"Justice for Oscar Grant" Part 2
That was RICH. And that's the kind of BS that really pisses me off. You want to criticize my coverage and tell me how to do my job? Do you even watch news? Do you have any idea what I've been reporting? Do you have any context? JabberJaws--do you even know Grant's family? Do you even live in Oakland? I doubt it sincerely. So don't come in my house, and start talking like you know what's going on. Because I am not even going to think twice about giving you the B double O T.
Another dude comes up and starts yelling at me for showing the shoe in my live shot. The one who was talking earlier about how "this ain't about no shoes!" And then he slapped the shoe out of my hand to make his point! Really? Who freakin' does that? You, a big ole dude, are going to hit a shoe that I'm holding so hard it flies 10 feet away? At that point I was shaking my head, "Seriously man?" Jeremy was shaking his head too, but for a different reason.
And then, a Decent Person. Kamal. Comes up and gets in between ShoeSlapper and me and says, "Why are you yelling at her?" It was really gallant actually. Like, thank you Kamal. You would get a major gold star in John Quinones' "What Would You Do?" A dude stepping into a confrontation with another dude for a stranger. I thanked him and we both just walked away and talked about the day's events and all the tension and the palpable change in the crowd's energy.
Later, ShoeSlapper, who is still there, and apparently holding a white bag stuffed with stolen stuff, is still talking and I am watching him and I hear him go, "F*** her!" And at that moment, he must've sensed me looking at him in disbelief, he looks over to me and says, "I meant that with all due respect." And I can only laugh because I'm too incredulous for words.
Do these people with bandannas over their faces and paper masks made from photocopies of Oscar Grant's face think it's cool to break the windows of some small business? You think that makes a point about your anger and "Don't mess with us because this is what we do?" as one guy said. No. It shows you are a mindless jerk and now some person will have to pay thousands of dollars to replace their storefront. A storefront they opened in Oakland to try and be a part of the change they hope to see. I'm talking about the person who owns a market, a jewelry store. They are trying to contribute to the city and its livelihood. And this is how they are thanked.
Yes, I'm a reporter. I try to be objective and fair and give you information to help you make your own decisions. But don't tell me that running around and creating mayhem is productive, progressive, or what your mama taught you. You and I both know that's a load. This tag says it well, "Oakland is our amusement park tonight." You have enough douchers from out of town, just looking to trash your neighborhood and then go back home and sleep all cozy in their beds. Why are you joining them?
As for the discussion about police force and show of force and riot gear and posturing. Yes, it is intimidating when a line of officers with batons and giant machine guns and shields is standing in front of you and blaring, "MOVE OR YOU WILL BE ARRESTED."
It's a tough situation. Civilians have the right to march and gather and rally. God Bless America. I don't expect Johnny Law to be all rainbows and Sprite. And I've had my moments when officers intrude on the rights of the press and some officers love the power trip. But I understand the majority are trying to keep everyone safe, including themselves. And if I'm an officer charged with keeping order and making sure a riot doesn't break out and that peaceful demonstrators don't get caught up in some crazy BS, well, I'd probably be dressed for the occasion too. We can agree to disagree on police presence and whether it keeps the calm or incites violence, but I can say with certainty, it's not an easy job.
So guess who comes over later and apologizes after all this? SHOESLAPPER! I shook his hand. BFFs it did not make us, but it just reinforced what I'm trying to say. At the end of the day, we are all people trying to get along out here. When I'm not "The Media," and you're not "Anonymous" we can have a spirited debate about our differences. Bob Marley had it right and iced it with the right melody. Everything's gonna be all right.
But for the love of Moses, please don't stand next to someone who's talking and talk over them. That's just rude. And ineffective.
Blunt World emailed me this link to a video of the night's events.
At 6:23: JabberJaws, male and female
At 6:34: ShoeSlapper
At 6:40: Kamal
At 6:47: Shoeslapper and I discuss our differences
Yes, truth is weirder than fiction.