Live from the Berkeley Riots

 

National media have carried photos and videos of the rioting in Berkeley over the weekend in response to the police brutality cases in Missouri and New York City. The protests were initially peaceful, well within what is protected by the First Amendment, and a reasonable response by a community that has grievances which should be addressed in the political process. But in the course of the protests, gangs of anarchists became the face of the occasion by destroying public and private property. They smashed store windows, looted stores like Trader Joe’s and Radio Shack, set fires in the streets, and tried to deface city hall and the police station. They attacked police officers and tried to destroy police vehicles. They stopped traffic on major streets and highways.

There is a terrible irony here. The activist left protesting the city government of Berkeley, Calif. is like communists holding a demonstration in front of the Kremlin or the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. If there is a left-wing paradise in the U.S., it is the People’s Republic of Berkeley. Just the other day, the city voted to tax sugar in sodas (to take a stand against “Big Soda”). It requires free marijuana for the homeless (don’t ask me about what we would call implementation problems). It has its own higher minimum wage. It thinks it is a nuclear-free zone. And so on. And then there was the 1960s.

But all of this silly posturing pales in comparison to the failure of the city authorities to maintain basic law and order. Berkeley no doubt attracts anarchists seeking to make trouble. But the city’s lax attitudes must contribute to the lawlessness on the streets. City administrators and the city council members who would rather spend time issuing resolutions on U.S. foreign policy are incapable of taking a responsible line on the anarchists who are destroying our downtown. Police may arrest them, but they must question whether the city’s political leaders will back them up. I’ve been told that prosecutors are reluctant to bring cases against protesters who destroy property because they feel that they will get no political support and juries may not convict.

So if you wants to see the result of progressive theories of law enforcement and urban policy, you need look no further than the smashed up Berkeley downtown. It makes me wonder why anyone would run a business there, which will only lead to a further downward spiral of the city. If it were not for the University of California flagship campus here, the greatest public university in the world, Berkeley would soon be assuming the status of a sad suburb of a sad city (Oakland).

There are 22 comments.

  1. Pilli Inactive

    “Police may arrest them, but they must question whether the city’s political leaders will back them up. I’ve been told that prosecutors are reluctant to bring cases against protesters who destroy property because they feel that they will get no political support and juries may not convict.”

    And people wonder why some cops may lean a bit heavy on arestees. (Is that a word?) Cops in Berkeley must feel like “Protect and Defend” does not apply there.

    • #1
    • December 8, 2014, at 2:24 PM PDT
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  2. Tuck Inactive

    Berzerkly, indeed.

    Stay safe!

    • #2
    • December 8, 2014, at 2:51 PM PDT
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  3. Mike H Coolidge

    There are different types of anarchists. I would like the adoption of the terms left-anarchists and right-anarchists to differentiate the ones who want chaos, no property rights, and resort to violence, with the ones who want order, strong property rights, and are non-violent.

    • #3
    • December 8, 2014, at 5:04 PM PDT
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  4. Casey Inactive

    First time anybody went into Radio Shack in 20 years and they looted the place. Tough break.

    • #4
    • December 8, 2014, at 6:54 PM PDT
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  5. Totus Porcus Inactive

    I can’t wait for all the stories about how the protesters blocking major traffic arteries caused parents to be late picking up their kids and ambulances to be delayed taking urgently ill patients to the hospital.

    You know, just like the traffic jams on the GW Bridge.

    • #5
    • December 8, 2014, at 9:29 PM PDT
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  6. Brandon Phelps Inactive

    Who decides to join the police force in Berkley?

    • #6
    • December 8, 2014, at 10:02 PM PDT
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  7. Reckless Endangerment Member

    When does the Yoo for Mayor campaign begin? John can stand outside the Trader Joe’s on a makeshift stage and announce his candidacy then and there!

    • #7
    • December 8, 2014, at 10:18 PM PDT
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  8. Joseph Stanko Member

    Totus Porcus:I can’t wait for all the stories about how the protesters blocking major traffic arteries caused parents to be late picking up their kids and ambulances to be delayed taking urgently ill patients to the hospital.

    You know, just like the traffic jams on the GW Bridge.

    Local TV news (KTVU) did report a woman in labor was caught in traffic on I80 blocked by protesters tonight.

    • #8
    • December 8, 2014, at 10:33 PM PDT
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  9. Joseph Stanko Member

    Mike H:There are different types of anarchists. I would like the adoption of the terms left-anarchists and right-anarchists to differentiate the ones who want chaos, no property rights, and resort to violence, with the ones who want order, strong property rights, and are non-violent.

    I don’t think the left-anarchists would say they want chaos or violence, either. John Lennon’s Imagine is a vision of a left-anarchist’s utopia.

    • #9
    • December 8, 2014, at 10:47 PM PDT
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  10. AIG Inactive
    AIG

    John Yoo: It makes me wonder why anyone would run a business there, which will only lead to a further downward spiral of the city. If it were not for the University of California flagship campus here, the greatest public university in the world, Berkeley would soon be assuming the status of a sad suburb of a sad city (Oakland)

    Well, you answered your own question here. Businesses are there because you are there. And you are there because UC Berkley is there.

    I.e., there’s relatively well off people living there due to the school, surrounded by a sea of absurdity.

    The absurdity is amusing during “peace time”. Hippies are great to have around to serve you coffee, and make crafty things, and serve you in restaurants. But in “war time”, the hippies will get you.

    So perhaps hippies aren’t all that much of an asset.

    It’s a trade-off you have to make. You can live in a place with nice coffee houses and restaurants, but poor law enforcement, crazy politics, and the frequent enough expressions of “social justice”. Or you can live in a place like Texas with, less nice coffee houses, less nice restaurants, but good politics, good law enforcement and no “social justice”.

    It all depends on how much you really value that “artisanal” cup cake.

    • #10
    • December 9, 2014, at 1:24 AM PDT
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  11. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    Casey:First time anybody went into Radio Shack in 20 years and they looted the place.Tough break.

    Let’s not bust on the Shack. Whenever I need to pick up some kind of electronics device, I go there – in homage to the old school. They still carry most of what you need and nothing of what you don’t, which is 800 flat screen TV’s on the walls.

    Maybe I have a thing for radio-controlled cars from my childhood, but there ya go.

    • #11
    • December 9, 2014, at 3:43 AM PDT
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  12. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    Burlington, VT, is trying really super-hard to become Berkeley.

    Raise the minimum wage? Check.

    City council making pronouncements about war ‘n stuff? Check.

    City secretly shovels $17 million from its “cash pool” to prop up a failing municipal telecom that the city didn’t need but city councilors wanted, for the people? Check.

    Bernie Sanders was mayor here. Check. No link required.

    In other words, if a city’s biggest enterprise, aside from the hospital, is a university, then, for some reason, you see a lot of lefty knuckleheads doing lefty knucklehead things. It’s not just Berkeley, obviously – it’s academia.

    • #12
    • December 9, 2014, at 3:49 AM PDT
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  13. Ontheleftcoast Inactive

    Pilli:And people wonder why some cops may lean a bit heavy on arestees. (Is that a word?) Cops in Berkeley must feel like “Protect and Defend” does not apply there.

    More like “catch and release.”

    • #13
    • December 9, 2014, at 5:34 AM PDT
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  14. Seawriter Member

    AIG: Or you can live in a place like Texas with, less nice coffee houses, less nice restaurants, but good politics, good law enforcement and no “social justice”. It all depends on how much you really value that “artisanal” cup cake.

    Visit Austin. Or the Montrose district of Houston. They have great coffee houses and restaurants. And while Austin (Keep Austin Weird) and Houston (with its crazy mayor) may have dodgy politics and pay lip service to social justice, the law enforcement is still good.

    Seawriter

    • #14
    • December 9, 2014, at 7:44 AM PDT
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  15. Omid Moghadam Member

    Who cares about the crazies in and out of Berkeley government, just make sure that you liberate a nice audio system at the Bang & Olufsen store. :)

    • #15
    • December 9, 2014, at 7:59 AM PDT
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  16. Mike H Coolidge

    Joseph Stanko:

    Mike H:There are different types of anarchists. I would like the adoption of the terms left-anarchists and right-anarchists to differentiate the ones who want chaos, no property rights, and resort to violence, with the ones who want order, strong property rights, and are non-violent.

    I don’t think the left-anarchists would say they want chaos or violence, either. John Lennon’s Imagine is a vision of a left-anarchist’s utopia.

    Well, people’s acts are more important than what they say. Left-anarchism at least has a violence issue. They typically want to get from A to B through “revolution,” and many take that to mean go where there’s riots and break things.

    • #16
    • December 9, 2014, at 8:05 AM PDT
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  17. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Mike H:There are different types of anarchists. I would like the adoption of the terms left-anarchists and right-anarchists to differentiate the ones who want chaos, no property rights, and resort to violence, with the ones who want order, strong property rights, and are non-violent.

    Anarcho-Syndicalists.

    • #17
    • December 9, 2014, at 8:12 AM PDT
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  18. Kay of MT Member

    Another black man killed by a white cop, after the black man stabbed a Jew, in a Jewish study center. Come on Berkley, Los Angeles, Ferguson, New York, let’s have more riots, and carnage.

    http://www.seraphicpress.com/jewish-lives-matter/comment-page-1/#comment-99201

    • #18
    • December 9, 2014, at 12:32 PM PDT
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  19. Tuck Inactive

    Chris Campion: It’s not just Berkeley, obviously – it’s academia.

    Academia: the cancer in Western Civilization.

    • #19
    • December 9, 2014, at 1:10 PM PDT
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  20. AIG Inactive
    AIG

    Seawriter: Visit Austin. Or the Montrose district of Houston. They have great coffee houses and restaurants. And while Austin (Keep Austin Weird) and Houston (with its crazy mayor) may have dodgy politics and pay lip service to social justice, the law enforcement is still good.

    Nah. Montrose is full of yuppies from the oil and finance industry. No hippies in sight. Lots of “gays”, which is what makes it so “vibrant”, but that’s different from hippies. And I’d bet 95% of Houstonians had never heard of who the mayor of Houston was, before her latest stunt ( I certainly had never heard of her before)

    And that’s the beauty of a place like Houston: no one cares about the local government. You shouldn’t have to care.

    Austin, yes, I’ll give you that. It’s got hippies. But Austin isn’t really “in” Texas.

    • #20
    • December 9, 2014, at 5:38 PM PDT
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  21. Damocles Inactive

    Snapz048

    • #21
    • December 10, 2014, at 12:18 AM PDT
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  22. Brandon Phelps Inactive

    AIG: The absurdity is amusing during “peace time”. Hippies are great to have around to serve you coffee, and make crafty things, and serve you in restaurants. But in “war time”, the hippies will get you.

    That right there is the funniest thing I’ve heard all month.

    • #22
    • December 15, 2014, at 11:26 PM PDT
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