By Ronald Owens What’s more valuable, your life or a stolen vehicle? To most people, that’s probably a no-brainer. Your life, of course. Let’s rephrase the question. What’s more valuable to a police officer chasing a suspected car thief – the stolen car, or your life? Judging from the frequency with which innocent bystanders are […]
By Ron Owens Mass murders get some people all stirred up. TV news shows become obsessed and devote all their attention to the homicides and to peoples’ reactions to them. You go to work or to the supermarket and that’s all people are talking about. The President of the United States even breaks into national […]
What’s healthy about our community? What’s not healthy about it? How can we improve it? These questions were posed to patrons of the Oakland Museum of California at the institution’s free First Sunday on December 2, 2012. I also solicited an opinion on Oakland from a man on the street in downtown Berkeley. I found many […]
It seems that if you’re not killed by a cop, you’re a just a garden variety homicide victim. People don’t get too upset. You might get an impromptu curbside memorial. The local TV news might mention the killing in passing. And then, the victim of the day will be forgotten until the next man, woman, or child gets shot and killed. People seem to get up in arms only if a cop does the killing, à la Oscar Grant or Alan Blueford. If it’s black on black, it’s business as usual. But if it’s cop on black – oh, damn, it’s on!
Protesters, spectators, passers-by, and police gathered at Oakland’s city hall plaza on October 25, 2012, marking the one-year anniversary of the day the police tore down Occupy Oakland’s tent camp encampment at the plaza. West Oakland resident Janay Smith, 20, talks about the anniversary event and the relevance, and the irrelevance, of the Occupy movement.
President Obama believes in settling things over beer. So I went to one of Oakland’s biggest beer parties to settle a question that must be big on his mind right now: four more years, or one (term) and done? As the locally sourced, micro-brewed organic lager flowed at this year’s Oaktoberfest in Dimond, I polled a few revelers on Barack’s prospects for another go round in the Oval Office.
By Ronald Owens On a recent visit to the Walmart store in the heart of East Oakland, I discovered that the world’s largest retailer carries tons of magazines about guns. Tactical arms. Shotguns. Concealed pistols. You name the type of gun, and East Oakland’s Walmart has a magazine that’s devoted to it. I wasn’t looking […]
“I’m an evangelist and a motivational speaker. I can read people. I could see that you were a guarded person when you asked if you could talk with me.” I couldn’t disagree with her. “You’re passive-aggressive. Writing down what people say. I used to be passive, too. I can show you how to use aggression. Give me three hours, I can have you rewired.” Just three hours? I asked Ward if she could give me a weave, and joked that I’d come in for one and she could straighten me out then. She laughed. “Give me three hours. I’m gonna call you! I’m serious!”
Mary misses her friend who recently died, a retired fireman who lived at end of block. She was kind of sweet on him, but it never went anywhere. The man never told his age, and she never understood the point of that because he looked like a senior citizen. “He wasn’t going to fool anyone,” she said.