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 […]
By Ronald Owens Four young people who were still in their teens were gunned down in the streets of Oakland on a grim Thanksgiving Day weekend last year. Two of the victims were killed on a Saturday and the two others were shot dead on a Sunday. A 19-year-old young man and an 18-year-old young […]
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!
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.
This ongoing series explores the unusually diverse racial terrain of the eastside of Oakland, California. It asks members of East Oakland’s varied racial groups why they chose to live there, where they came from, where they’re going, how they see their own race, and what are their experiences with members of other races.
By Ronald Owens It’s a common marketing ploy among professional sports franchises to figuratively return their teams to a bygone era for a game, with an eye towards reaping enormous profits from the sale of “throwback” uniform jerseys and caps to fans. The Oakland Athletics, who play in East Oakland at the O.co Coliseum, had their throwback event in a […]