On Wednesday afternoon, 12:20pm, October 18th, 2017, a San Francisco police officer on bicycle patrol was hit by a suspect driving a stolen vehicle. I believe the assailant was under investigation for illegal firearms possession. (No private guns allowed in SF after the Milk/Moscone hoax) He was later apprehended at 3:30pm (of course).
Facebook and Twitter spread the word as this happened and a friend of mine found herself and her entire neighborhood under a “shelter in place” order from the SFPD. To my knowledge, this is the first time that order has been issued in Frisco. That got my antennae up.
A few years ago, Ab Irato over at Fakeologist asked an interesting question: Does a hoax seem more convincing if one is in close approximation to said hoax? Well, after years of high-grade skepticism regarding all things media, I can conclude that this one was very transparent even as it happened in my own backyard.
The officer’s name is given as Elia Lewin-Tankel. He is still in Zuckerberg (!) General Hospital, under tight security. Though I don’t claim to be an expert at searching for names, his does not come up on the sites I’ve looked at, including Intelius. The photos of him and his (GF?) wife have the air of two attractive actors posing for social media filling. He very much has the mien of a performer. She smiles the smile of a professional who has worked on her “look”. The main photo being used in the media is a ridiculous paste-up of him and his prop bulldog.
(Looks like the dog is sunning itself in GG Park while the CGI mush of the officer fades into gooey pixels.)
Just this morning (Friday) I was watching the local Fox affiliate, KTVU*, and their morning news program. Against all California legal statutes, a KTVU reporter was granted an interview with the suspect in his prison orange onesy. The suspect is said to be homeless and he claims he’s suffering PTSD from a previous police beating. He looked lucid, well fed, fashionably scruffy in the urban hipster manner. In fact I would describe him as a younger Morgan Freeman-ish type. His eye work while being interviewed was one of an actor pacing himself while recalling his bullet points.
My best guess is this was a drill. (A colleague drove right past a swarm of police cruisers and later motorcycles, so this was a happening thing) But, the shelter in place part would be the key to the drill. People in one of the storied parts of Frisco, ground zero Manson country in the upper Haight** to be exact, obeyed. The fact that the media reported it as a real thing was to get an accurate reading of the public response. If they had announced there would be a drill, the results would have been tainted.
It’s no more real when it happens at home, but it is a lot more annoying and unnerving when its in your face.
*KTVU was the station that reported the names of the Korean airliner flight crew that supposedly crash landed a plane at SFO back in 2013 as: Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow.
**This is the hood where Abigail Folger and her mother founded the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic in 1967, which was probably used as an intel clearinghouse behind its façade as a quick fix for the clap and bad trip rest area. Manson lived a block down, across the street from the Straight Theater that Folger put money into to host Dead-ins and the like. The hood has been largely gentrified and the few homeless strays would have been in GG Park a few blocks west while this all went down.