Thoughts on BART and Protesting
After leaving work yesterday, I walked with the protestors who were parading up and down Market St., while I’m ideologically in line with the protestors I wasn’t really doing much other than walking, and occasionally tidying up, as captured by one of the other protestors in this image (that’s me picking a trashcan up out of the road).
I wanted to jot down my opinions in a cohesive post, rather than a jumble of tweets or retweets on twitter.
- I don’t necessarily think BART Police must be disbanded, but I do believe that the majority of its officers should not be carrying guns. The first thing that’s typically taught in Gun Safety classes is that you do not pull out a gun [in self-defense] unless you’re absolutely certain you need to and are going to use it. An extension of that, in my opinion, is that you should not be carrying a gun unless it’s necessary and you’re going to be using it. BART Police should have guns at their disposal, but there is no need for every officer that walks the beat to carry a firearm.
- Disrupting cell phone service for public safety on the platforms is reasonable in my mind, subject to judicious oversight. Disrupting cell phone service in anticipation or in order to prevent a protest is absolute crap.
- BART’s decision to simply shut down stations for a protest is absurd, it makes it incredibly easy for any protest in the future to gain a massive amount of press. Tip off BART that you will be protesting on a platform, get them to shut down the station, regroup above ground. That said, I don’t know what a good solution would be, hundreds of people on the platform is unsafe. But it is also something that happens every single day during rush hour on BART platforms in downtown San Francisco.
I fear that the BART Board of Directors, or the Chief of BART Police might feel like they cannot make any “concessions” to the protestors at all, which would be most unfortunate. Would the public/press view their actions positively if they acknowledged mistakes and heavy-handedness by BART Police?
I hope those involved in BART operations are able to see the root of the cause of this episode of civil unrest and do something proactive about it instead of continually sending men and women in riot gear to meet a frustrated populace on the streets of San Francisco.