A train ride to Oakland on the scenic Amtrak Coast Starlight and a stay at a hotel at Jack London Square on the ocean, wasn’t quite the Holiday getaway I had in mind. An interview on Oakland CBS (which never produces all a person has said) promoted the following submission to the Oakland Tribune.
Just for a quick minute, let’s get Oakland residents to imagine that Ferguson, M0 never happened. And while we’re about the business of pretending the American system of right and wrong is considerably more just than it actually is, let’s not know anything about a 300-pound man, Eric Garner, who got tossed to the ground in NYC with a deadly chokehold.
With this done, we’re now on a playing field that takes us to a place good people seem to have forgotten ever existed.
This is a playing field with rules. And, as a time-honored tradition, rules are generally based upon a value system. And somewhere in this mix is something called truth.
Now that we’ve got rules, values and truth set before us, who misnamed the Christmas Night vandalism at Jack London Square a protest?
A protest with windows broken out of Bev Mo would, in all manner of understanding, indicate the chain of stores, at best, had run afoul of treating their workers correctly and at worst had insulted some irrational customers.
A protest with windows broken out at a Subway sandwich store would, in all manner of understanding by the public, raise the question of tainted meat being used in the sandwiches and/or dangerous pesticides used on the lettuce that’s used on the bread and sold to the unsuspecting public.
The protest, according to news reports, was against police brutality and the killing by white policemen of unarmed Black men; Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in NYC.
The dozen or so thugs who broke windows and who pulled decorations from the towering Christmas Tree in the Square, were not protesting. They were committing crimes that both the Oakland Police and the good citizens of the city allowed them to get away with.
I brought my family to Oakland to celebrate Christmas. We arrived at the Waterfront Hotel many hours after the vandalism, but the following morning I gave witness to the bare spots on the tree and broken glass and boarded-up windows on nearby streets.
CBS news was on the spot developing their approach to the so-called protest.
“No, this wasn’t a protest,” I told the reporter, and I went on to say, “the message of police and community difficulties is one that must be addressed, but allowing miscreants to dilute importance of a need for change must be challenged by community members standing up for what’s right, the police arresting those who break the law and the media calling criminal behavior exactly what it is which means they need to stop categorizing thugs as protesters.”