Berkeley is a Riot

Berkeley has frequently been in the news lately. Just since the election of Donald Trump, there have been at least four big, nasty, and violent riots in our streets. The latest one was just last Saturday in downtown Berkeley, with numerous people arrested and injured.

Now hearing about all this anarchy, you may think that Berkeley is a crazy, uncivilized place, where mob rule reigns. You might also wonder if the residents are hypocrites, shutting down free speech, while lauding their reputation as starting the so-called free speech movement.

On both points, you would be right.

Berkeley is, in fact, an uncivilized place, and it’s getting worse every day. There are “homeless encampments,” all over the place, and violence is ever-present — both political and criminal. Not only is this a chaotic place to live, but what may be even more disturbing is that most people around here don’t seem to notice or care.

Most of the residents think that everything is normal, including the filth and drugs and sexual violence in the encampments; the frequent shootings by low-life thugs on a few mile stretch of interstate 80; and college students being beaten up for merely attending a campus event. Not only do many people think that all is well, but many voice their support of the rioting.

Now, this has always been a radical place. But the anarchy has increased significantly since Trump has been elected. Most of the violence is being conducted by paid operatives. But many residents applaud the mayhem. I think that this is partly because of their simmering rage and frustration about the election.

And there is an even more frightening undertone here — an us-versus-them mentality that has taken over the minds of so many around Berkeley, Oakland, etc. Either you’re with us, or you’re against us. Either you are l00% percent in favor of the riots or you are public enemy number one.

Take this conversation that I had with an acquaintance a couple of days ago, an otherwise pleasant, professional woman:

Me: I heard that there were more riots on Saturday in downtown Berkeley. That is just crazy.

She: Well, no wonder: people were spewing hate speech there.

Me: Really? What were they saying?

She: I don’t know, but I heard on KPFA {note: our local, radical radio station] that there were right wingers there who were saying hateful things.

Me: Like what? What did they say?

She: (getting annoyed) I told you, I don’t remember, but I’m sure that it was hate speech.

Me: Well, I just wish all of this fighting would stop — on both sides. I really find it stressful to live this way. I just want to be able to go over to Safeway or Trader Joe’s or wherever without having to worry about riots.

She: (Going into some hypnotic trance and glaring at me) Well if you believe that, you’re the enemy.

This was an actual conversation. I said a hasty goodbye and took off. I mean, what can you say to counter this irrational, paranoid thinking? 

I’ve been here for over 30 years and have never seen anything like it. When Bush the first was President and then W, there was barely a peep out of the populace. Sure, people were angry. But riots in the street? No.

I do recall one protest, which was a large, well-organized march down University Avenue to oppose the Iraqi War. But while the march was passionate, there wasn’t any violence or rioting.

But after President Obama took office, we started having frequent riots here, there, and everywhere —- for instance, the Facebook-organized occupations. These were mostly in downtown Oakland. Maybe that was a practice run. Now the puppeteers who control the brainwashed masses prefer whipping up social chaos in the supposedly iconic Berkeley.

Of course, no one cares about the problems all of this is causing ordinary residents. On Saturday, the Berkeley downtown BART station had to be closed. This isn’t Manhattan, with subway stations on every couple of blocks. The closest BART station to downtown is several miles away. And people who live and work in downtown Berkeley were, I’m sure, frightened and disrupted by the violence, helicopters, blocked streets, and the like.

None of this frequent rioting is coincidental or spontaneous: the American Left is using the same destructive tactics that it perfected back in the day. And given the ease of using the Internet for coordination, it will be a long while (if ever) before any of this stops.

In the meantime, the average Jane or Joe, like me, can’t simply go over to Whole Foods without taking his life in his hands. And no one seems to notice or care.

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