Saturday, November 5, 2011

CAI Responds to Arrest of The Ray

A scene from Occupy Oakland, captured by the San Francisco Examiner.

In a blog entry yesterday, I reported news out of Oakland that a RLSH named The Ray was arrested at the Occupy Oakland protests. The Ray is a member of the Pacific Protectorate (North Cali Division) and the news was reported via phone by The Ray's team leader, Motor-Mouth. Motor-Mouth says the Protectorate has been doing security at the protests. Another Bay Area team, the California Initiative, has also been monitoring the protests and posted this statement on the arrest of The Ray:

The CAI (California Initiative) was mentioned in Tea Krulos' recent Heroes in the Night blog entry.

We do NOT endorse the use of body armor, shields, masks or anything other than everyday street clothing while providing support at Occupy.

The CAI has spoken with heads of security at Occupy Oakland (OO), and they do not, nor have they ever asked any RLSH (or anyone, for that matter) to "gear up" for security. Further, they do not advise anyone to label themselves as "security."

We echo Occupy Oakland's stance: We don't advise anyone to come between the police and protestors that are being arrested. We are peacekeeping and do our best to teach de-escalation tactics. We believe in non-violence, especially where police are involved. We are there to provide first-aid and a helping hand in the camps.

There are other groups in northern California that will be attending Occupy Oakland and SF, as well. The viewpoints of these group do not reflect those of the California Initiative or those of the Occupy movement as a whole.

We wish The Ray a speedy recovery and are sending him our best.

In addition, CAI founding member Rock N Roll offered this advice for RLSH (or X-ALTs, an alternate term) attending Occupy protests (and I would guess particularly ones where tensions have escalated like in Oakland):

Let me preface this by saying that I give the majority of you the benefit of the doubt; that I believe your hearts are in the right places and that you aspire to make the world a better place.

It's with this in mind that I implore you - If you are heading out to your local Occupy, remember these things:

Masks (other than vinegar-soaked bandanas) are foolish. You are making yourself a target for the police. If you're that worried about people finding out your identity, wear a bandana. If you need protection, wear a bike helmet. There are thousands of other people out there who aren't drawing attention to themselves or protecting their heads, yet they've endured weeks of living there.

If you bring any type of apparatus that looks like you're preparing for a battle, the police will give you one.

If you think you can insinuate yourself between the protestors and the police, you'll most likely wake up in the hospital or in jail. Your greatest tool is a voice of reason, a cool, clear head, and a recording device.

If you are there for any reason other than to support the movement by providing assistance to the injured, or helping de-escalate any in-camp altercations, you're in this for the wrong reason.

The best you can do for the Occupy movement is to supply food, water, an extra set of hands, eyes and a calming presence in the face of possible violence.

If you're there because you need more press, or recognition, or you're itching to take someone down, for f's sake, go as yourself and DO NOT go as a representative of this community. This is not about you.


  1. This is Silver Sentinel -

    I agree wholeheartedly with Rocks on this. Too many hero-types are getting involved in this thing in the wrong way and need to re-examine their priorities. The community does not condone violence and unlawful resistance.

  2. If you don't want to wear a mask in front of cops then in my opinion, don't wear masks on your profile pictures & on your patrols. Then "hero-types are getting involved in this thing the wrong way"? So what's the right way because last time I went down to Occupy Oakland & SF, the protesters are a cross-section of American society which last I checked we're part of. Also, we may not condone violence yet we wear body armor & such and we may not be all about unlawful resistance yet change & progression only come about through resistance on some level. If everyone of us that claim to fight crime followed the law 100% of the time, we'd never get anything done. EVER. Oh, and excessive force on an individual by police officers IS A CRIME. If that is a crime you refuse to fight against, then you (meaning any RLSH out there) are nothing more then a weak individual that can't stand behind their own words & shouldn't call themselves a crime fighter in the slightest.

    I think I've spoken enough us but I'll close with this...

    If you own body armor & claim to fight crime then shit or get off the pot cause I'm tired of people taking baby steps of the smallest degree & bitching about everyone else along the way.

  3. seems like everyone around understands the subtle nuance and political chess game this is... except you, Motor Mouth.

    The people trying to shut this down must really love you at this point. you're giving them their justification and victory on a silver platter.

    fyi: you think you're doing something noble, but what you don't realize is this... you resist, they beat people harder, someone dies, it's on your hands too.

    it's thinking like yours that sets the community back. like your comment that if "we followed the law 100% of the time, we'd never get anything done"

    yeah that's the kind of thinking that is going to get this community taken down hard. congrats, you'll be the guy that everyone was always afraid of.

    Crime fighting and protecting people takes a mind who understands how to be subtle and a body trained for every action needed. You obviously have neither of those, so I keep wondering why i see guys like you trying to represent the cape crew?

  4. actually you remind me of one of these cops... sloppy, overzealous, undertrained, total loudmouth, thinks its ok to break the law, and a complete lack of respect for those doing what he is incapable of.

  5. I've had just about enough of this. The Occupy Protest is a protest against Class Warfare. When attending the protest, people should be protesting on the behalf of the Americans who are not making living wages or cannot get by on minimum wage due to corporations and businesses are creating situations to gather every nickel and dime. In fact, if anyone is to be wearing anything, wear your work clothes. It is the workers who are getting taken advantage off. It is the minimum wage guy or gal who has to work over-time at Burger King because their kids need clothes for school and can't afford it. It is the mom and pop store that closes down because Wal-Mart opens up next door.
    Fighting the police at the protest only helps to serve the prejudice that surrounds the Occupy protest. And having the police spend more man hours on this than other crimes is a really crappy way for the tax payers to spend money. The corporations are not footing the bill; Corporations get tax cuts and property cuts because "they create jobs." So it is people who pay property taxes that are footing the bill. People who are paying property tax are also paying mortgages, sales taxes, and federal and or state tax. How much money what spent when The Ray was arrested because The Ray did not respect the situation surround the protest? How much money did the good people of Oakland pay and is going to continue to pay?

    If we are protesting and acting like fools, then the 1% has all the more reason to laugh and dismiss Occupy. Motor Mouth, I think there needs to be a re-evaluation on why you guys are there. The Occupy people don’t need symbols… they got enough as it is. They need educated people who understand why they are protesting. This is about the laborer and workers. This is about Class Warfare. Wearing body armor is not normal wear. Wearing Body armor and riot gear demonstrates intent. Having weapons on the street on your person means you intent to use it. And having aggressive looking gear only works to undermine and discredit Occupy.

  6. There's a rioter tactic called "Black Bloc" that wearing a mask, mostly black, and carrying a shield could easily be mistaken for.

    The cops are not likely to see someone fitting the profile and think "wow, that's awesome."

    Here's a pic... are these guys "black bloc" or "RLSH"?

    But it's a free country. People can employ whatever methods within the law they feel is appropriate, but I don't advocate wearing costumes to these things. It's a bad idea in my opinion. There were no costumes at Occupy Oakland this past weekend, either.

    The Ray is a nice guy who I would assume just made a mistake with his approach here. I wasn't there at the time to know exactly what happened.

    Regarding: "When attending the protest, people should be protesting on the behalf of the Americans who are not making living wages..."

    Again, it's a free country and people may take whatever approach they want. However, I do not personally go to any of this stuff with the intention of protesting anything. All I want is to help keep people safe.

    To be honest -- and this is just my personal opinion -- I hesitate to be involved with giving Occupiers supplies, because these aren't homeless people we're talking about. But I am sympathetic toward them and don't worry about it all that much... and there is some gray area of it being a humanitarian thing.

    And this is not because I feel the need to remain completely apolitical... it's because I haven't made the decision to be an Occupier myself.

  7. Very good points from Motor Mouth. Regardless, of anyone may feel on the Occupy situation, like Illya King made a real good argument as far as the Occupy Movement itself goes. However, all the rational thinking went out the door, when Oakland Police Department opened fire on an unarmed and peaceful protester who was just filming them. The OPD shot him in the head with a rubber bullet at close range!

    What they did was unconstitutional, and criminal. I commend Ray whomever he is, who else has the guts to look TYRANNY IN IT'S FACE!

  8. SkyMan weighs in (fatman joke already inserted) See, I can make fun of myself!

    Okay, from what I understand Ray was wearing his body armor... even though it looks badasseramic, wearing it on the OUTSIDE of his suit. And carrying his sheild... okay, Im sorry but thats just asking for the cops to point you out from the usual crowd of hippies and homeless that proliferate the Occupy movement.

    Oh, and hey Ilya, nice to see you back on the "Superhero scene" Hopefully one day you will return to being Zetaman... no matter what our differences and your didain for everything Seattle and its ever-growing RLSH you were still one of the reasons I got into this thing.

  9. @Skyman- No, I am not on the "Superhero" scene. I do read Tea's blog and I appreciate the blog as entertainment. But my commenting, I think, is not an intention of rejoining the sub culture. If it is, then perhaps Tea can remove my response.
    As for the Zetaman thing, no I am not returning to that id. Through further studies on my own for school and through my own personal development, I have learned that an alter ego is detrimental to both outreach efforts and to how people communicate. I believe donning the outfit again would only be a step back to my own personal development.
    And I think there has been a lot of issues associated with the community that the concept is no longer appealing. Through bizarre mistakes in handling crisis situations to rumors and unfounded slanders, It’d be an act of self hatred to return. On the outside world, the reputation of RLSH is that of foolishness and recklessness. Not something I’d want to be associated with in my own outreach efforts.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. That post got deleted. But fortunately we have an automated message we can use from now on:

    MESSAGE 54-A8-7:
    Malvado think you are fat and you are stupid and he hates you and anything posted here will get a hateful comment.

  12. SkyMan says... well, Ilya, good luck in your future endevours. I meant no ill will towards you, I was expressing the sentiment that I missed your presence in our community that youve distanced yourself from. You were an anchor againts some of the craziness and flaming that seems to be a penchant in what we do. If what you say is true and being Zetaman was a detriment to your sanity, then by all means, be yourself. Good luck, and you are missed.

  13. @Skyman- I don't think it was detrimental to my sanity. I think the concept as a whole is detrimental to anyone’s ability to relate to the outside world. I think that having an identity and immersing yourself into the culture now, is a physical representation of what people do online. And a few studies have shown that people are more aggressive online than off line when people have a fake identity to hide behind. A fake id gives a fails sense of “invulnerability”; which is interesting because some of articles I’ve been reading now about RLSH , there is demonstrated that sense of “invulnerability” as well. Also people with fake ids online no longer have a sense of morality, which may account to some RLSH act the way they do. And I think that is why people are frustrated with other people because of the confusion over morality.
    @Tea- Oh, gotcha. Thanks for the translation.

  14. That's an interesting theory that would explain a lot.

  15. SkyMan's reply

    ... You think its a detriment to ANYBODY who wants to be an RLSH... dang... still, like Mega-Rad said, an interesting theory to say the least. If anything, SkyMan is just a symbol and some colors... Its Skyler who is behind it and trying to live out, not my fantasies, but to find a place in this world that will help bring about more sanity. Eh, to each his own I guess.

  16. @Skyman- A symbol of what? The issue with bring sanity is not challenging people's perception. The few things I've learn recently is to have compassion to those who have a hard time coping with reality. Introducing yourself as a "Superhero" on the street level causes a level of distress. The acts of kindness on the streets, I feel, must become much more muted in order to help restore humanity. Restoring sanity works by working as a person who seems sane. Kindness from a normal stranger will do a lot more on the street then kindness from a costumed individual. It is the same problems, I feel, why help from Christian believers are less received. The act seems less sincere because the person receiving the help feels the act has a less than noble motive.
    On the other side, assigned a title serves to only limit one’s potential. "Superhero" is a manufactured term by entertainment. At one point the term RLSH was underground enough. Once RLSH became mainstream, then limits were set forth not only by RLSH but by the public as well. Being a "Superhero", in my opinion, is not the next evolution of humanity. If it is, then people have resigned themselves to be limited by a term coined by a form of entertainment. Superheroes have to be this way or that way. And people are judged based on the comic media they are emulating. When you don’t live up to the perception, then you are mocked and ridiculed- on both sides of the spectrum. And I imagine that criticism from peers as well as the public doesn’t feel great. I’d even venture to say that some people may choose to be irresponsible in actions in order gain a feeling of being legitimate in the eyes of the public or among their peers. I think that would be harmful to the person’s self-esteem.
    One of my favorite anecdotal comic stories is Kingdom Come. In the end, the DC heroes put away the outfits as an outward gesture to prove they are not putting themselves above humanity. I know I’ve had my moment where I had to choose between the costume or the actions. There has to be a time when a person chooses the “Super” or the “Man”. Sadly, I think those moments will come to other people at a great emotional or physical price. But I think when some people decided to become the “Man”, they’ll find other ways to grow as helpers of their communities and even learn better ways of making positive contributions.