Truth In It
Thursday. A story in the Chronicle this morning described a protest turned into a riot in downtown Oakland yesterday that took place near my old office in areas I'm quite familiar with and walk through every week. A young unarmed (African American) man was shot to death by a BART policeman at the Fruitvale BART station last week on New Year's Day, a bystander's cell phone video showing the man lying face down flat on the ground held by two policemen while a third pulled out his pistol and shot him in the back. People are angry, people should be angry, but I admit I was surprised by a protest crowd that evidently got out of hand and burned many cars and smashed in store windows in areas I frequent.
Well what am I saying? Surprised? They cancelled the Oakland Carijama Parade some years ago because of an incident like this one, the last one held in downtown Oakland in the same area, a crowd getting out of hand at the end of the festival breaking windows and fighting with the cops. A sign of the times? Maybe a sign in any times at any place. We've had police shootings, someone unarmed and apparently docile but shot and killed, the officers involved getting a slap on the wrist. You never know the truth, but I do know, from stories related by friends, there are many criminal acts that aren't spelled out in the books: black while driving, black while walking, black while lying face down, hands tied behind your back.
Are you bitter?
More taken aback. Most people my age with my background have never known a real city except as commuters, never had a second thought when meeting the police. “Sorry, officer. Yes I was going a hundred and ten in a twenty-five mile an hour zone, but I was drunk, you see, and late coming home from the country club.” Yes, well. We'll leave it at that. Not much sense in burning people's cars and breaking store windows, but then there's no sense in any of it.
Another overcast day, today. I'm due to meet friends for dinner and listen to another friend's band play in Hayward this evening. Good to get out of the house. Oh, and two more lunch dates this week. Busy me, a product of the old company office shutting down and people getting together while they still can.
Later. A bus ride downtown to buy a hat in the area that had all the trouble last night and then a walk back to the apartment (my walking for the day). A good walk, relatively clear headed, I hope it's not the colder overcast weather that's clearing it up. Not nice if I were allergic to summer weather, a genetic survival thing wired into people who originally came here from Iceland. (I didn't say that. Not a whit of truth in it. Please.)