A Gun on a Train 

A platinum-selling rapper is accused of rape, Silence the Violence Day arrives, and crime keeps people driving.

Crime causes global warming.

Those who say car exhaust contributes big-time to climate change should bike, walk, and take public transit. But, quailing at news of strong-arm robberies, armed robberies, and drive-bys — and perps escaping cocksure, chuckling — legions would rather drive than spare the air and risk being victims: the automobile as armor, with perceived personal safety prioritized over potential environmental apocalypse. When Alaska melts, we'll have our pals the criminals to thank — along with whatever governmental or law-enforcement loopholes that keep them on the street.

Public transit shrinks carbon footprints, but scary stories keep some potential riders off the trains. On May 31, BART police requested backup from Walnut Creek police after a young man with "dark slicked-back hair, bad teeth, red shoes ... pulled a gun" on a Pittsburg train, according to the WCPD log. According to a BART PD report, four guys jumped two guys in a Lake Merritt station stairwell at 6 p.m. on May 26; one thief "threatened the victims with bodily harm while he rifled through their pockets," seizing $150, an iPod, and a phone. The fact that such incidents don't happen every day, or that the suspects, fleeing on a Fremont train, were caught — with cash and iPod stashed in the thief's shoes — still doesn't ease the fear. Also according to BART PD, a man knocked a woman to the floor upstairs in the 19th Street station around 2 p.m. on June 10, stealing her BART ticket and $20; she said the man also "attempted to force her commit an act of oral copulation." According to an Oakland PD report, around 3 p.m. on May 22, three juveniles "assaulted and robbed two other juveniles" on an AC Transit bus, then fled near 35th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard.

Street robberies are so common that we pretty much all know someone who's been mugged. The laptop grabbed from someone around noon on June 6 on Berkeley's Oxford Street by two men who, according to the BPD log, fled in a silver Dodge Dakota? Typical. Nor, it seems, can one actually exit one's car for any length of time and expect to remain unrobbed. A Berkeleyite wrote to her neighborhood-watch group on June 2 that while her back was turned as she unloaded her vehicle, "someone took a bunch of things from our car. If you see a buffet clarinet, camcorder, silver Olympus digital camera, and/or a dark black and blue backpack, please email me. ... It has some of my son's treasures in it." And a friend left her driver's-side door unlocked in a parking lot while, mere yards away, she was paying for a U-Haul rental. When she returned, all her bridge-toll change was gone. Luckily, the thieves missed a gold-and-topaz ring that was in the change cup. (Don't look for it. She has taken the car to Los Angeles.)

But given Oakland's sky-high carjacking rate (at least twice that of other comparably sized American cities, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's calculations), driving seems less and less safe. What next? Will we all become hermits, raising goats and chard behind electrified fences?

Incapable of Consent

Oakland rapper Numskull, real name Garrick Demond Husbands, was charged in the Alameda County Superior Court this month with twelve felony counts including sodomy, rape of a victim incapable of consent, oral copulation against the victim's will, and corporal injury to a cohabitant, all stemming from alleged 2007 incidents. According to UPI and other news sources, bail was set at $245,000; the platinum-selling singer could face 25 years to life in prison. Early in his career, Numskull formed the popular duo Luniz with fellow rapper Yukmouth, who was mentioned in last week's Apprehension after his associate, Pretty Black, was slain in Oakland. The motto of Numworld Entertainment, "official home of Numskull," is "Num 2 the World"; its logo is a skull bleeding from a bullethole in its forehead. (Silly rapper — skulls can't bleed!) In the video for his song "40's in a Brown Bag," Numskull flashes the finger and dandles a toddler while quaffing malt liquor. Ironic lyrics: "Grab a bitch and look her dead in the eye and say, 'Suck my dick.'" And: "Nigga, I dance like I'm runnin' from the police." Recently, he told an interviewer that he has "fun anywhere and everywhere .... you can take me to a funeral and I'd still have fun" — also that he was "gonna put together an album, like you know a terrorist album." Fun!

Father's Day Story

Newark resident Adrian Ledesma was arraigned April 30 on charges of slaying his two-month-old son, Christian Auxier, in Dublin. At MySpace, the father-of-two's nickname is "A-Deezy"; his mottoes are "Perserverance" [sic] and "Chillin and enjoying life!" As for whom the mustachioed, tank-topped young man would like to meet: "anyone who'z REAL (a.k.a TRU)!!!! ... if youknow how to beeh YOU and not some fake ass mo fo who you think ppl want you to beeh then holla at your boi, cauze i'll tell you straight up i'm down fo anyone whoz damn fo meeh!!!!" A friend posted: "Congrats dude!!!! Ur a daddy!!!! Im happy for u 2." Ledesma's last login was December 13, fifteen days before Christian — who had sustained twenty blunt-force head injuries — was pronounced dead at Newark's Washington Hospital, according to Newark police.

See the Light

Two dozen Bay Area-wide candlelight vigils are marking June 18 as the third annual Silence the Violence Day. Lamenting Oakland's 56 homicides so far this year, the "flagship vigil" in DeFremery Park at 6 p.m. features live performances, speeches by victims' families, a moment of silence, and "a united call for peace." Also involved in the day's activities is United Playaz, a San Francisco-based youth program whose motto is "It Takes the Hood to Save the Hood."

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