Saturday, March 02, 2013

Say, Wanna Learn How To Pick Locks? Only In Oakland Kids, Only In Oakland

I don't know if I should really be all that amazed or saddened by this story in the Left Angeles Times that the city of Oakland, California is sponsoring a workshop by the title, The Introduction to Lock-Picking.
Many things come to mind. Many unspeakable words come to mind.
First, why would the office of the mayor, the mayor in this case being the clueless Jean Quan, actually include this on her personal newsletter? Does this not by inclusion give the Mayor Quan seal of approval on such a class?
Oh, BTW, did I mention that burglaries are up a staggering 44% since 2011? Yup, they are.
And I guess in the mind of Mayor Quan, lets mention that there is a workshop on lock-picking taking place today in an event known as Workshop Weekend.
Oh, and do check out the Workshop Weekend website. It offers such other workshops as Create Wet Felted Flowers, Sew with Electronics and my personal favorite, Farm in Space.
From what I can tell on the website, it is the scam, brainstorm of a couple of techie bros named Zamfirescu.
So far, I have not seen a workshop on How To Rape A Gal Without Getting Caught. Or maybe How to Commit Grand Theft Auto Without Getting Anyone Killed.
But somebody, the one sane person in Oakland, did have the termidity to write Mayor Quan that er, maybe this was not such a great idea.
From the Times article:

Of all the incredibly unbelievable things I've witnessed in my life, this tops the list," one resident wrote in a letter that asked Quan to cancel the class.

And another offered a potential future course offering in an online chat forum:

"What next?" another wrote on a neighborhood chat forum. "The fundamentals of armed robbery?"

And I do not know what is worse, Mayor Quan's distancing from this "workshop" or one of the sponsors of the weekend's defense of the offering.
Here is Mayor Quan's feeble "apology" on the matter. That it was an "inappropriate listing". No, really?! Ya think?! But it gets better as the good mayor decides to throw some volunteers under the bus. She blamed some volunteers that put together the newsletter for a bad cut and paste job. They must have not been teaching the workshop on cut and paste to help 'em out. And here is Mayor Quan's clincher:

 "It strikes the wrong note when we're doing everything we can to bring down crime," she said.

Again, no, really?!
But event organizer, Gil Zamfirescu, actually explains the value in knowing how a lock is picked so that you know how to protect yourself better. No, really. Here it is in Mr. Zamfirescu's words:

"We recognize there is a lot of community concern. But the best way to combat crime is to educate yourself, to understand locks so you know how to protect yourself better."

Oh, OK, that makes sense.
So, may I offer that defense to the couple of course offerings I suggested above? I mean, to nail a rapist, one must know how to do it first, right? To avoid getting one's car stolen, one should know the inner workings on how it is done. Again, right?
Oh, did I mention that burglaries are up a staggering 44% since 2011?
This kind of workshop under the guise of education is amazingly stupid.
What I would like to know is what law-enforcement thinks about such a thing? There is nothing from that perspective in the article.
And really, doesn't this just undermine the already awful job that it is to be a policeman in Oakland?
Of course it does.
And what I want to know is will anyone keep stats on if burglaries do increase and if any will be traced to any of the participants? That is important because it will totally undermine Gil Zamfirescu's argument that all it is about is making people aware of  how lock-picking is done.
I don't think that showing how criminal acts are committed is going to help bring down a very increasing rate, in this case, of burglaries. It is clearly an innovative way to show a future crook willing to plop down $40 bucks how to commit a crime.
And another thought.
How many burglaries do not end well? By that I mean what happens when a crook is caught in the act? What if that crook is armed and shoots the person or persons that surprise a burglar in the act? And again if that crook took this workshop? Who will be liable then?
This is not something that should be offered anytime, anywhere. It is a disgrace that it is being offered at all.
But this is what Oakland hath wrought.
Only in Oakland, kids. Only in Oakland!


Socially Extint said...

That's astounding.

Oakland is a craphole. Some places really need to be abandoned. There should be fair warning...say 6 months. We tell residents that they must abandon now or they will locked in after we wall off the cite. Oakland is #1 on the list.

Toni said...

This is cool!