Spring has sprung here in Berkeley. Along with the overflowing storm drains, wet cardboard and tent cities, we have become the place of media “money shots”. Lots of verbal and physical brawling grace this town. Spit flying, fists landing and blood flowing. I have watched as humankind detiorates beautifully. As a peace officer, I see slices of human deterioration everyday.

Most recently, I worked, watched and waded into crowds of defiant individuals. At home, my ears were ringing all night from the flash bangs, M-80s and some homemade improvised Red Bull can explosives. 

It’s surreal to watch and listen to people screaming at each other. I mean, I have heard quite a bit of it over the years but on much smaller scales. Do the opposing sides really think anything is accomplished? Do sticks, bottles, bricks and bear spray help the cause? Spread the political messages? Make a difference? 

A young man was stabbed in the chest. Another individual was whacked over the head by an opposing view – the twenty something – who knows what the world needs to truly achieve peace. 

As my ears continue to ring, I look to bloody teeth. I hear a barrage of angry sentiment. I ponder free speech. I think of Tibetan bells and people who talk about peace.