Michael Krikorian freelances now, far as I can tell, but he used to be a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He writes on the Times' op-ed page about his worst drinking days and the bar brawl near Compton that ended with him firing off 17 rounds from an AK-47 (which he had in his car trunk) and serving a 30-day sentence in county jail.
In 1985, I shot someone.
It happened outside the Rustic Inn, a bar in an unincorporated section of Los Angeles near Compton, which was where I spent most of my free time back then....
I'm not a great brawler, but I'm a good friend, and I couldn't let George go one-on-three. The fight moved two steps down from the bar where two pool tables sat — five men punching, kicking, gouging, ducking, yelling, swinging pool sticks, hurling pool balls. My most vivid memory of the fight is an orange-and-white pool ball whizzing by my face and — amid all that chaos — thinking to myself, "That's the 13."
George and I got the upper hand and the three guys ran outside, one of them yelling, "Get the gun." That was chilling, even to a drunk.
Krikorian writes also that "earlier this year, I went on a wretched binge. Two 750s of Smirnoff ruined my balance. I tripped and cracked open the back of my head on the bedroom dresser. Blood spurted onto three walls. My girlfriend was out of town, but my sister, warned by worried friends, came to the house that day. She walked into that horrific scene. She got me to an emergency room. Twelve staples in my head.
That was eight months ago. I quit drinking. Again. But now I no longer say I'm on the wagon. I say, 'After a long and storied career, I have retired.'"