Last weekend saw yet another round of riots, looting and arson in Portland, Oregon, as John described in detail for us. Given the events of the past year or so, that would normally be nothing more than another day ending in a Y for the City of Roses, but it appears to have produced a different response from Mayor Ted Wheeler. Hizzoner sounded rather fed up with the never-ending cycle of violence and destruction during remarks given on Friday evening. He pleaded for the help of the citizens of Portland in “standing up” to the anarchists who have been running the town since last summer. He even promised that the police would be unleashed to restore order. As we’ll see in a moment, however, he still can’t manage to say the names of groups that are responsible, or if he does, he gives them a free pass. (NY Post)
The mayor of Portland, Ore. has asked for the public’s help putting an end to the violent protests that have ravaged his city since the Black Lives Matter riots first erupted last spring.
“They want to burn, they want bash, they want to intimidate, they want to assault,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said Friday, while announcing the city would extend its state of emergency through Monday.
“If BLM leaders can show the courage to stand up to this mob, then we all should,” said the mayor, singling out the “the self-described anarchist mob” responsible for “criminal intimidation and violence.”
“Together we can make a stand … and take our city back.”
Notice how Wheeler is willing to call out the violence and destruction, but he makes sure to praise “BLM leaders” in the same sentence. It’s almost as if he hasn’t noticed that a significant number of the riots and looting sprees have happened when BLM protests break down after dark. Whether some of these crimes are being committed by actual BLM supporters involved in the marches or just gang members blending in with the crowd and waiting for an opportune moment doesn’t really matter. They don’t do a very good job of policing their own ranks.
So who does Wheeler blame instead? He calls out “the self-described anarchist mob.” This has been going on since last summer and he still can’t bring himself to say the word “Antifa.” It’s just amazing.
Wheeler asked the public to help “unmask” the rioters and identify them. (Does that mean that the mask mandate has been lifted? Moving on…) He also said that the police would be free to use “all tactics at their disposal to quell the violence, including the use of kettling.” That all sounds great, assuming he’s really going to carry through with it, but Wheeler will have to deal with another problem simultaneously. After defunding the cops and blaming them for everything imaginable, the Portland PD has been hemorrhaging uniformed officers. Too many of those who weren’t the victims of budget cuts have simply left to go take jobs elsewhere, even if they pay less. I’m sure the remaining cops are doing their best, but they no longer hold the normal advantage they would in a city comprised of primarily lawful citizens and a few bad apples. They’re facing an army at this point.
It’s also unclear how enthusiastic the Portland PD will be in terms of putting their own necks on the line to answer Wheeler’s call to action. Keep in mind that the Mayor not only chastised the police on a regular basis, last year he even joined the mobs protesting outside of police stations and federal buildings. He even got tear-gassed once while engaging in those activities.
Wheeler is going to have to figure out something quickly, no matter how he does it. The mob is running out of things to destroy, so last Friday they took out the windows at the First Christian Church and the Oregon Historical Society. On Monday they did more than $20,000 dollars worth of damage to the local Boy’s and Girl’s Club buildings because you know how bad those Boy’s and Girl’s Club members are about oppressing people and denying rights to minority citizens, right?
Given the situation we observed all through last summer, I honestly thought that Portland would have simply collapsed by now, with most of the decent people having moved away, leaving the town to the criminal mobs. The fact that they haven’t is a testament to their endurance, I suppose, but it’s going to take more than bold words and good intentions to rebuild the city into something respectable.