The Occupy Oakland encampment has been the most violent of the Occupy (This Space) Movement, what with all the rioting and blockading. But even Oakland's socialist mayor may not be able to tolerate these folks now that someone has been killed there.
A young man was fatally shot Thursday evening just yards from the Occupy Oakland encampment outside City Hall. And before the ambulance had even pulled away, people were debating whether the killing was somehow linked to the month-old gathering.
The man, whom several Occupy campers said they did not recognize, was shot in the head at about 5 p.m. outside a BART station exit in Frank Ogawa Plaza, at 14th Street and Broadway. He was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland, where he was pronounced dead, said interim Police Chief Howard Jordan.
Jordan - speaking to reporters over protesters who shouted, "This is not Occupy Oakland" - said two groups of people had gotten into a fight that ended when someone pulled out a gun and fired. Witnesses said they heard four to six shots, and saw several young men flee. No arrests have been made, and the dead man's name has not been released.
The shooting happened in a busy section of downtown Oakland adjacent to the Occupy an encampment where drug use is prevalent, and where devoted protesters have increasingly struggled to control fights and robberies and deal with mentally ill homeless people.
Yep! Nothing but wide-eyed idealists trying to make a better world!
The excuses are flying, of course. The shooting happened next to the encampment, not inside (although the fight that preceded the murder seems to have started in the encampment). Everyone says they've never seen the victim before. Plus, murders happen in Oakland every day - well, every three days - and the open-air drug market in the area has been there for years, although I'm not aware that anyone was ever killed before. Btw, Oaklanders are always trying to think of ways to improve their city's image. My suggestion: get rid of the open-air drug market right next door to City Hall.
The shooting does seem to be drug related, but that doesn't get the Occupiers off the hook. There is quite a drug scene out there. The Occupation itself is almost like a Bizarro World version of the "broken windows" theory of policing. In this case, the Occupiers have created a thuggish, low-level air of criminality through their rioting and pig-headed refusal to leave Ogawa Plaza. Is it any wonder that a criminal element has joined the group? The Occupiers themselves are criminals.
Oakland's hapless mayor is making noises about clearing out the Plaza again. Looks like any police she might send in will be dealing with even more violence than before.