Friday, July 9, 2010

Reporting Live from the Oakland Riots

If you're unfamiliar with the New Year's Eve police shooting of Oscar Grant in Oakland and the verdict which just came out yesterday, you can go here to read about it. Note well that there has appeared a fine tradition of participation in the subsequent riots by people who are best characterized as frat boys who like to break stuff but who think they're activists because they can parrot a few lines from that radical political theory class they had to take to graduate (and in which they got a pity C.) Here is some of the representative graffiti I saw this morning:

"Say no to work, say yes to looting"

"Tonight Oakland is our amusement park"

Clearly, these are people grieving for Oscar Grant. These are clearly people who spend their lives fighting for justice.

Also of note is that the silliness was confined to a few blocks of Broadway. Of course in the greater San Francisco metropolitan area there's a sense that all of Oakland is convulsed in flame that the media does nothing to dispel because it keeps people glued to their TVs. People were terrified to get within 50 miles of Oakland. A friend of mine in Vallejo wouldn't even drive through Oakland to get to San Francisco. I'm sitting a mile from the riot zone and last night seemed exactly like a normal Thursday night.


TGP said...

You try spray painting, "It is the opinion of this citizen that The City of Oakland has violated the Hobbsian Social Contract with it's people and therefore as a demonstration of the breakdown of the rule of law..."

Do riots help? Not at all, but many feel that they've got no other voice.

Michael Caton said...

If that argument ever applied, it applied in the aftermath of the shooting itself. A lot of these folks were out-of-towners and self-identified anarchists. About 1 in 8 of those arrested didn't even live in California. These weren't people fighting for justice.