(Not So) Dear Valencia Vandals

May 2nd, 2012

So, as most local folks know, the night before last, there was a bunch of vandalism on Valencia Street just a block and a half from Princess Animal HQ. Apparently a splinter group of Occupy Oakland decided to take what was a peaceful protest and turn it into an opportunity for mass mayhem. Paint boms, anarchy signs, and shattered storefront and car windows.

Here’s what was accomplished. In one fell swoop, this splinter group managed to destroy any goodwill small business owners had for the Occupy movement. Right or wrong, Occupy is now associated with this senseless complete stupidity. Small business owners are so far from the 1% it’s ridiculous. In addition, here’s what really happens.

Let’s take two examples. Weston Wear’s window was smashed in. Why? Do the 1% parade around in stretch dresses? So the owners have to call it in to their insurance. The result is that insurance rates immediately rise for everyone on the street. In addition, Weston Wear has to close for a day to install a new window. That means that whoever works there loses a day’s pay. Is that person, who is probably fairly young, and has to live with a bunch of roommates and whose paycheck day-by-day makes the difference in paying their rent or not, really part of the 1%? Not likely. In addition, shoppers are going to think twice about coming to Valencia. We hope they won’t, but could definitely be a residual effect. That brings everybody down again. With a dip in business, owners won’t be able to afford extra help. In extreme circumstances, something like this could put a very small business out of business.

Now let’s take some of the many cars whose windows were smashed in. Aside from the one or two luxury mobiles, there were a ton of everyday cars that got vandalized. That “luxury” 1999 honda might belong to a dishwasher who works at, say Locanda, another restaurant that got vandalized–while people were in there eating dinner. That may be this person’s only way to get to work. Maybe they can’t afford to live in the city, which is why they’re driving. The car’s in the shop, and again, they may lose out on a day’s pay because they can’t make it to work. Part of the 1%? Oh, dishwasher, stop waving your fat offshore accounts in our poor faces!

I’m very, very thankful the Princess wasn’t hit (as a royal, she’d be a prime target). But very angry this occurred at all.

I should mention that a conspiracy theory floating around is that enemies of the Occupy movement (ie big corporations) hired thugs to perpetrate the violence and make Occupy look bad. While that’s a good plot that would fit in perfectly on the show “Revenge” (Victoria Grayson hires thugs to detract from the murder of Amanda’s father!), in reality, that would require more forethought than I think the thugs were capable of. I suspect that it was just a bunch of juvies who saw an opportunity to get all giddy on smashing stuff up. Actually, I think they probably were just going to paint bomb stuff, and then got outta hand, french revolution mob style.

Way to stick it to the Man!

Anyway, to bring it back to knitting, now you can knit your very own 1964 Balaclava, and stand out from the mob!

Am I wrong? Disagree? Think these dopes were geniuses of social change? Bring it in the comments.balaclava2brokenwindow

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