Oaklanders rang in 2009 with our first killing, amplified for the world to see. There’s plenty to say about Oscar Grant’s terrible demise, the BART cop, the inflamed protests, more orderly rallies – and seeing justice served.
In peaceful Montclair, we seem to be appropriately horrified by the killing and relieved the BART cop will be tried for murder. But is that really enough?
As I meet folks around Montclair Village, there’s not a high level of outrage here. While I genuinely believe that people care, there’s a certain and clear distance from the goings-on. Here’s an unadorned list of our reactions and behaviors:
- The action’s just a few miles away.
- We make sure not to drive downtown.
- We check the news obsessively.
- There’s chatter about this murder and its aftermath.
- Everyone feels safe in the hills, anyway.
- Everyone goes about their regular, daily lives.
- We talk about patronizing downtown businesses.
- We are hoping the BART cop gets put away.
- We don’t really do anything about the events.
- And we accept this is Oakland life.
Wow, reactions from residents are almost…like Israelis. Yes, there’s a war going on with Hamas in Gaza. We are in Tel Aviv and just know these things happen. We continue with our lives, because we live like this. It’s a bit of a metaphorical stretch, I admit.
But have we become so accepting of greater Oakland’s ills that we sort of ignore them in our daily lives? Maybe there are some important lessons to learn, because we haven’t really entered the post-racial Obama heaven. We could keep up the spirit of giving and helping, beyond the holidays. Every small gesture helps.