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Monday, October 27, 2008

As I said, I am scared

Oakland Police Preparing For Election Reaction

OAKLAND -- The Oakland Police Department and many others around the country are preparing for whatever may happen on Election Night, November 4th. There is concern there could be a large and very public response because of the historic nature of presidential race and so much interest among American citizens.

Some internet blogs talk about massive protests if it appears that Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama loses, since he is leading in the polls.

To prepare, Assistant Chief Howard Jordan of the Oakland Police said that police officers are being made aware of the crowd control policies. While he says he doesn't anticipate any problems, the department will be ready for celebrations or even riots. Jordan said there will be no changes in staffing; the same number of officers will be on duty as on any Tuesday. But they could be moved around to deal with large crowds.

Jordan also said that the department has been thinking about this and other contingencies for some time. "We've been keeping track of things that are happening around the nation, probably over the last 3 or 4 months. Watching the news, watching the polls. We have officers to monitor that and looking at things in terms of crowd control." In particular he said that they look to see what other large cities do when the candidates come to town and how they deal with the opponents of those candidates.

Jordan said Oakland wants its residents to know that they will be able to express their first amendment rights. But he also said police will enforce the law and protect people and property so that public safety won't be compromised.

And then think about what might happen if CA's Proposition 8 loses:

Anti-Gay Crime Up

Law enforcement agencies reported a slight decrease in hate crimes last year, despite an increase against gays and lesbians.

The FBI reported more than 7,600 hate crime incidents in 2007, down about 1 percent from last year.

Racially motivated hate crimes accounted for 50.8 percent of that total. Religious bias was the second-leading motive for hate crimes at 18.4 percent, followed by prejudice against sexual orientation at 16.6 percent. Bias based on ethnicity or national origin made up 13.2 percent.

According to the report, 5,408 hate crime offenses last year were classified as crimes against persons. Intimidation accounted for 47.4 percent of such crimes, simple assaults accounted for 31.1 percent and aggravated assaults for 20.6 percent. Nine murders were reported as hate crimes, the report said.

In addition, the report found that 3,579 hate crime offenses were classified as property crimes.

Within those categories, the FBI report found most hate crimes tended to be anti-black, anti-Jewish and anti-gay, with 62.9 percent of the 6,965 known offenders being white and 20.8 percent being black. The race was unknown for 9.8 percent and other races accounted for the remaining known offenders, the report said.

The FBI report is purely statistical and does not assign a cause for the slight overall decrease or the 6 percent increase in anti-gay hate crimes.

There are a lot of people whose carefully constrtucted view of the world is evaporating. Imagine if everything you ever believed in turned out to be wrong. How would you react?

One does hope and pray that we listen to our better angels. I just have a fear some of us will not.

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