Ponderosa65 
Member since Sep 5, 2009


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Re: “ACLU of Northern California Statement on Mehserle Trial and Upcoming Verdict

I live in the flatlands in Oakland—some call this the ghetto. I am white. My neighbors are white, black, Hispanic and Asian—we are working class, poor, and some professionals. Crime is a concern. The police are here a lot. The only killing that occurs here is civilian-related: young men murdering young men for the most part. Senseless killing, the details of which I am not privy, but word of mouth usually has it that it was related to "turf" or drugs or, sometimes, because one boy looked side-ways at another boy's girlfriend. As a suburban white man who moved to what some refer to as the ghetto, I was surprised to find that the area is NOT divided and frightening. I do not experience a tense, racially divided neighborhood. People are not afraid and suspicious of each other. I almost feel like there are a minority of people in Oakland WHO WANT the dissonance, mistrust and division. And if they don't see it, theyre gonna make it happen.

Oakland had a terrible period in the 60s: economic downturn; "white flight"; racial turbulence; the stories of bad cops and racially motivated arrests are legion. In the 90s, the rough riders and their little scheme screwed Oakland royally. Unforgiveable.But those were 4 cops- 4 corrupt men.

I've lived in the flats for 5 years. I've met Oakland cops--all colors and ages. They were good people. They loved Oakland and clearly did not want harm to come to any citizen. Oakland is ripe with drug sales and the violent crime associated with that. Sneaker pimps are up and down W. Macarthur and in other areas. The idea that there is a Gestapo-like police force ransacking the city and billy-clubbing innocent citizens is hard to swallow. If I thought Oakland was a place where the police ran reckless, I wouldn't live here.

The carte blanch comment --- not sure where you would get that. It's inflammatory. And it isn’t true. If you have personal experiences with the police that are unacceptable then ne passionate and productive. Write about it; speak up. Be heard. March if you need—but peacefully.

It would be one thing if a corrupt, bully-thuggish white Oakland cop roughed up an innocent black boy and shot him out of hatred. In our case, we have a transit cop on New Years' Eve on public transportation amidst a crowd of revelers --many of whom were drunk (possibly tweaked/high). Some were fighting. I have no clue what Oscar Grant was doing that night; or whether he was detained for something legit or not....but I've been in a loud, boisterous, drunk crowd before at late hours. It can be terrifying and confusing. (I was in the Castro when someone was murdered). Clearly, this transit cop was not qualified to be in that position--whether he is unable to think clearly under pressure or whatever.....

A tragedy occurred. A young man is dead. Let’s compensate the family and honor his memory...But not with a riot that results in physical injury and the devasastation of black-owned businesses. How does that honor Oscar grant?

There are a minority of people with a longstanding hatred for Oakland Police. There are a minority of cops who are racist and vengeful. This isn't about the Oakland Police and it isn't about an Oakland boy. This was not a lynching and trying to make it the spark for someone else's revolution, is irresponsible and will only create more division in Oakland.


Posted by Ponderosa65 on 07/03/2010 at 10:35 AM

Re: “ACLU of Northern California Statement on Mehserle Trial and Upcoming Verdict

First Amendment Rights cover speech. Inciting a riot is a criminal offence. One uses, initially, speech to incite a riot. So, law enforcement must exercise prudence and judgment in how to respond to those who speak, in the context of a large public, legal gathering, in a manner that encourages other people to move from violent speech (by definition legal) to violent behavior (illegal).

There are among us many whose hearts seek peace and justice. There are others who seek justice but care not for peace. We hear less and less of non-violent action. The words of MLK, JFK, RFK, Gandhi, the Dali Lama (and ultimately Malcolm X).....now largely fall on deaf ears among urban activists. Demonstrators today wear Che Guevara shirts and wave flags emblazoned with his image---indicating a shift in thinking among the activist community that tolerates violence as a means to peace.

Oakland-- of all cities in this nation---can attest to the failure of violent protest. Violence -- by police, by black panthers, by agitators from afar who came to assault the army induction center.......it all lead to blood and tears.

Let's not repeat this. Wake up. Are there no 50-somethings left in Oakland to raise their voices, from experience, against this?

Posted by Ponderosa65 on 07/02/2010 at 2:14 PM

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