Taku is angry Oakland is so filled with violence, and can't understand why the people who seem to be getting it in the ear are the small business owners around Frank Ogawa Plaza. What's their message, anyway, he wants to know. I'm trying to focus on the value of the Occupy movements for getting the country talking at long last about the collapse of American democracy. I've waited for years for Americans to get out there and start banging pots and pans, and now it seems to be happening.
But nothing seems to happen in this country without violence. In Oakland, it's the thugs. And to some degree the cops. At least one cop that got it all wrong when he hit that Iraqi vet, former Marine Scott Olsen, with a tear gas canister. Fractured his skull. Not like he won’t recover or anything.
Oh, right. Then there was Kayvan Sabeghi, another vet, whom Oakland police beat up and lacerated his spleen. And then denied him medical treatment for eighteen hours. His crime appears to be that he was trying to walk home from the protests.
Oh, yeah. One more. A cameraman was shot in the face because he was filming the cops. Don't know yet how he's doing.
Now the news comes out that somebody was shot and killed last night. But it's good news. Apparently just another gang killing that had nothing to do with the Occupy movement. Just happened to be in the same place. Thank God it was just an ordinary murder.
Meanwhile, five miles north here in Berkeley I was out walking the dogs yesterday when I saw those damn helicopters hovering again. Hate it when that happens. That unrelenting noise, and it doesn't go away. It's as bad inside the house as outside.
It was only when I turned on the news that I learned that an Occupy Berkeley protest has started up to match the one a straight shot down Telegraph, just below where it runs into Broadway, where the cops are giving the thugs a run for their money distracting the media's attention away from all the "we are the 99%" folk.
At least here in Berkeley we have a clear message, right? Students are pissed we have trillions of dollars for the wars, billions for banker bonuses, but tuition has gone up way past the ability of the average Californian to pay - up to 16% a year in increases for the next four years.
Our cops would not make the same mistake as the Oakland cops, right? We don't have the same problems as downtown Oakland. We don't have thugs causing violence.
Unless you see it the way Margo Bennett sees it, of course...
"The individuals who linked arms and actively resisted, that in itself is an act of violence," UC police Capt. Margo Bennett said. "I understand that many students may not think that, but linking arms in a human chain when ordered to step aside is not a nonviolent protest."See? Violence everywhere.
Guess that explains why the cops had to start beating the kids with their sticks.
You've seen the video, right?
All that violence just makes the cops mad, apparently. It distracts from the message.
It's hard to make the point that something's wrong with the system when the system is so wrong you can't get to the message.