San Francisco is in the middle of a bunch of protests about the changing economics and overall gentrification of the area. Like all squabbles between groups of entitled people and the entitled people who protest them, it got stupid, fast. And the story of Kyle Russell illustrates just how stupid it’s getting.
Russell essentially got his toy broken on Saturday, and wrote a whiny article about it entitled “I Was Assaulted For Wearing Google Glass In The Wrong Part Of San Francisco.” The “assault” in question was essentially somebody grabbing Google Glass of his face and breaking it, as he was walking away from an anti-Google protest he’d been covering. It includes gems such as this:
People are being evicted or priced out of their homes. What’s the difference between losing your home and having property destroyed?
Yeah, what is the difference between a $1500 toy of yours being broken, and being thrown out of your home and having to move miles away from your job and friends because a Google executive wants a bigger house? Those things are absolutely equivalent!
To be fair to Russell, he immediately follows that up with something that shows at least a little perspective:
I was pretty shaken after seeing someone completely disregard my personal space and property without provocation. I imagine that feeling is only a shadow of what dislocated people in this city experience every day.
That perspective, alas, was not shared by the wider tech press. Mashable called it an “attack”, CNET went with the “assault” language even though this is a robbery, at best, and the Internet generally got stupid over something that was stupid to begin with.
I feel bad for Russell, a bit, because he got used by the far-left equivalent of that kid who will eat anything for a buck at the local elementary school, both in this and in some of the Tweets he shared. I grew up around the kind of people who engage in “radical action” like this, and I know how utterly insincere they are. Within a year, most of them will be puking on something else, probably Monsanto. Whoever smashed Russell’s toy is probably congratulating himself on defending the proletariat right now as he calls his dad to ask for another few thousand bucks.
This isn’t to trivialize the very real issues facing the Bay Area as homes balloon in price and the reality that building large amounts of new housing is a bureaucratic and ugly process in any city. And Russell didn’t deserve to have his personal property vandalized. But it might not kill the tech press to dial back on the hyperbole a little bit, and sort out the people who actually care about these issues from the people using them to get attention.