Friday, July 9, 2010

A few messages regarding The Riot That Wasn't

Holy shit. "The Riot" was as badly over-hyped as "The Decision."

1. To the protesters: Excellent job. You managed to keep your cool when the media, outside residents, and those who seek violent confrontation did everything in their power to turn the situation as ugly as possible.

2. To the police: Excellent job, which is something I never thought I would say. You said all the right things going into the day and you followed through on your promises. You allowed the passionate residents to say their piece and express their First Amendment rights. When things started to turn ugly when a bunch of the same shit-starters came in from out of town, you immediately responded and kept the city safe without escalating it.

3. To the media and especially KRON: God, you fucking suck. What ended up being less violent and disorderly than a sports championship celebration has been turned by you into the second coming of Rodney King.

You wanted there to be a riot so bad before the day even started. You kept adding fuel to the fire with your questions throughout the day. You started reporting there was a riot even when there wasn't one.

The one exception I saw was Yobie Benjamin, blogger for The Chronicle. He kept his cool and managed to keep everything in perspective. You can read his live blog from last night here.

Epilogue: Yes, there was violence and arrests but try to look at the good side. The cops exercised maximum restraint and 99% of the actual protesters were peaceful. There were maybe a dozen crazies in a group of 1,500 or so. Most arrested did so within principles of passive resistance - quiet yet defiant. Damage was minimal considering what could have been. I sympathize with the victims of vandalism.

If one asks me what I think? The protest was largely peaceful and was a legitimate exercise of the First Amendment. The cops performed very well under very difficult circumstances and the Oakland community was commendable.

No, it was not perfect but it is a picture of America today... divided and imperfect but still able to rise to tomorrow's challenges.

4. To the anarchists or trouble-makers or whoever come in from out of town to try to escalate this situation: Fuck you and your whole ethos. There are people trying to live down here. We're not your pawns in your little suburban angst game. You may want the world to look like a Cormac McCarthy novel but we don't.

5. To the residents and workers of Oakland who freaked the fuck out and started fleeing the city and preparing for World War III: You are stupid, fear mongers and thinly veiled racists. I know you think any time minorities gather en masse that violence, mayhem and white lynching are a foregone conclusion, but your thoughts and actions just contributed to an atmosphere of panic.

As someone far more eloquent than I wrote on twitter:

the dehumanization of oakland's citizens that assumes they will riot is the same dehumanization that leads cops to shoot them in the back.

6. To anyone--including a friend of mine--who endorsed or called for rioting, especially those who don't live in Oakland: What the hell is wrong with you? There are people living and working here. Why would you ever endorse or wish for our city and residents to be harmed?

7. To the family of Oscar Grant: You got jobbed. Should have been 2nd Degree Murder.

1 comment:

  1. 1. 3/4th of the people arrested last night lived outside of Oakland, some of which were wearing black face paint. The police are referring to them as professional anarchists.

    2. Many of the police officers who worked last night are scheduled to be laid off Monday because of the city's budget problems. They kept the peace for the most part despite being spit on and pelted by rocks and bottles, knowing that they would be out of a job in less than a week. I have spent my whole life despising cops and calling them pigs, but that is pretty amazing. I certainly don't think the cops are the ones out of control in Oakland, nor are the residents.