TV news loves conflict. It’s exciting! What they don’t love is doing actual research and real reporting about the conflict. “We’ll leave that for the suckers at Frontline six months from now.  Look! Behind you! A fire and people in hoodies running away! Are you getting all this?”

Information like who is causing the conflict, their motives and objectives are not really their forte. They do love the shots of rocks and tear gas being thrown, they don’t really care who is throwing them.

Last night there were some acts of vandalism in Oakland. I’d like to know who specifically caused them and what their motivations are. The MSM aren’t going to look into it. The police might, but when they do it will happen at their pace and won’t be telling us who they caught and finding out why they did it. The right wing media isn’t going to do it, they will assume the worst and tar everyone with that brush.

Time for us to do the identification of this crew of vandals now.

Helpfully the media and others have provided us with lots of video footage of the vandalism. Here are some samples of video.

Russia Today
CBS in San Francisco

Contra Costa Times
Oakland Tribune

When you slow some of them down you might be able to spot some identifying tattoos or piercings. I noticed that one vandal’s mask slipped while he was held by some OWS protesters who did not want him to vandalize a store. Maybe you recognize him. Maybe he is bragging about his vandalism on his Facebook page like American Spectator Editor Patrick Howley did after he rushed the guards at the Air and Space museum. That article, combined with Charles Grapski’s intrepid research, confirmed he was there and what he did.

If you positively identify someone let us know. Show your work. If it’s a good identification we can contact them and ask how they think their actions helped the Occupy Wall Street protests. If they just felt the need to smash stuff under the banner of OWS then their identities should be given to the people whose property was vandalized so they can pay for damages.


I know that there are concerns about doing this like: “Will identifying them make me a traitor to the movement?”

These people might consider themselves part of the movement, but their actions are clearly not in line with OWS principles of peaceful assembly. They, by their actions, removed themselves from the movement and need to bear responsibility for their actions. After all, when some players in Wall Street caused the value of property to drop because of their irresponsible actions, the Wall Street community identified the culprits and turned them over to the authorities for punishment so that their entire communities’ reputation wouldn’t be tarnished.  (HA! I slay myself.  But seriously, this points out how WS acts when people in their industry break the law, they circle the wagons vs. shunning the bad actors. That explains why we have to identify these people and turn them over to the authorities because that is precisely what WS doesn’t do)

Q: “What if I identify the wrong person?”

Well that is why you need to show your work.

Same tattoo? Bragging on Facebook? Photos of him before he put on his mask or after he took it off? All the clues that lead you to connect identities need to be there. You’ve all watched enough police procedural shows to know how this works. You are making a case, get evidence.

Good luck and drop me a line if you identify someone.


spockosemail @ gmail

Updated: 11/04 Today my friend Sara Robinson wrote an excellent piece on dealing with people with over-the-top behavior. I think this will be useful context for thinking about dealing with outliers.

Occupy’s Asshole Problem: Flashbacks from An Old Hippie

Here’s an excerpt

1. Let’s be clear: It is absolutely OK to insist on behavior norms. #Occupy may be a DIY movement — but it also stands for very specific ideas and principles. Central among these is: We are here to reassert the common good. And we have a LOT of work to do. Being open and accepting does not mean that we’re obligated to accept behavior that damages our ability to achieve our goals. It also means that we have a perfect right to insist that people sharing our spaces either act in ways that further those goals, or go somewhere else until they’re able to meet that standard.