In the Rearview

Looking back: 10, 25, 50 years ago - June 14

'Terminator' filming stops traffic, plague alert goes out, Robert Kennedy's assassination leave local Democrats distraught

By Mary Beth Libbey
Posted 6/14/18

- 10 YEARS AGO -'Traffic 'Terminator,' 'By Rick Romancito, June 12, 2008. Sans Arnold Schwarzenegger, because he was busy being governor of California among other things, the filming of the sequel to "The …

You have exceeded your story limit for this 30-day period.

Please log in to continue

Log in
In the Rearview

Looking back: 10, 25, 50 years ago - June 14

'Terminator' filming stops traffic, plague alert goes out, Robert Kennedy's assassination leave local Democrats distraught


- 10 YEARS AGO - 'Traffic 'Terminator', By Rick Romancito, June 12, 2008

Sans Arnold Schwarzenegger, because he was busy being governor of California among other things, the filming of the sequel to "The Terminator" shut down the Río Grande Gorge Bridge this week.

The makers of the film, "Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins," said they had to litter the bridge with wrecked cars because the film's setting was the future after a nuclear explosion. Thus they shut the bridge down intermittently to present day traffic on June 10.

Meanwhile, according to Romancito, "a distressed looking wrecker truck" drove at high speed across the bridge. "The action was captured by a helicopter-mounted camera," he reported.

The film starred Christian Bale and Anton Yelchin.

In a New Mexico film office press release, the film's director Joseph McGinty Nichol, was quoted as saying, "New Mexico represents a Western state which has a look and feel conducive to creating an American Gothic picture. This 'Terminator' is set in a credible post-apocalyptic future and will redefine the language of its predecessors."

While the director's claim about the film's "language" may or may not have been prophetic, the movie got mixed reviews at the box office. According to the website Rotten Tomatoes, it grossed only about $125 million in 2009 when it was released. "Avatar" grossed $2.7 billion the same year.

- 25 YEARS AGO - 'Plague alert: Experts advise caution', By Alisa Duncan, June 17, 1993

Many of us have mixed feelings when the prairie dogs become as ubiquitous as cowboy boots on Taos streets at this time of year, but apparently it's a good thing.

Alisa Duncan reported 25 years ago that one of the first signs that folks need to worry about plague being spread is if large groups of rodents go missing. And, that's exactly what had happened.

A prairie dog colony west of Herdner Road had vanished, and Taos County extension agent Rey Torres expressed concern. The colony was also near where a domestic cat was diagnosed as carrying the pneumonic form of plague, which is highly contagious to humans.

"Something hit this colony like a disease that could take care of a major population," Reyes told Duncan. It could be something like pneumonia or plague. Plague is the first thing assumed."

Duncan also consulted local veterinarian Glenn Karlin, who gave this list of precautions:

--When in the outdoors camping or hiking, don't play with or attempt to feed wild animals.

--Avoid contact with sick or dead rodents.

--Keep dogs leashed or leave them at home.

--Watch for signs of infection with pets.

--Rodent proof houses and outbuildings as much as possible.

In hindsight, what may have worried Taoseños the most about this incident was that at the same time, the hantavirus was beginning to emerge in the Four Corners region. A disease that researchers eventually discovered was carried by mice and mice droppings, it became a national story because it was a brand new virus for the recordkeepers at the National Centers for Disease Control. Twenty-four cases were reported to authorities during 1993 and 12 of those people died of it.

And, indeed, a few plague-infected humans have been reported every year for the past few years in New Mexico. It is part of our reality. According to a 2017 New York Times article, last year three people were diagnosed in New Mexico, and the patients were treated and released from medical care quickly.

- 50 YEARS AGO - 'Political activity in county resuming', By Keith Green, June 13, 1968

New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at a Los Angeles hotel June 6, 1968 as he campaigned for the Democratic nomination for president.

In Taos, Keith Green reported that local Democrats were only emerging from their grief but were also trying to figure out what Kennedy's absence would mean for the national Democratic convention later that summer in Chicago. Many Taos Democrats had been committed to vote for Kennedy.

As Green put it in his lede paragraph, "The shock of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's assassination paralyzed the political grassroots of the country last week, and for days, stillness prevailed."

Taos was not different. Initially, the statewide party postponed precinct meetings. But, as the Taos News reports, those meetings were to be held Saturday, June 15 to choose delegates to the state convention, which would be held as scheduled the following Saturday.

Andy Vigil, county Democratic chairman explained the practical impact of Kennedy's death: "Without Robert Kennedy, many of the people don't know what to do. He had a big following in the northern counties. Now his people have been advised by regional campaign officials to wait for word from his brother Ted."

"Ted" was Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, the last remaining Kennedy brother. President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in 1963. Vigil added, "I don't believe the Kennedy people in the northern counties will willingly go over to Vice President Hubert Humphrey."

At the heart of the local Democrats' decision was the issue that had split the country, and now the Democratic party: the Vietnam War. Humphrey, as President Lyndon Johnson's vice president, was seen as pro war while Robert Kennedy and earlier Sen. Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota had gathered much Democratic support by opposing the war.

Still, in June 1968, Humphrey had the most Democratic delegates heading into the convention. Kennedy had been seen by many Americans opposed to the war as the candidate that could stop Humphrey at the convention, especially since the night Kennedy was shot, he had just won the giant California primary and the huge chunk of delegate votes that came with it.

In the end, after a raucous and violent Chicago convention, both inside and outside the hall, Humphrey got the nomination and then was defeated narrowly by the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon.


Private mode detected!

In order to read our site, please exit private/incognito mode or log in to continue.