Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Woman And Baby Murdered: Where's The Outrage?

Oakland's activists have their priorities hopelessly backward.

I remember vividly the street protests throughout the city when the US invaded Iraq in 2003. Several teachers faced disciplinary action for letting their students out of class to attend the protests.

What a shame that no one seems to care much as innocents die in Oakland every day.

On Friday, an 18 year old girl and her unborn daughter died from gunshot wounds just outside her apartment on MacArthur Boulevard. Yesterday evening, some folks in East Oakland decided to have a shootout, killing one and wounding four.

Mayor Dullums' current approach to arresting Oakland's violence? According to the Tribune:
Recently, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums tapped Arnold Perkins, former director of the Alameda County Public Health Department, to complete a public safety program that has been in the works for months.

In essence, our city government is throwing up its hands and telling us it has no idea what to do about this problem. "It's unsolvable," they say.

Kind of like the Bush administration telling us there's nothing we can do about global warming, or pushing the country into a war on what turned out to be false information.

However, unlike these national issues, our local killing fields aren't generating a meaningful response from our local protesters. They're too busy fooling around with the trees over at the Berkeley stadium to think about hundreds murdered right under our noses.

Why no marches and protests?

Do people think there's nothing our government can do about this problem? If so, that's complete nonsense. Public safety is one of the few functions which governments have historically performed pretty well.

The City of Oakland has an enormous budget. It possesses police powers and lawmaking authority which permit all manner of actions to stop violence. Just take a look at what the mayor of New Orleans told his citizens prior to Hurricane Gustav: Loot and you go directly to the state penitentiary.

Oakland's epidemic of violence is one of the few situations where activists can make a legitimate difference in a community. Let's face it -- activism didn't stop the invasion of Iraq. It hasn't halted global warming. But in this time and place the grass roots has an opportunity to do something.

Want action out of Mayor Oswald Bates and his crook squad? Take to the streets! Hold a general strike! Jam the Bart stations so nothing can move until we get action! Don't just place measures on the next ballot; demand emergency budget reprioritizing toward police and public safety!

So, why no marches and protests?

I really don't know. I guess protests are reserved for things that liberals don't perceive as partly their fault. Maybe protesting Dullums' inaction would require a self-examination and a reality check as to whether our culture is too permissive toward inner city ne'er-do-wells.

It's even possible that the liberals view violence in places like Oakland as a linchpin to keeping support alive for their policies. After all, people tend to become more conservative as they move up the economic spectrum. Keep the inner cities poor, and democrats are sure to be elected time and again.

Whatever the reason, the inaction of Oakland activists is a testament to the hypocrisy of Leftism.

Sure, they'll take to the streets. But only when there's a television camera nearby to make them a star. Real, solvable, social problems? They'll leave those to someone else.


  1. I think the answer is obvious when you consider the fact that most victims of street violence in Oakland are black. Perhaps leftist activists simply don't find the loss of innocent black life worthy of protest.

  2. Why not a rightist protest? Or a centrist protest? Or all of us?

    What's stopping you?

  3. That's a cop out. There are people out there, leftists mostly, who spend their entire lives protesting things. They know how to set up a protest, they have the email lists, and most of all you'd think they'd have the inclination to protest the current state of affairs.

    I would gladly join them, but you can't lay that on me. I don't protest for a living. Some people do. Unfortunately, they appear to care more about some trees in Berkeley and fooling around at the Republican convention than they do about murdered children.

  4. I guess I'm a closeted rightist. I'd fear for my safety were I to wear a McCain hat or my cars if I put a McCain bumpersticker on it. The LLL only want to protest to the choir (especially when the lights are on.)

    Take to the streets? take what to the streets- what's another lame o protest of "stop the violence" going to do? Sure our furry fuzzy mayor should lead (this is a good reason why one should not hire a legislator/lobbyist for a management position) but Oswald Bates would have to get dirty and step on toes.

    Sure I love you Mr or Ms. conservative when you write lines like this: Whatever the reason, the inaction of Oakland activists is a testament to the hypocrisy of Leftism."

    No Dellum
    No Perata
    No Thank You

  5. I'm not talking about a garden-variety 2-hour-long protest. I'm talking about people going nuts for as long as it takes for the government to make some change. File lawsuits and injunctions against the city for failing to provide proper policing. Shut the place down. Think tree-sitters.

    Activists can do these things. They've done it in the past.

  6. No one does anything because it doesn't help to protest crime here. Talk to John Russo, tell him you want him to get tough on crime, he told me "get out of Oakland if you don't like the way this city is run." A police representative asked me "why don't you move" when my husband and I complained about the violence in our below 580 neighborhood and our city council rep also told us very nicely to move along. After several years in Oakland I am convinced the powers that be do not want to lower the crime/violence level. If they wanted to, they would, lots of cities have. Oakland is a city run FOR the criminals, BY the criminals, the rest of us are just prey.

  7. I once had dinner with the former Sheriff of Alameda County (the guy before Plummer). He said that law enforcement has little to do with the amount of crime. They just mop up after the damage is done. The amount of crime has to do with demographic cycles, ie. the number of male humans between the ages of 14 to 25. Places like Oaktown have higher rates of crime because we have more cheap places to live. Rent control has some effect on this... which is mostly bad for the rest of us. Welfare and the culture of dependancy do the rest. I just love dumping on Dellums because he is so clueless when it comes to street level reality... but there really is little that he could say or do that would make much of a difference. Giulliani in New York went after the squeegie guys, the vagrants, then the hookers and their pimps... and after a while there was too little camouflage left to conceal the rest of the underworld. No local politicians are capable of such leadership.

  8. I subscribe to this blog because although I identify as a progressive leftist & activist. I'm interested in conservative perspectives because I'm always looking for ways to build bridges. Obviously you are more interested in burning them.

    This post was very mean-spirited, disappointing, and disrespectful and is making me reconsider reading this blog in the future.

    Not all leftists have the same priorities (like conservatives, we are a diverse group). I myself just wish those Berkeley tree-sitters would shut up and move on to something more important. Some of us activists feel our time and energy is better spent by continuing our work fighting one or more of the many root causes of crime rather than sitting in trees ... or organizing a public protest around the tragic deaths you've discussed in this entry.

    I'm sorry if you're disappointed that today I will be continuing my efforts to create sustainable job training programs for West Oakland youth (without a camera in sight), instead of organizing a march or protest around the untimely death of young mother-to-be Kennah Wilson. I do this work in the hopes that other teens may have the chances she didn't. I don't see the hypocrisy in that, and I can only hope she wouldn't have either.

    If there are any progressives still reading this blog, I urge them to continue fighting the good fight. We can remember her in our struggle without turning her death into a spectacle. I think anyone who is particularly outraged by Kennah's death should quietly and respectively attend her funeral at 11 a.m. Sept. 11 at Good Hope Missionary Baptist, 5717 Foothill Blvd., and otherwise spend whatever time they can fighting the root causes of crime in our city.

  9. I meant "respectfully," not "respectively" in that last paragraph.

  10. anon -

    We simply have a fundamental disagreement. If you choose to take this as disrespect, so be it.

    I wake up nearly every day to articles and editorials in the local papers demonizing me for having a job, money and an intact family. Politicans don't consider mine a "working family" because we're not poor and don't have our hands out.

    Still, I read and digest their opinions, so I can be informed. I am quite familiar with the left's tendency to censor viewpoints with which they do not agree. That's how we got things like political correctness. In short, my suggestions are to grow up and develop a thicker skin.

    On the details of our disagreement, I strongly believe that your work is for naught without comprehensive law enforcement. I do not agree that social programs reduce crime; I think they only do good in an environment where the cops are stopping criminals.

  11. anon wrote: "sustainable job training programs for West Oakland youth"

    whatever that may be, why do they need that? SCHOOL, HOMEWORK AND SPORTS/CLUBS equal the same thing.

    What "sustainable job training" can be taught to a youth that would lead to a viable living in an expensive urban area like ours? There is nothing better than school for that. If they don't have enough homework, tell them to read a book and/or get a real part-time job.

    Sorry, but if you really had their interests at heart, that's all you would be telling them. Instead, it sounds like you're high and mighty in order to support your own pious lifestyle.

    This may sound rough on you, but so be it. Thanks for your efforts nonetheless.

  12. I can tell when I'm debating with people set in their ways. But I'll respond briefly:

    You wrote a post that accuses "liberals" (btw, the term liberal applies to free-market enthusiasts as well as social progressives) "activists" (btw, many conservatives are activists), and "leftis[ts]" of being "backward," "hypocri[tical]", possibly interested in maintaining current crime levels for our own interests, and only interested in activism to the extent that it gets us publicity. How I can do anything other than "choose" to view that as disrespectful is beyond me. If that's your idea of respectful criticism I worry about your marriage. Then again, I understand bloggers love to hyperbolize so I guess I should have taken your words with a grain of salt.

    To Mr. Clarke: Your suggestion that youth/students should forgo job training to "read a book"--and that people who encourage job training are "high and mighty"--didn't bother me too much. While I was concerned with the blogger's statements because he seems fairly rational, you need not worry that your words had a similar effect.

  13. anon -

    I actually felt I was giving liberals the benefit of the doubt for being crafty when I suggested that they might have ulterior motives. Also, note that I used the verbage, "It's even possible..." when describing this. Obviously it wasn't intended as a blanket statement.

    The point being that I do believe that some liberals view crime and violence as a boon. Examples are folks like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and certain high-profile lawyers whose names I won't mention.

    But I don't think all view it as a boon. I think most liberals are just confused about the inner workings of economics, poverty and crime.

    One more thing. Part of the point of the post was to raise an alarm bell. I disagree that this is a time for respectful criticism and calm debate. Our streets are running red with blood, while liberal activists protest about trees and a war half a world away.

  14. anon,
    Thanks and glad you weren't offended. I like to think I'm rationale AND reasonable. But, come on, let's not resort to hyperbole and suggest that I'm saying kids should "read a book" (though, the thought of seeing less kids on the street and more in the library at home and reading books would be fantastic, don't you agree?).

    To add, if the youth you are training are of high school age and they aren't "A" students, then you're taking away from their chance to study, get a college degree and advance to a job that's truly "sustainable."

    All I'm saying is what my parents would say: until you get good grades, don't plan on getting a part-time job. That's all.