A darker post about super heroes or not so super heroes.
Nov 8th, 2010
All I wanted to do Friday afternoon was go downtown and take pictures of “real” people speaking their mind about the Mehserle/Grant case at the Oakland City Hall. They had singers, artists, and speakers to hopefully thwart off a possible riot after the sun went down. When I expressed my intentions to Steve I was told to remain at home and stay out of trouble. Seeing that I had viewed the outcome of 56 stray bullets the week before; he thought I had enough violence for the month. Like everyone else I needed some sort of closure. Johannes Mehserle, a BART Transit Officer, had faced a possible 14-year maximum term after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
The BART policeman had responded to trouble on one of the subway platforms and ended up using his gun instead of what he thought was his taser on Oscar Grant. The case against Mehserle had provoked a lot of horrible racial unrest in Oakland.They were supposed to announce the sentencing at noon and then it was delayed. Steve called every thirty minutes to make sure I was not going to do something stupid, as he said. I sat on my computer chair and sulked, and then I sulked some more. Finally just before 2 pm Mehserle’s verdict was announced–he had been given the minimum possible prison sentence of two years for fatally shooting an unarmed Grant.
I knew trouble was going to hit the fan and all I wanted to do was take the bus and get down there for some pictures. I put on my black hoodie and walked to the bus stop. I waited for 10 minutes and then as the bus approached I just let it go by. First, I cannot lie to anyone, and then a bigger question on my mind was about being able to run if need be. My legs are pitiful and I knew if I was chased by someone spotting my camera I would end up at the mercy of whomever caught me. I am not a superheroe and realized that when I took pictures of local crime.
I walked in the door, the phone was ringing, and it was Steve making sure I was home. I told him I had been taking pictures outside which was no lie. Nothing like taking pictures of spider webs when what I really wanted was to take pictures of citizens protesting injustice.
I was so angry I would never be like my hero Lois Lane. She was one tough as nails reporter who would have gone down there and been in the thick of it. Lois could probably run like the wind unlike myself and seldom needed rescuing. But if she absolutely needed to be saved, Superman would come running at the drop of a hat.
Saturday morning I went to the downtown bowels of Oakland and took pictures the day after the fact. I walked by Burger King and saw ‘The King’ in the window with the words:
“You are the Controller”.
I laughed out loud as I was not “the controller” nor was I Lois Lane. I had no Superman in my life except the one that drove me to take pictures. Walking towards the car I greeted some street people smoking a joint outside Walgreens. I put my camera back in my purse and realized I would forever have to settle being Jimmy Olsen. Not that there is anything wrong with that!
Be thankful that you live in the wonderful town of Carleton Place.. the other side of the fence has too many brutal realities. The average age of drug crime in the bay area is 15-19 years old.