Part of me wants the cops and National Guard to go in there today and start rounding up hippies.
But another part of me wants to sit back and let this nascent retelling of “Animal Farm” play out a bit longer. Some lessons need to be learned the hard way.
It shouldn’t take long. At the rate we’re going they’ll be at the “some animals are more equal than others” stage by this weekend, with purges to begin shortly thereafter.
I’m doubling down on what I said in yesterday’s post: It remains difficult to tell whether the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” is essentially an elaborate drum circle or the beginning of a large-scale hostage situation. It’s equally unclear if the city and state think they’ll have difficulty clearing out the area or if they’re just holding off for the time being to avoid the optics of cops advancing on young wokesters because they won’t leave when asked.
There *are* sinister elements developing. Last night John posted this clip of the CHAZ’s new warlord, Raz Simone, enforcing law and order. Long live Secretary-General Raz:
The #SeattleAutonomousZone is devolving into warlordism.
Rapper Raz Simone, who has been patrolling the barricades with an AK-47 and a handgun, has begun assaulting residents who disobey him.
"We are the police now," says his crew. "We are the leaders."pic.twitter.com/IJXYpyyYsy
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) June 10, 2020
Seattle cops admitted at a press conference that they’ve heard reports of extortion inside the area (I reproduced one such report myself yesterday):
She said police are receiving reports of armed people manning the check points intimidating people trying to enter.
“While Washington is an open carry state, there is no legal right for those arms to be used intimidate community members,” Nolette said.
Nolette said operating a citizen checkpoint on a public street is illegal.
“We have heard anecdotally of citizens and businesses being asked to pay a fee to operate within this area; this is crime of extortion,” Nolette said.
The city’s fire chief was on the scene yesterday in hopes of closing two large metal gates to the now-abandoned police precinct’s garage. The “occupiers” helped him do it. “[W]e got a team, we are working through this and there is some trust built and I don’t want to compromise the trust,” said the chief when asked afterward about the … unusual arrangement. The NYT’s read on it, while astonishing, is correct: “The protest zone has increasingly functioned with the tacit blessing of the city.”
They’ve even got their own street signs, for cripes sake:
They planned ahead enough to have a sign made? 🤔 Wakeup people!https://t.co/iduMaVhaIN
— Amy Noelle (@NoelleTMD) June 10, 2020
On the other hand:
The “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” basically turns into a block party in the evening. pic.twitter.com/iD8y8a8QuH
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 11, 2020
That’s from our Townhall cousin, Julio Rosas, who’s on the scene. The Times also noticed the block-party atmosphere, calling the CHAZ “part street festival, part commune. Hundreds have gathered to hear speeches, poetry and music. On Tuesday night, dozens of people sat in the middle of an intersection to watch ’13th,’ the Ava DuVernay film about the criminal justice system’s impact on African-Americans. On Wednesday, children made chalk drawings in the middle of the street.” It sounds like the equivalent of a campus sit-in, except possibly a bit more chill.
But it can’t go on forever. Real life isn’t campus (except inside the New York Times newsroom), no matter how much the left wishes it was. Christopher Rufo of City Journal asked one Seattle cop what the plan is here. Answer: No plan right now.
According to one Seattle police officer with knowledge of internal deliberations, the city’s “leadership is in chaos” and “the mayor has made the decision to let a mob of 1,000 people dictate public safety policy for a city of 750,000.” The officer said that Chief Best had dispatched high-ranking police officials to the autonomous zone to establish a line of communication, but the officials were immediately sent away by armed paramilitaries at the barricades. “The tide of public opinion is on the side of the activists and they’re pushing the envelope as far as they can,” said the officer. “It’s not hyperbolic to say the endgame is anarchy.”
Amazingly, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee hadn’t even heard that Seattle had lost control of part of its Capitol Hill district to protesters until yesterday afternoon, 48 hours after the CHAZ was born. “That’s news to me,” he said at a news conference when asked about it.
The president, still smarting over his recent lost opportunity to look tough by deploying troops to American streets, sees a new one:
It’s the Insurrection Act debate all over again. Rather than wait for evidence that local cops and the National Guard can’t deal with the problem themselves, he’s trying to bigfoot local officials by inserting the military into the situation. He really wants a presidential show of force against Americans to underline his “law and order” message.
It says a lot about the country in 2020 that both the governor and the mayor thought there’d be more political benefit from goofing on him and his demands than from siding with him against an armed occupation of several city blocks:
A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state’s business. “Stoop” tweeting. https://t.co/O6i04qmZ9v
— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) June 11, 2020
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) June 11, 2020
Click to view Durkan’s full tweet and you’ll see that it contains some raised-fist emojis — at a moment that part of her own city has been declared off limits to police by “armed paramilitaries.” What?
Trump should skip the tough-guy chatter and instead calmly emphasize that a Democratic-run city can’t be trusted to protect its own citizens from woke thugs. Turn up the heat politically on Inslee and Durkan by focusing on their complicity in the takeover, minus any threats. Let voters draw their own conclusions about whether to empower Democrats at the national level this fall.