You Are the Enemy
Update, April 8, 2003

"OAKLAND, Calif. -- Police opened fire with wooden 
dowels, 'sting balls' and other nonlethal weapons at 
anti-war protesters outside the Port of Oakland, injuring 
at least a dozen demonstrators and six longshoremen 
standing nearby.

"Most of the 500 demonstrators at the port were dispersed 
peacefully Monday morning, but police opened fire at two 
gates when protesters refused to move. The longshoremen 
were caught in the line of fire."

This incident, which occurred the morning of April 7, is 
flying mostly under the radar; there was a report on NPR 
that evening, and the Associated Press carried a 
sanitized version, published in the WASHINGTON POST, the 
next day. The weapons used by the cops included plastic-
shelled "concussion" grenades thrown into the crowd as 
well as nasty-looking cylinders of hardwood about two 
inches in diameter and two inches long. Those lovely 
things are fired from grenade launchers and leave huge 

Oakland mayor Jerry Brown (remember him?) justified the 
actions of the police by saying that some protestors had 
thrown concrete and steel bolts at them. However, there 
is no photographic evidence of this that I can find. The 
videos of the incident show the protestors chanting and 
shouting, and the police simply opening fire.

Photos of the weapons may be found at:
The little bean-bag thingies are filled with metal balls 
and shot from shotguns. The wooden cylinders, by the way, 
are not supposed to be fired directly at people, but 
bounced off the ground. Note that they don't seem to be 
marked by hitting the pavement.

There are also some photos of the victims. Note that most 
of them have bruises on their backs, indicating that they 
were running away when they were fired on:
One protester, a lawyer who works for the city, was shot 
in the back four times, in what may be an exquisite 
example of poetic justice.

A few notes here. First, Oakland is in the San Francisco 
Bay area, a hotbed of left-wing radical activity, and 
just down the road from Berkeley, home of some of the 
weirdest politics in the whole country. Many of the 
protesters seem to have been Commie wackos chanting about 
revolution. However, a number of the people who were hit 
were passersby or longshoreman waiting to go to work. 
Also, Oakland police have a reputation for being more 
thuggish than most. Quotes from longshoremen indicate 
that the protestors did nothing aggressive towards the 
cops to provoke retaliation.

Moral of the story? If you try to obstruct the war 
machine, they're likely to shoot first and not bother 
asking questions later. What remains to be seen is how 
long it will take before our protectors start shooting 
real bullets, as at Kent State -- or Sharpsville.


David T. Wright's original article "You Are the Enemy" 
may be found at:
Updates are posted as events come to Mr. Wright's 

Go to the Archive of “Enemy” Updates.

Copyright (c) 2003 by the All rights reserved.