Bay Area Endures Wave Of Violence

For some reason, the Bay Area has recently been home to a number of violent and senseless tragedies.  In San Jose, on the night of August 17th, three people suffered injuries in two stabbings that the Mercury News reported may have been gang related. “In the first incident…three teenagers were standing near their vehicle in the parking lot…when they were jumped.” 

A 17 and 19-year-old were stabbed, one suffering serious injuries.  “In the second incident…9 to 10 assailants stabbed a 34-year-old man while he walked to a bus stop.  He’s expected to recover from the stabbing…”

Last Thursday night, a man jumped to his death in the middle of a concert at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga.  Earlier that day, another man committed suicide by leaping off a freeway overpass in San Jose.  On Friday, Aug. 20, there were three unrelated killings in San Francisco, all within a 24-hour period.  The San Francisco Chronicle reported that a man was shot in the Oceanview neighborhood, another near the Alemany Housing Project, and a third was shot and killed in the Tenderloin District.

What is going on around here?  When it rains, it pours…and lately, it’s been pouring blood.
Chronicle writer C.W. Nevius wrote a short piece on the recent death of a German tourist, an innocent bystander who was hit and killed by cross fire near Union Square.  “It isn’t often that you hear a city police chief complain that there hasn’t been enough attention paid to a deadly shooting, but Chief George Gascon clearly has strong feelings about last week’s fatal shooting of a German tourist.”

“Although the incident was an international story for a day, Gascon says he is ‘outraged’ that it quickly dropped off the local radar.”  “‘I did not get a single e-mail from anyone in the city concerned about this woman,’ he told the [police] commission.  ‘I find this extremely troubling…this should not be a one-day story.  We should be angry.  We should be concerned.  This is a human being that lost her life.  And quite frankly, not engaged in any kind of risky activity.  There was none of that here.  I find that completely unacceptable.’”

Chief Gascon is absolutely right.  People should be angry and concerned, but they’re not.  They’re only numb, and almost conditioned to the violence that is always around them.

20 Comments

  1. I suspect that Chief Gascon has a dressing-down coming his way. In a city dependent upon tourist dollars the last thing its political leaders want is to publicize how easily even a cautious, responsible tourist can be murdered on its streets. That unfortunate woman was not the first tourist to die at the hands of local thugs, a fact well known to the mayor and the city’s tourist industry, who’d like very much to keep these tragedies, and the reality that they can do very little to stop them, out of the papers.

    If you saw the movie Jaws you’ll remember the conflict between the mayor and chief Brody over whether the public deserved to be alerted to the very real danger lurking just off the town’s shores. The mayor was thinking dollars and political support from the business community, while the police chief was having nightmares about grieving families and body parts washing ashore. You can be sure the same thing is happening in San Francisco, where the mayor, running for state office as all his big splash programs run out of cash, can ill afford to allow the overtaxed and suffering business community to take another hit.

    Pity the police chief, and not just for his stroke-like speaking style or that gray patch of cowlicks he has for a head of hair; Gascon inherited a police department that had been without a true leader for the many years it floundered under the clueless command of the mayor’s handpicked rag doll, Heather Fong. The city itself, thanks in large part to the progressive politics of DA Kamala Harris, is thick with thugs who should’ve been sent to prison for their first, or at least second, robbery, carjacking, or gun crime.

    You see, just as then-governor Jerry Brown found out in the bloody, crime-ridden aftermath of the Rose Bird era, there is a price for whoring to diversity. 

    Personally, I would rather swim in the ocean after a shark sighting than take my chances on the savages running amok in San Francisco and Oakland. I’m saving a spot on my list for San Jose, which, guided by a city manager who thinks twelve hundred cops can keep a million people safe, is just one more pandering chief away from making the cut.

  2. I have heard that the San Jose city council will now allow staffing to contnue to decline for our police department.  It sounds like response times will probably go up just like they have done so for our fire department during the recent fires.  Public safety appears to no longer be a top priority.  Elected officials need to realize that staff and pay cuts for public safety to support loosing ventures like the Hayes Mansion will likely affect voting in the future.  We are just now beginning to see how these decesions can affect everyones safety.

    • As the Murky News reported 8/28/10, the City of Half Moon Bay is virtually bankrupt.  It may disincorporate.  The city manager noted that if it does disincorporate, the county will take over services and may not continue “..to offer yoga classes or soccer workshops.”

      Apparently it has never occurred to the Half Moon bay city manager that yoga classes and soccer workshops may not be essential city services.  I am confident that such myopia exists in virtually every city in California that is on the verge of bankruptcy, or has a chronic structural deficit, such as San Jose.

      So, as the San Jose City Council struggles with its structural deficit, it should consider more carefully what are essential city services,  eliminate non-esential things equivalent to yoga classes and soccer workshops, and instead concentrate on funding essential city services like cops, firefighters, roads, and other essential infrastructure.

  3. This is all catching up with the politicians that have jumped on the bandwagon of blaming public safety personnel for the economic crisis.  Do you think that the gang members and criminal opportunist have not seen the news detailing the reduction in police forces?  Shame on the politicians!  This year is just getting started.  I hope that all of the bloggers families remain safe and the police personnel as well!  I thank God for the officers out there!

  4. The public’s apathy regarding the senseless killing of a visitor to our country has nothing to do with the staffing levels of any police department. I don’t care how much money we pay how many cops. It’ll all be wasted so long as we the people fail to understand that we, not our government, are responsible for the type of behaviour that goes on in our community.
    When I’ve traveled in Australia and New Zealand I’ve always been struck by the number of people I meet who are concerned to know how well I’ve been treated while in their country. Regrettably, we Americans do not seem to share that same concern for our own neighbors, let alone our foreign visitor counterparts.

  5. Officer Young shot attempting to arrest parolee, who then attempts a carjacking, fails and successfully carjacks another victim.  Barrientos is later apprehended near the border of Mexico.

    2 people shot and killed in San Jose yesterday.

    As Prop 36 continues and non-revocable parole chugs along, expect violent crime to increase.  San Jose will be harder than other cities, as staffing has been minimal for years and is being gutted even further…

    • As Prop 36 continues and non-revocable parole chugs along, expect violent crime to increase.

      Why?  Your statement makes no sense.  You think it is better to lock people up so that can learn from the experts?  Good thinking.  Not.

      “The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, also known as Proposition 36, was passed by 61% of California voters on November 7, 2000. This vote permanently changed state law to allow first- and second-time nonviolent, simple drug possession offenders the opportunity to receive substance abuse treatment instead of incarceration.”

      http://www.prop36.org/

  6. I guess we should not be surprised that now every time a crime occurs in San Jose it’s blamed, by unionistas, on the city for it’s tough decision-making on salaries and benefits. The POA will see to that, with help from an all-too-unquestioning Murky News.

    The same with fires. As we saw last week when there were several fires in a single day the Firefighters Union, with a little help from Nora “The Tool” Campos, actually tried to blame the city council and mayor for the fires! (These are the same firefighters who tossed their 49 laid off coworkers under the fire truck with last week’s vote not to accept the city’s requested concessions. What gall! What credibility?)

    Then there’s the folks who always chime in with some variation of “All of this mayhem is because the city is wasting money on art, libraries, youth programs and other programs that I personally dislike.” Uh huh.

    It’s all very predictable, and kind of silly, IMHO.

    • Wrong again…. The city tossed the 49 firefighters out on their arses.  Not the union, there is and always has been an offer on the table from the firefighters to have paid for the 49 folks in full BUT THE CITY REJECTED IT!!!!

      So who has the credibility issue now??

    • Do you honestly believe that the MN doesn’t question the PD?  That rag questions nearly everything SJPD does, it’s leaders, it’s policies and statistics…  it’s far from unquestioning.  Not too long ago Webby tried to lampoon the former POA President for criminy sakes!

      • Anonymously: We are talking about the fire department, not police. The reference was to the way the Merc accepted the firefighters “slow response” spin on last week’s fires, hook, line and sinker. Problem is, it wasn’t true.

        Earnest: Nice try. The more senior union memebrs COULD have cast a vote that would get the 49 laid off firefighters re-hired, but they didn’t. Spin it any way you want, but facts are facts.

        • Wrong again spin master…  “slow response…..” 12 minutes to get to a fire… Ya, that wasn’t slow… hopefully next time it’s not your house and your not standing there with a stopwatch.

          “facts are facts…” There has never been any guarantee that the 49 Firefighters would be brought back from the city….

          So tell me, when you go to by a car and the car is worth $10,000 and you offer to pay exactly that but then the dealership says they know it’s only worth $10,000 but they want $20,000… You would pay it?? 

          Those are the facts dude…. The 49 Firefighters are worth a certain amount of $, the city said “nope, we want double that”

          But, you go on believing what you want.

        • The election gives the public the chance to truly chime in by voting against the binding arbitration that Fire & Police personnel cloak themselves in now. 

          We’ll see how that shakes down for the workers and their cushy pensions.  If the people vote against binding arbitration do you think the Fire & Police unions will get the message that the public (not the council) don’t like the stranglehold of the city workers and that we actually want our libraries, art, community centers?

          Gravy train days are numbered.  Clock is ticking… tick tock

    • “It’s all very predictable, and kind of silly, IMHO.”

      Actually quite accurate, despite being the only statement you made that I agree with.  Crime will go up due to lower staffing.  The cause of which will be debated by both sides, neither changing the others minds.  Disgruntled citizens, Murky News hacks, and politicians will claim some conspiracy by the police and fire to delay response times.  More astute citizens and those with a modicum of patience and at least a little research will realize that it is patently obvious that fewer service providers means fewer services.  Why there are fewer cops and firefighters is the question to be discussed and citizens should not be distracted by all these red herrings thrown out by disingenuous and self-serving agitators.  It should be readily apparent that even if every cop and firefighter works as hard as they can there will come a point when they cannot keep up with demand.