580 Gunman Targeting SF Lefties

Oakland Police and Alameda County prosecutors have confirmed the fears of some of us that a big disaster was averted when California Highway Patrol officers pulled over Byron Williams on 580 in Oakland on Saturday night after he was weaving and speeding in traffic.

Williams, who was wearing body armor and carrying an arsenal of handguns and rifles, proceeded to get a lengthy gun battle with the police because of his hatred of people of the “left wing agenda.” 

OPD and the DA announced today that Williams was headed to Ess Eff to try to kill staff of the ACLU of Northern California and the nonprofit Tides Foundation, which funds environmental and social justice groups in California and across the country.

What did these two groups do that was so bad?

The Tides Foundations’ list of causes that they supported around the world in 2009 totals more than 37 pages and more than $100 million.  In terms of broad categories, it’s no wonder that someone watching Faux News would get his panties in a wad:

Meanwhile, the ACLU of Northern California’s home page, ironically enough, is advertising their new “Know Your Rights” factsheet: “Your Rights and the Police” – perhaps something Mr. Williams should have referenced before his 15 minute shootout with law enforcement.

Williams faces multiple charges of attempted murder and for being a felon in possession of weapons and ammunition.


The Adkisson Brigades are really mounting up now. Can’t wait until the teabaggers, neonazis and endtimers get going for the elections.

@SFL: take care of yourself, and consider going under the moniker “SanFranMiddleFinger” for awhile, to throw ’em off your trail.

“And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change”

Douglas Adams

You help someone and boom some deranged dumbass loser wants to kill you for actually having the gall to help people. Guy definitely had some serious loose screws to think of shit like that.

Whipping through the RW gun blogs tonight, it appears that a gag order is in effect. Only a few peeps from creeps under the rocks: “Expect more of this if Obama stays in power after October (sic)”; incident is an excuse to equate Tea Partiers with criminals; armed guys = need for everyone to arm up; cops can’t shoot (belittling cops is a common theme on RWGBs); and the ever popular, felons shouldn’t have guns anyway. One guy on the calguns.net forum was totally out there with denial that it was a planned attack on Tides and ACLU:


God you guys are falling for the media/governments spin so hard. I believe the multiple rifles one is just the stupidity of the news, because he only had 3 guns and thats it, I believe the other rifles were polices.

The media is having fun lying, so is his neighbor Thomas Funk, first time he talked about the guy it was all about not knowing him, then omg hes anti government next day its America is going to hell because we have a black president and because Obama is black he doesn’t deserve to be president.

Anyways, its quite obvious where the bank robber was going… the SF Fed, take out a armored truck taking overnight funds to a bank, use the shotgun on the bullet proof glass then easily penetrate the glass with some rifle rounds. They can’t be telling people his real intentions then other people will try it too.


Tides sometimes threw my old environmental law firm a bone when were were cool enough for them and our director kissed enough ass (and probably gave out a lot of meditation retreats at his ranch to grease the skids).

@redmanlaw: They can’t be telling people his real intentions then other people will try it too.

On second thought, I don’t know where to begin.

@nojo: Another blog for “three percenters” – the 3% of the population it says will actually fight in an armed insurrection/revolution – pointedly ran a long tribute to Klaus VonStauffenberg, who tried to kill Hitler with a suitcase bomb in 1945, the idea being that people who hate where their leaders are taking their country should stop at nothing to save the nation. Keep an eye on that theme.

Can’t say I care for having a gun pointed at my by the Not the MSNBC ad. A little to close to home for us Bay Area types.

We get unhinged types wandering around/trying to get access to our offices about once a year. So far, they haven’t been armed.

@redmanlaw: So going to the SF Fed is that much better? Do the wingers really think that “overnight funds” are actually physically transferred these days? He’d have more cash and better luck knocking off a Safeway on a Sunday evening.

@Walking Still: We just get homeless people and random crazy people off the street, but I think that happens in any office building in SF where there isn’t a guard or any form of security at the ground floor by the elevators. In my former life at a former job in the reproductive rights world we were regularly sent bullets and fake anthrax in the mail along with random threatening incoherent letters promising to kill us because some loser’s girlfriend had an abortion.
This just pisses me off because I feel like it’s a matter of when, not if, with the frothy masses that Faux News et al whip up, and I know folks who work at both Tides and ACLU-NC (and for that matter, many other lefty groups here in Ess Eff) and they’re all good peeps.

I’m surprised something like this hasn’t happened in Arizona yet. Maybe they’re waiting for the decision on SB1070. Tomorrow afternoon is the O/A on the feds lawsuit. Can’t wait!

@SanFranLefty: Only update on the gun blogs this morning is someone in a snit about what an “assault weapon” is responding to a column in the Philadelphia Daily News . Absolutely nothing on Williams. It’s as if he doesn’t exist.

@redmanlaw: According to the San Francisco Examiner (a once great paper reduced to a tabloid-sized free handout reproducing right-wing diatribes), even they are reporting that Williams had a type of ammunition that can go through bullet proof vests. The CHP was really fucking lucky (almost said “dodged a bullet”) that none of their officers were injured beyond flying glass, and it’s a miracle that nobody driving by on the highway wasn’t hit or didn’t wreck because of the drama on the shoulder of the road.

ADD: Just saw in an updated version of the Chronic’s article that the douchesack asked for a public defender to represent him. Anti-government, the Marxist ni-THONK and liberals are socializing everything, oh by the way, will you give me a PD please? kthxbai!

@SanFranLefty: Think they can move the trial to Texas so one of their public defenders can give this guy the defense he so richly deserves? I wonder how he feels about the socialism inherent in people paying to house prisoners instead of simply executing everybody convicted of anything.

@Dave H:

I demand you come up with an amusing avatar.

I’m not sure why I demand it, or what gives me the right to demand anything at all, but I am feeling demand-y this morning.


@SanFranLefty: Just about any rifle ammo suitable for hunting deer, antelope, elk, etc. can penetrate most body armor, which is designed to stop pistol caliber rounds at close range. My old school .30-30 caliber lever action deer rifle, considered to be underpowered by current standards*, using off the shelf ammo with a 165 gr bullet sizzling along at 2150 fps (with 1643 foot pounds of energy on impact) could penetrate all but steel plate body armor at 100 yards per the following chart:


So to say that “this awful ammo can penetrate body armor” is like saying “this hammer can drive a nail through a 2 inch pine board.”

* The five point bull elk I got with it was unaware of current opinion on the subject.

@redmanlaw: You are the expert on all these things, I defer to you on what it means. But I found it interesting that the right-wing rag was going on and on about the ammo’s strength, but then again it was a convicted felon directing the ammo in the direction of law enforcement.

I’m still trying to process this. I volunteered with our local ACLU. Our location was a secret. Security was pretty tight but not uber tight. We were all pledged to secrecy about the ACLU’s location. We told ourselves it was just so people wouldn’t show up looking for help without going through the proper intake procedure (over the phone). What we knew was that we were in danger. We never talked about that.

The KILLER THING is that we were logically consistent — we represented EVERYONE despite their political leanings, hate speech, whatever as long as they complied with time, place and manner restrictions. Westboro is an ACLU client. Not my chapter, but one of ours nonetheless.

AND I worked with the EssEff folks when I did my very short stint in BigLaw. I remember some of these people. We worked on Williams together. FUCK!

So, I really don’t know how to deal with this. I’m going to take a break and NOT deal with this. Not a long break, but just enough so that I don’t think this world should just fucking explode. That maybe it’s good we’re killing ourselves environmentally and in all these other soul-sucking ways. Maybe it’s time we just fall off the fucking world and let it forget we were ever here.

Human beings are shitty. Shitty shitty shitty. I include myself in that group.

I had to quit at the ACLU because intake was KILLING me. I cried on the phone with people. 99.99999% of the time, they didn’t have a civil liberties issue, but they were in trouble/pain/danger, and they didn’t know where else to turn. I was the “slow” one — I talked to people for hours if I had to. I only had one case I begged we took, and we didn’t because we didn’t have the resources. So, just like everyone else, we referred this poor person to someone else who might hopefully help them. And the referrals were really good — I’d give them like 7-12 agencies to call/write/email, places that could help them if THEY had the resources.

So, yeah. I dunno. I just couldn’t do it anymore. And I feel really guilty about that. But I also couldn’t be crying on the phone with these poor people all the time and pawning them off to someone else. Sending out referral letters, fucking never knowing if they got help. It’s about as helpful to me and to them as praying to some twisted deity that people think loves us. Ha!

About a week ago, I received an email from the ACLU saying they need more intakers. The last I’d heard was that intake was being scaled back due to funding issues. But now they’re looking for help.

I don’t know if I can go back. Part of me really wants to. I just don’t know if I can deal with it.

So here we have this asshole who has NO FUCKING IDEA THAT THE ACLU HAS REPRESENTED PEOPLE JUST LIKE HIM! And he wants to kill us.

I try not to say this or think this, some people truly are stupid. Incredibly fucking dumb. I’ve been there, too.

@JNOV: My man Howard Dean tried to make that point several years ago, and what do people remember? The Scream.

Legal aid type work is not for the weak. You should have seen me at job fairs telling the kids what it was like out there. I recruited some damn good people, too, people who went on to become law professors, DOJ officials and tribal attorneys general after putting in some grueling years helping the poorest of the poor on the Navajo Nation.

@SanFranLefty: “A 12-minute gunbattle ensued where Williams was able to reload and continue to fire three different firearms that were available to him inside his vehicle at CHP officers that had taken cover,” a court documents states. “Williams utilized a .308 rifle during the firefight, which has the capability to penetrate ballistic body armor and vehicles.” San Jose Mercury-News

True about the .308, which is also popular for law enforcement SWAT snipers. The cartridge was developed for the US Army M-14, the predecessor to the M-16/M-4. I’ve been carrying a .308 Savage Model 99 lever action rifle given to me by my father in law for elk hunting for the past several years.

Savage 99 lever action rifle


@SanFranLefty: they are reporting that Williams had a type of ammunition that can go through bullet proof vests

Like RML said, rifle ammo, etc. I won’t rehash that. But I wanted to say that both left and right partisans enjoy pulling this one out, because it’s very very easy to write something like that when you mean “he had rifle ammunition, which is technically capable of going through body armor,” but you want your readers to think, “he had highly illegal ‘cop killer’ bullets! ZOMGWTFBBQ!”

Both sides like it: lefties like the implied horror of guns, and righties like it because it demonstrates how terrible the criminal class is. Whether they’re trying to ban guns or criminals, it works for all comers.

No question, of course, that the guy is a whackjob who probably expected to go down in a blaze of glory (the body armor just there to prolong the killing spree). My take on all this is that some people are fucking nuts, and they’ll be fucking nuts whether they’re armed with rocks and sticks or swords or guns or nuclear fusion lasers. Just like Columbine, the issue is not that the guy was armed to the teeth, it’s that he’s a psychopath who was armed to the teeth.

@redmanlaw: Yeah, but I’m not weak. I don’t know if that was a slip of the keyboard or what, so I’m not going to flame you, although my first reaction to what you wrote is to fucking smack you down.

The fact that I feel so deeply for these people shows that I am STRONG. I’m not afraid to empathize with these people. They aren’t just folks on the other side of the the phone. They are living, breathing human beings with hopes and dreams and problems just like the rest of us — even if I disagree with their politics.

So, I’m going to ask you very politely to clarify just what you mean by “weak.” Because if you think that my inability to deal with this stuff sometimes is a sign of weakness and not of something different, a sign of how connected I feel to other people, I’m going to politely tell you to reexamine your thinking on what “weak” and “strong” mean.

And I’m trying not to make you the target of my frustration and ire, but I swear to WHOMEVER IS ASLEEP AT THE FUCKING WHEEL, that if you think I’m weak, your grand children are going to feel the punch in the nuts I’ve got for you in reserve.

Hey Lefty, how is it that this nutjob survived the shootout?

@Walking Still: If you see a particularly repulsive ad, make a note of where it goes (Google won’t let me click) and post it in a comment or email it to me. I can blacklist it, as I have many others.

@JNOV: I didn’t say you were. Show me where I said “JNOV is weak” and I’ll give you a dollar.

I’m also not going to be a vendetta/flame target. I got shit to do. Smack me down all you want, but I didn’t call you weak.

@redmanlaw: After I wrote that I had trouble doing legal aid, you wrote:

Legal aid type work is not for the weak.

That’s what I’m asking you to clarify. I expressed my frustration and guilt with not being able to deal with it at times and that I still might go back. Do you see how I could interpret what you wrote as you calling me weak?

Oh, and the dollar comment is cute. Save it for your arsenal.

@JNOV: I would interpret what RML wrote as agreeing with you, saying ‘Legal aid type work is tough’. I don’t read anything personal in that at all.

@JNOV: You could, but you could also give him the benefit of the doubt that his comment was not directed at you. Anyone who puts in time with a group like ACLU with limited resources and limitless numbers of people in need of help is obviously not weak. Weak is using the ACLU (and other groups like it) as a punching bag like so many people do.

@nojo: Thank you, I will. This ad appears to have disappeared into the ether.

@JNOV: You asked me to come in and judge whether or not you were overreacting. My verdict is “yes, but it’s not your fault.” I could understand how you could interpret redman’s post as calling you weak, but I didn’t feel that was his intention when I read it. It sounded to me more like he was just trying to say that the work you were doing is tough. I think the confusion stems from the facts that, first of all, this whole nutjob in ‘Frisco issue clearly hit close to home (no pun intended), and second, that you were already in the process of beating yourself up over leaving the ACLU.

I don’t think anyone here (especially the ones that know you) would honestly try and tell you that any of the decisions you’ve made qualify you as weak. Likewise, I don’t think that not being able to deal with intake makes you a bad person. You clearly want to help people, and that’s why the job was so hard for you in the first place. Remember what my teachers used to say about me being sensitive? And you remember what you said? There’s already enough people in the world who are more than willing to deprecate you, so don’t go doing their job for them.

As for what you said about the human race killing itself off, I disagree. As long as there are still people like the folks at the ACLU, who are willing to risk their own well-being to defend the rights of the very people who threaten them, I still have hope.

@JNOV: I believe RML was paying you a compliment. You know, since you were doing legal aid work, and were thus, as it were, not weak.

@JNOVjr: Word. You’re a loving son and a smart cookie.

@SanFranLefty: @JNOV: When I read this in my afternoon, I thought about you guys. The ones on the frontlines. We all need you, but we also need you to be safe.
@JNOVjr: Good fuckinganswer, Jr. Apple, tree, etc. Oh and hey, you can always Let it Slide.

@JNOVjr: Nah. I prefer a little broom on my slide.

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: I prefer not to.

That only refers to creating an amusing avatar and certainly not about both loving you and despairing.

@Nabisco: Man, those people look so bored. “What are we listening to? Is this blues? I’ve never heard blues before. Are we supposed to dance or something? Maybe I’ll just kinda wave my hands around and sway a little bit. Anyone got any pot? Tom said he’d bring acid, but he didn’t show. Oh shit, are we on TV? Better try and look like we’re the least bit aware of what’s going on right now.” Still, good song. I bet a friend of mine would enjoy watching that. He’s way into blues, jazz and all that old school goodness.

@Dave H:

Nobody follows my rules.

Which is a shame, because they are good rules and designed to benefit their initiating stakeholder.

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: Then again, I could always change the default avatar to something really awful.

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: I just got a free cup of soup from the gorgeous Moroccan man who works at the deli by my office.

@JNOV: I didn’t read his comment that way. Listen to Junior.

@JNOVjr: You were a good kid 10 years ago when I first met you and you’re still a good kid. Your mama raised you right.



You nailed it. My thanks to both of you. It is most impressive to see mad computer skills used as a force for good.


I want to see the dude that’s got enough shotgun-fu to take out all the guards and keep them from driving away in one motion. Sounds like some full-on Ash (from Evil Dead, etc) action…

I mean, they don’t expect that the guards would just sit there quietly while a loon fires one weapon and shoulders and fires another, right? FFS, that plan probably wouldn’t even work in Grand Theft Auto…

@Walking Still: @al2o3cr: Pssst, TommCatt has a hair up his ass that you can’t be little snowflake avatars any more… get thee to gravatar.com before he yells at you too.

I promise to try. It may take a little while

@SanFranLefty: Speaking of, whatever happened to Nancy??

@flippin eck: I was getting tired of it, and the one that I used on Brand W and carried over was scaring some folks. (It still shows up when I post on Gawker or Teh Jez). When Nojo added me to the roster of posters, the avatar in the right column was going to be permanent. I find the GG Bridge more calming. I flirted with the idea of continuing to use the black and white photo of the little kid smoking a cigarette and holding a chicken but I thought that might be too weird.

@All, and especially at RML, SLF and my kiddo:

::sigh:: Yeah. I’ve been lurking and thinking and, yeah, I think there was some classic projection going on on my end. I’m sorry. It’s no one fault, and I appreciate the attempts to talk me down. It worked.

Here’s the most difficult aspect of intake for me. I would be talking to someone who was CLEARLY distressed, I mean SO DISTRESSED that it took a long time to get a clear picture of the main issue. They were so happy to have someone LISTEN to them, and they were so amped up (I know the feeling ::wink::), that they were all over the map about the chronology of events, and I spent a lot of time gently interrupting them to try to understand what they were facing.

And sometimes I just listened. I took notes like a maniac, and when they were done pouring out their hearts, I’d have to check to make sure we’d covered all their issues, put them in some logical order for my bosses (which is VERY hard for me, because I am not naturally a linear thinker), and so I’d have to say, “Okay — here’s what I’m hearing you say — do I have it all right? Have we missed anything?”

And what was even worse were the people who really needed to talk, but they just couldn’t. You had to coax them and get them to trust you when they’d already been incredibly whipsawed. And as the stories and fear and pain came out, I’d realize that we couldn’t directly help these people, but I couldn’t tell them that. I had to tell them their complaint was being sent on to my superiors, and they’d make the final decision. My clients would hear from me within a week.

So, then I’d have to analyze this whole thing I’d just heard, and I don’t know how, but some people knew that it was okay to break down and cry with me — especially the ones that were hard to draw out. It was a honor and emotionally taxing. ::sigh:: So, I’m basically taking them to this very scary painful place, all the while knowing that we can’t directly help them, knowing that they’re going to get referred somewhere else, and THEN they’re going to have to go through the whole emotional and psychological trauma of explaining their situation AGAIN to another total stranger who might not be able to help them either. I mean, how long would it be before they stop calling and emailing and just give up because the act of reaching out for help and then just sort of getting passed around was too painful?

So, I tried to make it abundantly clear that I cared, that they deserved help (even if I knew but couldn’t say that we weren’t the ones to provide it), that they were brave to ask for it, and that they should keep on fighting. The only comfort that I found in having them get it all out was that we were able to distill the issue(s) apart from the emotions and maybe it would be easier for them to repeat their story to someone else if they understood that we can’t directly help everyone, but we really fucking care. And there’s a whole network of people out there who care, and we’re going to band together the best we can and DO something.


ADD: I just worry about the ones who give up.

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: Heh. You’re just pissed b/c B.E. is crap. :-P

When are we riding the teacups?

@SanFranLefty: “Permanent” meaning I update it by hand. It’s easily changed.

@nojo: You already do enough around here, grasshopper, I’m not going to ask you to change that avatar every time I feel like changing my commenting avatar. Though I’m thinking about going back to having Mayor McDreamy’s hair as my avatar as I did briefly a while back.

@nojo: Anything you could do to increase my power and control is, from a unilateral perspective, desirable.



Oh, I don’t care what they use for an avatar. I just like yelling and making rules. I’m like the Duchess in Alice in Wonderland that way.


Come on out and we’ll go!

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: Jr.’s going to ask you if you’re tripping pretty soon…

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: Well, I’m about to teach Jr. how to play with knives.

See y’all on the flip side, and thanks again! Everyone. Thank you.



@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: I hope you’re around after we make dinner. You’re fucking killing me!

@JNOVjr: Okay — see — that’s why I’ve never seen the movie. (I think I watched three seconds of that clip.) The book was good enough. That movie would give me nightmares.

ADD: Okay — that was actually pretty cool…


Good thing (for him) that nutcase dude wasn’t lying face-down on a subway platform, then he’d have really been screwed.

I can certainly understand the guy being upset. I’d be upset too if I had to borrow my mother’s car.

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: He’s been trying to sell me on it for years (?). I think I’m sold.

@karen marie: heh
@JNOVjr: Hah
@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: HAHA

@JNOVjr: Yeah, see, I thought the same thing. That’s why those sessions never should have been filmed. You need to just listen, not watch. That’s not your mother’s Fleetwood Mac, you know.

Doggone it, I lurv you guys!

And I wish that I had stayed up for the worthless three hours I slept, cuz this is the closest we’ve come to an across the dateline After Dark in a long while! Plus, maybe then I wouldn’t have this beer/wine/homemade lemoncello hangover this morning.

Oh and hey! I totally got sexually harassed by my boss last night! Well, at least inappropriately brushed up against, repeatedly, at the big people’s table.


@Nabisco: Oh, you have not only admitted to the weediscman but now to LIMONCELLO! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

@JNOV: Is that how you say and spell it? It was homemade, so I had to try some. Citrusy, and quite the punch.

Breaking: Since I never watch Glenn Beck, I had no idea that Tides Foundation was part of his conspiracy cabal along with ACORN, SEIU, and George Soros. I mean, lefties know who they are because they give us money, but I thought it was awfully random to select them versus any other lefty/progressive foundation based in Ess Eff.

Now we know why. The last time Beck railed against them was July 13, because apparently they’re behind the New Black Panthers.

@SanFranLefty: Yeah, I’m dwelling on that one for the morning, unless you hit it tonight.

@SanFranLefty: May I now be spared the wrath of Mr. Catt? Also, any SoCal types recognize the spot?

@nojo: No, I got shit to get done tonight for my 2nd job (guess that means Stinque is Job # 3 a.k.a. you owe me a beer next time I’m in Sandy Eggo) and if I were to try to do something on that it’d be short shrift. Plus I get enraged and get boiled up to a “BRING IT ON MOTHERFUCKER BRING IT ON” response to this story, so it’s not that articulate.

But I’m on the computer if you want to bounce ideas off of me.

@Walking Still: Coronado Island?

@Walking Still: Oh, you’re BEAUTIFUL!

ADD: Too tiny to see, but if I had my wish, I’d say Trestles or MB.

@Nabisco: Oh! Homemade? I mock you not. I’m going to try to ferment elderberries one day…

@SanFranLefty: I’m actually making an Argument From Ignorance, so it’s best I keep it to myself while writing.

@nojo: Or consult with TommCatt.

/besos, Tommy!



One county north of both your guesses. 15 years ago it was an oil field.

@Walking Still: I can’t bring myself to drive through Orange County, let alone think about it. (Too many years of reading about The Hills in US Weekly).

I’ll defer to our favorite tree-hugger Dodger to decipher.

@Walking Still: It’s getting late, so I’ll tell. It’s Bolsa Chica – where an oil field got turned into a wetland restoration project. Sort of an alternative universe from BP.

@Walking Still: I like this universe. If Dodger misses this thread, let’s see if he can figure it out.

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