It must be a tough gig when you’re the mayor of Berkeley, California. People are constantly marching and fighting all over your town and the media hounds you relentlessly to comment on it all.
But none of that is slowing down Mayor Jesse Arreguin. His latest headache is the plague of masked, black-clad Antifa thugs who have been beating up and beating down anyone who dares to express unpopular thoughts around the country. And nowhere are they more in evidence than in Northern California. So what’s his plan to deal with them? He thinks we should relabel them as… “a gang.” (CBS San Francisco)
Mayor of Berkeley Jesse Arreguin on Monday said it is time to confront the violent extremism on the left by treating black-clad Antifa protesters as a gang.
A large number of masked Antifa activists were seen jumping the barriers at a largely peaceful demonstration in Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Civic Center Park on Sunday.
Some began attacking Trump supporters at the rally.
“I think we should classify them as a gang,” said Arreguin. “They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia and I think we need to think about that in terms of our law enforcement approach.”
Treating the group as a “gang” may make some sort of sense, but it’s also not a golden ticket to being able to actually do anything about. Gang violence is at pandemic levels in multiple cities around the country and urban law enforcement units in many of these locations seem almost powerless to bring it under control. (Think of Chicago and Baltimore for examples.)
Perhaps a better approach would be to follow the advice of Laura Ingraham and label the Antifa as terrorists instead. At least then you might open the pipeline for more federal assistance and get some help from Homeland Security and the FBI. But all of that would depend on whether the mayor is actually serious about doing something substantial or is instead just tossing out some platitudes as political cover so it doesn’t look quite so much like he’s giving a pass to left wing radicals.
Which is it? Mind reading isn’t my strong suit and I can’t really be sure in this case. Keep in mind that this is the same mayor who recently said that upcoming appearances by conservative speakers in Berkeley should be cancelled. That makes him sound appropriately out on the left fringe, but at the same time, he made that statement in the context of saying that he feared Antifa violence would mar the event and put people at risk. Looked at that way, maybe he really is concerned and wants to do something about it.
Perhaps a change is on the way. I recently saw the Washington Post actually use the phrase, “peaceful conservative protesters” in an article calling for action against Antifa. I had to check several times to make sure their site hadn’t been hacked, but it was apparently legitimate. Of course they were still quick to label the Antifa as not being involved with the actual liberal demonstrators, very much unlike the way they tend to lump everyone at a conservative free speech rally in with whichever neo-nazi idiot shows up carrying a flag with a swastika on it. But still, the Antifa have drawn enough negative attention to themselves that the most liberal segments of the media are being forced to deal with them.
Perhaps the Mayor of Berkeley is next. Wonders never cease.