It’s kind of amazing to me how some days I can sit here and stare at this screen, racking my brain for something to write about and come up with nothing, and then at other times, I’m so busy experiencing the things about which I would write that there’s no time get it on paper – or computer screen as the case may be. Things have been kind of crazy the last several days for me. I can hardly even believe that my last post was written twelve days ago.
Last Thursday, in a somewhat unexpected turn of events the verdict came down for Johannes Mehserle. Unexpected only in that, due to multiple delays, illnesses, scheduled vacations, and three juror substitutions, the final jury deliberated for a total of only seven hours and then returned with a verdict of Involuntary Manslaughter. I won’t spend a lot of time talking about this as I’m sure my view-point will be controversial and at the end of the day won’t make any difference anyway. I’ll just say that I suppose this is probably the correct verdict even though I don’t feel very good about it. I think what he did was absolutely “involuntary” as I do not believe that he intended to kill Oscar Grant. On the other hand, he did kill Oscar Grant and I suppose something must be done about it. My opinion is unlike many other people who were unhappy about the verdict, feeling like it was not severe enough to cover the events of that night.
When the press announced that the verdict was coming it didn’t take long for people to begin congregating in the streets near the courthouse for a “peaceful demonstration.” As a precaution, my employer authorized the employees in the area to leave work and exit the immediate area for safety. It was a wise decision, thought it didn’t end up being necessary. The “peaceful demonstration” lasted until it began getting dark and then many of the demonstrators went home. Once darkness fell however, those who remained, mostly anarchists, began stirring up trouble, first breaking the windows and through the security gate of a Foot Locker store before looting it and then rolling dumpsters in the streets to set fire to the contents. Ultimately, they broke into several banks and retail outlets along Broadway, mostly looting the stores, merely for the sake of finding things to burn in the streets.
By the end of the night, the Police had arrested 78 people roughly 85% of whom were not even from Oakland. More than half were not even from the Bay Area. Sixteen percent of the people were not from California. One of them wasn’t even from America. He admitted he came from Canada, just to be part of the rioting and looting after the verdict was announced.
Once again, as a precaution, my employer made the determination not to reopen the buildings on Friday, just to be safe. Thanks to our founding fathers, and the looters, I had a three-day work week last week. Well, two and a half days.
It would be nice to believe that this is over now, but Mehserle has not yet been sentenced. The Jury found him guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter “with a gun enhancement.” This means that because a gun was used in the killing he could be given additional prison time. Originally the sentencing was scheduled to take place on August 6th. It was postponed to September first and then I heard rumor that Mehserle’s attorney was appealing the Gun Enhancement and that the outcome of that appeal will affect the sentence. I have just read that the sentencing has now been scheduled for 8:30 AM on Friday, November 5th. Assuming that’s not changed again, I expect I’ll be having a three-day weekend in early November.
I had the best of intentions how I was going to spend my unexpectedly free day off work, but after calling the hot line at 6:00 Friday morning and finding out the building was closed, I went back to sleep and didn’t get up until just before Noon. When I got up, I fixed some lunch, and sat down to eat and watch a little television while I worked out my bills as well as my menu and grocery list for the week. I can’t really even begin to explain how the day got away from me, but the next thing I knew it was 8 o’clock in the evening and I had not taken a shower, fixed dinner or left the house. I took a quick shower and threw some clothes on before heading out to Target to do some of my shopping.
I had thought I might go to the grocery store next, but once I was finished shopping at Target, I decided to pick up some inevitably unhealthy fast food and head back home. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your perspective, the only Arby’s restaurant I’m aware of in the whole bay area, is right next to the Target I went to so I went through the driveway there and picked up an Arby-Q sandwich with Curly fries and a large Diet Coke. I can not, however, go to an Arby’s restaurant and not get a Jamocha shake so I picked up one of those as well. Thirteen hundred calories later I was on my way home.
Saturday, I got up fairly early (9:00-ish) and took about $40.00 worth of bottles and cans to the recycling center to trade in and then I went to Michael’s Craft store to exchange some Yarn I had bought. I’m making a baby blanket and the yarn I bought was not as soft as I first thought it was and it tended to split when I was working with it. What I exchanged it for is much better.
My next stop was a near-by mall where I was determined to buy some not terribly expensive dressy pants for work, and a not terribly expensive pair of black shoes for work. I have two pair now, one of which is too dressy for regular wear; the other of which has soles that seem to be two different heights and when I stand or walk in them I am lopsided, which is not good for my knees or my hips.
I spent three or more hours at this mall, and walked from one end to the other, into every even remotely appropriate store and didn’t find anything that was right. At my last stop, Sears which I saved for last because I was parked nearest there and because, well, it’s Sears, I found two pair of pants that I was happy with the fit. They were$19.99 each so I could justify the expense, but they’re made by the same manufacturer who made most of the pants I’ve been wearing, which are now too big for me, but which I’m quite certain I only paid $12.00 a pair for, at Sears! Inflation takes its toll again, but I had to find some pants. Many of the pairs I have are just ridiculously too big on me now and I have to start working on trading them out gradually. It’s an awesome problem to have, but it’s still a problem.
Three hours later, I left the mall having spent only $40.00 plus tax, and with two pair of pants, and no shoes. At least, I’d racked up quite a few steps on my pedometer. From there I went to the grocery store where I picked up my weekly produced and the few items I couldn’t get cheaper (or at all) at Target and headed back home.
And oh, my lovely reader, I have so much more to tell, but alas – yes, I said alas – it is 5:30 and I need to go home. I’ll have to continue my harrowing (or is it boring) story in another post – hopefully tomorrow, but I make no promises.