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July 10, 2010


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Oakland, California.


Sadly and unsurprisingly, Oakland, California erupted in violence following the involuntary manslaughter verdict in the Mehserle case (the accidental killing of an unruly BART passenger, Oscar Grant, a parolee by transit authority officer who drew a firearm instead of his TASER).


The Oakland Police, led by Chief Batts (a highly competent African American cop) were assisted by seventeen of the Bay Area police agencies.  The destruction affected 100 businesses (windows smashed in a variety of businesses from a pawn shop to the high end Whole Foods grocery),  but the riot was confined to a nine block area near City Hall.  Police arrested more than six dozen rioters, and seized Molotov cocktails and gasoline containers among other weapons.  Chief Batts called the rioters ‘anarchists”.


Oakland’s hapless mayor is a 60’s leftist and the former congressman who is credited (if that’s the word) with driving almost all of the naval and military bases out of the Bay Area (he served as the chair of the Hours Armed Services Committee).  This, in part, is what he had to say about the riots:


“I am incredibly, extraordinarily, unwaveringly proud of the character displayed by this community.” 

To be fair, Mr. Dellums was referring to the subset of the ‘protesters’ who were just exercising their

First Amendment rights.  But the echo of the 60’s is unmistakable, particularly in the light of Mr. Dellums earlier positions in which anti-war demonstrators were also protected by the First Amendment while running amok in Berkeley.  Among the left, mere ‘property damage’ is an acceptable price to pay for dissent.  Sadly, Oakland is deep in depression and the affected businesses – as well as the larger business community – have suffered a grievous blow by this exercise.


Like so many urban centers, still enthralled with the victim rhetoric of the 60’s, Oakland suffers from recurring eruptile dysfunction.


Jay B Gaskill

Attorney at Law


These comments were based on a excellent report in today’s San Francisco Chronicle written by Henry Lee (whose just released book about the Han Raiser Trial, “Presumed Dead” - http://calendar.insidebayarea.com/san-francisco-ca/events/show/124751985-sf-chron-crime-reporter-henry-lee-presumed-dead-a-true-life-murder-mystery  ) is highly recommended...and not just because he mentions me.




Read Jay B Gaskill’s Lost Souls Coffee Shop, an allegory for the human condition.  And The Stranded Ones, a near-future novel about a potential Armageddon-scale “immigration” problem.  Hint:  They’re not from around here.  Both books are sold as e-books by Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ireadiwrite Publishing and 10 other on-line book retailers.  Just Google “Jay B Gaskill” and the book’s title.  



July 08, 2010


The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com    
As Posted On
The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1   
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are --
Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article - except for personal use - is needed.
Forwarded links are welcomed.
Contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com





Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Officer Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant, a parolee whose unruly behavior prompted a police response to the Oakland BART Station last year. 


LINK: http://abcnews.go.com/US/jury-deliberates-transit-shooting-death/story?id=11094614 . 


The jury has obviously adopted the defense theory - that Officer Mehserle, acting in the heat of the moment, mistakenly drew his firearm, instead of his newly-issued TASER.  The other option, consistent with mistake, would have been voluntary manslaughter, which is triggered (no pun intended) by the eruption of a sudden quarrel or anger.  A second degree murder was also rejected by the jury, telling us that the twelve fact-finders did not find that the killing was done with any malice...racial or otherwise. 

Oakland, California is a dangerous city-on-edge, with a population containing angry citizens of all races and backgrounds who are fed up with crime, and who are deeply worried about impending budget cuts that would eviscerate its police department.  The BART Police department is a separate agency, reporting to the Oakland Port Authority.  The trial was moved to LA on a change of venue motion.

It would be tragically inappropriate for "Oaktown' to erupt in an orgy of violence and protests over this verdict.  There will be no national "Rodney King" moment here.   This was not a racially motivated execution.


Justice was done.


The defendant's sentencing hearing is next. 



July 02, 2010

Celebrating Earnest

July 2, 2010

This was the day that Earnest Hemingway killed himself in Ketchum, Idaho, 1961.  As it happens, I was earning college money by working on a highway construction crew somewhere in the same territory at the time.

Hemingway is quoted as saying,

“All good books have one thing in common - they are truer than if they had really happened.”

Much the same could be said about his life. 




Attorney at Law


A note to the fans of my legal commentary.  I decided early on not to follow the trial of Meserle, the Oakland case where a police officer shot and killed an unruly passenger.  The officer has been  tried for murder and a verdict is expected soon.  Yes, I once tried a similar case.  I fervently hope that the Oakland residents who went ballistic when the event was captured on video will remain calm and well behaved.  No, they are not likely to be pleased with the probable outcome. 


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