Silver Circle’s Flashbang Grenades and the Occupy Oakland Incident

August 22nd, 2013

Today being Thursday, it’s Easter egg day once again on the Silver Circle Silver Underground blog. Each week, we detail a hidden reference or allusion that can be found in the film. Be sure to keep an eye out for them as you’re watching Silver Circle online.

This week’s offering examines the flashbang grenades, emblazoned with the model number R-1913, which appear in the film. In the opening scene of Silver Circle, out-of-control, militarized police deploy stun grenades at an outdoor protest, endangering citizens. Tragically, in real life, long after the scene was written into the movie, police used flashbang grenades on Occupy Oakland protesters, seriously injuring bystanders, particularly Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen, who suffered a cracked skull as a grenade exploded in his face. As it happens, the flashbang grenades in Silver Circle, meant to symbolize police militarization run wild, foreshadowed a real-life tragedy. Check out footage of the Occupy Oakland incident below, and let’s discuss the symbolism behind the flashbang’s model number afterward.

Flashbang Grenades Are Dangerous

Stun grenades were developed for military use. Soldiers deploy them when entering buildings in which hostile forces lurk, hoping to disable enemies’ senses in order to guarantee the element of surprise. When Silver Circle director Pasha Roberts wanted to show out-of-control police state tactics in the film, he thought to include an incident in which security forces deployed flashbangs against bystanders at an outdoor protest. Little did he know at the time that real-life Oakland police would later unleash stun grenades on Occupy Oakland protesters.

As one can see in the above video, Oakland police performed a “double tap” by throwing a second grenade on the kind people who rushed to help those injured by the first blast. While stun grenades are considered less-than-lethal when properly used in a military context in an area with sufficient space, directly deploying them onto human beings or in enclosed spaces without ventilation has resulted in fatalities and is by no means safe. The officers who used the grenades on Oakland protesters should have presumed there would have been a tragedy based on how the explosives were deployed.

The Symbolism Behind the Flashbang Model Number R-1913

In the film, viewers get a brief close-up glimpse at the movie’s fictional flashbang brand, which features the model number R-1913. 1913 was a particularly bad year for American freedom, as the Sixteenth Amendment passed, along with the Revenue Act of 1913, leading to the creation of the federal income tax. Also, the Seventeenth Amendment passed, fundamentally disconnecting state governments from the federal legislature and allowing wealthy corporations to purchase US senators.

Worst of all, the Federal Reserve was created that year and given unprecedented control over the US economy. Since that time, the buying power of the dollar has plummeted. Over the last 100 years, Fed-connected bankers have used their privileged connections to extract wealth from hard-working Americans. Now, after a century of fiscal manipulation, the US economy has been left in shambles. The model number on the flashbang grenade in the film symbolizes the year in which all this chaos started.

Silver Circle is showing now on Video on Demand platforms! Check it out on our watch online page and find out about local theater showings of the film and other special events on our event page.

About the Author: Barry Donegan

Barry Donegan is a singer for the experimental mathcore band Look What I Did, a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.