…and by open letter I mean this is a one-way conversation. I have no desire to have a back-and-forth about what follows. I know that will anger you. Tell you what, why don’t you go riot. In your own neighborhood. I don’t live there. Moron.
Dear angry for the sake of being angry protestor:
Do you have the first bloody clue what you’re protesting? “Police brutality”? “Excessive Force”? “Another good man/boy of color killed by the Man”? Let’s talk about Kenneth Harding shall we? I know this will more than likely upset you because you’re not huge fans of facts and evidence, but I’m going to have to ask you to play along.
According the SeattlePi.com, our poor Mr. Harding was a 19-year-old convicted pimp and was a “person of interest” in the slaying of a pregnant teen, Tanaya Gilbert. Oh, and the pimp thing? He was recently convicted of pimping a 13-year-old girl. He was released from prison after serving only a portion of his two-year sentence (read: parolee). Before sentencing, his
bottom feeder attorney described Harding as a young man on the mend following his…wait for it…juvenile robbery conviction.
The defense attorney said, “Kenneth Harding looks forward to re-enrolling in community college upon his release from custody. He recognizes that his former lifestyle does not provide long-term choices, and has used the time for reflection and development of plans for the future.” Hard to argue the long-term choices bit.
One other thing about Harding’s past. He pleaded out to attempted first-degree promoting prostitution after initially being charged with child rape. (That’s a post for another time about how crime gets dealt down to improve “closure rates”). I just want to make sure you understand the background of the man/boy about whom you’re so darn perturbed. Oh, and he was in violation of his parole by simply being in San Francisco.
Now, let’s move on the incident itself. Police were conducting Muni fare inspections when Harding took off running after not paying his fare (read: act of guilt). The police (like they’re supposed to) ran after Harding. At some point during the foot pursuit, Harding fired shots at police. They returned fire. They were better shots than Harding.
Here’s a lesson for you wannabe pimps/gangstas: if you shoot at the po-po, we will shoot back. We don’t pull any of that gangsta-hold-the-gun-sideways bullshit, either. So, protestors, are you upset at the lack of ability in Harding’s shooting skill? Are you protesting at the lack of senseless innocent bystander death? No?
Okay. It’s a race thing, right? I mean Harding was a black guy and the cops were white, right? I mean, Lord knows all cops are white. Hang on…turns out there is a video on sfweekly.com taken by a bystander. There appears to be two Hispanic officers, one black officer and maybe a white officer in the background. (Be warned the video contains graphic images and language).
So, you watched the video, right? You’re mad that the officers didn’t render medical aid? Let’s talk about that. First, about 40 seconds into the video you can hear SFFD sirens. Do you think there were just driving by or do you think the police called them. Nevermind, I wouldn’t want you to hurt your brains. Why didn’t the officers render aid while waiting on the ambulance? Watch the video again. How many angry people in the
mob crowd did you see? Five to every one officer? Ten? That crowd delayed Harding getting medical attention. The cops had to protect themselves and pay attention to the crowd instead of rendering aid.
By the way, Happy Medic and I have talked about scene safety/security in the past. Did this scene look safe to you? That crowd should have been happy Harding received medical attention at all.
Let’s recap. You’re protesting the justified shooting of an armed/dangerous (a redundant term if ever there was one) parolee/sex offender wanted in connection for a murder in Seattle that was shooting (corroborated by gun shot residue and witness statements) arbitrarily at cops (and the public, by the by)?
I’ll assume that makes sense. Your reaction? Using sticks and hammers to vandalize buildings and smash signs, disrupting traffic and cable cars and refusing to disperse after a lawful order to do so. I’d ask you to explain the correlation by, as I previously stated, I’m not interested in your point of view. That plus you’re a bunch of fools that just like to break shit and fuck up honest citizens commute.
California and the Bay Area in particular have let you people run rough shod for far too long. You’ve lost your perspective, if ever you truly had it. You are nothing more than a bunch of maladjusted miscreants hell-bent on doing damage for no other reason than you think you may get away with it (and maybe a nice new pair of Air Jordans to boot). Whatever happened to the days of “Ask. Tell. Take.”? These multi-hour crime parades only represent to the rest of us the absolute denigration of society as a whole because good people refuse to speak out for fear of retaliation. To quote one of my favorite movies, “Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.” When the right to protest and peaceably assemble is overshadowed by violence and out-and-out disregard for the safety of the public and property, that right ceases to be a right and crosses over into the realm of criminal behavior.
How many of the “protestors” arrested (43 at last count) will actually be prosecuted and see any significant jail time? I choose not to think about that to avoid the risk of a potential aneurysm.
The only saving grace I’ve seen about this entire incident is reading the comments on the blogosphere and seeing the overwhelming majority stating just about the same thing as I’ve said here. Some less eloquently, but much more succinctly.
Photo Credit: Flickr and Franco Folini