is only another good luck charm. The reality is, people who are "wise beyond their years" do not do stupid things. They do not do stupid things like traveling around the country to the most violent regions possible, in search of a vague economic hypothesis that is strikingly similar to the age old barter system. According to the Times-Picayune, there have been 148 murders so far this year in New Orleans, 209 in 2007, and 161 in 2006. People who are "wise beyond their years" avoid such places.

If a person wants to safely travel to these types of places, their way of thinking must change. They must educate themselves. They must listen. They must be willing to learn. They must gain an understanding of the areas, and they must appreciate the vicious predatory nature of the sociopaths that populate them. They are stepping through the looking glass into the world of the predatory animal. They must heed the instincts that keep prey alive. They must develop street smarts, and learn to trust their instincts, not deny them. Then they should buy a gun and train to use it in case their primary means of protection, their wits, fail.

One of Kristen Brydum's friends described her as savy, adept at defusing situations. If your attacker is willing to kill you to prevent a witness to the theft of your bicycle, the only way to "defuse" the situation is through the threat or the application of deadly force. By the time her journey reached that point, a gun would only have saved her if she had the willingness to use it.

Somehow I think that those who knew and loved Kristen Brydum would have tried to prevent this journey to the 9th Ward of New Orleans if they had known of the dangers. The dangers are there. Waiting. They are real. A wise person has an appreciation of those dangers. I would not travel there at 1:30PM on a bike myself, and I am a large man with a gun. It is not because of fear that I would not travel there, but rather because I recognize the dangers and realize my own mortality.

It was not the lack of a weapon that doomed Kristen Brydum. It was the lack of appreciation of the hazards that she repeatedly injected her life into. She lived on the edge, and she paid for it with her life. She espoused "anarchist economics," the sharing of wealth in a "gift market." The true sociopathic anarchists of New Orleans discovered her, disregarded her pleas for mercy, and killed her for her bicycle and her wallet. An innocent, easily preventable death occurred not because the world is a bad, mean and unforgiving place, but because the victim ignored the fact that some human predators are.

I read with dismay that Kristen Brydum's mourners are placing ads on Craig's List and elsewhere to arrange for rides with strangers across the country, to San Francisco in remembrance of her life. It continues. I wonder if her spirit mourns for them.

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Blogger TheBronze said...

Spot-on Xavier.

I agree w/ you 100%!

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Wise beyond my years said...

It's called common sense.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Broadsword said...

Actually I believe she would be alive, becasue if she had a gun, she would also have had the sense to stay out of certain places at certain times.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous cranky said...

touche, broadsword.

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


There's a part of me that thinks you're paranoid, and part of me that knows you're right.

Regardless, I get to learn from the tragic misfortunes of others, and have you to thank for posting.

I appreciate your opinions and have learned a great deal from them.

Thank you.

7:44 PM  
Blogger GeorgeH said...

If you are going to go 'Urban Exploring' then you need the street sense to know when and where it's too dangerous to go and a willingness and ability to defend your life or take another's anywhere you may be.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Living a life in a world as she thought it should be--- not the way that it is.

Consider that we should mourn the loss of another innocent soul. One that was loved by her family.

I'll save my anger for the murderer.

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:48 PM  
Blogger Justin Buist said...

Reminds of the kid who's story was told in the movie 'Into the Wild'.

Short version: Ditches his life savings, runs around the country for a bit living off other people, eventually lands in Alaska to live in the wilderness.

He made it about 113 days.. starved himself to death while he was up there. No, he wasn't poisoned. The movie made that bit up. It makes for a much more romantic story than "idiot starves himself to death on accident."

An unfortunate demise in both accounts, but hardly an unpredictable one.

8:57 PM  
Blogger ray said...

"Nothing good happens after midnight is true". Listen to your moms

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel bad for her family but that's basically it. This type of "free-spirit, hippie lifestyle" is becoming more and more popular with the 16 to 28 age bracket; and I feel that they are the ones who most need the structure and support that this lifestyle despises. Similar to your statement of being a big man with a gun and avoiding these areas, I practice the same policy with much success. Situational awareness isn't just a buzzword; it works.
-Big Matt from THR.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

Obviously thoughts and prayers go out to her family, I am sorry they have to suffer because she was naive about the real dangers.

It is a perfect example of sheep going outside of the pen, thinking the wolf will not attack the sheep if the sheep acts especially sheepish.

As a kid my parents taught me not to trust strangers...I thought everyone knew this....

10:00 PM  
Anonymous XLBRL said...

Thanks for this well done analysis. I am a grateful recovering liberal in San Francisco. Thankfully, the press coverage on this has been relatively spare.

There is a usual vetting by the Communist faction, many of whom live in the Mission District and are just as incredibly naive as Kirsten was.

San Francisco, happy to say, had it's best ever Minuteman rally a few weeks ago. Check out my blog to see!

There is no liberal stupider than an SF liberal, and people like Kirsten (who seemed actually to be a good deal more likable than most of the Marxist scum that live here) sadly litter the town, encouraged by the "progressive" one-party state that is SF politics. Believe it or not, there are allegedly sane people holding government positions who are just as naive as Kirsten.

Again thanks for the spot-on analysis!

10:05 PM  
Blogger nature223 said...

Liberals HAVE NO COMMON SENSE...we see the unpleasant effects in this occurance,and many many others.
sad fact,they dont do this often enough to clear the field of rampant stupidity,and idiotic governance,through dumb decisions. sad she's dead..but the complete lack of her thinking the whole thing through clearly,she paid with her life...and not given the tools to keep her alive I blame her teachers for filling her head with delusional thinking processes,that dont apply real world thinking.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Cybrludite said...

Took a look at Google maps to find out just where this happened. I gotta say that I wouldn't go there by day unless I absolutely had to, and I'm armed & not exactly petite. At night, alone & unarmed? Oh, hells no! Sod that! Have a look at the Google Street View for the 3000 block of Laussat, for whomever's sake!

It's the sort of neighborhood you only drive through in a Cadillac... a Cadillac Gage, that is!

1:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't agree with some of your thoughts on this, Xavier. Naive? Certainly. But I feel your tone of disgust with the girl is a bit over the top. She was on a journey, an adventure. I think there should be more of that spirit in our society, not less. I can choose to stay near home, where things are safe and familiar, where I can always have a gun at my side, or I can take a deep breath and expand my world. I choose the latter. Biking through downtown New Orleans in the middle of a night is a stupid idea, I'll certainly take your word on that, but I think the general idea of what she was trying to do with her trip is a worthwhile thing for someone to do.

I really enjoy your blog.

2:53 AM  
Anonymous SF Activist said...

Kirsten's death looks more like a hit job rather than a random act of murder. New Orleans is still a militarized zone and it's quite possible she was targeted by hired guns.

An update on the police investigation would be welcomed by all of us in the activist community.

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, Xavier, your words bring so much sense to a non sensical act of naivety. Thanks

6:29 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

SF Activist, what would be the motivation to hire someone to kill this woman? Hardly anyone knew her. In that area people would be more than happy to kill someone for their money and their bicycle, so I don't see any reason to think that there was more going on here.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Cybrludite said...


You can have an adventure while still showing a better survival instinct than your average lemming. I happily wander around the boondocks, while still avoiding areas where I might encounter a gator or a wild boar, and I set up my camp such that I don't attract a bear or feral dogs to pay me a visit while I sleep.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Sterno said...

Hired guns?! Every murder here in New Orleans looks like a "hit job", mainly because our criminals are professionals.

They've been criminals for years and will continue to be until they get locked up (good luck with that) or shot up.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Wingman said...

If you want to hear about another "free spirit" who died because of naivete, do a search on Wikipedia for Timothy Treadwell. This guy was on a mission to save bears in Katmai National Park in Alaska from poaching (even though they weren't being poached). He consistently refused to take basic safety precautions (carrying bear mace, erecting electric fence around his campsite, keeping food out of his tent, etc). He thought the bears were his friends and that they had a "special connection" with him. Apparently the bears felt differently and in October 2003, he and his girlfriend were both killed and eaten by grizzlies.

A Native American from the region said it best: "There has always been an unspoken boundary between bears and humans. It's a level of respect." The indians leave the bears alone, and vis-a-versa. To cross that boundary into their world is disrespectful and foolish.

The numbers tell it all. Treadwell and his girlfriend were the first humans to be killed by a bear in Katmai National Park. He didn't respect the bears enough to leave them alone and he died because of it.

9:21 AM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

She must have attended the can't we all just get along? school of human nature. Sad story. Great illustration that no matter how evolved one may believe the human race has become, there are still pockets of society that didn't get the memo. Sad, but predictable. I wonder if she heard about the Italian performance artist who was traveling the world in a wedding dress to promote peace a few months back?

9:44 AM  
Blogger Weetabix said...

Good analysis, Xavier. I always feel as if people would think me a bit callous where I to express similar thoughts.

broadsword - correct!

Anonymous1 - he's clearly not paranoid - this actually happened, right? He didn't imagine dangers that weren't there.

Anonymous5 - perhaps if it's a deep breath and adventure thing, we should celebrate her life and death without sadness or recriminations. The risk comes with the adventure, and if the dice roll badly, you cheerfully accept the consequences, right? I think Xavier's point was that she was incredibly naive and now some people will try to get other people to do what she did, spreading the naivete rather than heeding the cautionary warnings her experience should really convey. I think it's the willful ignorance that he objects to, among other things.

SF activist - She must have made powerful enemies along her journey for it to be worth their hiring people in another city to follow her and find this opportunity to hit her and cover it up as a robbery. What was she doing?

9:51 AM  
Blogger The Raving Prophet said...

Why would somebody target a free-spirit hippie type? What on earth could she do to them? She wielded no power at all- she appeared to spend her life disdaining power in all its forms. She willingly chose a life of powerlessness. There was no reason to kill her. None at all- her murder likely had more to do with someone who wanted her few possessions more than they respected the concept of life. She chose and lived a life on the margins of society; there's no reason to target someone like her for death. There's no conspiracy there.

She died because she melded a life of powerlessness to a worldview that is incredibly naive at best, and more likely terribly foolish. The only reason she was able to live as she did was because she gleaned off of the fruits gained by the labor of others.

I'm sorry Kristen was murdered- naivete shouldn't result in death. My condolences to her family. However, we live in a world where some extremely evil people walk free, and if you live your life expecting everyone you meet to be sweetness and light, you will be blindsided by the true depth of darkness that can exist out there.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Martini said...

I agree completely, I grew up in NO and went to school in the 9th ward. We knew better than to go more than a block away from campus even as 5th graders. She was probably a sweet girl, but damn that was a stupid place to be.

Sf activist, NO is not militarized. there are no NG patrols anymore. you might see a few in the Quarter, but that's it. It was not a hit job, it was just a run of the mill night in the 9th ward. sorry to burst your bubble.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous perpster said...

Ignorance is bliss. So is naivitee.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Broadsword said...

"...tone of disgust" Anonymous. I disagree. It seemed to me Xavier was disgusted not by Miss Brydum, but with the ideas propelling here to this death. Blinders make poor counsel.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Don said...

You nailed it again Xavier.

The tragedy is compounded by the fact that her death won't be used as a learning experience by those that need it most. It will only serve to reinforce those that already know of her folly.

Can't help but also see the irony that she died by the direct application of "anarchist economics" and, no doubt, by person(s) who she would have utterly failed to condemn prior to her last minute of life.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hired guns? Are you kidding?

Sadly, you're probably not.

She had the trifecta going. "Don't go stupid places with stupid people doing stupid things." The 9th ward after midnight is a stupid place to be, walking or riding a bike through there is a stupid thing to do, and well, it seems those things are the actions of a stupid person.

She didn't have to die, but her actions made it a lot more likely.

St Paul

10:41 AM  
Blogger TOTWTYTR said...

This reminds me of the incident in Turkey about a year ago. http://tinyurl.com/5x2htg

Same wide eyed naivete, same result.

No matter who you are, where you are, what you are, you always have to be aware of your surroundings. Like you, there are some neighborhoods in my city I wouldn't ride my bike through armed or not, unless I had no other choice.

The best gun fight is the one you never have because you avoided the conflict in the first place.

10:51 AM  
Blogger DouginSalcha said...


I am grieved for her family and friends but it occurs to me that this is a perfect example of a 25-year old woman who decided to 'abort' herself.

Suicide by Stupidity is not pretty...

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Jay said...

What reason would there be for this supposed "hit job"? The young lady was a wanderer, not a firebrand counter-culture figurehead. Sometimes murder is just murder, ya know?

12:23 PM  
Blogger Keith Walker said...

"Without the will to use it and the intelligence to keep you from having to use it, a gun is only another good luck charm."

That is a quote worth memorizing.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous STXRynn said...

Love the idea of a hit job!! I wonder which alphabet agency has the license to terminate barter apologists?? Houston had areas that look like that part of NO. That's where the stolen cars were stripped, and dead folks wound up (read: dump site). Houston was a great place to leave. I like my small town much better, but it has it's unhappy environs as well. Your posts on situational awareness, and human predator mindset are priceless and apply every where, not just NO or HOU. Take care....de....STXRynn

2:40 PM  
Blogger MauserMedic said...

There's one thing I will disagree with you on. The parts of the world I've been in, outside of the states, are nasty, chaotic, vicious places where order is kept by security with assault rifles (the real kind). Most of humanity is still in a "I've got mine, and I'm going to take yours if I can manage it" mindset. It's terrible, but she just experienced the natural outcome of trusting in luck and the good will of strangers.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've lived in New Orleans for over 25 years... and I wouldn't DRIVE through the 9th ward in the daytime BEFORE Katrina. There are places here that are just bad news, and a hippie chick on a bicycle had no chance of survival in that place.

The whole city isn't bad, just like all of Oakland or New York or wherever - but having a "free spirit" and an "open mind" won't protect you in any of these cases.

I lived in the Bay Area a while and I appreciate the ideals of some of the people... but they do not seem to understand the real world. In real life, people will kill you for a bicycle in the right situation. During the hurricane and the days after, many people got killed for a lot less.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Doc Holliday said...

She was an Eloi.

The Morlocks ate her.

If she wasn't raped, sodomized, and had drano poured down her throat before she died she was lucky.

The parents should blame themselves for raising such a stupid girl.

But I'm sure her parents are Eloi, too.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Rush baby said...

I'm disgusted because I KNOW this will have occurred "due to":

- George W. Bush
- Whitey
- Guns
- Republicans
- Conservatives
- Opposing "Reperations"

Instead of opening your damn eyes and seeing the devil inside some of them.

(Just finished watching Boondock Saints, and the priest's speech is going through my head)

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kirsten has been my friend for the past 8 years. Ofcourse, we all question her judgment that night. But we will never know exctly what happened and why she was where she was.

As for her project, maybe you should do alittle reading befor you start ranting about things you know nothing about. She was not some hippi chic traveling the country for stories. She had a job in San Francisco, payed rent, went to school, had a cell phone and a savings account. She was connecting people who believe its gross capitalisim and people who insist on living beyond their means who got this country into a big financial mess. Her ideas are inspiring. Everyone could learn from them.

Also..you need to correct your blog. The really really free market is exactly that..free. There is no bartering, no trading. You bring things that you dont use anymore so someone else who may need it can take it and vice versa. You provide a service to people and learn things from others. It's community taking care of community. If there were more of these, maybe Kirsten would not have lost her life over that bike.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

To Kristens friends: I symphathize with you in your grief. I am sorry for your loss. I will not ignore the reasons why she died. Murderers in the 9th Ward did not travel to San Francisco to take her life. She went to Laussat Place, in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

I will not publish your vindictive cuss words on my blog. Keep your comments clean and they will be published. Fill them with foul langauge, and I will simply delete them without reading them. If you have not learned the difference, then try your luck or go educate yourself.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a new orleans resident, i find it very possible that kirsten got lost returning home to the bywater. the topography of this city is very repetitive. myself and many other cyclists i know were all effected by this when we first moved here-- you can be 2 miles or 2 blocks from where you need to be and never know the difference.
if she got on the other side of the canal, it is not unreasonable to believe that the way she should have been going would have seemed like the wrong direction.
just a theory.
my sincere condolences to her family.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you look at the CIA handbook, their choices for assassination techniqes often mimic accidents and seemingly random murder. Of course it is easier to mimic random violence in regions where random violence is expected, as the probability of it being random violence is thus easier to believe by the masses.

It is difficult for anyone on the outside or even close friends of the victim to tell the difference between real random violence and CIA mimicry of random violence, and thus the CIA continues to use this method, especially in the U.S.A. where outright assassinations are more difficult to do.

The idea that the CIA would not target a good person like Kirsten shows profound ignorance of how our government operates. The CIA targets people precisely because they are good people and thus enemies of the wicked corporatist system!

All the skeptics who are convinced that this "must be random violence" need to study up on the CIA methods and tactics, especially the accidents, suicides and random violence mimicry.

The CIA training manual was recently declassified, and activists need to be aware of what methods the CIA uses against their targets. The line about accidents can also apply to random violence mimicry.

"2. Accidents.
For secret assassination, either simple or chase, the contrived accident is the most effective technique. When successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated."


Please be aware, safe and vigilant. If activists are having an impact, this could be start of a response from the government. Until there is proof of random violence, consider that other options exist. Do not be afraid, only watchful and careful.

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Stacey said...

"Also..you need to correct your blog. The really really free market is exactly that..free. There is no bartering, no trading. You bring things that you dont use anymore so someone else who may need it can take it and vice versa."

Sounds like a dumpster.

9:32 PM  
Blogger JAFO said...

A CIA hitjob, huh?

Uh, no. Not even close.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Bad Voodoo @ SF Bay Area said...

"I will not publish your vindictive cuss words on my blog."

X, welcome to the topsy-turvy world of liberal "debate." As a rule, liberals, especially the "progressive" left-coast variety, are generally devoid of common sense and therefore present no coherent, thoughtful counter argument or opinion to common sense positions about life. Instead they become vile and incoherent, and usually follow their drivel with incessant screams of "BUUUuuush!"

By the way, your post is pretty much spot on. Hippies are sometimes associated with lemmings because they're incapable of learning from the failings of those who came before them. Kirsten is an obvious case in point.

My condolences to her friends and family.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous margaret said...

tinfoil anyone?

9:54 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I feel sorry for her friends and family. Her story sounds like that of a lot of smart young liberals.

Plenty of intelligence but no wisdom to speak of. Both feet planted in the clouds.

She was very pretty, the only thing surprising about this story is that she was shot instead of raped to death.

Doc Holiday had the gist of it.

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you know anything about the government's history you know that they have assassinated and tortured people before (I've actually heard members of the Black Panther Party in person describing their FBI/COINTELPRO incarceration and torture) and of course the deaths of Malcom X, Martin Luther King, J.F.K., Che Guevara, etc. etc. down the very long list are clear examples of how the movement has been deterred through assassinations and the same questions came up then as they do now.

10:59 PM  
Blogger Doc Holliday said...

Don't even bring up Che Gevara unless you know something about him.
All you know is a picture on a T-shirt.

Che was a murderous psychopath, and a coward.

You don't know about the thousands he had executed, and drained of blood beforehand.

Or you're just fine with it.

CIA hit squad. Is that the same one who killed Lincoln?

11:12 PM  
Blogger Not Too Pensive said...


I have no where near your travel experience, but I have spent my fair share of time - two years - in the slums of Buenos Aires working as a missionary. I was there during the most recent economic crisis in the country, and the poverty and violence I saw on a day to day basis at least rivaled that of the 9th ward.

And everything you say is true.

As a missionary, it was different. We were known in the neighborhood. We were known to carry nothing of value, and to put up a fight if cornered. We traveled in groups of two at the least. We watched each other's backs. As missionaries, it was obviously not our way to carry arms, either openly or concealed.

Our guys still got robbed frequently. A handful got shot at (no hits, but by the grace of God). A few got stabbed. Most at least had a weapon pulled on them once or twice. Virtually all were robbed in the street at some point. Life was "nasty, brutish, and short" in a lot of these neighborhoods, and we depended on our local connections, language training, plain old common sense (never staying out past 9:30, for starters, and talking with the locals to know what areas to really avoid) and the guidance of the Good Lord to see us through.

And then, every once in a while, some fool American would come to take a trip to these areas like Kristen. I must say none ever met with such a horrible fate, but none ever saw it end positively, either. They didn't speak the language. They dressed like obvious foreigners. They were, invariably, alone. They were also invariably shocked to see the oppressed under classes they thought to champion take advantage of them and rob them.

Most of them seemed like decent folks. Most funded the trip through the bank of mom and dad, a trust fund, or from some other source that was not self-generated - rarely did they earn the money themselves to come down and "experience life on the edge" (at least for a brief moment, until they could, you know, get back to the hotel and dance a bit at the clubs).

They were utterly naive fools, each lucky to walk away alive.

I doubt any truly learned anything from their short trips. Most probably made it a notch on the belt for their hippie "street cred" and moved on.

It is a sad, sad day when an ideology so blinds man that he forgets basic human nature and rejects the lessons taught so easily and so frequently by experience. Witness this in those who claim that it was not the "oppressed" who killed Kristen - oh no. It must have been the CIA. It must have been the "oppressors", for it could have nave been the "oppressed".

11:38 PM  
Blogger Cybrludite said...

"Please be aware, safe and vigilant. If activists are having an impact, this could be start of a response from the government. Until there is proof of random violence, consider that other options exist. Do not be afraid, only watchful and careful."

Key word being "if". You really think that the powers that be are shaking in their jackboots because hippies are trading junk they found while dumpster diving? The same folks who faced down the Soviets & their nuclear arsenal?

Word of advice: Don't post while baked. The wacky-tobaccy makes you paranoid.

12:10 AM  
Blogger alpineman said...

With more than 50 comments thus far, it doesn't look like you need me to tell you how insightful this post was, but there ... I've said it anyway. Well said as usual, sir.

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus.... The CIA killed some hippie.
No wonder Dick(head)Daley's black little puppet is doing so well...

Hill Billy Bob Klinton appointed a good amount of them BTW...

2:15 AM  
Anonymous Rush baby said...

(The Hillbilly Klinton was mine, but the name won't show)

2:16 AM  
Blogger Tam said...

Let me get this straight; an unarmed young out-of-town woman gets killed in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of a dangerous city, and some folks want to say it was Blackwater or the CIA?

Folks, when you hear hoofbeats rounding the last turn at Preakness, do you look for zebras?

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I read makes me sick. Sick to know this is the type of leadership skills that the left has to offer in their legions of mindless idiots.

Bad/poor judgement does not warrant sympathy on my end.

Chalk one up for the Darwin Awards...

5:47 PM  
Anonymous XLBRL said...

Anonymous said... "But we will never know exactly what happened and why she was where she was."

Don't want to know, maybe? The last dispatch on this from the SF Chronicle is still insisting that this was a robbery, despite the fact that the NOPD has said that robbery appears NOT to be the motive. I doubt your ideology will allow you to accept the truth.

And other anonymous said: a bunch of crazy nonsense about CIA hit squads. Why would anyone want to kill a glorified recycler? Some folks hold their belief systems so strongly that they can't see reality in front of their faces; when confronted with something that doesn't jibe - they make stuff up so they can still be right about the world.

And the crazy thing is that if they met her killer on the street tomorrow, they'd probably shake his hand and tell him how oppressed he is.

Another Anonymous: "You provide a service to people and learn things from others. It's community taking care of community. If there were more of these, maybe Kirsten would not have lost her life over that bike."

That's right: guns don't kill people, bikes do.

Some people will just not accept the fact that real evil exists in this world.


Thanks again!

6:51 PM  
Blogger theotherwaldo said...

You can't change the nature of lemmings. They are certain that whatever they want to do is right and safe.

By the way, I used to ride a bicycle in south central Los Angeles. I rode to school, to work, whatever. When the job was cleaning offices in City of Industry, that meant pedalling through some tough territories at some bad times.
When school was downtown and work was in San Pedro, it made for a rough ride, indeed.

But that's what it took to make a living in L.A.

8:09 PM  
Blogger theotherwaldo said...

You can't change the nature of lemmings. They are certain that whatever they want to do is right and safe.

By the way, I used to ride a bicycle in south central Los Angeles. I rode to school, to work, whatever. When the job was cleaning offices in City of Industry, that meant pedalling through some tough territories at some bad times.
When school was downtown and work was in San Pedro, it made for a rough ride, indeed.

But that's what it took to make a living in L.A.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Gregg in Texas said...

That picture alone of the 9th ward gate scares me...It reminds me of a gate to Hell..."Abandon hope all ye who enter". What is that gate designed to keep in, or keep out as the case may be? If I saw that thing during daylight hours, let alone after midnight I would not even get near it.

Common sense is not very common. I am saddened by another needless death and can't find the words to understand it, yet anyone riding a bicycle ALONE after midnight in any big city is not making a smart choice.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm am sorry for the loss of such a pretty girl who was trying to help people.

That being said, people please use some sense. Just because you're a peace loving free-spirited person, it doesn't mean Joe Blow from down the block is.

As dumb as her actions were, what pisses me off more is that there was NOBODY in her life to warn her. I'm sure not everyone in her life thought the way she did. Someone could have warned her that:

--Some people are born animals and aren't worth/CANNOT be helped or saved.

--Never roam around an inner city, matter of fact any large ethnic big city alone or after dark. These places are zoos in general but really become the devil's playground after hours.

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear a lot of people spouting vitriol about common sense here, yet none are aware enough to notice their own lack of common decency.

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This type of "free-spirit, hippie lifestyle" is becoming more and more popular with the 16 to 28 age bracket"

They have trust funds. Take care of the proletariat and all that, without having to work a real dirty job ever.

When they get in power, they are the kind that will shut you up and shut you out by all means. Take a walk around an University some times.

I have no mercy on the little scums. Natural selection, eh? One less vote for the Obamatron and Darwin Award for the little lady. Two birds with one stone.

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yada, yada, yada. She was someone's daughter, sister, grand daughter, cousin, friend etc. etc. Point to note: She was shot in the head multiple times for a bicycle. A borrowed one at that! What shoulda, woulda, coulda......It dosn't change the fact that some creep murdered Kirsten. End of Story!

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Darrell said...

Anonymous said...
If you look at the CIA handbook, their choices for assassination techniqes often mimic accidents and seemingly random murder...

Put down the bong, pard. Fools jump in where angels fear to tread.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Assuming Anon knows Ms. Brydum, I'd be inclined to cut him/her a little slack here. All sorts of weird thoughts go through your head when someone you love dies - it's just your mind trying to make sense out of your world breaking so drastically.

It's a poor idea to indulge those ideas of course.. but it's no shame to have them for a time.

12:09 PM  
Blogger J.R.Shirley said...

Sad story, but well said, X. Darwin wins.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Richard Nikoley said...


"She was naive."

For certain. Who hasn't been?

Man, I was in a dozen different countries around her age -- four years before and four years after; living in two of them -- getting drunk in bars in shady areas I didn't know many a night. Aand now I have a family, a home in the city and mountains, a company with a dozen employees, and about a dozen rental properties.

Glad I lived long enough to go from naive to "genius."

That's no criticism of the judgment; it's just that the older I get, the more I see the randomness of life.

The commenter right before me beat me to the Darwin metaphor.

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son learned it before he was five: Actions have consequences, and stupid actions can kill you.

The simple truth is that she was a fool who died a fool's death.

For those who mourn her - spare a moment to mourn the death of basic Reason (once called "common sense.")

That, and that alone would have prevented this.

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't New Orleans have streetcars that are safe to ride? Why didn't she use one? Or a taxi?

If you take enough of the wrong risks, you die.

4:02 AM  
Anonymous Terry said...

The Republican controlled CIA comitted this murder. It is easy to see if you will just open your mind.
1) the murder was a head shot several times over (very unlikely for a mugging/gang violence)
2) Kirsten was uniting the anarchist movement across the country which is a very big threat to the government being this is the key to the movement as a whole (unification in struggle). If people don't know that they are being very ignorant of class consciousness and historical struggles against any oppressor (look at slave rebellions for an example)
3) it is extremely difficult to picture Kirsten provoking any sort of violence or mugging. Anarchists are peace loving, and she had a long history of helping people.
4) this all happened within the same week of the stock market crash and $700 billion bailout plans. Capitalism was heading for a collapse and so those that are in power are very afraid right now (just watch Bush's speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms_O5avYAOs)
4) this happened in the wake of another activist murder in the same week (or at least very close) who was actually saying she was being spied on before she died.
5) this is also in the same time period of a nation-wide raiding of Food Not Bombs and anarchist collectives all over the country (since before and after the RNC).
6) if you look at McCain's name you will see it's a anagram for CIA.
7) McCain is desperate to win the White house and he learned all kinds of Viet cong tricks while a prisoner.
Our government has tortured and assasinated people before. Why do you think it would be any different with this peace loving person?

12:43 AM  
Blogger Weetabix said...


1) I'd have thought CIA dudes would use the fewest number of bullets. Don't they have to account for them to the GAO?
2) How do you unite an anarchist movement? Who would run them? Don't they reject all control and authority?
3) Aren't the anarchists the ones who wear black balaclavas and throw Molotov cocktails?
4) Did she cause the stock market crash? Maybe a disgruntled broker did this.
5) They didn't kill her with food or bombs. I don't see the connection.
6) What did you do with the M, C, and N? Don't anagrams use all the letters? "Kristen Brydum" is an anagram for "Dumb Terry Inks." What does that prove?
7) So McCain did this? Can he even ride a bike?

Just askin'.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Cybrludite said...

Anon @ 4:20,

The streetcars run on Canal St, St. Charles, & Carrolton only, and I'm not sure how late they run. (Or even if the Carrolton branch is running again.)

As for what she was doing out there, I have a theory that I came up with after describing the location in relation to a street well known due to a Bob Dylan song. Montegut St. is the uptown border of that block. I wonder if she was looking for the basment apartment mentioned in "Tangled Up In Blue"?

7:07 AM  
Anonymous eclecticdeb said...

Kirsten was my boyfriend's niece, so while I didn't know her well, I do have some first-hand knowledge of who she was.

Kirsten was touring the country in search of counter-institutions such as infoshops, free schools, really really free markets, guerrilla gardens, radical health collectives and other projects that are creating a better world. By networking, she hoped to demonstrate this is a movement more extensive than realized, and to facilitate research and resource-sharing across distances. She was not some free-floating hippie, living off of others.

In honor of Kirsten, we recognize that her death is not only the result of one person’s brutality, but of inequality and injustice. We consider it part of our responsibility to help persuade our elected officials, police, media, and one another in our communities to address not only the final acts but the root causes of violence in society and gendered violence.

Would I have been where she was at 1:30 am? Heck no. Should she have been there? Heck no. Should she have been shot because of it? Heck no.

One of her friends said it best:
“Kirsten dedicated herself to fighting the very social ills of poverty, racism, and systemic violence which helped cause her death. She was not naïve, she was streetwise and aware. Don’t fault her for refusing to be paralyzed by fear, which only reinforces the gross idea that violence against women is an immutable risk in society, and therefore a woman’s responsibility to avoid it instead of our collective responsibility to counteract it.”

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know I am a little late for this, but I'd like to share a slightly personal story to get across why this makes me so sad.

I have known many women like Ms. Brydum, and loved a few. They are all very liberal, and very naive, and very prone to believing that violence is caused by the CIA (or whoever) instead of by random dirtbags, who may be poor. What joins these women in my mind is that all of them have been sexually assaulted; none of them has been murdered though a few have had guns and knives pulled on them.

I know now that I have known an unusual group of people. Not that big a percentage of women get sexually assaulted (it is much less than the 80% or so of the close female friends I've had since adolescence who have been). So there is probably something in me that is drawn to them, and why shouldn't there be? They are warm, articulate, vivacious, and above all, non-judgemental to a fault. So I suppose my fear of being judged plays a role.

I could never tell why so many of their male friends were hyperaggressive jerks. I could never tell why they felt so comfortable in social situations I didn't. I could never tell why they had such trouble distinguishing between "risque" and "risky".

I still can't. I'm only writing because this crime has brought forth a strange old sadness. Something is wiping the minds of these women clear of ordinary self-protection instincts. We may want to blossom into sword-bearing gentlemen who can protect them but that age is long dead. They need to change on their own, but I fear no information is getting through to young women today that underscores that need.

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's your answer, from a 1/29/09 AP story:

¶ Brydum's mother, Mamie Page, said her daughter would not have gotten into someone's vehicle, but she said she doubted Brydum was aware that her bike trip would take her through a rough area.

¶ "Everyone's heard about the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, it seems like a known quantity by now," Page said. "I don't think any of us had any warnings about it or thought of it as dangerous."

- Brian Moore

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As soon as you read about this girl's "alternative economies" philosophy, you knew she had intelligence issues. "Sharing is more fulfilling than owning". Who the hell is going to produce the shit then if nobody has to work?

And to that matter, human nature is prone to want more than they currently have and there are only two ways of obtaining "more". One is to steal it and the second is to earn it. Since it is currently against the law to steal that only leaves earning. So given these facts, I'm sure Kirsten would be ok with being murdered for her stuff since "earning" is contrary to her beliefs.

I say Darwin's theory prevailed again. Species to weak or stupid to survive will not.

And "assasination" or "hit". Puleeze. You crackpot hippie commies need to go out and get a job and some reality.

1:19 AM  
Anonymous dmax808 said...


That was a hillarious response to Terry. I'm definitely going to come back to this blog for the intelligent and often elloquent writing by both X and commenters.

And with regard to Terry, if you aren't kidding, it really really scares me that there are people out there like you. I think delusional sociopath may be a good descriptor for you.


1:42 AM  
Anonymous Terry said...

Now that Obama is in the prezidechurl palace, we can get a appointment to have Him resurrect our Kristen.

5:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a sad little king of a sad little hill.

I used to get beat up alot in high school.

I'm a California hippie punk high school drop out.

Kristen was my hero. She made me hash cookies with collective unification.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous zenviolin said...

This is just one more reason to be disturbed by what is going on in New Orleans. Being an aging hippie freak myself, Kirsten's mindset is well known to me. The responsibility for her murder should fall directly on whichever one of her "friends" loaned her a bike and told her it was safe to ride home from Howlin Wolf alone at 1:30 a.m. New Orleans is not some happy, hippy place to rebuild and fall in love. It is a battle zone and the sooner that fact is recognized, the sooner the people can move from denial to rebuilding.

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Mic65 said...

*edited for curse words, sorry, didn't see your note dude*

Seriously, get a clue! She was from San Francisco, she definitely wasn't naive to the "streets". Did you ever stop to think about her family, or friends, before spewing such vomit onto the web for all to read? What gives you the right to slander someone you've never even met?

You claim she was promoting "a lifestyle that feeds off productive people in society", I disagree. Organizing a trading post for people interested in old-fashioned bartering for goods and services, rather than working a job to pay taxes that directly exploit and destroy entire peoples, is not feeding off society but rather ENRICHING it.

And "South Central Los Angeles"? What is this, 1994? Are you serious? I live near there and definitely don't worry about being shot, no matter what time of day it is. Some people have to ride a bike to get around and not everyone lives in the suburbs or a gated community.

Maybe you should read a book or two before espousing your philistine worldview and reactionary politics to all your second amendment eTrolls.

5:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

new orleans is a very evil place. the cia knew that kristen was going to help barak get president so they sent her there to be killed. thats why they havent found her killers.

12:15 AM  
Blogger D-man said...

Was the girl Naive? Incredibly so.

But what you're post fails to realize is that, much like her survival as far as it took Kristen (based on good luck) her death was just another random, bad incident that happens to people in this country.

You blame her for being a hippy. Some commenters make jokes about her being a "liberal."

She was a girl, traveling. She got robbed. She was killed.

In America, this happens every day. To say she is somehow different from anyone else robbed and murdered in New Orleans is to ignore the reality of our nation: it is, especially in the worst of places, a violent and dangerous place to live.

That's why you're armed, after all.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This poor dear girl did not deserve to die. My heart aches for her family. She believed she was making the world a better place...right or wrong...naive or not.......I applaud her strength! She seemed to have an abundance of energy. I admire her for her efforts although I never knew her she seems like a good inspiration to others. May she rest in peace.

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This case still hasn't been solved, and most likely won't be, unless they find the weapon or her possessions with her killer(s). Likely her killer(s) has been arrested before and since down there.

I visit this area regularly, and while there is obvious merit in the argument that Brydum should have been warned by friends and should have availed herself of common sense by not riding her bicycle downtown or certain neighborhoods at night at all, the fact is these crimes do occur around Bourbon and the French Quarter as well. Even a generally cautious person can be a target of robbery by the criminals down there, many who are teenagers.

Robberies and homicides not only at night, but in the daytime as well in N.O. Brydum's homicide (which was not simply motivated by robbery, as was erroneously claimed in some media reports) was just another statistic in the violence that permeates the N.O. metro area.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous OG Libertarian said...

I know I’m super late on this, I just discovered the blog and have been reading through it. I love the blog. Love the tactical analysis of where victims go wrong. Even when it seems cold, you usually acknowledge that with respect and tact, then proceed to discuss what can be learned. But these comments, whoa, they show a lot needs to be learned!

Some of you seem so entrenched in the media perpetrated “culture wars” that you’ll just throw anyone who isn’t towing your party line under the stupid liberal bus. Whats with all this talk about liberals and communists? Ya’ll do know that anarchists are in bed with neither, right? Take a step back from whichever ranting wingnut you’ve been idolizing lately and take a look at that thing called history. Anarchists have been at odds with communists since the very beginning, notorious feuds rage back to Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin. Modern analysis shows more disconnect between liberalism and modern anarchism as exists between contemporary liberalism and conservatism. In fact many of the current trends on the right in this country can be traced to common ground with anarchists, if not directly to anarchists. You know what anarchists are called in most other countries? Libertarians. That doesn’t sound like dumb old whimpy liberalism now does it? In fact, where did the current US libertarians get their name? Oh yeah, they were inspired by anarchists who have been using the term for almost 200 years! In a strange case of political bed fellows, the right’s patron saint Ronald Reagan owes his political foundation to self-described anarchists! My point isn’t that anarchists are republicans by any means, we rail against the injustice of the right as much as the disdain for liberty on the left. My point is that most of you probably share far more common ground with the average anarchist than you do with the average democrat.

Anyway, history lesson over. What does this have to do with guns, victims and the tragedy in NO? Both Xavier’s original post, and the comments that followed seem to imply that the victim was unarmed and defenseless due to her ideological insufficiency. Well, I didn’t know the victim, but I know well the milieu she was running in. I was at the first Really Really Free Market, and know many involved with them across the country. MANY of these people are (yes, legally and responsibly) armed. In fact some of the most religiously carrying CCWP’s I know are anarchists, carrying more often than the average right leaning CCWP. I’ve even been in a situation after a dinner party where an attempted robbery was stopped by the pistol of a female straight edge anarchist, while our CCWP holding right leaning friend could only regret not being armed and helpful! (to his credit he chose not to carry knowing he would be drinking) Just as many republicans choose not to carry for personal reasons, we can assume the victim in this case did too. Ridiculing the victim for her political beliefs is absurd given that her political heritage is likely more similar to yours than you would ever believe. Contemporary US anarchism can loosely be thought of as the politics of the far right (libertarianism) with economics more at home on the far left. Do ya’ll really think that her attackers selected her because they knew her thoughts on economic theory? Gimme a break! Fact is she came from a community as supportive of defense and right to carry as yours is, and maybe even more committed specifically to empowering women to defend themselves than yours. She made a personal decision (omission really) to effectively defend herself, just as many of y/our own mothers sisters and daughters do.

That is the lesson in this tragedy. Her personal decisions to be defenseless in an obviously hostile environment. It was an all too common tactical failure, not some judgment of her political ideology, which so many of you obviously know less than nothing about. It could even be argued that many of you are in fact MORE LIBERAL than the anarchists you disparage as liberals!

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's been a potential break in the case, as a deceased man, a career criminal who was the son of a retired NOPD officer, is now suspected in Brydum's homicide. It would be nice to see this case resolved and the murderer himself already dead.

Ms. Brydum may have been overly idealistic, but that's not why her killer targeted her. Being a petite woman alone, she was more vulnerable to an attack, and possibly, as anyone who lives or frequents NOLA is aware of, it's quite easy to lose your bearings and travel in the wrong direction and find yourself in a less than safe neighborhood - one street may be fine, but the next one over isn't the place to be. Rule of thumb: in the evening, even if you only have 2-3 blocks to your destination, go ahead and call a cab.

10:14 AM  

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