Tuesday, February 20, 2007


We were pleased to receive the following comment to one of our posts regarding the New Year’s Eve attack by local youth on members of a visiting Yale Choir.

The Commenter displays a level of intellectual honesty that SFWILLIE’S BLOG must strive to emulate.

could it be the simple fact that if you go to the wrong place at the wrong time, get drunk and pick a fight with a bunch of marines, then try and get out of it by standing in a circle, holding hands and singing the star spangled banner, that you're just going to get your ass kicked and people are not likely to have any meaningful sympathy for you?

freedom, it ain't free.

i get the outrage over yet another incident of the sfpd dragging its dirty heels in the course of administering due process to people who regardless of how one feels about the subject, have an undeniable (one would hope) right to it, but i don't get the outrage over a bunch of sheltered ivy league snots from yale coming here and getting their asses duly kicked after picking a drunken fight with a bunch of marines and sons of sfpd brass.

if you're that stupid, there are going to be consequences. apply the law, okay -- but no tea and sympathy

Commenter has two main points, which we discuss in reverse order.

Commenter’s second point is something that by now most people (who care at all) agree on—that due process should be pursued because we all deserve access to due process, and that maybe due process wasn’t pursued too well right after the incident.

Commenter’s first point, which is more controversial, is that we shouldn’t be too quick to judge the characters of the people involved, the Yale choirboys or the local youth.

Commenter is saying that probably the police and DA should be involved, but that the Yale guys are a bunch of rich punks who disrespected less privileged kids on their own turf, and paid the price by getting knocked around a little.

Rules We Live By
R1) Kids’ subculture rules.
R2) Common sense/street rules
R3) The Golden Rule
R4) Civil code
R5) Penal code

In the discussion of the incident, the SF local kids (the attackers) emphasize R1 and R2. Like, what did the Yale kids expect?
The Yale kids are emphasizing R5. Who knows if the Yale parents even want to bother with R4.

SFWILLIE'S BLOG tries to always emphasize R3. And for all the supposed Catholics involved, we want to aver that Jesus was not a beater-upper.

Time Periods
T1) The history of the world up until the “Gleegate” fight was picked.
T2) The time between when the “Gleegate” fight was picked and when the police arrived on the scene.
T3) Everything since the police rolled onto the Gleegate scene.

T1 Before the Incident
accusers A group of local Catholic High School graduates, who probably have a history of street-fighting, are looking to get rowdy on a New Year’s Eve. They haven’t been invited to any parties and no girls are interested in them, so they are out looking to spoil other people’s fun.

defense Some local kids are chillin’ on New Year’s Eve. Their prospects aren’t all that bright. In fact some of them have enlisted in the Marines. These are good, robust boys.

sfwillie: This confrontation comes from the mixing of classes that happens in high school. By their mid-twenties these classes will be completely segregated from each other.

In San Francisco, St Ignatius sends kids to Yale and to the Naval Academy. Sacred Heart sends kids to City College and into the Marines. In general, as grown ups, SH kids will be taking orders from SI kids. There’s no reason why SH kids shouldn’t see injustice here and resent it. The local kids were looking for a fight, and they didn’t know exactly why.

T2 The Incident
accusers The local kids' search patrol (party crasher) draws fire from the enemy (Yale students verbal interaction) and calls in massive fire power (a van full of marines), to wipe out the enemy. The squad of locals waits outside and gangs up on the unsuspecting Yale kids who leave the party one by one or in small groups.

defense The Yale kids voluntarily came out of the house to engage in a fight with the local kids. The Yale kids lose the fight and suffer minor injuries. No one dies, no one suffers permanent disabilities. A broken jaw, a couple of black eyes, a little concussion, this is all pretty tame stuff for SF General’s ER on a New Years Eve.

sfwillie There could be some mixture of the two above versions, but there is little doubt that any “mutual combat” soon turned into a beating. As a newsman put it—when someone is on the ground and has ceased fighting, kicking that person in the head is usually considered a felony. I think there were probably multiple felonies committed that night, most if not all by the SF locals.

T3 After Police Arrive
accusers When the police arrived on the scene they recognized the local kids as people they shouldn’t arrest. Maybe the cops on the scene favored the local kids, maybe the cops knew that the SFPD brass would punish them for arresting these particular kids. The cops on the scene conducted the “investigation” and wrote their reports in such a way that would justify their decision to make no arrests. A harsher way to say this is that the cops lied and purposely ignored proper procedure.

defense When the police arrived they confirmed no fatalities, no life-threatening injuries, all subjects ambulatory, teenage/young adults drinking and fighting on a New Years Eve. The Yale kids, who were losing the fight, see the cops as a way of getting back at the local kids. Instead of admitting to “mutual combat” they claim an unprovoked attack.

Maybe this will teach the Yale kids to show some respect for the lower classes, who in this case are Marines, sworn to sacrifice their own lives to protect the Yale kids’ candy asses from real attack. The Yale parents should congratulate the local kids for possibly knocking some sense into their spoiled brats.

sfwillie The unexpected wrinkle is that the victims were from Yale, which belongs to the national and international ruling class. As far as Yale is concerned, our turf is their turf. The entire world is their turf.

So the SF local kids thought that their connections gave them impunity for street-brawling. Then they came up against kids with even better connections. The lesson is familiar: no matter how tough you are, you’ll find someone who’s tougher.

I sympathize with the police on the scene, who will probably draw the blame, but who were doing exactly what they’re superiors expected.

We simply cannot allow kids to go around beating people up. There should be prosecutions of at least some of the kids. The SF local kids need help in finding alternatives to violence. We all need this help.

More importantly, there must be an investigation into the handling of the incident by the police and district attorney. Their performance stinks to high heaven.

It’s time to professionalize SFPD.

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