Criminal Justice

What Happened at Occupy Oakland

An eyewitness report from Frank Ogawa Plaza


It has been a feverish, exhausting couple of days here where I live in downtown Oakland, just three blocks from the Occupy Oakland protestors. The Occupy crowd has been my neighbor for a couple of weeks now, and the protestors have been friendly, not too noisy, and generally pleasant.

So I was a bit startled to find myself woken up at 4:30 A.M. the other day by the the drone of helicopters. It turned out that Oakland police, assisted by law enforcement agencies from around the state, were clearing out the Occupy Oakland campsite on Frank Ogawa Plaza (dubbed by the protestors as "Oscar Grant Plaza" in honor of a man who was killed by Bay Area Rapid Transit police in 2009).

Occupy Oakland protestors carry 24-year-old Scott Olsen, who suffered massive head injuries after allegedly being struck by a tear gas canister fired by police.

If you've been following the mainstream media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests, odds are that you've heard about events at Occupy Oakland. What you can't tell from the news clips is how the situation has played out for those of us who live here. I can't speak for everyone, but I do know that my reaction, both to the protestors and to the violent police interventions against them, is hardly an uncommon one.  

Pre-Dawn: October 25, 2011

I knew I had to see what was happening for myself. Since there was a chance I would be arrested, or worse, I took off my watch and emptied my wallet of most of its cash—I carried only a single ID and a credit card (the latter in case I had to make bail).

It was still dark. The thunder of the choppers was much louder outside. I walked towards the protest and saw crowds of people either standing and watching or moving away from the plaza. The people leaving the plaza were ethnically diverse, more young than not, and frequently muffled by scarves. I initially thought they were hiding their faces from photographers, though later I guessed they were hoping to use the scarves as a defense against tear gas.

It was common to see expressions of confusion or shock—although I later learned the Occupiers been warned about the possibility of a police intervention, and either they didn't have a fallback plan or their fallback plans had been thwarted. (Police apparently prevented protestors from regrouping at Harrison and 15th, just east of the plaza.)

Twelfth Street was blocked by police to anyone wanting to move further up—people were allowed to exit the police perimeter, but not to enter it. The BART subway station at 12th Street was closed and barricaded—no reinforcements could arrive, and nobody could leave by transit. I moved east on 12th and spotted a group of police officers in riot gear, moving in loose formation at about 15th and Harrison. At 17th I encountered another group, also in riot gear, walking three-by-three east. Scattered groups of onlookers at the intersections watched them move past, staying carefully out of the street and out of the way. Some were likely refugees from the plaza encampment (they had scarves on their faces)—others were neighbors, people trying to get to their early-morning jobs, or the homeless who regularly inhabit downtown Oakland.

I stayed in the vicinity of the plaza until 6:45 A.M. or so. Nothing happened except for the occasional protestor shouting or muttering at the police. Most comments were along the lines of: "Who are you protecting? Aren't you supposed to be protecting us?" I heard nothing more profane than a single protestor loudly complaining about "dumbass cops."

At that point it seemed nothing more was going to happen so I made my way downtown to prepare myself for a planned trip that day into San Francisco to work on a project. I later learned that local businesses had been told to consider advising employees not to come to work in the five-block area until later in the morning.

After Nightfall: October 25

I learned during the course of the day that the evicted protestors and others were planning to reconvene at Ogawa Plaza at 4 P.M. When it became clear from the ambient noise outside at about 9 P.M. that the gathering of protestors had not abated, I hit the streets of my neighborhood again.

There were many more police on the street than there had been in the morning. I immediately saw four motorcycle policemen, turning north on Clay Street, heading uptown. A couple of blocks further on, at the downtown Oakland Marriott, I saw a great number of motorcycle police whose insignia showed that they were from San Jose. It's a bit of a hike to get here from San Jose on a police motorcycle, but they had still come out in force to hold down the perimeter.

Heading further uptown I soon heard distant shouting and saw what I thought were faint streams of gas or smoke. BART—the Bay Area Rapid Transit—was blocked off. I saw the gate screens down and locked at the 12th Street entrances. Approaching 13th Street I saw lines of police officers in riot gear blocking the entrance to Ogawa Plaza. Further up Broadway I saw a large crowd of people, apparently centered at the 14th Street intersection.

The vibe where I was standing was tense. Occasionally an individual shouted at the arrayed police, "This is America! What are you doing here?" Or, "I can't believe you're doing this! We love you guys but what you're doing is wrong!" I didn't think it was a great idea to shout at the (silent but intent) array of police—it wasn't likely they were going to suddenly relent, and I knew they had been wearing heavy riot gear and carrying weapons (including astonishingly large batons) for six or more hours. My instinct was that it was not particularly safe to shout at tired men and women with weapons, no matter how righteous one's outrage is.

When I turned my attention back to the 14th Street intersection—it seemed like only an instant since I'd been watching people shout at the police at Ogawa Plaza—I saw that the crowd uptown had suddenly scattered, and there was a lot of smoke or gas in the air. I also heard what sounded like muffled or distant explosions. Many people were now moving toward me, some wearing scarves or mufflers, others wiping their eyes or noses from what turned out to be tear gas. I moved back 50 feet or so. One guy passing me on the way downtown warned about tear gas. I spotted New York Times reporter Malia Wollan talking into her mobile—as she walked past I heard her describing the apparent effects of the gas on individuals exposed to it. Her account is available here.

Of the people headed toward me, I first thought a disproportionate number were bicyclists—only a few minutes later did I realize, embarrassingly, that there were other reasons for wearing a bicycle helmet that night. The tension in the crowd was palpably building so I decided it was time to head home. Keeping my distance turned out to have been wise, because this is what I missed getting caught up in:

I was also standing 50-100 feet south from where a police officer appears to have thrown a flash grenade into a crowd of people gathered to help 24-year-old Scott Olsen, who suffered massive head injuries after allegedly being struck by a tear gas canister.

I confess that it breaks my heart to watch this clip. If I had seen someone collapsed in the street, I'd have tried to help that person too. These people were apparently punished for their impulse to help.

Early Evening, October 26

I learned that another gathering of protestors was planned for Ogawa Plaza at 6 P.M. so I headed out again.

The gathering was huge, energized, massively covered by media, and completely anticlimactic. The plaza had been "reoccupied" all right, though it was filled with as many onlookers as protestors. The helicopters overhead were still drowning out much of what the speakers had to say, and unlike the Occupy Wall Street protestors, the folks in Oakland were using electronic amplification.

What I did hear was not particularly inspiring. One guy earnestly argued for "not free trade, but fair trade," though the previous days' events had nothing to do with NAFTA or the WTO. The protestors' General Assembly, which had to move to a small amphitheater nearby, picked a few speakers to give one-minute statements about what they'd seen so far. The personal accounts of people being physically assaulted and jailed and their (mostly meager) property destroyed were the most moving.

The dominant emotion, however, was a sense of outrage about the actions of the police. This made the continuing statements in support of nonviolence ring a little hollow, but the overall sense of defiance and solidarity was oddly comforting.

I don't know how to interpret everything I saw, and I can't state with any authority what Occupy Oakland or any of the other protests ultimately mean. But I do know this: The millions of dollars California just spent on this crackdown did nothing to dispel or discourage the protestors. In fact, the police intervention has echoed around the world. Occupy Wall Street committed to sending $20,000 to Occupy Oakland and protestors as far away as Tahrir Square in Egypt have expressed their solidarity with the Oakland protestors.

History tends to happen when you least expect it, and my new neighbors have taken their first steps into its pages.

Mike Godwin is a contributing editor at Reason magazine.

NEXT: A 14-Year-Old Pittsburgh Boy Didn't Die From Smoking Synthetic Marijuana, He Died From Smoking it Out of a Pez Dispenser

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  1. For the love of money [property values] is the root of all evil [police brutality.]


    1. Rather you really need to develop some sort of social life. Anything.

      1. Or is Reason something bad for me?

        1. You’re something bad for reason, rectal. reason and anything else that isn’t retarded and insane. You should really hang out at youtube more; their comment section is much more your speed.

          1. What do libertarians say the job of police is, Epi. Say it.

            I say it without evasion. I say it plainly.

            My plain words strip the masquerade of “freedom,” the whitewash of “liberty,” from your full embrace of the city-State.

            You’re like the emperor without any clothes. The officious denials and furtive distractions are entertaining, but the obvious is clearly visible to all.

            I am the John Galt of real freedom, and you’re playing the role of “the chief engineer was the only one able to move; he ran to a television set and struggled frantically with its dials. But the screen remained empty; the speaker had not chosen to be seen. Only his voice filled the airways of the country-of the world, thought the chief engineer-sounding as if he were speaking here, in this room, not to a group, but to one man; it was not the tone of addressing a meeting, but the tone of addressing a mind.”

            Check your premises, Episiarch.

            1. No, you’re just retarded. Full retard.

              1. …the job of police is, Epi?

                Say it.

                Or are you on “full retard?”

                1. Oh I see! You have a short list of logical fallacy techniques you use for everything you say, and you think that makes you clever! Now I really do feel sad for you, it really is that hard for you to construct a coherent logical thought.

                  Straw men posse and
                  False dilema much?

            2. What do libertarians say the job of police is, Epi. Say it.

              The proper role of the police is the internal aspect of the moral role of governance: to protect against the initiation of force and fraud.

          2. I see you’ve been having fun with yourself again.

            Honey, why don’t you go back to masturbating and entertain both your little brains?

            1. Yes, rectal, everyone will be fooled because you posted under your “normal” handle too. You’re a fucking genius.

              1. God, Epi, remember when she first appeared and tried to flirtatiously banter in a promiscous manner with one of the regulars?

                I wonder if she will ever get over her rage at the way everyone recoiled in horror – once they realized she was serious.

                Sometimes I’m bitter; if that guy (and I think it was you, but can’t find the thread to verify it) had taken one for the team instead of recoiling in horror, this experiment with threaded comments might not have come to such a disastrous pass.

                Of course that bitterness was misplaced. My ire should be directed at the webmaster’s obstinate refusal to disable threading – which would deny the satisfaction that comes from her stalky behavior.

                1. I have no recollection, but that would be hilarious if that is what it was.

                  1. Epi darling, tarran is confused. When I said I wanted to bang you on the head, I meant your drug addled brain, not your micropenis.

                    I see the confusion, same size, same IQ, and same leakage issue

                2. Getting rid of threading wouldn’t help, tarran. Anyone doubt it’d just comment bomb with walls of text? It’s too bad. I like reading y’all’s thoughts—from the history of the English throne, to the latest attempts to refight the Civil War—but this shit is enough to keep me away. Every other fucking post in some threads is from this idiot.

                  No, unfortunately this site needs registration. Or for the IT staff to ban its IP address. I’m sure those of you in the industry can think of other methods to keep it from fouling every thread with its garbage.

                  1. its its its…did that make you feel better? You’re a child , read a comic book

    2. Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment…unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares? ~Murray Rothbard

      How is the OPD’s aggression to defend property values in the city not in accordance with the wishes of the founder of Libertarianism, and dean of the Austrian school of Economics?

      1. Rather’s libertarian strawman is named Steve after her ex-BF who left her when he graduated from college…not Murry Rothbard.

        1. Cite:
          The Irrepressible Rothbard
          Essays of Murray N. Rothbard
          Edited by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

          Go look it up yourself.

          Civilization is ugly.

          Libertarianism is ugly.

          And I’m putting it right in your face where you can’t deny it. The time for equivocation and denial is over.

          It’s time to face the truth.

          But instead, you’ll engage in intellectual evasion…what will it be this time, claiming ellipses are always taking something out of context? More conspiracy theory about my identity?

          1. No, rectal…you’re ugly. Do you see the flaw in your logic now?

            1. Name the flaw, Episiarch.

              1. That you’re ugly. That’s the flaw. Understand?

                1. I understand your intellectual evasion.

                  1. The “flaw” is a little bit of ‘guilt by association’, with just a dash of irrelevance.

                    Your bullshit stew is weak today, Rather.

                    1. Holy shit, who the hell thinks I would write ‘Epi’s intellectual evasion’?
                      If I was the author it would be ‘epi, a little druggy toad that I dream of stomping on every night,
                      …..and the bastard has no intellect too

          2. Speaking of ugly, last time I checked,those primitive drawings in caves by pre-civilisation man are not exactly a Vermeer.

            Your mind is primitive and it is certainly ugly. It is no surprise that you will embrace ugliness as beauty and virtue. If you want to live ugly so be it, don’t others willing to live the savage life though.

            1. …and that of which I speak, unless you want to remain evasive and clueless, NotSure.

              1. Speaking of being clueless, Murray Rothbard was most certainly not the founder of libertarianism, nor was he a supporter of a police state ?!?!

                You can babble all you want and post all the links you want, you are clearly clueless about most things and not very bright. Live like a savage if you want, you will not last more than 3 days in your primitivist world though.

                1. Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995) was the dean of the Austrian School of economics, the founder of libertarianism


                  1. Libertarianism, as an ideal was “founded” well before Murray Rothbard existed.

                    Lew Rockwell is wrong, and so are you.

                    1. As if that’s my main point. Keep evading, “Realist.”

                  2. Dean? Dean? Was Mises chopped liver or something?

                    1. You have the courage to tell the masses what no politician told them: you are inferior and all the improvements in your conditions which you simply take for granted you owe to the efforts of men who are better than you. If this be arrogance… ~Ludwig von Mises, letter to Ayn Rand, January 23, 1956

                    2. This is some gotcha you are trying to play, trust me it is not.

                      Tell me who had a greater impact on man, you or Edison ??? You are not his equal, Mises is right, if you want to believe in Pollyana stories that we are all the same, so be it. Even in your primitivist society the sexy females will not want to be with anyone, they will still pick the best male to get them through the winter, you will still be the reject even in your savage Utopia.

                    3. stories that we are all the same

                      … and every child is above average.

                    4. Uhhh….some are better than others. You act like that’s controversial.

                    5. Well, in your case, I’d say the distinction of inferiority is entirely apt.

                  3. Like I said, you are not too bright, using some random site which makes a claim which is completely false and utterly ignores all those that came before him, only shows how stupid you are. I am no intellectual, but I know the basic facts, something you clearly have no grasp off.

                    Live the life of the savage, stop prattling from your sheltered ivory tower, if you can survive 3 days with only stone age technology in the Serengeti, then you can talk, until then you are nothing but a sack of pure bullshit.

                    1. isn’t, um, “random.” LOL

             – Alexa Rank:5,381
             – Alexa Rank:9,103

                      Keep up the incompetent evasions, NonSure. You’re looking about as honest as Wesley Mouch.

                    2. You call yourself an intellectual, who bases his arguments on the popularity of websites ??? The word libertarian existed before Rothbard was born, so unless he invented a time machine, your basic facts are false.

                    3. You call yourself an intellectual

                      No, I don’t.

                      You do.

                      Because you apparently recognize my intellectual superiority.

                      P.S. Research the history of the word libertarian. Rothbard stole it from the left-libertarian-communist types. Brags about stealing it for use by the right-wing hierarchy apologists.

                      Great marketing tool, that word “liberty,” for the defenders of government aggression that suited Rothbard and Co.

                    4. If he stole, he can hardly be the founder of it.

                      You claim you are not an intellectual, then in the very next sentence claim your intellectual superiority.

                      You are not very bright, just accept it. If you want to improve your life, have the humility to accept that your mind is twisted and ugly. Until you can do that, you will never be happy and keep on seeking the solutions of a lunatic to improve your life, trust me you will not survive 3 days in your Utopia.

                    5. You call me an intellectual, and then castigate me for recognizing that you called me an intellectual.

                      Only a twisted, ugly mind could jump through the hoops to call that ugly and twisted.

                    6. No one who “leans communist” can call themselves libertarian. Period. Communism and liberty are fully and completely incompatible. Again, period.

                      They were fucktards, and so are you, rectal.

                    7. Holy shit, the delusion is strong tonight…Everyone thinks I’m somebody else

                    8. And for this cause White Indian shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. ~2 Thessalonians 2:11

                  4. Wait so let me get this right …. you found it on the Internet so it must be true?

                    Well then we shall have a battle for i also found the father of libertarianism in Robert Nozick.


                    Now he is as much as Rothbard is but whatever, if finding a website that has this claim on it is proof itself then we have a problem. As there are two men claimed to be the same thing.

                    Well maybe it was David Nolan he did help start the political party.

                    I would say that locke, Thomas Paine are predecessors libertarians. That they arose from the modernization of classic liberals.
                    From the economic perspective maybe adams, say, menger, to mises. These are the predecessors of the ideas or concept of libertarianism.
                    The entire concept is solidified in the early to mid 1900s.

          3. Yes it is a straw man; Rothbard is referring to murders and rapists in your link. Would you not support the police in using force against the above?

  2. …from the moment I arrived in Oakland at 10:15 p.m., I saw a visible minority spoiling for conflict.

    Xavier Manalo, a 25-year-old tennis instructor holding the forward-most protest banner, admitted there were “rogue elements” in the group but insisted the “pressure of the peaceful will be the deterrent” to the violence.

    Manalo was wrong.

    1. It was interesting to read in the comments of that story who instisted the “visible minority” were plants. There were also many who thought the First Amendment had no restrictions.

      1. There were also many who thought the First Amendment had no restrictions.

        Well, yeah, now with fucking Citizens United.

        1. Free speech for me…

          1. but not for thee…

    2. No way. The crowd was “happy, not to noisy, and generally pleasant.” That’s what the sign of the fist means: happy, not too noisy, and generally pleasant.

      Mother Jones can’t be trusted. They’ll say anything to advance their cause of making the police look good, even if it means making excuses for the ugliest behavior. Reason editors should study Mother Jones as an example of what can happen when you sacrifice journalistic ethics for the sake of scoring ideological points. Dirty liars.

      1. Libertarians can’t be trusted. They’ll say anything to advance their cause.

        See how that works?

          1. Jesus. What a stupid twat.

  3. The protestors and or the bankers and or the cops are basically Nazis!

    (It had to be done)

    1. Nazi on Nazi violence?

    2. Of course. Someone had to Godwin this thread.
      No point in trying to be subtle about it.

      1. My middle name is subtle, except it’s spelled with all caps.

      2. Someone had to Godwin this thread.

        Um, I think the article’s author has it covered.

    3. I was going for “you know else started with street protests?” angle but this works.

    4. Thank you. I was hoping someone would Godwin this and I was prepared to do so if necessary.

  4. A pointless article about a pointless protest.

    The people will inevitably end up voting the same politicians, who will end up controlling the the same police force, who will behave exactly the same way they always do.

    1. Well, Oakland’s mayor looks to be toast. But I’d bet a full 90% (and I think I’m being more than generous) of those misguided fools will vote Obama in 2012. Don’t hate the system! Hate the players!

  5. The police can never win in the weird mind of liberals. If they fail to protect lives and property of the innocent they are not doing thier jobs. I f they enforce the law they are brutes.

    1. Showing up in riot gear before violence starts, while perhaps necessary and proper, is a guaranteed PR loss.

      1. At WTO, due to mayor schell’s idiotic “it can’t happen here” attitude, the cops did NOT show up in riot Gear At the outset and were promptly overrun and severely unprepared. It’s problematic either way. It’s difficult to look like officer friendly and nonthreatening in riot gear. Regardless, I was deployed in same and for at least the first 4 hrs on my line shit was peaceful and there was even some joking back and forth between us and the protesters. A few assholes, most likely the anarchists from Eugene etc. who had made very public c,aims that they would go to WTO to try to cause as much mayhem as they could, started fucking shit up for everyone

        1. I think it depends on the policies and procedures for that police force too. In DC the MPD had a bunch of illegal policies they repeatedly purgured themselves over that made the entire MPD just plain nasty. My army unit hated training with them, they just plain sucked and had no respect for the law. Do as I say or I’ll beat you down. The other forces in VA were the exact opposite. In the end, I think the police force reflects the government it serves. And with a statist left wing mayor in office In Oakland is it any wonder the police force there seems to have had the harshest response of all the CD operations so far?

          1. that’s been my GENERAL experience is that contrary to what the popular conception would be – police forces who work for uberliberal admins are actually worse when it comes to force/reasonableness etc. i really do think liberal admins tend to be more statist (think san fran and their happy meal bans and shit like that) and it’s reflected in their PD’s

            1. Yep that’s been my experience with LEOs from jurisdictions like that.

  6. The real story behind the ammo…..k-y-liquid?-is-flammable/

  7. You can make bail with a credit card in Oakland?

    1. You can make bail with a credit card in Oakland?

      I don’t see why not. They’re only after the money after all.

      1. I, uh, heard somewhere that in, um, some places, you can only make bail with cash.

        1. Uh, I heard there are these companies that like work as bail bonding agents and like they handle those transactions and shit. It’s just a rumor of course (rolls eyes)

      2. What happens if you later dispute the charge?

        1. Yeah I’m pretty sure the credit card company would be able to prove it was you who made the charges. I mean with the fingerprints and booking photos and all.

  8. The unanswered question from the report is whether any of the protesters provoked the police beyond verbal taunts. If any of the protesters threw bottles and rocks as has been reported, the police were likely to retaliate to protect themselves.

    If only 10% of the protesters did anything like this, crowd control measures cannot pick out that 10%. Gas grenades and rubber bullets do not discriminate.

    Best to take Chris Rock’s advice on dealing with the police.

    That being said, police in America overstep their bounds all the time. Sometimes it is bad training, negligence, and sometime it is criminal. They want to maintain their monopoly on violence both for good and not so good reasons.

    The real mistake here was setting up a situation that could get out of control. Best just to let the protesters wear themselves out while sending in sanitation workers to keep the place as clean as possible and also send in police community relations officers.

    As far as the video mentioned above, it does not prove anything except that YouTube is both a good place to weed out evil and also a good place to use for propaganda.

    1. “If any of the protesters threw bottles and rocks as has been reported, the police were likely to retaliate to protect themselves.”

      What the hell do they have helmets and shields for?

      Any time the police approach an assembly to show force and authority, they are inviting a reaction. People don’t take kindly to being herded around.

      1. For crissakes they were wearing hard toe shoes! They were as safe as babies in a crib of a drunk woman in MO.

      2. You got that right.

        That’s what privation property does, herds everybody around a bunch of government-enforced artificial borders.

        Officer, am I free to gambol about plain and forest?

        1. Do you own a car or a computer. What if someone else wanted them and just took them from you? You would be ok with that right?
          After all what right do you have to own anything. It should all be taken from you and given to someone better and more important than you. Because it’s obvious that you aren’t good enough to be allowed to own anything.
          And don’t whine when it happens to you.

        2. Yes, you are, as has been pointed out repeatedly–and if you had the skills to live the shackbrah lifestyle, you’d be out in the woods right now.

          1. As has been pointed out repeatedly–and if you had the desire to live in a Libertarian Paradise, you’d be out in Somalia now.

            Lest we be accused of misrepresenting their views, actual Libertarians have been kicking around this take on Somalia with a straight face for some time now. No shit:

            A more nuanced completely insane view is that Somalia has been awesome-ized by Anarchism, not Libertarianism.

        3. Can I gambol about in your house and forage?

      3. They approached an assembly to execute a well publicized and lawful eviction order from the park, which is not a free campground. Many made quite clear they would not submit. The predictable wild rumpus ensued

        1. ^this^

          but, then again, they have their RIGHTS man. they can say and do whatever they want, right?

          1. Right to assemble, yes, right to speak, yes, right to turn public land into a place to live (even temporarily) I’m not so sure they had such a right at that park.

            None of that has anything to do with excessive force by throwing flash bangs at people rescuing someone with a head injury, who were not presenting a clear and present threat to anyone. But what do expect from a left wing statist government? Freedom is great, as long as we are calling the shots. Liberty is bad, because individuals can’t be trusted. Disobey us and feel the boot.

            1. of course not. and i haven’t seen anybody here defending said (what certainly appears to be excessive force) in that particular flash bang lob. granted, we can’t see what the officer saw from his perspective, but it certainly LOOKS wrong. nobody is disagreeing with that.

              1. actually, i am.

                what part of “You are to Disperse!” do you not understand…

                i am always amazed at people who refuse a Order by the Police and then bitch when someone gets hurt…

                that is not a flash bang, where was the huge flash? no, that was another tear gas canister going off to disperse the crowd…

                aren’t you assuming this person lying on the ground was actually hurt? if unions can bus in thugs they can bus in actors to play up being hurt? has anyone reported on this particular person’s inguries?
                no, it is playing to people’s feelings…

              2. I live in the Lake Merritt area of Oakland (about 8 blocks west of the place in downtown where this all went). Had to drive through this clusterfuck every day for the past few weeks. Went downtown each night this happened to check out what was going on. And I can tell you that the protesters were definitely not peacefully assembled, regardless of whether or not they had a right to be there.

                Let’s see – there was the protesters’ vandalization of the downtown Chase bank. The multiple reported sexual assaults in the encampment. The gang beating of a teenager in the encampment. The general lack of adherence to hygienic standards (people pissing and shitting all over the place). Then there was the order to leave. Which was met with beer bottles thrown at the cops. Hard to sympathize with these protesters’ assembly claims.

                1. We can debate all we want about whether the police went too far. But this was hardly a peaceable movement. And I have no sympathy for the protesters.

    2. The unanswered question from the report is whether any of the protesters provoked the police beyond verbal taunts. If any of the protesters threw bottles and rocks as has been reported, the police were likely to retaliate to protect themselves.

      One can’t ignore the fact that they threw a flashbang grenade (or was it a tear gas– I had the audio off when I watched the second video) in the middle of a crowd which was clearly attending to a wounded citizen lying on the ground. Had that thing gone off in her face or abdomen? What the hell are the cops thinking?

      1. The shit had hit the fan long before that.

      2. Lots of blame to go around for sure, just like in the Oscar Grant incident. It’s classic Shakesperean tragedy — the terrible events flow from the fatal character flaws of the principal actors (protestors, police, government, media).

      3. The police didn’t give a shit. That’s the thing. They are agents of government (“the law”) that have been made virtually untouchable by a toxic combination of laws, cultural perceptions, and fear.

        And that’s what the cops were thinking: “fuck this crowd, WE ARE THE FUCKING LAW. I can do this shit, so I will *throws grenade*”.

        1. Let’s quit beating around the bush.

          The POLICe serve and protect the POLIS’ property values.

          It takes a constant threat, and sometimes real, aggression to do that.

          You libertarians studiously evade the amount of aggression necessary for the government to, as you so smoothy state it, “protect your right to private property.”

          1. Your record is skipping again.

        2. “…by a toxic combination of laws, cultural perceptions, and fear.”

          Don’t forget their unions.

          Doesn’t the Geneva Convention frown upon attacking those who provide medical assistance to fallen soldiers? Scott Olsen was probably treated better in the Iraq war zone than the Oakland one.

          1. That’s what you get when a the-law-of-liberty-and-justice-is-god republic turns into a democratic, unprinipled shitfest. Welcome to the modern world, and God forgive us for destroying our inheritance.

            1. Your invasive and occupational “republic” destroyed our inheritance.

          2. Frowns upon deliberate attacks – yes. While it’s possible that the cop threw that grenade in an intent to hurt a wounded soldier and his helpers, I highly doubt it. Seems more likely that, in the chaos of the situation, he saw a large group of protesters (who had already shown themselves to have violent intentions) amassing. The natural reaction would be to disperse the crowd – mission accomplished.

            I also highly doubt that Scott Olsen was treated better in a nation in which convoys were attacked with IEDs w/o warning than one in which police approached with a well publicized order to disperse. Let’s keep the hyperbole down a bit.

      4. That wasn’t a true flash-bang. It’s some kind of glorified firecracker for police riot control. A real M84 would have blown those people off their feet.

    3. They want to maintain their monopoly on violence both for good and not so good reasons.

      Well said.

  9. Things for an unemployed youth to do…


    Java Tutorials site (free)

    Netbeans integrated development environment (free download)

    (And there’s also Microsoft stuff available for free – just checkout )

    Then…every once in a while as you are studying with your shiny new development tools – head over to and search for salaries with keywords like “Java”, “C++”, and see “C#”.

    Now, does this mean you’ll necessarily be employed instantaneously after getting an handle on coding?


    However, if you keep looking, you’ll get a job – and it’ll pay better for those skills than for “ethnomusicology”.

    Welcome to life. Participate.

    1. They participate, you arrogant cocksucker. Your schtick is quite different from reality:

      ? I adjunct for 3 colleges. No benefits, no retirement. My husband teaches also. This year, his pay was reduced by $400/month. That money would’ve paid for our monthly electric, phone, internet, and water bills. My husband now works 2 other jobs. That’s how we support our family.

      ? I cashed in my 401K in the 1990’s to help put myself through Veterinary School to pursue my dream. Now I am living the nightmare like so many others-underemployed, rapidly approaching 50yrs old, >$100,000 student debt, barely affording my home. I pay WAY TOO MUCH for health insurance, but I am afraid to use it for fear of being cancelled, so I suffer profound depression over the desperate climate of our country and I see no end in sight.

      ? My father ran his own business successfully for 20+ years. He provided his own financing to give his customers leniency. The economy tanked and my parents exhausted their savings trying to rescue what they spent their lives creating. They sold their business and home to help pay for my fathers constantly rising insurance bills.

      1. 1. We’re supposed to feel sorry for a college professor? Jesus fucking Christ.

        2. Why the fuck would you cash in your 401K to go to a school you couldn’t afford? Nobody forced you to go to vet school or take out a loan.

        3. That sucks but running a business is risky. This is why we need the government to get out of the way and give small business owners a chance to succeed.

        Sincerely, someone with student loans to pay off who is responsible for his own decisions.

        1. Anyone who “cashed in their 401k” early when it wasn’t an emergency is an abject moron.

          1. They’re probably the same people who lament the idea of no longer getting IRS refunds.

      2. If I cashed out my 401k to go to school to pursue my dream, I’m not sure it would pay for bus-fare to and from the school. What percent does that make me?

      3. That’s nice.

        So, you expect your sad story to improve by sitting at a protest?

        That’s going to improve things for you?


        Do you understand how prices work? Do you know why people pay more for some things than other things?

        Do you know what scarcity is?

        Do you know what utility is?

        Do you understand what revenues are, what expenses are, and what profits are?

        I’m self-employed. Are you familiar with the associated benefits plan?

        What does society owe you?

        Read this.

        And look at this.

        1. Keep evading the simple fact that people have worked hard, played the game by the rules, and feel they are getting screwed.

          Your orthodox political slogans are worth about as much as a Zampolit trying to keep people in line November 9, 1989.

          1. Since when did the rules ever say hard work is what guarantees success. There are poor people who work hard every day in country such as Congo for example, that does not imply they are guaranteed to be well off.

            One has to work smart, not hard, one needs to do things others are willing to pay for. No doubt you are a “people before profit” kind of person, so stop being so angry when you suddenly have realised that you are not profiting.

            1. Oppressed people wouldn’t say we “feel” that we “are getting screwed.”

              Slogan for you: Occupy my hurt.

          2. “Keep evading the simple fact that people have worked hard, played the game by the rules, and feel they are getting screwed.”

            Hard times tend to flush out the scams, whether Madoff’s ponzi scheme, or higher education. If these guys ever figure out who actually tricked them and stole their money (hint: it was the guys they gave the 100 grand away to in exchange for nothing, not the ones that loaned them a 100 grand that they’ll probably never get back), then maybe I’ll look at them as something other than a mindless threat.

            1. when libertarians say so. Because it has to be.

              1. At $10k, it’s an education. At $100k, it’s a scam.

              2. Sorry, but just because you think you learned some skills that you think are valuable, does not automatically lead to others paying you for it. I know that there are many successful vets, then there are those that are not that good. People ultimately pay you for the work you do for them, not the kinds for degrees you obtained.

                1. He could start a website that gives green alternative medicine tips for dawgs and tie-in a pamphlet and some merch you can order for the low-low.

                  “Wellness” and pet stuff still make big bucks. It’s the kind of recession where there’s still money for those.

          3. What are “the rules” and who makes them? Did they ever ask themselves this before they decided to “work hard”? And “feel they are getting screwed” simply means feeling entitled by virtue of being their wonderful selves. Narcissitic to the core.

          4. There are a lot of people here who rented waiting for the housing bubble to burst, and feel they’re getting screwed.

            1. There are also some people who were finally able to afford their dream home because the bubble crashed as ALL bubbles do, and are supposed to do. Thank god it burst. . Bubbles go back WAY before wall street . It’s human nature… And tulips

              1. Ah, yes, but in every dream home a heartache.

              2. For once, I agree with you, Dunphy. “Affordable housing” shouldn’t be a government program: it should be a natural result of government getting the frak out of the housing market.

                1. call me a market timer, but i did well. i bought my first house at 190 and sold it for 310. pretty soon before the bubble popped. well into the bubble, i got into a great house for just under 500k that was well into the mid 600’s during the bubble and had had a lot of extra stuff added to it (roofing, air conditioning, landscaping, etc.)

                  the real estate crash was NOT a bad thing. it was a bad thing if you were overleveraged (i would never buy a house with less than 20% down for example), and/or were moronic enough to buy after a decade of bullishness in prices.

                  i’m generally a contrarian though. that’s been my investment policy. i bought gold (actually the midas fund) starting in 1998 when gold was mid 200’s because everybody hated or ignored gold.

                  granted, it was only a percentage of my portfolio at the time, and i could only afford small DCA investments, but over time they did me very well

          5. Cashing out a 401k decades early to pay for school is not “playing by the rules”.

      4. Wait,you’re “rapidly approaching 50 years old”, then shouldn’t your father have medicare? So why would he have to sell his business and home for insurance bills?

        1. “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”

      5. If you’re a vet? You’ll be fine. There is a vet shortage.

        1. I suspect she’s not a very good one.

      6. Unlike the other replys i feel bad for you.
        The schools , admins, and oweners are makign a killing. Their income as increased by 40% from the 90-00 after this cost have about 7.5% a year ~75% in 10 years. This is nearly double the rate of increase. Yet most professors are not making double. You can bet that someone is.
        But how many stories do you hear about this? How many protesters to Greedy school boards/committees do you read about?
        These are better questions than most.

        Odd fact 3 trill in student loan debt (> credit cards) and 1 tril is in default.

      7. I am 53 and paid 2k for my education. I am a Machinist, Toolmaker, Industrial Millwright, Marine Mechanic,and fished the Bering Sea for 6 years. I have owned a business that I sold for profit. I have never had to worry about employment because I MAKE THINGS OF VALUE FOR OTHERS.(and I love my work)

        1. I used to live it up, too, until those fucking otto-mobiles was invented

          1. She doesn’t sound anywhere near smart enough to become a machinist.

            She isn’t smart enough to become a vet either, apparently in spite of having been schooled for it.

    2. The fact that you suggest Netbeans development to _anyone_ shows that you are a devoid of the common decency that is required to be considered a human being.

  10. “it was not particularly safe to shout at tired men and women with weapons, no matter how righteous one’s outrage is.”

    If everyone only did things that were safe…
    We would be living in Nancy Pelosi’s world.

    1. So, the idea here is that the people who have been delegated the authority and issued the weapons are unable to control their actions in the face of being yelled at – if they get tired?

      If so, then I think I can identify another safety issue.

      1. Yeah, that’s what I was thinking: it’s somehow permissible for people that are (1) granted extraordinary powers over others by the actions of government, (2) armed and armored to the teeth under the color of law, and (3) authorized/mandated to use everything up to and including deadly force to control entire crowds to be provoked by fatigue and raised voices? Seriously?

        This is why I’d like to see some deranged lefty mob somewhere, at some point, covertly arm its members with fragmentation grenades. Let’s see the Disciples of the God-State ™ try some unjustifiable shit with a group like that.

        1. No, I don’t want to see anything remotely similar to that.

          But, I do think that there is a standards problem in modern policing.

        2. Let me think…I don’t believe that worked out very well for us.

          1. That’s why I said “deranged lefty mob”. Preferably a group of violent, barbaric little pinkos. They’ll cause damage and get their sorry asses totally annihilated.

            1. Yeah, never happen. Pinkos don’t like guns and weapons in this country that’s why they love strong governments they control. Let someone else do the icky work.

        3. Disciples of the God-State…I think I have my new band’s name 😉

          Our first single is ‘Believe or Die’.

        4. Yeah, that’s what I was thinking: it’s somehow permissible for people that are (1) granted extraordinary powers over others by the actions of government, (2) armed and armored to the teeth under the color of law, and (3) authorized/mandated to use everything up to and including deadly force to control entire crowds to be provoked by fatigue and raised voices? Seriously?

          Legally police should be trained to don riot gear and exercise unlimited restraint while standing around for eight hours being verbally abused and pelted with non-lethal debris wondering when someone on the other side will toss something that can kill them.

          It’s still stupid to provoke armed officers.

          Drivers are supposed to obey all the traffic laws, but I taught my kids to Look Both Ways.

          Violent situations aren’t about who’s Right, they’re about who’s left. Amazing how many Righteous People totally don’t understand the choice.

          1. “but, i’m right” as the gun goes off…

          2. Why should the cops just hang out and be pelted with non-lethal debris? What the hell does the lethal-ness of what’s being thrown matter? If you’re throwing beer bottles and rocks (as protesters were) at someone, it’s assault. If it’s against police, it’s aggravated assault. Both are violent crimes and a legitimate reason to be arrested. If you’re doing it en masse, it’s a legitimate reason for police to advance.

      2. My comment is in the wrong place in this thread.

  11. I was watching on ustream and one of the protesters told the cops that when they installed the new government there wouldn’t be a place for them(the cops.) So his advice was to join them to avoid a hanging after his inevitable war crime trial.

    That’s a sympathetic message…

    1. If there aren’t any cops, who’s going to march you up the gallows?

      1. No, they’ll call them something different, which means they’ll be something different.

        1. Suddenly, Orwells pigs rise up and begin to walk on their hind legs…

          1. Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment … unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares? ~Murray Rothbard

            Libertarians want their property values protected. Bums, drunks, and unhappy citizens walking the streets lowers property values.

            It takes a few cracked eggs, as they say, to make an omelet.

            1. Aren’t you a hunter-gatherer? Sell your PC, bro. Time to live the free life in the wilds of the forest and field!

              1. Yeah, get out of that Rothbardian rent-controlled apartment too.

            2. Very selective cribbing, Rectal. Here’s the whole quote:

              “Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment, subject of course to liability when they are in error.”

              1. …showed no error.

                Now run off, Jeffersonian. You know that’s how it works in real life.

                1. I’m merely pointing out how you’ve mendaciously cited Rothbard, making it seem like he’s saying something he’s not.

                  1. I quoted Rothbard accurately.

                    It’s something libertarians don’t like.

                    So quit whining like a Xian Fundy who doesn’t like the uglier parts of the Bible quoted, ever, in any form.

                    1. I… like the… Bible… in any form.

                    2. You put ellipses where Rothbard softens and qualifies his call for a police crackdown. Dishonest.

                    3. You mean Rothbard gives free reign with some fine print?

                      We all know how police investigations go. Rothbard threw in some “boiler plate” so pricks like you could lift it up and glorify it.

                      Commies do the same thing in their writing.

            3. It takes a few cracked eggs, as they say, to make an omelet.

              That’s a freedomelet to you buddy…

            4. Yes, because Rothbard was a god and was never wrong about anything. You should Google “disingenuous” sometime.

  12. I live in Oakland, and emailed my (fairly conservative) Dad that the ham-fisted actions of the police will only make things worse.

    And now: Michael Moore.

  13. Throwing grenades at people… because they’re attempting to help a seriously injured guy your cocksucker buddies just hit in the head with a gas canister? Really? How about aggravated assault? How does that sound?

    This cheese-dick mother-fucker in uniform needs hard jail time. What a careless fucking piece of shit excuse for a public servant.

    I’d say I hope the next few clashes result in the total razing of the police station, but then they’d just use tax money to rebuild it. “Paramilitary police state on parade” indeed.

    1. “cocksucker buddies…cheese-dick mother-fucker…careless fucking piece of shit…”

      Not bad! Are you 14 or 15? My little brother needs a date.

    2. Blah blah blah. We live in a police state. Blah blah blah. Fact of the matter is that the video doesn’t show the cop’s thought process in tossing that grenade. Was it to injure a group of people attempting to held an injured person? Probably not, as the police were providing medical aide onsite to people with the most minor of injuries. Was he throwing it in alarmed response to a group of protesters (who had already demonstrated violent intentions) amassing near him? Seems a bit more likely.

      1. While the police are something to reckon with they also need to know their boundaries.

  14. Instead of rectal’s idiocy, let’s have the last two paragraphs of my favorite novel set (mostly) in Oakland.

    Down, down, he swam till his arms and leg grew tired and hardly moved. He
    knew that he was deep. The pressure on his ear-drums was a pain, and
    there was a buzzing in his head. His endurance was faltering, but he
    compelled his arms and legs to drive him deeper until his will snapped
    and the air drove from his lungs in a great explosive rush. The bubbles
    rubbed and bounded like tiny balloons against his cheeks and eyes as they
    took their upward flight. Then came pain and strangulation. This hurt
    was not death, was the thought that oscillated through his reeling
    consciousness. Death did not hurt. It was life, the pangs of life, this
    awful, suffocating feeling; it was the last blow life could deal him.

    His wilful hands and feet began to beat and churn about, spasmodically
    and feebly. But he had fooled them and the will to live that made them
    beat and churn. He was too deep down. They could never bring him to the
    surface. He seemed floating languidly in a sea of dreamy vision. Colors
    and radiances surrounded him and bathed him and pervaded him. What was
    that? It seemed a lighthouse; but it was inside his brain–a flashing,
    bright white light. It flashed swifter and swifter. There was a long
    rumble of sound, and it seemed to him that he was falling down a vast and
    interminable stairway. And somewhere at the bottom he fell into
    darkness. That much he knew. He had fallen into darkness. And at the
    instant he knew, he ceased to know.

    1. Jack London?

      If we’re doing CA stories, I gotta go with this.

      1. Where’s the obligatory The Grapes of Wrath links, maggots? Steinbeck is the de facto author WRT to literary settings in CA.

        1. Steinbeck? Here, let me quote him.


          1. Prescient, wasn’t he, you jagged little pill? Seems like he nailed that little prophecy perfectly.

    2. It still sucks.

  15. It comes down to this: Do political subdivisions have any power to define behavior of the public on public lands?

    It all flows from the answer to that question.

    1. Not necessarily, because the typical bullshit and doublespeak you’ll get from officials will cover all of that logic up nicely:

      “OF COURSE it belongs to the people! It is in their hands that the great public lands of this nation lie! Please note: we’ll decide what you can and cannot do on those lands, and you will obey us, you frigging serf.”

      See how easy that was?

      1. If the answer there is “no,” then how does one object to public land being commandeered permanently by a private party? Can a group build a headquarters in Central Park if they slather it with enough politics?

    2. Yes, but they must err on the side of speech and assembly. That is, so long as that property is usable for its intended purpose, they cannot interfere at all, and if it is not, they can only intervene to the extent necessary to restore a reasonable degree of usability.

      Now, for certain bits of public property, they can’t properly functional at all if there are protests — for example, protestors gathering at the outside of a prison is fine, but protestors trying to get in is not. Same for a secure area like a military base.

      1. I think the OWS protests fail your test on a number of levels.

        1. Quite possibly. Not sure how it justifies tossing bombs at people trying to help the injured.

          1. I’ve been pretty clear that I think they need to identify and fire/prosecute the cop that did that. To the fullest extent.

            That said, if the protestors fail even the broad limits you defined, is it not a proper use of the police power to end their occupation of said public space?

            1. Entirely proper use of police power.

  16. The one rightful, libertarian restriction on the use of even private land is the common law of nuisances.

    Those protesters are a public nuisance, and it’s the job of the police to abate them.

    If they were occupying MY neighborhood, I’d get a fire hose and turn it on them full force (and if they want to escalate things from there, then make my day).

    1. Just brandish a gun. I’m willing to bet most of these Occupy guys are European-style protesters — all show and fury, no balls or real weapons. They won’t fuck with you if you’r armed.

        1. I’m pretty sure we’re in the 21st century. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure.

        2. Officer, am I free to gambol about time and space?

          1. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

      1. …are a number of the ultra-violent, old-time buddies of Obama (Ayers, etc), ready to push some of the younger Junior Stalinists and the drug-addled subgroup of the protesters into head-crushing confrontations with the police.

        1. …and so, O-Bomba has a difficult balancing act: keep the protests going with not too much violence until he gets reelected — if too much violence occurs, he will have to tip his fascist-police-state hand too early.

    2. In short; racialist science is properly not an act of aggression or a cover for oppression of one group over another, but, on the contrary, an operation in defense of private property against assaults by aggressors. ~Murray Rothbard

      1. 1) Nice try, shitstick.

        2) Anarchists are a minority here.

        3) Nobody gives a single fuck about your hunter-gatherer fantasies. Nobody. Not Nazis, not communists, not libertarians, not social democrats, not government-is-supreme unitary quasi-monarchists, not anybody. Period.

        1. Nobody gives a single fuck

          Nope. Not you or “Episiarch” or any of the other lifers here who spend all their time trying to convince the other lifers that they really don’t give a fuck. Really! They don’t! How many times do they have to say it?!

    3. And… then you’d go to jail for assault.

  17. Why is no one here mentioning the mayor, who happens to be their (the police) boss? He gave them orders to clear the park. It was announced that the Democrat Mayor was ordering the park cleared. Yes, the policeman, woman, whatever that threw that flash grenade made a bad decision and should be held to account. But protestors who did not follow the order to leave the park are completely responsible for having to deal with tear gas, etc. And no mention of the orders given to the police by the mayor in the first place. Why is that?

    1. If the mayor authorized the use of preemptive violence against the protesters, he should have a brick of plastic explosives shoved up his ass. That’s a given.

      When people here talk about problems with modern policing, it includes everybody from beat cops to the highest political gamers. Any involvement by, say, the mayor is part of that debate.

      1. I’m as big a critic of gangland cop tactics as anyone (except maybe Episiarch). I detest no-knock raids, kicked-in doors, flash-bangs, the gamut. I think the only place any of that SWAT shit has is where there is a metaphysical certainty that the target of the action is going to resist with deadly force. And not just a “well, we think he’s armed.” I mean rock-solid proof.

        Now, in Oakland, by all reports, the protestors were tipped off that the police were coming some two hours before they actually showed up. Their response was to build barricades. When the cops did show up, they did not immediately raid the camp, but told the protestors they needed to leave or be evicted. They refused.

        At that point, the cops have two choices: They can walk away or they can enforce their lawful order to disperse.

        1. Exactly. There very well were excessive uses of force by the cops. Give the number of cops and the dynamic chaotic situation, it’s. A certainty. However, the decision to clear the park was made by the mayor, and was apparently a lawful order. The very public decision to resist this well publicized order was clearly unlawful. Erecting barricades and throwing shit at cops ,as several reports claim happened, didn’t help. And no surprise , some cops overreacted. Color me unshocked

          1. Well maybe I’m too cynical, but I think this is exactly what the OWS folks want. Confrontation, perceived or real over reactions and use of force and sympathetic victims. In short, seems like the mayor has just played exactly the hand the protestors organizers hoped for. Score a propaganda win at the expense of useless idiots.

            1. of course many of them wanted that. just like many wanted rachel corrie to get run over. movements like this LOVE to make martyrs.

    2. First off, our shitty mayor is female.

  18. Isn’t this exactly what the OWS people have been driving towards?? They had been working themselves up towards a confrontation for days, becoming more aggressive in their tactics. All part of the game plan, yes? As one OWS supporter said on MSNBC, they “need their Kent State moment” to crystalize the movement. So now they may have their first martyr through an engineered riot, lots of pretty pictures to get riled up about, some street cred as revolutionaries. Guess nobody there has any use for that “peaceable assembly” stuff in the Constitution.

    1. 1) Well, the last thing I want to happen is for a gaggle of leftist, statist, anti-capitalistic shitheads to be viewed by anybody/any significant number of people as “the revolutionaries that’ll change it all”, or some such shit.

      2) Paramilitary battalions attacking people with backpacks whose provocation was yelling obscenities at them? Really?

      1. The provocation wasn’t yelling obscenties, and the cops weren’t charged with the task of silencing the OWS herd or making them polite. The provocation was commandeering public property in violation of the law.

        1. I can’t believe I’m hearing someone argue this shit here. The public illegally commodearing public property. Ffs

          1. Here we go with this stupid canard – public does not mean available for any particular group to do whatever they want with it. Do you and 100 of yer buddies have a right to erect tents, and start living in the middle of the ball fields in. Central park in July? It’s a public park after all. How about setting up. A tent in the local library? Jesus, this is a stupid argument

            1. “public does not mean available for any particular group to do whatever they want with it” – Isn’t that the homestead principle?

  19. “But the protesters were peaceful, why the flash bangs and riot gear”

    How can the police remove this “peaceful crowd” who probably outnumbered them 2 to 1? Charge them braveheart style and engage in hand to hand combat?

    Some people seem to suggest that the police should be under equipped by design so their reaction is commensurate with the peaceful nature of the protest. But what happens when the few knuckleheads escalate the situation to looting and rioting? Have a helicopter drop off care packages of flashangs and helmets COD style?

    I’m almost certain a cop with a very low IQ roughed up some protesters, just as some idiots threw rocks and bottles at him. The police union will rationalize that a few bad apple do not a barrel make, which is the story the hapless OWS is sticking by regarding their vagrants.

    The real losers are the lefty local governments who coddled the unstable populists to score some political points for “supporting the people’s movement” or something. When the occupation turned out to be a tad too literal, they couldn’t decide on how to perform damage control without earning scorn from their buddies and the community. So Oakland puts up eviction notices, succumbs to OWSers who thumbed their noise at their authority, then tried this sneaky little raid hoping the overworked police could put away the half asleep occupiers in the dead of night.

    1. ^^ this

      1. Ya that. One other problem with giving the protesters a pass to break the law for a few weeks then taking it back–it tells the cops ok we’re moving these bitches out now cause they are getting on our nerves, not so much because they’re breaking the law, since they were doing that when set up camp.

        1. Exactly right. The eviction should have come on the first night, not the 15th or whenever it did. It’s not the fault of the cops that the political leadership of Oakland has no respect for the rule of law.

          1. Eventually it will be the same problem in NY. Giuliani would have allowed the protest but would not have allowed them to break the law by sleeping in parks or erecting shelters.

            Because Bloomberg was a wimp in the beginning, there will eventually be a violent confrontation to clear them out. There is also a completely ruined park for New Yorkers to enjoy until Spring.

            1. NY is a little different cause the 1% that own the park are pretty optimistic their li’l buddies will when’s said and
              done help their bottom line, so they let them stay for now.

              I almost started to feel good thinking that the owners would get stuck with the bill when they bounce, but nah I’m sure Bloomy will volunteer me to pay for it.

            2. Giuliani would have gone down there and shot everyone 41 times. What the hell is the matter with the readers of Reason? Suddenly you’re all statists advocating violence against people exercising their Constitutional rights.

              The reader comments to Reason’s OWS coverage are sickening and have made me lose the respect I formerly had for Reason.

              1. Suddenly you’re all statists advocating violence against people exercising their Constitutional rights.
                there is no Constitutional right to take over public property and keep it. There IS a right to assemble and speak, and that right was not abridged. And when did it become statist to expect people to follow some decorum about not trashing public property? When did it become statist to think that throwing things at cops is not a good idea? Tell you what – let these folks assembly on your lawn, put up tents, refuse your requests to leave, start throwing things at you when you ask again, and so on.

                1. “And when did it become statist to expect people to follow some decorum about not trashing public property?”

                  Isn’t the very notion of “public property” statist?

              2. Right. Everyone has a constitutional right to set up housekeeping on public property thereby denying the public use of said property.

                1. I’m going to Yellowstone park, build a log cabin and occupy the place. That’s okay, right?

                  1. I’m going to go tear down your log cabin and put in a butterfly garden. Is that any better?

                    The tragedy of the commons is resolved through private property, not through government regulation.

                    The Occupy Wall Street people are largely hypocritical on this issue, but so are many of their detractors.

        2. Again, they weren’t breaking the law at the outset. The city of Oakland expressed solidarity w/ the protesters and gave them permission to use the park peacefully. It was when the vandalism of local businesses, sexual assaults, beatings, and public health issues started arising that it became a problem.

          Right to assemble peacefully? All for it. Right to rape women, beat the shit out of minors, defecate in city streets? Not a huge fan.

  20. I grew up in SF, lived in Oakland (off of Telegraph), and currently live in a city next to Oakland.

    I laughed at the description of the Occupy Oakland protesters. They are like many other protests in the East Bay, a mix of well meaning (mistaken or useful idiots) protesters and wannabe anarchists and leftist agitators.

    While no proponent of a heavy handed police actions, I think Mike Godwin sugarcoats the protestors and their tactics and behavior.

    I am more afraid of the protestors and the socialist local government officials infringing my freedoms than the OPD.

    1. I’m so glad I recently moved from Oakland. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that the cops escalated this situation (I don’t doubt for a second it was the cops). I’m sure they’ve been itching to retaliate against the population since the Oscar Grant riots. It doesn’t matter that this is essentially a different crowd of protesters (whether or not they claimed to act “in honor” of Oscar Grant to some extent). These “mistaken or useful idiots” aren’t going about vandalizing minority-owned businesses like the Grant protesters/rioteers. The cops are taking out their anger on the hippies because they’re less threatening than the riff raff that protested the Meserle verdict. Typical pussy behavior on the part of the Oakland city government, period. Mayor Jean Quan isn’t going to do a thing about this and no one will force her to either.

      There were many things I liked about living in Oakland, especially the friendliness of most of its inhabitants. But unfortunately, I think the city is a lost cause. Its government is lefty by default, but most importantly it is completely corrupt and the locals don’t really seem to notice or care. When one of the nastiest examples of local corruption and collusion with organized crime was blowing up in that town (Your Black Muslim Bakery’s reign of terror/the assassination of Chauncey Bailey/revelations about sexual slavery on the part of Yusef Bey that was ENFORCED by the lunk-headed OPD and the Department of Social Services (OPD was sent to Tahoe, I believe, to retrieve an escaped foster child and return her to Bey’s tender loving arms)). That kind of nitty-gritty local human interest shit didn’t motivate these people to do a damn thing, but when protesting financial bailouts in the name of the lofty goal of defeating evil capitalism got really trendy, they were right there…

      Yeah, so this has morphed into a rant that has nothing to do with the obviously unjustified police brutality depicted in those videos. I really am just baffled by that place and the politics of the people who live there. They really are about picking and choosing their causes and I don’t understand their choices.

      1. …”the cops escalated this” is not an excuse for supposedly peaceful protesters to use potentially-deadly force.

        I don’t like cops. But I also don’t like fuckers who AREN’T cops, committing acts of violence. Especially for a “cause” that does not call for violence, let alone have a good excuse to BE a “cause”.

        1. It wasn’t my intention to make excuses for anyone. Truthfully, I was unaware that Oakland had become the center of the OWS universe. And I cannot disagree that there has likely been a segment of the protesters wishing for some violence to give their protests meaning. My post was a rant. Living in Oakland for seven years was my first experience of living in such an obviously corrupt place, or at least my first experience of being aware of such…citizens of Oakland should be desperate enough to vote for anyone who isn’t already a part of the city government for mayor – it hasn’t seemed to occur to them that the guy who owns the convenience store down the street would probably be a better option than any of the front-runners for the office. They just go along, business as usual. They need to be concerned about the problems in their own city more than anything else, but just don’t seem to get it.

    2. I think Drake’s comment hits the nail on the head. Most of Occupy Oakland protesters (like those protesting the Mehserle sentencing earlier this year) were peaceful people with moronic ideas. But there are enough stupid assholes involved to incite violence. My guess is they came down from that even worse shit hole known as Berkeley. Drake, where are you in the East Bay?

  21. Umm – isn’t it standard operating procedure for police to escalate the force level until compliance is achieved?

    I don’t understand why anyone is surprised by the outcome – The Occupiers have come out and SAID this is the result they need to keep the movement alive.

    I’m really trying to, well, empathize with the protesters, but A) they were breaking the law, and B) they were angling for this to happen ALL ALONG

    1. There are no surprises here at all…no doubt some of the protesters are revelling in the splash the violence has made in the media…solidary tweets from Egypt…it’s all very glamourous.

  22. …but when protesters start hurling what can become sharp objects (glass bottles) and blunt, hard, potentially-lethal ones (rocks, etc.), they should immediately lose all credibility they tried to build up with the “non-violent” self-tag.

    There’s gonna be a Kent State redux if this shit keeps up, and some of the Occupiers and their supporters WANT that to happen. If it does, this could turn into something extremely ugly, and put Barry in the hot-seat of “do I declare martial law, and risk losing the election?”.

    Or… would he NOT do it, because – deep down – he wishes he could be out there with them?

    1. …we wouldn’t be here.

      1. no, if the protestors were working they wouldn’t be there…

        1. StarBux.

  23. 1. It was the personal responsibility of the cops to NOT escalate the mood of the crowd.

    2. It was the responsibility of the crowd to NOT escalate the mood of the cops.

    Personal responsibility fail, all around.

    1. Sounds about right.

      However, we must blame one side because blaming both sides means my side was wrong and since my side is always right -cause it is my side- the other side must be to blame.

      1. if you are talking about responsibility, what are you supposed to do when police tell you to move along?

        1. Not throw rocks and bottles?

          1. The city of Oakland’s press releases clearly state that the rocks and bottles were thrown over seven block away, at 7th and Broadway.

            At 14th and Broadway there was NO PROTESTER VIOLENCE. That is not only my own personal observation, having been present there from 6pm to 10pm, but it is also the statement of the city of Oakland.

            The protesters who got teargassed (five times!) at 14th and Broadway were totally peaceful. The marine who was deliberately shot in the face, Scott Olsen, was standing there totally peacefully.

            The Oakland police tell lies to the media; but their official statements contradict the police chief’s inaccurate (ie lying) statements.

  24. That’s so terrible, we should keep peace.

  25. Sadly, this is mainly a Chicago Style community organizing article and not about the Declarative Logic of capitalistic social evolution.
    It is “Staties” who think in weak Imperative Concepts like tear gas and scarves and their “feelings” about what “should” happen.
    Capitalists build things like Wikipedia where it is understood that lacrymators are actually a fine acid powder. Their effectiveness can be easily mitigated by any over the counter anti-acid drug commonly available at drugstores or pharmacies without prescription, like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), Maalox or Alka-Seltzer to name a few.

  26. No surprise here. After reading the comments, the conclusion over what happened and why it happened is driven by political ideology and bias. Again, no surprise here.

  27. I have to say in this case I (sort of) pity the actual street police.

    I’m sure they are sent out after a briefing along the lines of:
    “Git out there and clean up them streets”

    Then they suit up in their armor and weapons projecting nothing but “violence this way comes”.

    Then they spend 6 hours feeling foolish, and slowly building up stress and frustration, with their briefing code still lingering in the backs of their minds.

    Anyway, the results just seem so inevitable.

    1. Just following orders, eh?

    2. Yeah, especially when people start throwing glass bottles and rocks at you.

      1. Simply did not happen. Oakland’s official press release states that the rocks and bottles were thrown at 7th and Broadway, seven long city blocks south of 14th and Broadway where five separate teargas attacks on peaceful protesters took place.

        I was there. There was no protester violence whatsoever at 14th and Broadway. That’s my observation and it is also the official position of the city of Oakland.

        The cops fired rubber bullets — in direct violation of the city’s own crowd control laws — and teargas, at totally peaceful protesters.

        1. I can’t find this “official statement” after extensive searching. Please cite.

    3. ….and padding their already overstuffed pensions. They love every minute of it.

      1. I was on the line at WTO . It started out totally peaceful. Then it did start getting scary. Shit was flying. Through the air. I reflexively More than once had to move my shield reflexively just in time to have something bounce or shatTer off of it. It was a difficult situation and I’m proud of my restraint and that of my partners. It was chaotic as fuck. People were lighting shit on fire, smashing windows, and a lot of legitimate peaceful protesters did get caught in the middle and I feel badly that happened, it’s messy and hard to do, sure we had some training (more than SPD I might add), but hey I’d been a street cop and detective for years and it was still a unique and at time terrifying experience.

        I’m sure there were some cops who were just itching to get some stick time. I am sure there were some “protesters” whose soap goal was to break shit, hurt cops, or provoke them. The leadership in Seattle was totally overwhelmed and a complete joke. We were largely on our own.

        1. yep, that’s more or less what I imagined it is like for a rank and file policeman to get this assignment.

          I’ve worked for the city before. Mayors and Chiefs can really set you up for a bad time in so many ways.

        2. ….

          1. and left the streets for the anarchists and morons to trash, and left the businesses that hard working seattleites put their life work into get trashed even more, etc? no fucking way.

            1. …property values.

              That is all.

  28. I guess Oakland and San Jose cops are pricks, huh? Need to go join the real protest in NY. The cops there understand who pays their salary.

  29. I like the protests and I like these protesters, but I wish they would come to a point where their message is unified and clear. The author is confused by one protester’s reference to “not free trade, but fair trade” which is a perfect example. The connection is actually very strong. The erosion of America’s trade leverage over the past 30 years by undue corporate lobbying is what the protester was referring to because the protester knows this is a large cause of the current malaise and unemployment in the US economy which cannot be fixed overnight. The movement has to find a way to get that into a message that people like the author can understand.

    1. high union wages had nothing to do with jobs going over seas?

      a friend of mine has two young adults who were looking for work. when i passed along some job prospects to them all i heard was, ‘i don’t want to work weekends, i want be able to see my boy friend; i don’t want to work through the holidays’
      ‘job snobs’ is what i call them. when you are starting out in the working world don’t expect roses and whipped cream. just try to find a shit sandwich that has enough bread attached to it…

      1. I DO want that job with big pay and fat pension, lotsa holidays and where I don’t have to bust my butt or get dirty. The predatory Malaysians with their unfair trade practices should let me have that job — Obama should insist!

    2. The movement has to find a way to get that into a message that people like the author can understand.

      Nah. I understand your message. I just think you’re full of shit and that “fair trade” = pay more than a product/service is really worth. Seriously, meditate on this: you’re not misunderstood; you are simply wrong.

      1. I think “fair trade” means if we have to be over-regulated, everyone else does, too.

  30. This thread is kinda funny to read. If I were a libertarian I’d just say “A pox on both houses” and be done with it. I do anyway but but for different reasons.

    Who to root for? The evil hippies and their desire for an all-embracing State or the drug-war fightin’ cops and their desire for an all-embracing State.

    1. Us cops didn’t start this stupid fucking drug war, and god knows lots of us, especially when it comes to marijuana don’t really give a flying fuck, stop blaming us for something passed by legislators who re duly elected by the electorate, that is upheld by judges and that both major parties wholeheartedly support. Many of us spend little to almost no time on drug enforcement, myself included.

      1. …and god knows lots of us, especially when it comes to Jews don’t really give a flying fuck, stop blaming us


        1. I love pj ordure and I love the way he eviscerated stupid arguments like this.

    2. Evil hippies like the Marine with two Iraq tours and seven medals, employed, who was critically injured by a cop who deliberately shot him in the face with a teargas grenade?

      When did Reason readers become supporters of state violence against citizens exercising their Constitutional rights?

      Scratch a libertarian, find a fascist, is that the message of the letters column here?

      1. and you know the cop deliberately tried to hit an injured man in the face? Come on. Even for a goon squad that sounds silly.

        By the way, what constitutional protection authorizes the commandeering of public land to do anything you want for as long as it takes? By that standard, I should be able to pitch a tent and simply live in the city park or interstate rest stop of my choice for as long as I please.

        The message here is that OWS is bent on attracting the type folks who will provoke a confrontation on the misguided notion that it will give the group cool points. Some have already talked about their “Kent St moment”, others believe it will engender sympathy, still others could give a shit, they just want an excuse to break things.

        Everyone here has been for punishment for the cop who hit the Marine. No one defends that action. But most folks get assembly, speech, marching, and all the rest do not equate to semi-permanent encampments, belligerence, and buffoonery.

    3. Who to root for? The evil hippies and their desire for an all-embracing State or the drug-war fightin’ cops and their desire for an all-embracing State.

      was thinking the same thing, lol. Pox on both houses.

      1. if you have a problem with the drug war, then do something about it. cops didn’t make this drug war, they didn’t pass the laws, many of them don’t support it (many do) and both major political parties, as well as judges, and the majority of the electorate keep plugging away at keeping it going

        granted, we are making progress, especially with MJ, but blaming the cops for the drug war is ridiculous

        1. We were making progress until O decided to shut down the dispensaries in CA against all of his campaign promises. Once in office he probably got religion. Keeping drugs illegal + guns + a porous border = $$$.

        2. The cops aren’t *solely* to blame for the drug war, but “I’m just following orders” isn’t a valid excuse, either.

          Do something about it? Do what about it?

          1. the cops are NOT to blame period. none of this solely crap. i have to enforce ALL KINDS of laws i don’t agree with. drug law wars are the tip of the iceberg. imo, the WO domestic violence has some fucked up laws too.

            again, we don’t MAKE the laws. you don’t blame the cops for bad laws. you blame the people who MAKE THE LAWS.

            we didn’t make them.

            wanking about it on is doing NOTHING.

            1. you HAVE to?


            2. You don’t have to be a cop. Your bullshit rationalization that you “have to” do it is no more compelling than that of a mob family underling.

              I don’t blame the cops for bad laws. But I do blame the cops for enforcing bad laws.

              If my job asked me to do ALL KINDS of harm to ALL KINDS of peaceful people, I’d quit. I expect the same from you. I expect the same from each and every one of us.

              1. This stupid argument has been addressed a plenty. I don’t begrudge my buddy for becoming a MD and I am fiercely proud of being a cop. This stupid drug war argument blames the wrong people.

            3. Maybe wanking about it on is doing NOTHING. Or maybe it is doing something. If one person of moral character reads this exchange and it helps convince him or her to become reconsider his or her decision to become a cop, and instead becomes a security guard (or a janitor, or a trash collector, or a prostitute), then I’ve done something positive.

              1. And thinking about this a bit, I was mistaken for taking for granted your assertion that all cops are forced to enforce bad laws against good people. I don’t think this is necessarily the case, and I apologize to any cops out there who are not required to enforce bad laws against good people.

                1. That’s the way the world works. Deal

              2. No you haven’t. We do, and I do, an immense amount of good. Occasionally having to make an arrest I disagree with is frankly more common in the war on DV THAN the WOD. either way, you can wank about it on the Internet, or you can make the world a better place. I chose to become a cop and I am 100percent comfortable with it.

  31. Didn’t this exact same thing happen at the Tea Party rallies? Oh, no it didn’t. Must have been different cops right.


  32. The great irony here is that the Tea Party, which wants less government, complied with all the permit/insurance/sanitation/etc. regulations. OWS, which wants pervasive government, couldn’t be bothered to work with existing government.

    My solution? Give the Occupy folks everything they ask for:

    1. Arrest them.
    2. Cram them into government public transportation and transport them to a local government-financed sports venue.
    3. When they complain explain:

    a. “You are now experiencing the First Rule of Government Power. If you give the government power to regulate, you will be regulated.”
    b. Public transportation and sports venues are examples of what government thinks is important use of your tax money.

    4. Hold trials and convict the Occupy folks of assembly without a permit, etc.
    5. Offer to set aside the sentences for Community Service. Said Community Service shall consist of:

    a. Give each of them a copy of state and federal health insurance regulations.
    b. After they have a chance to read them, assemble insurance company ombudsmen to eagerly await the occupier’s input on how to offer better patient care within the existing government regulations.

    1. What makes you think most of those protesters wanted more government?

      1. Maybe the fact that they’re sanctioning an anti-capitalist movement?…..wallstreet

  33. When did social justice and beating up hippies stop being the same thing?

  34. I love that they were talking about Fair Trade vs. Free Trade. That means they didn’t take their eyes off the ultimate reason those officers used unnecessary force on the protesters. The officers are following orders – Whose? Those that would not like Fair Trade vs. Free Trade.

    1. I don’t see what you’re worried about. After all, this country would never be so totally stupid to forge trade deals with countries which artificially de-value their currency, ignore or encourage widespread human rights abuses, pollute heavily, carelessly provide unsafe products and provide huge government subsidies all to cut costs and gain an edge. Never happen in a million years, so it’s a non-issue!

      1. HPNN, that’s among the most ignorant posts I’ve ever read.
        Did you learn econ from Scrooge McDuck comix, or just protest signs?

        1. lol I learned it here from you guys 😛

          What, of the above things that I’ve listed, does China (a valuable trading partner) not do?

          Secondly, since when do free/fair trade agreements ever benefit anyone but a small group of well-connected elites? Please don’t blubber about how more people possess more material goods? Do these studies always being run here ever take into account debt? If a man has a 30-year mortgage, is financing a car and has a home full of stuff bought with a maxed-out credit card he doesn’t “own” jack shit. He can possess it but it’s still beyond his means.

          1. “Secondly, since when do free/fair trade agreements ever benefit anyone but a small group of well-connected elites?”

            Well, I can see Scrooge McDuck is a bit advanced for you.
            Sorry, can’t find a term to properly express your abysmal ignorance.

  35. It’s great to get one person’s street-level experience of what’s gone on.

    To be fair, I’ve also read and seen some aggressive behavior towards both the cops and the media from Occupy Oakland people. I’d be curious to know if the writer or anybody else there has any account of violent elements, and attempts to control the media coverage of the tents and such, among the crowd.

  36. “To be fair, I’ve also read and seen some aggressive behavior towards both the cops and the media from Occupy Oakland people.”

    That may well be true, but there’s a problem:
    The O(X) folks are presumed to be, largely, idiots (maybe as idiotic as HPNN).
    The cops are paid by us (the taxpayers), and are further presumed to be ‘professional’ in their response to idiots.
    Yes, I hold one side to a higher standard; I PAY them to be so. If they are so amateurish as to act the same as O(X) idiots, we can get that behavior for nothing.

    1. This.

      I must have missed where cops were in the clear as long as criminals were worse.

  37. Look, obviously the thing to do here is to privatize the police.


    1. Fuck you, Orel.

      1. is in the house.

    2. Orel Hazard|10.29.11 @ 11:56PM|#

      Oral Horseshit, congratulations! Your most intelligent comment in quite a while.

  38. The behavior of the various occupied movements around the country should be embarassing to them and everyone else. The women come and go talking of Michelangelo comes to mind.

  39. I am so glad these protests are starting to get under the skin of society’s elites. They are long overdue. How long can they keep their exploitative practices running?

    1. “How long can they keep their exploitative practices running?”

      Odd… I haven’t seen anyone describe the Occutards this way.

      Bravo, sir.

      1. Ha ha.

        Watch the pathetic authoritarian bootlicker hanging around a heavily subsidized oil billionaire’s pet website take sides with violent cops and wipe his ass with “liberty”.

        I knew it all along.

        Ha ha.

        1. “Watch the pathetic authoritarian bootlicker hanging around a heavily subsidized oil billionaire’s pet website take sides with violent cops and wipe his ass with “liberty”.”

          Oral Horseshit, confessions are taken on Friday. You’ll have to come back.

          1. I knew it all along.

            We knew it all along.

            Libertarians like liberty for violent cops and for the boardrooms cops protect. And nobody else.

            Free Minds and Free Markets my fucking ass.

            Try Cracked Skulls and Favelas.

            Ha ha.

            1. “Libertarians like liberty for violent cops and for the boardrooms cops protect. And nobody else.”

              Oral Horseshit, you have to schedule your own psychiatric appointments; we can’t help.

              1. Soviet Psychiatric diagnoses for political dissent.

  40. I have another first hand account. I was at a business meeting in Emeryville that night. I have a mild addiction to Ikea dark chocolate and thought I would stop at the store and replenish my supply. The directions to return to the East Bay from Ikea are puzzling and I ended up in downtown Oakland. I was at an intersection when the crowd moved forward stopping traffic. I am open minded and share a heavy distaste with large banks (basically the primary dealers). This crowd had few redeaming qualities. The one sign I saw said “All my friends are cop killers”. I am fiercely independent and anti-authoritarian but signs like this are questionable. As the crowd passed they seemed intent on blocking traffic. A few protestors stood threateningly in front of my car. They did not push or rock my car although it appeared that might happen. It seemed odd that a movement protesting WS would threaten traffic – my old American car shouts out 99% yet I felt threatened! And then there was garbage – lots of it al over. To me the protestors were 100% anarchists. The only coherent message was “trash the city we live in – threaten normal citizens and provoke authority”.

    1. The bay area professional protester caste are scum. Nasty, rude, smelly, scum.

    2. You’re mistaken. The protesters were “friendly, not too noisy, and generally pleasant.”

      Your reporting isn’t trustworthy. I bet that sign said “ALL MY HEROES ARE COP KILLERS” instead of “All my friends are cop killers.”


      The idea that you’re anti-authoritarian is laughable. As the eminent political semiotician Natasha Lennard would say, you only accept anti-authoritianism that’s been coded by pre-existing, permitted institutional structures. All the authentic authoritarians are gathering under the sign of the raised fist, which means “friendly, not too noisy, and generally pleasant.” Any suggestion to the contrary is obviously counter-revolutionary, reactionary drivel. None of us are fooled.

      1. ^I meant “authentic anti-authoritarians” of course. Freudian slip. Carry on, carry on.

  41. From law abiding citizens:

    Of all the public servants we finance, law enforcement are the most necessary because they protect people, property and the public order from those who would destroy them. When law enforcement officers order us to disperse, we must disperse. If we resist, we must bear the consequences of resistance, which should be swift and severe. We will have it no other way.

  42. “Us cops didn’t start this stupid fucking drug war, and god knows lots of us, especially when it comes to marijuana don’t really give a flying fuck, stop blaming us for something passed by legislators who re duly elected by the electorate, that is upheld by judges and that both major parties wholeheartedly support. Many of us spend little to almost no time on drug enforcement, myself included”

    That argument worked so well in 1946. Sometimes you need Godwin when the point is being spelled out in 100 foot neon letters by the other guy.

    1. Again, pj orourke refuted this canard best, I defer to him. We will always have laws that are bad policy. The idea that the there is a moral equivalence is absurd, and has been endlessly debunked

  43. If you took in a single drug case and that person did a single day’s time and left the drug dungeons with a criminal record, then Dunphy, you need to Shut… The… Fuck… Up.

    Are we clear?

    1. no, we aren’t. not “crystal” either.

      that’s like saying if an MD (who has to participate in the WOD if he has a DEA #) turns in somebody for stealing his script pad or writing fake scripts might as well hang up his dr.’s license because he caused somebody to get imprisoned in the evil WOD.

      WOD shit is a TINY (and i mean TINY) part of my job. i don’t like it, and frankly, that’s the way it goes.

      most street cops i work with haven’t made a misdemeanor mj arrest in months or years. nobody gives a flying fuck about that.

    2. Would you mind letting me know who the FUCK (see, I can curse too) appointed you sheriff of the blog thread? You’re acting like a bigger horse’s ass than the stereotyped cop you’re criticizing.

      1. I AM being stereotyped. Help help, I’m being oppressed !

  44. The capitalist/libertarian justification for property is that property is needed to survive.

    Humans have honored property needed to survive for hundreds of thousands of years.

    But how is it that 1% need 40% of the nation’s property to survive?

    And how is it that 10% need 85% of the property to survive.

    I smell a capitalist bait-and-switch.

    1. “I smell”
      That’s probably true, which is the exception in your posts.

      1. you’re intellectually bankrupt and evasive, sevo

      2. Shame on me for causing more vermin shit.

    2. But how is it that 1% need 40% of the nation’s property to survive?

      You’re a little slow, aren’t you?

      1. DLM,
        *Please* do not feed the vermin. All we get is vermin shit.

      2. you have to be slow to not know that

  45. Way to rectal the Godwin thread.

  46. “WOD shit is a TINY (and i mean TINY) part of my job. i don’t like it, and frankly, that’s the way it goes.”

    And frankly that’s the way it goes. No procedures were violated. The law is the law. If you have nothing to hide then you won’t mind. Please surrender your freedom for “officer safety”. Everyone likes cops except people who have DUI convictions.

    Broken Statist Record…

    1. not everyone like cops except people who have DUI convictions. granted, plenty of people WITH dui convictions like cops, including some cops i know… who have dui convictions.

  47. The people who’s lives you wrecked over a benign plant would like to talk to you about your libertarian beliefs…

    1. Dude, seriously. You should just post a big A for Anarchy here instead of wasting time with words and what have you.

      Unfortunately, we still have a government. And, for the moment, it has lots of laws we don’t like, and laws that you and I and many others find immoral. You cannot, as a practical matter, simply disregard them at will.

      And for fuck’s sake, arresting some hapless kid for having a bag of weed is not something I condone, but it’s just a few degrees of magnitude different from Nazism. Godwin my ass.

      1. Not only that, like I said, I work the Seattle area. at WORSE most kids would get a citation for a bag o’ weed IF that, Arrests are possible, bot hardly par for the course for a little weed.

  48. Jake,

    You don’t sound too convinced. That whole “the law is the law, don’t blame me” excuse is wearing thin. Exterminating Jews, blacks as chattel, these were the “law of the land” too. If you enforce unjust law, and in doing so harm others, you are part of the problem. Read aristotle or MLK for further clarification.

    If any of you cops trolling the site caused a lost job or scholarship through enforcement of unjust drug laws, then you ARE part of the war on drugs. Cinch up you big girl panties and own your part.

    “I don’t make the unjust laws, I just enforce them” is extremely weak and you know it.

    1. Worked at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials so well

  49. For reference, a timeline:

    1) Prior to October 25, protesters peaceful, friendly, etc.

    2) 4:30 a.m. on 10/25, Occupy Oakland rousted from sleep, forcefully dispersed. Police wearing riot gear, carrying batons and other weapons.

    3) 4-6 in the afternoon, 10-25, protesters returned, denounced police intervention. Some protestors — at 7th or 8th and Washington, blocks from the center of the protest, engaged police with (plastic) water bottles and paint. Unclear whether they were part of the original Occupy group.

    4) 9-10 p.m. Ongoing standoff between angry protestors and police. Police blocking plaza in force. Smoke or gas used to disperse angry but non-violent crowd at 14th and Broadway. Scott Olsen hit in face with projectile just above 13th and Broadway. People who tried to help him were themselves targeted.

    I’ve been careful to report (both in the article and here in the comments) only what I saw directly or could independently confirm. I didn’t begin with my conclusions (as some people here do), and I was careful not to overinterpret what I saw or to pretend that I had access to all facts. I wrote what I saw in full knowledge that other people’s accounts might be different from mine, and with certainty that some people would interpret whatever I wrote tendentiously in service of their own preconceptions.

    1. Nothing here is more tendentious than your claim that the mob was non-violent. Try as you might, even the few meagre facts that you were able to gather can’t be explained away. You know that the mob’s behavior can reasonably be interpreted as violent, but you try to rationalize it in order to preserve an image of the happy gathering that doesn’t even harmonize with your own observations. They threw bottles but the bottle were plastic. They were part of the demonstration, but maybe they weren’t part of the demonstration. Who knows? Really? Do you suspect some other group of protesters, or agents provocateurs, of infiltrating the friendly gathering of Occupy protesters? There are other facts to support that view? I’m asking this pointedly because there sure are many facts gathered from other sources to support the view that the crowd was led by a contingent of activists who were hostile to the police, supportive of violence, and intent on violent confrontation that night. In light of everything we know, do you honestly believe that group of people you saw throwing things at the police was not part of the Occupy Oakland movement?

      1. I think if you read my comments more closely, you’ll find that I’ve answered your question. Keep in mind, for example, that 7th Street is about seven blocks from 14th Street.

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  52. I read on free republic that somebody somewhere heard from somebody else that their friend saw someone put a turd on a police cruiser.

    Clearly, shooting gas bombs into people’s faces is now an understandable reaction.

    Also, “minimum force” means whatever force is necessary to make you respect my authoritah. If people are messing up the grass and don’t scoot out after you shout at them through a bullhorn, the “Full Attica” is the only option you have left.

  53. “Nothing here is more tendentious than your claim that the mob was non-violent.” I can tell you weren’t there. I was on the scene, interviewed others who were, etc. If you think the protestors were led by violent activists, you’re expressing wishful thinking.

    1. The facts even as reported by yourself don’t support your characterization of the group, and there’s plenty of evidence gathered by others to show that you’re wrong.

      For instance, take James West’s reporting for Mother Jones. He reports that a certain Xavier Manolo, in a move you will recognize though he’s arguably a tiny bit more forthright than you, acknowledges that “rogue elements” who wanted violent confrontation with the police were an element of the crowd. Why isn’t it reasonable to conclude that this element took control of the crowd and led it to a violent confrontation with the police?

      What was the crowds general attitude towards violence? The Wall Street Journal took a survey of attitudes at Zuccotti park and found that 31% admitted to endorsing violence to achieve their political ends.

      I don’t know about communists on the East Coast, but I do know about communists on the West Coast, including the Bay Area. Generally they support violence. They call for violent revolution, and they use violent confrontations during protests with the police to advance their ideological agenda. I have been involved from the gitgo in many demonstrations with communists, socialists, anarchists and similar groups, and I have always found that when civil disobedience or “direct action” is planned, participants are kindly warned that some group of protesters will be breaking the law, and that there is danger of a police reaction. In the case of Occupy Oakland, the authorities handed out a printed warning to protesters, just in case they didn’t know that the police intended to act.

      How could protesters have known that violence was in the works? Well, for one thing it’s been reported–though not by you–that the vast majority of protest literature available at Frank Ogawa Plaza during the “occupation” was Marxist propaganda. Much of that literature called for violence. The Revolutionary Communist Party was represented, and I can vouch for them as an organization that promotes violence. The thing is, you don’t need to be literate to see that the Revolutionary Communists call for violence. The pictures reveal what they’re all about.

      Then of course there’s the symbol of the raised fist. I have a hard time believing that people gathered under the sign of the fist were all about friendliness and pleasantness, especially when I know from a variety of other sources that they said and did things that were most unfriendly towards the police.

      If your characterization of the crowd were true, the credible reports of violence provided by other observers would be inexplicable. Even you have a hard time explaining what violence you did see. It doesn’t add up. Did you say something about wishing?

  54. It’s obvious you were not there. I would think that most Reason readers — I’ve been one for more than 25 years — would be more critical consumers of media reports. I stand by what I reported. I was there. This is my neighborhood. If you’re so far gone that you dismiss first-person reports because of what you read on the Web, I can hardly help you. Probably no one can.

    1. Dude, your first person report is verily on the web, as are a host of other reports which provide conflicting details or conflicting portraits of the protesters. I cited a first hand report from West of Mother Jones, which was linked to in this thread. I cited your own observations. There’s photographic and videographic evidence that calls your characterization into question. I alluded to first hand reports by others who had been there.

      If you want to contradict any one of these other witnesses, I suggest starting with West because Mother Jones is sympathetic to the cause and therefore not ideologically inclined to paint them in a negative light, but I’m sure it must have occurred to you that if we were to examine the reporting of other professional journalists who were also eye-witnesses you’d be hard-pressed to defend your characterization of the crowd as non-violent. For instance, I’m sure you read the story that day by the San Francisco Chronicle (“Police Tear Gas Occupy Oakland Protesters”), and I’m sure you noticed they observed more than a few instances of protesters throwing things at the police, including bottles, as you witnessed, but also paint, which injured some police officers; they also reported that some protesters tried to fight with the police, and they even found a protester who acknowledged that some protesters were violent and the police response was “totally provoked.” Six people were credited with producing that report, and I daresay they had eyewitnesses who were there longer you, who talked to more participants than you, and who tried and largely succeeded to remain objective in their characterizations of the various parties involved.

      I also offered for consideration my personal experience with protests involving groups such as the Revolutionary Communist Party. I have nearly forty years of experience going to protests of all kinds, and I know full well the difference between peaceable assembly and the kind of rioting those blokes inspire. I don’t doubt that you met a few people there who were nice to you, but frankly I think your characterization of the crowd as a whole is naive at best. I respectfully suggest to you that the radicals who were there as organizers correctly ascertained the crowd’s potential for violence and exploited it for their own ends. It’s quite possible that you were made too, but don’t worry, that’s not the kind of thing that would keep you from getting a Pulitzer.

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  55. So, you’re admitting you weren’t there. Thanks.

    1. So you’re admitting you can’t reason beyond this point? I’ll spell it out again for you. Mother Jones and The Chronicle also sent reporters and their accounts don’t support your characterization of the crowd. Are you denying the James West was there? Are you denying that the Chronicle had reporters there? What makes your report stand out is not that you were there, but your characterization of the crowd as non-violent.

      I’m reading reports tonight (Nov. 2) of violence in Oakland on the part of the protesters. So far it’s mostly vandalism, though it sounds like some shoppers may have been terrorized. I’d be interested in reading your report, if you go out there. (If you choose to stay home, I understand. In any event, stay safe and best wishes.)

  56. I find it sad that many people who were not there have decided what must have happened. My Libertarian brethren have in common with me a distrust of authority. The unthinking trust of the authority of the power of the state saddens me.

  57. Thank you very much

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