Thursday, April 22, 2010

San Francisco Diary--Journal Of An Exile

The annual Fleet Week festivities are not until October, but I found this picture of the Blue Angels flying over the Golden Gate on my desktop, and it just felt right for publishing today, even though it's still early spring and the skies are gray. Skilled pilots, ready to use their training in dramatic flying to protect us in real wars, always seem an appropriate theme.

NOTE: A tragic and somewhat mystifying story has developed regarding the violent death of a San Francisco man on the streets of Oakland, and the serious injury of his son. Jin Cheng Yu asked his father, Tian Sheng Yu, to accompany him to Oakland for a quick shopping trip. The elder Yu hesitated, telling his son that he thought Oakland was a dangerous place. The son convinced him there was nothing to worry about. He should have paid heed to his father's concerns. Shortly after they arrived at the area around 19th Street and Telegraph Avenue (which leads into Berkeley), they were accosted by two local thugs. The father was pushed around some, but the son wasn't aware of it until the thugs moved on and his father told him about it.

The son, with his father in tow, then caught up with the thugs, and demanded to know why they had treated his father so roughly for no reason. The verbal argument got heated, and in short order the thugs had beaten up both the father and the son. The beatings were so bad that the father's skull was cracked on the curb, and he died the following day. The son is still recovering from his injuries. The thugs were caught on the cameras of a local business, and they have been arrested and held on several felony charges, including one count of murder.

That's the tragic part. Now here's the part that mystifies me. The thugs were African-Americans, the victims Chinese immigrants. The reaction of the community and the family of the victims seems very odd. At a meeting of the Chinese community held at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, the grieving widow and several speakers caused the memorial to turn into "a rally against violence, especially attacks on minorities and the elderly." Have things become so politically-skewed and reactions to racial tensions so pro forma that even the loved ones of innocent victims can't identify the actual underlying problem?

First of all, aren't blacks and Asians "minorities?" Who are the "majority" that are expected to refrain from beating up and murdering minorities and the elderly? Black on Asian crime has become a wildfire in both San Francisco and now, apparently, Oakland. How does such abstract talk about "minorities" and "violence" help to solve the real conflict? Zhi Rui Wang, the widow, said: "Even though my husband is gone, I will be strong, because I want us to join together to make sure that this won't happen to another family." That speech was given in her native Mandarin Chinese. My heart goes out to her, and her sentiments are certainly logical and understandable. But who is the "us" who are supposed to join together to solve the problem?

One of the local residents who attended the memorial, a young man who lives in the same neighborhood where the assailants come from, told a TV interviewer that he had a different perspective on the beatings. "They came into our town, and they don't speak English we can understand (the father spoke very little English, still knowing Mandarin only) and that causes misunderstandings. That is probably what caused the argument." As if that explains beating a man to death, and grievously injuring the other. The son speaks rather good English, though heavily-accented. Since he spoke in that accented English when asking the thugs why they pushed his father around, does that justify assault, battery and murder?

Elderly Asian immigrants have been shoved, pushed, threatened, robbed and even pushed onto the tracks in the path of oncoming commuter trains in both Oakland and San Francisco over the past few months. Many of the assaults were caught on-camera, and all were committed by young blacks. There's an epidemic of violence, all right. But pretending that there isn't a clear single racial issue involved is not going to do a thing for curing whatever ails the perpetrators. And pleading for love and understanding is not going to protect the Asian immigrant community. It's time to call for special task forces, increased patrols, serious investigations, and meaningful prosecutions.

The recent tragedy occurred at 19th and Telegraph in broad daylight. The local news described the area as relatively safe and crime-free. Relative to what? That whole strip is very dangerous during the day, and a war zone at night. Between there and 12th and Broadway, office workers in the financial district who work late shifts are escorted by the police and local patrols to their cars or the lines of waiting cabs so that they don't have to walk more than a block unprotected. Back in San Francisco, all Asian immigrants, and particularly elderly Asian immigrants taking late trains and buses at night take their lives in their own hands at certain well-known stations and bus stops. The crimes, the criminal areas, and the profile of the victims are all well-known to the police. So let's quit pretending that the problem is merely generic "violent attacks on minorities and the elderly."

NOTE: Former San Francisco Supervisor and current attorney/consultant, Michael Yaki (aka Yakkety Yaki) has decided he hasn't screwed up San Francisco enough, so now he's going to criticize Arizona. You know what he's up to as soon as you read the opening paragraph: "The Arizona legislature--a body known for, among other things, it's [sic.] 'open carry' law and trying to impose strict financial liability on property owners who require citizens to check their open-carry firearms in the [sic.] case some other nutball in the place opens up with a Glock and injures someone--has presented to the Governor a bill that would make Arizona the least hospitable place in America to be an immigrant or first-generation American."

Now you know why we called him Yakkety Yaki. In one paragraph, he has summed up Arizonans as gun-nuts and irrational xenophobes. What ticks him off, of course, is that Arizonans got fed up to the neck with the massive influx of violent illegal immigrants coming across their southern border. There is next to zero help from the Border Patrol, I.C.E. or any other federal agency which is supposed to be guarding our borders and picking up illegal immigrants. So the Arizona legislature is empowering its peace officers to do what the feds should be doing, but aren't. He is particularly annoyed that the officers will be allowed to use "reasonable suspicion of unlawful activity" as a ground for questioning people who seem coincidentally of Latin American extinction.

He compared it to the relatively unsuccessful and similar effort in Prince William County, Maryland. Well, what it did was drive the illegals out of Prince William County and into adjoining Maryland counties. That's a start. Apparently, Yaki doesn't recognize that a whole state can do a lot better than a single county. And has he looked at a map recently? Neither Prince William County nor Maryland shares a border with Mexico. Arizona residents have been murdered, their lands destroyed, and their well-being seriously threatened by the wave of illegal immigrants. The primary purpose of a government is to protect its citizens. Arizona is simply saying that if the federal government won't do it, Arizona will.

As for those dangerous "open carry" people, I suggest that if Yaki thinks they're dangerous, he should take his case to the streets. If he wants to find out what anti-immigrant violence looks like, perhaps he could set up his shop at 19th and Telegraph in Oakland. At least he won't have to worry about the cops.

NOTE: Well--here's a shocker. "A man suffered life-threatening injuries today when he was hit by a Muni trolley bus in San Francisco's financial district." Like we've never heard of a Muni accident. I'm sure they'll take this up at Thursday's Board of Supervisors/Muni joint meeting where they will continue to discuss increased fares and reduced service. Some of the drivers may even sober up long enough to attend. The bus that hit the pedestrian was rear-ended by another Muni bus directly behind it. The only reason I'm not placing all the blame on Muni is that San Franciscans seem to think crosswalks are off-limits and traffic signals are Christmas displays. Jay-walking is as San Franciscan as sex tents.

NOTE: Awww. The San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Committee (SF Pride) has awarded its annual "Pink Brick Award" to, wait for it, a homosexual. The dubious distinction award is reserved for people who have done the least for gay causes and done the most to thwart gay agendas. This year's recipient is California state Sen. Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield. After a drunk driving arrest, Ashburn came out during a tearful radio confession. It seems he got drunk while attending the Miss Gay Latina Sacramento competition. He is also apparently well-known in most of the gay bars in Sacramento.

Ashburn is the first outed gay person to receive the award. He has one of the most consistent records in the state legislature for voting against gay-friendly legislation. Previous recipients of the award include Miss California Carrie Prejean, San Francisco Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly. Ashburn's confession sounded a lot like "being gay made me drunk," but maybe I heard it wrong. But his opposition to gay measures are largely comprised of things I oppose as well, as do some of my gay friends in The City. Most of them say they just want equality, but most of these measures give them special protection that they feel singles them out for "helpless victim status."

Still, Ashburn didn't attack most of the measures on logical grounds. It was largely comprised of "they" are asking for special treatment as a lot of sinful perverts. That seems more than a little hypocritical to me as well as to SF Pride. I'm not quite sure who to root for in this dogfight.

NOTE: I'm sure some of you have noticed that I haven't been including the crazed Mark Morford SF Gate articles for awhile. I can't keep up with his wild ramblings, and each of his articles requires both a review and a complete psychoanalysis. But his latest caught my eye. "How many companies want you dead?" He didn't disappoint. It turns out, in case you didn't know it, that big life insurance companies are in cahoots with big fast food companies so the fast food joints can feed you food that will kill you and the insurance companies will somehow make a profit from it. Or something like that. If you need a good laugh, don't mind an occasional obscenity, and are not offended by what seem to be drug-induced visions of non-conspiracy conspiracies, you can read it here: Insured Indigestion.


StanH said...

I love to see the Blue Angels, an amazing display of flying skill, with a heavy dose of patriotism.

It would seem that the Asians are trying to appease a bully. This will only make them marks for future crimes.

If the governor of Arizona signs that way overdue bill into law, perhaps that will be the beginning of real immigration reform, enforcing American sovereignty, wouldn’t that be a novel approach.

By the way it’s “earth day!” Be sure to turn all electrical appliances on.

CrisD said...

That's right. Stan! I got on just to make sure I wished LawHawk a...

Happy Earth Day!!

And no news from San Fran's Earth Day celebrations???

AndrewPrice said...

Wait a minute! They are allowing military flights over San Francisco?

First, that reeks of patriotic militarism. . . how wrong!

Secondly, how can we waste such money when it could be better spent on giving homes to the homeless and zoos to the zooless! Tsk tsk.


Unknown said...

StanH: Although the most horrific and public attacks have been on elderly Asians, the vast majority have been on recent immigrants with few English skills. So there is some explanation based on the limited ability to communicate their fears, plus a likely old world fear of the police. What mystifies me is that in San Francisco in particular, the Asian community, largely the Chinese, is not some helpless, tiny minority. The recently retired chief of police is of Chinese descent. They are a major political force, and a large portion of the population. I don't know why they are so willing to allow this to go on.

Unknown said...

CrisD: Ah, we forgot to tell you. San Francisco is not part of earth, ergo, no need to celebrate earth day.

True story: About ten years ago, the National Chamber of Commerce held its convention here at Moscone Center. The chairman opened the convention with the following words: "Greetings to the people of San Francisco from the people of Earth."

Unknown said...

Andrew: It's only by accident. The Blue Angels perform as part of Fleet Week. Fleet Week is very popular because it allows a substantial portion of the population to utter the classic words: "Hi, sailor, new in town?"

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That may be, but I think it should be stopped. Think of the children?

Unknown said...

Andrew: The children? Forget them. Think of poor Kitty Kelly. Every time they fly about six feet over the roof of my apartment, she disappears under the bed for days. I have to do my own writing and editing while she hides. That alone should be enough reason to stop them!

Tennessee Jed said...

Great picture, Hawk - The story of the tragic murder of the elderly man reminded me a little of the Clint Eastwood picure Grand Torino. It probably seems like I am a racist, but I really get tired of black on black, white, yellow, crimes and someone always making excuses.

If you want a really senseless violence story, locally we just had a 72 year old who had been drinking continuously laying on his horn to a 67 year old guy who was driving his golf cart down the road from the course back to his house after playing a round of golf. I guess the man in the car was in a hurry and foul mood. The other guy stopped his golf cart, went back to confront the guy in the car and was shot in the chest at point blank range and killed.

The shooter had previously worked at the golf course on two seperate occasions, had been laid-off once and subsequently fired, and apparently required to receive anger management counseling, yet he had a valid "carry permit." Pretty bizarre, no?

Unknown said...

Tennessee: It's all very sad. Black people are no more genetically predisposed to violence than any of the rest of us. But they're brought up all too often in fatherless and violent environments. I understand some of the behavior, but I don't endorse or forgive it either. Only when it is made clear that nobody, and I mean nobody, is going to tolerate lawless behavior and violence, is this problem ever going to improve. "It's a cultural thing" is just a facile way of making sure that racial relations never improve and that violence will be tut-tutted, but never quelled.

BevfromNYC said...

Happy Earth Day! I ride public transportation every day so I can be smug knowing that I do not add a carbon foot print. I also only exhale every 4th breath just to make sure...really, I do.

You have to be special breed of reprehensible to beat up old people. And, you are right LawHawk, until we start calling it what it is, it will never stop.

Unknown said...

Bev: And happy earth day to you. Our local homeless are celebrating the day by being particularly dirt-y.

I can't get my mind around this thing of beating up old people. And when you see some of the videos, you can tell these gangsters think it's a really fun game. They aren't angry, and there are very few actual robberies involved. They're just having a little fun. It's damned sick and damnably inhuman.

Unknown said...

LATE NOTE: The Alameda County (Oakland) District Attorney has decided that there will be no hate crime allegations in the murder and assault and battery case. The lame excuse is that "the young men had been drinking, and they were full of teenage rage." That clearly eliminates any possibility that this was a hate crime. Oh, brother! It reminds me of the European newspapers that report a crime was committed by "restless Asian youths" when in fact it was Muslim murderers attacking Jews. No hate crime there, either.

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