Murder of a City, Tacoma: Chapter 5

Coverage of Murder of a City, Tacoma, starts here


  • The most important part about this chapter is that Crisman explains in depth his supposed philosophical reasons for engaging in this political war. I say “supposed” not to imply he’s lying, but merely to stress that for these purposes I’m taking Crisman’s words at face value but also not lending them unquestioned support. I’m not going to venture to say if he’s being honest or not, because I don’t really know.
    Anyway, Crisman’s main problem is with the imposition of state power in generally, but in specific with “sensitivity training,” which he considers a moral and subversive scourge.
    This is fascinating from my 2019 perspective, because these things are now commonplace in America. For Crisman in 1966, though, they represented something wholly nefarious. For Crisman, this sensitivity training was a means of political brainwashing.
  • Crisman claims that Rasmussen is the victim of a slander campaign accusing him of being a racist. This caught me by surprise, as I didn’t think being branded a racist would have a career-destroying stigma in the late ’60s. Looking at it from 2019, when “racist” and “sexist” accusations are the new “commie” catch-all condemnations designed to shut up anyone who doesn’t agree with things, I feel a natural sympathy with Crisman’s position here. However, it needs to be reiterated again that we really have no idea what Crisman was really up to.
  • Marshall Riconoscuito wraps up the chapter saying “there’s going to be hell to pay” after saying that the only way for them to fight this media campaign is to get some media of their own, by the order of “millions of dollars.”

Northwest Nuggets: Fred Crisman’s Murder of a City, Tacoma

Fred Crisman, UFOs, and the Murder of a City

The Maury Island Incident is a well-known (though perhaps not as well-known as it should be) Washington state UFO event. Whether you consider the event to be a legitimate UFO contact or just a hoax, it’s a story that lives on to this day,¬†and Fred Crisman played an important role in it.

Less well-known than the “Incident” is that Crisman was also involved in a weird aspect of the John F. Kennedy assassination, being fingered as one of the “Three Tramps.”

Even LESS well-known than that is that Crisman spent years raising hell around the city of Tacoma under the pseudonym “Jon Gold.”

As “Jon Gold,” Crisman ran a radio show spreading what some call “conspiracy theory” and others call “investigative journalism.” Much like the UFO stuff, it really depends on which side of the aisle you choose to stand.

Out of those Gold radio shows was spawned a book titled Murder of a City, Tacoma, published in 1970. The Northwest Nomad recently got his hands on a copy of that fascinating slice of weird history.

Murder of a City, Tacoma was written off in its day as a “rant” and basically a bunch of paranoid conspiratorial lunacy. I’m partway through the book, and it doesn’t seem that way to me.

I need to research and verify the stuff he’s saying, of course, but so far, the book reads more like an expose of the political corruption Crisman says afflicted Tacoma in that time.

Whether there was any meat to Crisman’s claims remains to be seen, but we do know that Tacoma was a city in dire straits in the 1970s and all the way up to the 2000s, when the city’s famously successful revitalization effort began to take hold. It doesn’t seem (to me, anyway) to be a major stretch that there may indeed have been a lot of corruption in the city at that time.

The Northwest Nuggets series is designed for little slices of Northwest history and travel, so I’ll be doing a full examination of the book in another post. Here, I just wanted to bring The Murder of a City, Tacoma to light.

(UPDATE: I’ve started covering Murder of a City, Tacoma in earnest here.)