The Night They Stopped the Trains to Show Solidarity with ... um...We'll Get Back to You on That (Opinion)

Carol Denney
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 10:24:00 AM

2000 protesters surged onto the freeway and stopped traffic in both directions for hours in my neighborhood. They drove a vehicle onto the train tracks and stopped all the north-south train traffic. We figured they hated cars, but who knew they hated trains, one of my neighborhood's best features. 

My neighbors and I at University and San Pablo formed a perimeter line around our building making sure nobody stopped near our doors or windows. They apparently hate our co-tenant Wells Fargo, whose door they smashed in and tried to burn Saturday night, but they sure love its bank machine; dozens of protesters with their faces obscured in typical Berkeley protester fashion stopped for cash. I asked one of them to take the kerchief off of her face and she immediately did, claiming she was "peaceful." When I asked her why she was obscuring her face she said, "the police..." and that's all she had. 

The protesters were almost all on the phone, staring into lighted screens in the darkness, walking like zombies past the drunks and stoners on the corner while getting instructions, according to one, from some Twitter feed. So much for "organic" community rage. I'm not sure little hand-held gadgets make modern-day mobs any different than mobs of old, but they sure make them funnier to watch. It's clearly hard to walk in the dark while staring at them and gosh, texting must be a nightmare. 

I've worked on police accountability issues for over twenty years, and went to a meeting earlier in the evening hoping to enlist some support in dialing back the gratuitous vandalism, clarifying the message, channeling energy into more productive and creative expression, but there were no takers. People were bent on disrupting the next city council meeting to present a list of demands. Oh, and one young white student wanted to trash "the mall." 

Where's the mall? I didn't even know we had a mall. I excused myself and left. The only thing locally that resembles a mall are the beleaguered businesses under the Sather Gate parking structure which include Revolution Books. 

So don't say I didn't warn you when the protesters come for Revolution Books. Expect them to claim they were "provoked" by some title or other. Just sweep up the glass and imagine living next door to Wells Fargo