Scenes from the aftermath in Oakland:
stories of victims, survivors and healers.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Puking for Oakland

News that residents of wealthier neighborhoods in Oakland are hiring private security firms and mounting private surveillance cameras nauseates me. I think I'd throw up less if they would take up collections to help provide such security for poorer neighborhoods where the most crime and violence occurs. But I'm not sure anymore that I can entirely condemn them as I'm puking.

Indeed, with shootings in the past few weeks at Jack London Square, shootings in the heart of Uptown, a broad daylight shooting last week in front of a busy hotel at 11th and Broadway downtown, a shooting in Trestle Glen, it's getting harder for me to defend Oakland to residents and outsiders who fear it.

Not impossible. Just harder.

With the stories here on the Almanac, I had hoped (forlornly) to get people to think longer about the hard-hit parts of Oakland, to encourage them to consider the lives lost and lives altered by the gun in East and West Oakland. I'd sought to discourage them from quickly and easily writing-off thedead and their survivors or ignoring the dark plight of the wounded.

At the same time, elsewhere, I've always tried to celebrate the city's greatness, its integrated public spaces, its history and its trees and its bungalows and its youthful, fertile culinary scene.

But every week it gets harder to honestly argue that most of Oakland is safe, hard to stand on the claim that whole neighborhoods remain peaceful and unbloodied.

No comments: