Explain to me how trashing downtown Oakland can stop the war in Afghanistan?
Oakland - the favorite whipping boy of Bay Area anarchists and protestors alike - was the target for wanton acts of vandalism once again on Sunday. This time it was to mark the 11th anniversary of the Afghanistan War by demonstrating for peace by committing violent acts.
More than 200 hooligans posing as protestors laid waste to a number of businesses and city hall breaking store doors and windows, throwing paint on buildings and vehicles as well as smashing car windshields.
The amazing thing is that such behavior in Oakland is considered news at all any more given the frequency it has occurred since the start of the Occupy movement.
They say the Occupy movement isn’t focused but that is simply not true. They have a laser sharp focus on one apparent goal - destroying Oakland.
Oakland has more than its share of problems. It’s reeling from the foreclosure crisis, the flight of business from downtown, sharp budget reductions that have substantially reduced city services including police staffing, and a murder rate that makes the shootout at OK Corral look like the Paris Peace Talks.
Oakland is an easy target.
If that wasn’t enough the overtaxed justice system - and not to mention overcrowded county jails - means there are no consequences for wanton acts of vandalism. They can do the crime and not worry about doing the time.
Making this all the more disgusting is the fact the undermanned Oakland Police force has to pull precious resources away from trying to reduce neighborhood crime where innocent pre-teen kids are becoming the victims of gang gunfire way too often.
The odds are if the police presence during protests got any thinner to deploy resources elsewhere, the anarchists would feel empowered to torch the heart of Oakland.
So what can Oakland do?
With a little luck, judges might get a little creative with penalties assessed for those convicted of repeat vandalism during downtown Oakland protests.
The punishment should fit the crime.
It should be noted that most of the Occupy Oakland movement is comprised almost exclusively of folks who don’t even live in Oakland.
Anyone convicted twice for mayhem that is an outgrowth of a protest should be sentenced to spending a week living in the most crime ridden Oakland neighborhoods. That way they can get a taste of the violence and fear they are helping to spread by tying up precious community law enforcement resources to say nothing of the excess of $3 million they’ve forced the city to burn through for public safety and clean-up. And that doesn’t include the losses incurred by small businesses - some of the very folks the Occupy protesters claim they are trying to help.
It is apparent that the Occupy folks aren’t going away.
And that’s bad news for the good people of Oakland.
Non-stop violent protests don’t exactly foster community pride or serve as an attractive calling card for corporations - the No. 1 target of the Occupy folks - to relocate and bring jobs to Oakland.
This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209-249-3519.