Occupy Somewhere Else
So I guess Oakland is the talk of the Internet today. Everyone’s all up in arms about how badly those poor Occupy Oakland protesters were treated by the thuggish Oakland police.
Except…not everyone. Not me and Sam, and not our neighbors, and not our co-workers. As it turns out, a lot of people who actually live in Oakland never thought it was a particularly great idea to have a semi-permanent tent city established in the middle of our central plaza. After two weeks the place was utterly disgusting, reeking of human waste and crawling with rats and lice. Some of the not-so-bright protesters were forcing their kids to camp there. Crazy people and addicts were inevitably attracted, and the camp was struggling to control its own security problems. It was a health and safety hazard, and obviously it couldn’t last.
And you have to understand—in the Bay Area, we have this anti-cop, “anarchist,” Black Bloc contingent of shit-stirrers that are ready to come out to Oakland any chance they smell an opportunity to riot. Most of them don’t even live in Oakland; they just commute, for the riots. It was always pretty inevitable that when the city decided to close down the Occupy Oakland site, these assholes would be there.
So, the cops came loaded for riot. And when people started throwing bottles at them, they responded with the kind of force that looks unreasonable to a lot of people. Maybe it was unreasonable; I don’t know. I do know that after living here for a year, hearing the intermittent gunfire, hearing our neighbors talk about the carjackings and the armed robberies, I am damn grateful for Oakland PD. The two times that I felt unsafe, I called the police, and they came and resolved the situation. So yeah, by default, my sympathies lie more with the cops than with the people throwing bottles at the cops.
And the bottom line, to me, is that Oakland does not need this shit. How on earth was the idea of covering our central plaza in urine and crap ever supposed to lead to meaningful financial reform? How did the idea of demanding a return to a sane tax structure morph into “attack the po-po”? Now the Occupy Oakland idiots are calling for a general strike. They say they’re hoping to “shut down the city.” Because that’s fair, that’s just—in response to the greed of the big Wall Street banks, we’ll shut down the struggling businesses of Oakland. A middle- to lower-class city that’s facing unemployment at twice the national average, that’s full of empty lots and stagnating storefronts, that can’t afford to keep its police force fully staffed even in the face of skyrocketing murder rates. You’re targeting us. Really?
Occupy Oakland? Occupy somewhere else, jagoffs.