It is a sad time in Oakland, California, the city of my residence, the place where I came of age. It has been a week and a day since four police officers were killed by a young black parolee. Sgts. Mark Dunakin, Ervin Romans and Daniel Sakai and Officer John Hege were gunned down like animals. It is reported the gunman, Lovell Mixon, after ambushing Dunakin and Hege on their motorcycles during a traffic stop, walked over to their bodies and shot them numerous times in the head. He then ran down the street to his sister’s apartment and when a SWAT team came in, he fired an assault weapon, gunning down Romans and Sakai. Seven children have been left without fathers, wives now widowed and a million questions gone unanswered.
I am saddened by this occurrence. I am afraid for my city, which lacks effective leadership and viable solutions. Like other urban cities, black residents and the police force have a long history of distrust and ill feelings. It is unfortunately, however, the unhealthy stance some blacks have taken, vilifying the dead officers, who were white and one Latino, victimizing and glorifying the gunman, and making this about race instead of human beings. There is so much tension, so much pain, so much blame and so much nonsense being spewed out of some misdirected, misguided youth and adults who should know better. My sister, a psychologist at a local high school talks of her students who are glorifying the gunman and disparaging the police. They will not listen to reason, refusing to acknowledge any wrongdoing. A young man was picked up last night a few blocks from the killings after police searched his home and found an assault weapon. My daughter believes this is just the beginning. There will be more violence, copycats and more Oscar Grants, the young brother who was shot and killed by BART police in Oakland on New Years Day. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/01/07/MNOV154P0R.DTL
During community vigils for the police officers, protesters verbally attacked black attendees, calling them traitors and Uncle Toms, putting up Mixon’s picture and calling him a victim of the OPD; this despite the information that his DNA verified him as the rapist of a 12-year old girl and information that he allegedly killed another black man in 2007. Unbelievable. Bear in mind, this in no way represents black people in Oakland; only a segment, who are bitter and misguided. We are not a monolith and the majority of blacks are outraged. Outraged and sick and tired. If this madness continues, it is going to tear this city apart. It is going to be a long, hot summer. All eyes are on Oakland. It is time to get on our knees and pray for healing. It is time to heal.