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"Fear and Loathing" in Berkeley, California

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(Article changed on February 26, 2013 at 18:00)

(Article changed on February 26, 2013 at 17:59)


The quotes I am posting are from Berkeleyside's nonsense about the first murder of the year and a couple more isolated incidents of low-level crime that occurs every year.  There is nothing new or spectacular about this information.  Nothing earth shattering.  Nothing remotely out of the ordinary, as highlighted by the words of officer Frankel, at the end of this piece, showing how he's talking out both sides of his department's agenda-driven mouths.

But first, there is this:

"Residents asked police about recent home burglaries, a pepper-spray attack of a woman walking to BART, and how to come up with neighborhood solutions to violence.

Frankel said the best approach for community members is to reach out to police quickly, with as much information as possible, if they spot anything suspicious. (For those with "quality of life" concerns and chronic problems in Area 4, he said the best contact is beat officer Rashan Cummings at 510-981-5774. For time-sensitive issues, or reporting crimes in progress, residents can call 911 for emergencies and 510-981-5900 for non-emergencies.).

"When the switchboard lights up like a Christmas tree, we know something is going down," he said. 'I want you to call about all suspicious activity. That's what I really need you to do: Pick up the phone.'"

My problem: these people are not qualified to know what "suspicious" means or even looks like.  Police even screw it up, and they are "professionals."  I'm out here all the time and I screw it up, quite regularly, too.  And I am someone who is always out here.  So I have more authority on these subjects, more than most.  More than those being told to "report 'suspicious' activities."

Again, I am not suggesting people turn a blind eye to crime.  What I am saying is sometimes "suspicious" is relative and "innocuous," when given time to observe that something deemed suspicious plays itself out.  Also, depending on the age of the person doing the reporting is also a concern.  Elderly people seem afraid of their own shadows, because of the saturation of violence in the "news" media and (unnecessary) pressures being applied on them by people with (hidden) agendas.

So when an elderly white person sees some young black male and he's wearing a hoodie and he's walking through their neighborhood, eating Skittles, he may look "suspicious" to those folks... when he's nothing more than someone just like Treyvon Martin, who did nothing to deserve what he got, from this very same paranoia manifested into violence.  And then, the police and "news" media attempted scapegoating young Treyvon by stating he was "put on suspension from school for 'smoking marijuana'"???

SARCASM ALERT: Yeah, he deserved a death sentence for smoking Cannabis.

I wonder what the response would have been if Treyvon Martin's name was George W. Bush (at the same age), with the very same thing happening... I wonder if Papa Bush would have been sympathetic to this system that had his child murdered.  And then scapegoated, simply because Georgie Boy was partying too hard, which we know he did, much more, in fact, than Treyvon Martin, who was only a "Pot Head."

Again, they miss the point: fix the problems at the top.  The reason there is so much low-level crime, like burglaries, is because the corruption at the top has "trickled down" to the local governments.  Instead of trying to stop the criminal activity of those above them, they instead choose to do what those corrupted are doing.  Shooting at the symptom never works.  You have to go to the choke point.  Otherwise, you are perpetrating the problem instead of managing it.

It's not like there had been five murders since the beginning of the month.  And we all know there will be more, of course, by statistics. 

"Councilwoman Maio remarked that community members who are home during the day bear a 'special responsibility to be the eyes on the street' to watch for anything suspicious, such as people casing homes or knocking on doors."

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I'm a homeless student, writer, and activist... currently panhandling my way through school (and life.).
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