Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Diablo Over Oakland

When I look eastward beyond the Bay from North Beach, far away I see Mount Diablo rising above the Port of Oakland. There is something revealing in the mountain's name on a day like yesterday when the devil himself seemed out to get OakTown.

Bridge Play by deanv41

On the radio -- KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley, Free Speech Radio -- I'm listening to Flash Points reporting on multiple major events in Oakland yesterday that occurred simultaneously: the DEA & IRS raid on Oaksterdam University downtown on Broadway and the mass shooting at Oikos University in the Melrose industrial waterfront area just south of Alameda island.

Oaksterdam is a cultural, education, and horticultural institution bringing cannabis out of the closet serving as the epicenter for the rising green economy in California. The sudden raid there on the cannabis collective roused a crowd of locals who surrounded the nearby Blue Sky Cafe where other agents were present, holding them in and shouting for accountability. Some shouting "Go back to Texas!"
Meanwhile, seven miles to the southeast, a man at a Korean school on Edgewater Drive walked in and opened fire on his former classmates, moving around the building shooting more people, then left. Any OPD presence downtown immediately left for the scene of carnage at Oikos leaving the Feds to deal with their own mess. It's unclear at present the details of what happened but that a journalist for a Latino paper was arrested as was Richard Lee, the head of Oaksterdam University and a prominent advocate for Normalization.
These are not equivalent events. One was individual madness and the other was state violence in the pursuit of flawed public policy. It does, though, underscores the panicky tenor of the times, this is one single afternoon mind you, as well as the truly oddball priorities of our so-called leadership and the promiscuous availability of lethal weapons.

California has resolved its approach to marijuana. If our tax dollars are paying for raids on cultural institutions like Oaksterdam, as well as places in San Francisco with no prior troubles, while so much violence, both random and organized, goes on all around us, just who is securing the blessings of liberty? What is liberty?

No cop could have known One L. Goh, the "Christian University" student enraged by his own demons, would kill seven people and wound three yesterday. He alone is responsible.
Conversely, law enforcement officials laid premeditated plans for their raid, spent taxpayer money preparing for it. The raid was not only botched, it was an entirely unnecessary stunt that put lives at risk.

If the Federal Government is concerned with urban affairs in the Bay Area, they'd do well to direct resources toward the everyday, senseless violence that tears a town apart bullet by bullet. Using firepower to raid and close a legitimate local institution with deep ties to the city is antithetical to common sense. So is the entire 'War' on Drugs.
Here's a 2nd concurring opinion from Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. I'm hardly alone in seeing the insanity of domestic policy in light of recent events.

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