August 11 1772
The summit of Papandayan volcano in West Java suddenly implodes, unleashing a catastrophic debris avalanche which blankets an area of 250 square km. Tumbling boulders flatten 40 villages and their 2,957 inhabitants.
August 11 1965
A white motorcycle cop from the California Highway Patrol pulls over a car at 116th and Avalon, near Watts. When Marquette Frye fails the field sobriety test, the CHP officer places him under arrest and radios for a transportation unit and a tow truck. 15 minutes later, with more than 1,000 spectators gathered to watch the scene, a scuffle breaks out between police officers and members of the driver’s family. This altercation sets the stage for the bloody Watts riots two days later.
August 11 1975
Paratroopers from Indonesia invade the island of East Timor, ostensibly to end a civil war, but in reality to seize the territory. They perpetrate a reign of terror against the inhabitants, which continues to this day.
August 11 1984
Not realizing that his weekly radio address is already on the air, President Ronald Reagan quips into his live microphone: “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”
August 11 1997
Responding to reports of a domestic disturbance at the L’Elysee condominiums in West Los Angeles, LAPD officers encounter Christian Slater “swinging his arms and yelling incoherently” in the building stairwell. The movie actor reveals to police that “the Germans are coming and they will kill us.” He also mentions that he has been awake for most of two days, and the last thing he remembers is “snorting a couple of lines of cocaine this morning.” When officers attempt to put him in handcuffs, Slater knocks one of them to the floor and makes an unsuccessful grab for the cop’s weapon. His punishment? 59 days in jail.