Thursday, January 8, 2009

About Last Night

By Chris Thompson
Thu, Jan 8, 2009 at 8:02 AM

This new year just keeps delivering for Oakland, don't it? First a BART cop kills a young black man lying face down on the ground. Then hundreds of people riot downtown, smashing cars and store windows. The Chron reports that the mob even smashed up the store Creative African Braids; when the owner came out with a baby in her arms and shouted, "This is our business. This is our shop," rioter Nia Sykes retorted, "She should be glad she just lost her business and not her life." A schoolteacher forlornly looked at her smashed car as another protester shouted, "fuck your car." The Trib writes that Ron Dellums tried to appease the crowd by promising the cops would investigate the shooting, somehow forgetting that the Oakland Police Department doesn't have jurisdiction over what happens on the BART lines. The crowd sent him packing with lusty boos. Dumpsters were parked in the middle of the street and set on fire; a cop car was smashed up; and tear gas was used to disperse the crowd. And of course, amateur video footage was on YouTube within hours. Here's a sample"



And here's a little more:



It's really starting to feel like the 1980s again, isn't it? Poverty, racial conflict with the police, shit burning in the streets. There hasn't been a social breakdown like this since the Festival at the Lake. Which, admittedly, was in the 1990s. But you know what we mean. It's like an old bygone era of pessimism and urban decay is creeping back up on us.

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