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Bronstein Beat: We Asked Your Questions at the Pro-Mehserle Protest

Anyone who thought that the last presidential election was going to usher in a sense of brotherhood across the land must have been thinking Cain and Abel.

The divide yesterday in downtown Walnut Creek at competing rallies in support of and opposed to ex-BART officer Johannes Mehserle was like San Andreas tectonic plates, grinding up against each other; social and political pressure resulted.

There was plenty of telegenic shouting and chest-bumping, tempers flared further by temperatures in the 90s. TV trucks were lined up like cattle feeding.

We were there to ask rally-goers some questions you posed in your nearly 1500 comments to me late last week when news of the rally first surfaced. As at the rally face-off, watched by a lot of law enforcement officers, on-duty and off, opinion was fairly evenly divided.

What was most striking in the comments and at the event was the intensity of the divided feelings - about Mehserle, the shooting, the difficulties of policing, the trial, the verdict, the state of life in Oakland and Walnut Creek. Race, geography and the finer points of insult all were major themes.

Let us know what you think.