In case you hadn’t heard, there was another riot in Portland on New Year’s Eve. Antifa and other mob members hurled firebombs at the police, fired commercial-grade fireworks at the courthouse, broke windows and set fires around the area. Those of you who have been following the news over the past year are probably already yawning and thinking of this as another day that ends in a Y. But this particular riot produced something of a twist. For the first time that I can recall, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler made a public statement blaming the actual people who were responsible for the riot and promised to crack down on them going forward. As usual, the indispensable reporting of Andy Ngo brought us the video and a few choice quotes.
In his new year's presser, Portland Mayor @tedwheeler admits that his efforts to de-escalate & compromise with antifa have failed to yield results. He condemns the violent extremist movement by name & calls for more to be done. https://t.co/1MJhHOxO1u pic.twitter.com/HtsSSM3dzz
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) January 2, 2021
Fox News has more on this story, along with some of the background and history needed to put it in context.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is promising to “push back harder” against anarchists and Antifa radicals after another riot rocked the city on New Year’s Eve, admitting that months-long efforts to stem the violence have failed.
“My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical Antifa and anarchists,” Wheeler said during a Friday news conference, according to KOIN. “In response, it will be necessary to use additional tools and push the limits of the tools we already have to bring the criminal destruction and violence to an end.”…
“Lawlessness and anarchy come at great expense and great risk to the future of our community,” he said. “It’s time to push back harder against those who are set on destroying our community, and take more risks fighting lawlessness.”
There are two important points to note up front. First of all, I don’t recall ever hearing Ted Wheeler say the word “Antifa” before. Nor has he ever seriously blamed the rioters for anything. All through the summer he was busy blaming the police for “inflicting violence” on the community, leading to “peaceful protests” and unrest. When President Trump sent in federal troops to protect the courthouse, Wheeler blamed them (and Trump) as well. As the report from Fox News notes, at that time Wheeler said his primary concern was “the violence federal officers brought to our streets in recent days, and the life-threatening tactics his agents use.”
The second key item in this tale is the question of what Wheeler plans to do in terms of “additional tools” and “pushing back harder.” I suppose it’s good to hear him talking about finally doing his job, but the primary “tools” he has at his disposal to deal with violent mobs are the police. But guess what. Portland’s police have been fleeing the force in droves, with many moving out of the city entirely. The remaining cops are understaffed and overworked. And even if Wheeler wanted to beg them to come back, he and the City Council already slashed their budget to the point where they couldn’t pay the returning officers if they wanted to.
Meanwhile, the conditions in the city continue to deteriorate. The businesses and employers who might still be crazy enough to try to reopen are having even more trouble doing so. Why? Because insurance companies are refusing to underwrite their businesses, in some cases at any cost. And why would they when they know that it’s almost a certainty that the business will just be smashed apart and/or torched again within a couple of weeks?
Portland is in the deplorable shape we see today because of Ted Wheeler and the City Council, with all of their talk about defunding or abolishing the police and the disrespect they’ve shown for their own law enforcement forces. Ted Wheeler waited far too long to start showing a bit of spine, no doubt being too cowardly to take any serious action until the elections were behind him. As for the citizens of Portland, they’ve watched all of this madness unfold for more than a year and yet they still turned around and elected Wheeler to another term, so the amount of sympathy I have for them is pretty much zilch.
This is the Portland that voters chose. This is the Portland that Ted Wheeler created. Now you can all just live with it (if you’re lucky). And when Antifa comes for your house next, I’ll fix a martini, break out the popcorn and just watch the videos. You asked for it. Now you’ve got it.