I take pride in telling people that I live in San Francisco. Having grown up in the North Bay, I have many memories of the city, from the times I went there for field trips that made me feel adult, to later discovering there the wondrous bar that didn't really card. But the city is more than amazing through my own nostalgia—it is objectively one of the finest places in the world, renowned for its natural backdrops, cultural resonance and friendly, offbeat locals.
Watching the Giants win the World Series last night for the third time in five seasons stirred up a euphoria of local pride.
That is, until the riots started.
Fiery rages that petrify residents give our beautiful city a bad name. I'll be the first to admit that I was far from responsible last night—my friend Giana (yes, we share a name) and I popped bubbly messily in the street and shared our excellent elixir with people who probably all have pneumonia now. I accept that I have no one to blame by myself for my hangover and slow typing skills today. What I can't wrap my brain around is the justification for the dangerous riots. Giants fans lit a couch on fire. Some vandalized a bus. The windows of a cop car were smashed. Two men were shot (they're in the hospital, but doing well). Another was stabbed.
Why? Really, why was this necessary? The Giants have secured themselves dynasty status, yes, but this is not how to celebrate that. While it seems that most of the rioting occurred in the Mission District (as opposed to the entire city), it reflects poorly on San Francisco as a whole. Back in 2012, fans went so far as to set a Muni bus on fire. Personal property (like cars) were smashed. The riots were scarcely better in 2010—then, a mob attacked a car and beat its passengers. Though it's odd to compare, it seems as though the riots aren't getting any less dire. In fact, they may be worsening.
San Francisco is known for its, shall we say, quirky inhabitants. Beat writer Jack Kerouac "lived" here (meaning: randomly crashed here for extended periods of time, because he was a beatnik). San Francisco is where modern dance mama Isadora Duncan began her dance career. Mel Blanc, of Looney Tunes, was born here.
More than boasting eclectic and creative natives, the city has shown its resolve and sense of community through a series of historic events. The 1906 earthquake nearly obliterated San Francisco (and killed nearly 3,000 people), yet the city, with the help of the military in the Presidio, came together to rebuild. The repealing of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943 increased opportunities for Chinese immigrants, adding to the city's notable diversity. There are novels about San Francisco and its history—amazing things have happened here.
When I say that I take pride in being a San Francisco resident, I do so for so many reasons. Despite the fact that it's cold in summer and smells like urine everywhere, the City by the Bay has remained an impossibly awesome one. Rioting undermines everything this great place is and stands for—its respect for history, its care for the community, its commitment to doing good.
Now, instead of seeing the city I love, when the nation looks at us they see thousands of maniacs who don't know when to quit.
My fellow San Franciscans, please: Can we do better?
Images: Twitter and Instagram