A political protest in Oakland on the evening of Friday, September 5, 2014, produced substantiating evidence for reaching a sad paradoxical conclusion for political activists: the more that police involved shooting occur, the harder it is to make a cohesive, coherent generic protest.
When Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, MO, the national media focused on that specific story but at the protest in Oakland, there were so many diverse examples of dead young people that some confusion and a lack of a centralized focus was bound to be generated.
Oakland held a protest rally when Trayvon Martin was killed by a vigilante. The Northern California case of Andy Lopez was of regional interest for Oakland residents. Residents in the Eastern Time Zone will be unaware of the particulars of his death. The case of Ezell Ford, who was shot in Los Angeles two days after Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, was virtually ignored during the Oakland event.
The September 5 protest was also used to draw attention to the militarization of the nation's police departments and also to protest the Project Shield Program.
An enterprising writer could almost devote a book length project to all the police involved shooting in August. It would be a major task to chronicle all the police involved shootings in the USA for 2014. [Nick Wing and Matt Ferner did a round-up (for the Huffington Post) of the police involved shootings that have occurred since the shooting last month in Ferguson MO. It is worth the effort to find and read.]
The task of focusing the public's attention and outrage begins to become defused.
Focusing outrage and indignation on one noteworthy example of police involved shootings is a manageable assignment but when the number of police shooting increases geometrically, the goal of protesting all of them becomes unmanageable. Thus the more that happen the harder it is to protest them. A cynic (channeling the ghost of Lenny Bruce?) might be tempted to urge the conclusion that increasing the number of examples of such tragedies (and accompanying protests) would be a way to make the problem disappear completely. [Bartlett's attributes a relevant quote to Joseph Stalin: "A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic."]
Will the drone strikes on ISIS help Obama to become the first person to win two Nobel Peace Prizes? Will the Ministry of Propaganda give the proposed drone strikes inside Syria a cutesy label, such as: "War Crimes for Peace!"? Colonel Kurtz's quote comes to mind: "We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won't allow them to write "f*ck" on their airplanes because it's obscene!" Ya gotta draw the line somewhere, eh?
The President said that Syrian Rebels will be given training by Americans and we immediately wondered if that means that the CIA's crack JMWAVE team will come out of retirement.
If George Miller (the Australian movie director with an office on Orwell Street) reads this, we'd like a chance to pitch him on a movie about a story that combines the life or an Australian nurse with elements of Steve McQueen's classic movie, "The Great Escape." (What ever became of Kate Blanchett?) Speaking of WWII, has anyone ever filmed the story of Hanna Reitsch?
After picking up a bargain bin copy of Vol. II of the Gonzo Papers, we hatched the idea of doing a column devoted to Litquake in Rocktober in Frisco and using the title: "Is Litquake Decadant and Depraved?" and making it a parody of Hunter S. Thompson 's report on the Kentucky Derby.
We've been told by a reliable source that Berkeley is scheduling some events to mark the fact that the Free Speech Movement will turn 50 this fall. We should get some acceptable quality photos and a column or two if we get a chance to cover those events.
As we were re-reading Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," our wanderlust was rekindled by this passage: "At that time there were many blank spaces on the earth, and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all look that) I would put my finger on it and say, When I grow up I will go there."
Did you know that (according to maritime legend) more sailors jump ship in New Zealand than in any other country in the world? Hmmm.
Whilst we were doing our walkabout in Australia, we wrote a column that whimsically suggested that Qantas should provide Netroots Nation attendees free transportation if they would decide to hold one of their annual conventions in the land down under. A year later we were surprised to learn that Oprah and Qantas were taking her audience down where they would have a chance to experience the W. A. (AKA Western Australia). Hmmm. Should Air New Zealand make Netroots Nation an offer they'd be stupid to ignore?
If President Obama wants the World's Laziest Journalist to now switch gears and support George W. Bush's war in Iraq; does that also mean he wants us to support the stealth JEB for President Movement? Now that we are obliged to follow Obama's lead and endorse Dubya's philosophy for War in Iraq, we wish that Obama could cater to the nostalgia fans and for just once, replace one of the drone strikes with one last call to duty for the Stukas.