A new documentary on policing in San Antonio makes a simple suggestion: Instead of arresting mentally ill people, listen to them.
It’s the middle of the night, and a skinny young man is slumped on a curb outside a San Antonio strip club. Officer Joe Smarro—dressed casually in jeans, sneakers, and a black polo shirt—approaches him. “What’s going on, man?” he … Read More
Author Samuel Woolley argues that a slew of new technologies will further degrade political life unless we rein them in.
In 2013, when Samuel Woolley began studying online misinformation as a graduate student at the University of Washington, hardly anyone was worried about the subject. Protests like the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street had demonstrated how activists could use … Read More
There’s a thin line between spreading hate, as the governor continues to do, and inciting violence.
I’m stopped at a red light next to I-35 in central Austin, waiting to cross under the highway on my drive home from work, when I see a young woman sitting on the median, holding a cardboard sign. A familiar … Read More
A monkey on the loose, a sharpshooting great-grandmother, activist witches, and more quirky news stories that caught our eye this year.
The Observer is best known for longform investigations on serious subjects. Our reporters and editors spend months immersed in heavy topics like rural suicide and racial violence. That work takes an emotional toll, which is why we can always use … Read More
Weird news from far-flung Texas.
SAN ANTONIO // A 400-pound feral hog roamed free on a South San Antonio golf course—until management called in the big guns. Wyatt Walton is co-owner of Lone Star Trapping, which bills itself as “the #1 feral hog removal company … Read More
AlHaj, who performs in Austin on Friday, is a former political prisoner whose music fuses Eastern and Western influences.
Rahim AlHaj’s music can seem bleak at first. His 2017 album, Letters From Iraq, is a mournful meditation on the violence wrought by the U.S. military invasion of his home country. So it comes as something of a surprise that … Read More
In this contemplative, vulnerable new documentary, a group of friends try to understand why their former classmate embraced radical Islam.
One day in the summer of 2015, Bassam Tariq logged on to Facebook to see a long missive posted by a former friend, Warren Christopher Clark. “I am now currently living in the Islamic state,” Clark wrote. “I’m sure people … Read More
How Graham Reynolds became Texas’ top composer.
How Graham Reynolds became Texas’ top composer. by Rose Cahalan October 14, 2019 Walk into composer Graham Reynolds’ East Austin studio, and the first thing you’ll notice, perhaps surprisingly, is the books. There are two whole walls of them: floor-to-ceiling … Read More
Plus: Weirdness abounds at Wichita Falls Walmarts.
HOOD COUNTY // A man was surprisingly calm upon realizing that a rattlesnake was crawling out of his pickup’s air vent. Instead of crashing in a panic, as this reporter surely would have, Bob Crowell silently filmed a video of … Read More