Perhaps I’m reading too much into the displays of dumbness being exhibited on our streets and at our stadiums these days, but anarchy tends to breed overreaction.
It would be easy to dismiss almost any skirmishes involving Oakland Raiders fans and BART protesters these days because we’ve come to expect some cave-dwelling behavior. Yet the real characteristic about the recent episodes of mob behavior in San Francisco is that it’s no longer an aberration.
For several years now, I’ve been hearing from longtime season ticket-holders at Candlestick Park that the 49ers crowds have been getting uglier — and I’m not talking objective beauty here. There’s been a lot more drinking, a lot more swearing, definitely not kid-friendly action. It’s just too easy to dismiss last weekend’s violence as a rowdy preseason game against the Raiders in which no one really cared about the action on the field. The scene at 49ers games has been trending downward.
Of all the shocking videos from the game, and there were plenty, one involved about 10 women in the parking lot that went from pushing to punching to freefall. And they weren’t wearing Bay City Bombers jerseys — they were wearing 49ers colors.
It’s a good thing they don’t have Christopher Milk tickets anymore — the children holding them would be terrified.
And does anybody really believe that the BART protests are about BART anymore? If you saw some of the videos of the crowds spilling onto Market Street, you understand that these people are out to make mayhem under the guise of alleged anti-violence.
The common thread here, of course, is that the incidents are all happening on San Francisco’s streets, in large part because The City has earned a reputation as a place where crimes can go unpunished. If you recall a recent demonstration over a Bayview shooting involving San Francisco police in which a criminal accidentally killed himself while running from officers, of the dozens arrested, only one of them was a city resident.
This is not a new phenomenon. When the nightclub scene in North Beach was at its worst a few years back, police discovered that most of the combatants were from out of town. Police found a similar scenario when they started cracking down on drug dealers in the Tenderloin after George Gascón became chief.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who would like to know how many of the BART protesters arrested this week actually rode BART into town to unleash their unfocused anger. (Sadly, at least one of them was decked out in Giants gear.)
So in keeping with these rambunctious times, here are my new rules of disorder to help frustrated commuters and ease the angst at 49ers games.
Keep at least one or possibly two BART stations open, in whatever way necessary, and announce them in advance. If San Francisco and BART police can’t stop 200 people from interrupting public transit for weeks on end, they need to re-examine how they handle crowd control.
Make sure that those arrested actually face charges. There’s nothing like fear of prosecution to turn unruly protesters ruly.
By all means, start giving the bum’s rush to people tailgating in the parking lot after the games start. People who are partying in the lot while the game is being played are not fans.
The suggested idea to start setting up sobriety checkpoints after the game is ridiculous. You really want to make it harder to get away from Candlestick? The postgame traffic is horrendous.
If you’re really concerned with security at games, start playing the preseason exhibitions during the daytime. The only people who care about them are the greedy NFL owners who use them to rip off season ticket-holders. Fans would love to see just two preseason games anyway, which would make it that much easier not to schedule 49ers vs. Raiders.
Still, the 49ers’ front office has even bigger problems up the road, and by that I do mean its proposed future home in Santa Clara.
Think about this equation: If the 49ers do move south, there will be more people inside the stadium than exist in the entire city of Santa Clara.
Fearing crowd control? I think BART and San Francisco police may be doing some moonlighting.