Quick Link catch up for Sept. 24th

Yes, I know, I haven’t written for a while. I feel bad about it, but I can only write so much about the same 3 subjects that have been dominating the news this summer. But fuck it, let’s rehash everything with the new details that have recently come to light and then I’ll rant on whiney hippies at the end because that’s always fun. Quick Links after the jump! (Sorry Andy)

Justice? $10 million. Living to see your 17th birthday? Also $10 mil. Looking like a magnificent hypocrite for the whole world to see? Priceless.

Out of all the stories from the last 2 weeks or so, this one pisses me off the most. James Rivera’s mother is suing the City of Stockton for $10 million over what she calls the wrongful death of her son.You know how I feel about the Rivera shooting already. While a tragic failure of “the system” at virtually every level, Stockton Police acted on the information available to them and acted accordingly. That some of the information reported was erroneous doesn’t matter. In situations like these, the Police don’t have time to triple fact check, they have to react and do so as soon as possible. The independant investigation is going to come back and say that Rivera’s shooting was justified, plain and simple. I have no inside information to corroborate that, I’m just using common sense.

Dion Smith (Rivera’s mother) probably knows this. Which is why she decided not to wait for the investigation she’s been calling for to end before she made up her mind on what happened that July afternoon. To be fair, she probably made up her mind before they even dislodged the stolen minivan from that house. This entire time the Rivera family has stood behind the mantra “No justice, no peace”, what they really mean is “No closure, no peace”. That’s what they’re really after anyways.

For every mention of the callous attitude of Stockton PD is 5 mentions of how James Rivera was killed the day before his birthday. For me this is a non-issue, it’s not like PD looked at their computers and said “We can’t let this fucker see 17!” They were likely distracted by the torture charge on his criminal record. (Or, more accurately, they had no idea who they were chasing/shooting at because they were chasing a routine stolen vehicle.) But the constant references to Rivera’s birthday does highlight the unfortunate pain these people are going through. Their world is in disarray, one day they’re ordering ice cream cake, the next day they’re making funeral arrangements. I can’t imagine the pain they’re going through. When shit like that happens, you look for closure. The easiest way to obtain said closure is to find someone to pin the blame on. There’s just one problem, there’s no one person/place/thing to blame it on.

Everybody failed James Rivera. Everybody. Cops, community members, family, correctional facility workers, fence builders, fucking everybody has to shoulder some of the blame for this avoidable death. You could point to the juvenile hall that housed Rivera that was about as secure as a 90-year-old man’s bladder. You could point to the person who reported that mini-van stolen claiming it was done so at gun point. And yes, you could point to PD for being unwilling to further endanger their own lives by shooting first and asking questions later. Ultimately though, one single entity can’t be blamed for this tragic event.

$10 million and 3 fired cops isn’t going to fill the hole in Dion Smith’s heart created by her son’s death. That’s something that will always bring her some level of emotional pain. All suing the City is going to accomplish is tying up much needed City money in costly litigation. Money that could theoretically go to funding a proactive police department instead of the current, depleted, reactionary department we have now. No amount of money is going to ease the Rivera family’s pain. If they really, truly want closure, their best bet is to allow the independant investigation they’ve been clamoring for to be completed. Then they can (and should) shine a bright light on the lapses in judgment that led us to this point in the first place. Making real changes to a broken system to ensure what happened to James Rivera doesn’t happen again is one of the few ways his family can find something resembling closure. Plus, preventing what happened to Rivera happening again to some of his friends in Juivie is one hell of a final birthday gift.

Yeah, someone’s getting robbed.

Speaking of reactionary police work, Lodi PD is so folksy and adorable. After odor complaints from neighboring businesses, Lodi police went to check out an otherwise non-descript warehouse in Lodi just east of 99. You can imagine their surprise when they found a shitload of marijuana and a white substance they assumed was crystal meth. They promptly lost their shit and called everyone they could to come back them up. Well, everyone but the tenant of said warehouse, who it turns out has a medical marijuana card that made the 30 or so plants inside the warehouse perfectly legal according to state law.

Yup, Lodi police spent nearly half a day acting like big shots who police a real town before the suspect they claim they spent days trying to contact prior to the raid just showed up and said “What the fuck are you doing to my plants during this delicate stage in their development?” You have no idea the amount of money I would have spent to be there to witness that moment. Especially when the guy informed them that the “meth” in question was actually (apparently ineffective) deodorizer to mask the smell that brought the building increased attention.

This entire story is pretty hilarious, but at least the initial response was understandable. Dude wasn’t answering his phone and PD felt like that had to do something. The massive response they went with probably wasn’t the best plan of action. For one, if it’s just a warehouse with pot, suspected meth, and some fireworks, why did they need 40(!) combined police officers and firefighters there? For what? It’s not like they were coming under fire from some illegal with an AK hiding in the treetops. The place wasn’t in danger of burning down and noone was injured. Why was the fire department even there? I know marijuana laws are fuzzy, but they’re not that fuzzy.

Wasting of city resources aside, this epic fuck up also had one other negative result. Now anybody who reads the paper knows that the warehouse next to Embroidery Works has a shitload of unattended pot in it. That’s going to work out well.

Dear Critical Mass, You’re not in your hippie college town anymore. Get over it.

I knew this day would come. With a City as poorly planned out as ours was, it was really only a matter of time. Those Critical Mass hippie douchebags have made it to Stockton. For the uninitiated, Critical Mass is a cycling activist group started in San Francisco that promotes their message of cycling equality in the most dickish manner ever, by riding in large packs throughout the City and generally ignoring most traffic laws. The goal being to make driving on the roads as frustrating for cars as it is for cyclists. As a driver of both a car and a bike, I’d kindly like to ask these people to get fucked with a series of increasingly hot bike spokes.

Seriously though, I’m a big proponent of activism and just getting involved in general. Too many people in this City complain but don’t actually attempt to do anything about the subject they’re complaining about. But the proponents of Critical Mass just sound like such whiny bitches that I can’t even begin to attempt to try and be sympathetic to their cause. So what if Davis was more bike friendly than Stockton? It’s a notoriously bike friendly town. They have fucking stop lights for bikes there! If you liked it so much then fucking stay there. What’s that? The stagnant job market rendered your degree useless and you can’t afford to live there? Well shit! Let’s organize a protest to lower the cost of living in Davis! We can all just pick a house or apartment and live there for a day or two without regard for common human decency and junk. It’ll be great! We’ll make a stand!

See how fucking retarded that sounds? I’m sorry these people have to experience a minor inconvenience while using their preferred method of conveyance, but nobody needs a reminder of how shitty it is to ride a bike. We were all kids once. I used to ride my bike into Lodi to go see my best friend when I was in high school and I vividly remember the times that weren’t fun. But I dealt with the inconvenience like most people do, I bought a fucking car. Which isn’t nearly as cost prohibitive as the article makes it out to be. I bought the shitbox I currently drive for $400, which is an admittedly good deal, but the fact remains that affordable cars are out there.

I’m not completely unsympathetic to their cause. At times this City seems like it was mapped out by the drunkest City Planner of all time (seriously, malls across the street from each other, WTF?), but we’re all in this shittily planned out mess together. Are cyclists regularly inconvenienced on the road? Of course they are, but it’s not that big of a deal. It’s part of the thought process that goes into deciding which mode of transportation one takes for a particular outing. If the inconveniences outweigh your desire to go to that destination, then maybe you didn’t really want to go to that place as much as you thought you did. Cyclists can be inconvenienced, but not that badly.

My favorite part? It recently came out that our city streets are no cake walk for motorists either. What do they do? Fucking deal with it like rational human beings. Nobody’s driving through construction zones to show CalTrans how much harder they make our lives (although that strawberry guy on Davis and 8-Mile totally should have tried this). They know, they just don’t care. Guess what Critical Mass? Motorists know you’re occasionally inconvenienced, they just don’t give a shit. Trying to force motorists to give a shit by being as dickish as they are to you isn’t going to work. That eye for an eye shit may work in The City, but this is Stockton. If there’s one city we’re not similar to in pretty much any way, it’s San Francisco.

Until Critical Mass can present real solutions and not just noisy bitching, they need to shut the fuck up. We can’t even afford to maintain city owned trees and you want us to build you a series of bike lanes? Get fucked you self-important hippies.

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~ by Slick Diaz on September 24, 2010.

One Response to “Quick Link catch up for Sept. 24th”

  1. Awesome post! My fav line “Epic fuck up” hahaha! Well said!

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