It didn't take long for the Rittenhouse riots to start... far away

It didn't take long for the Rittenhouse riots to start... far away
Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP

When we first learned that Governor Evers had moved units of the Wisconsin National Guard to the outskirts of Kenosha ahead of the Rittenhouse verdict, I asked one disturbing question. The entire Rittenhouse affair had begun because of a riot. In the event that the defendant was acquitted, would it end with riots as well? Well, the acquittal happened and, at least thus far, things have remained mostly peaceful on the streets of Kenosha, aside from a few people screaming “F— America” and collapsing on the courthouse steps.

But that doesn’t mean there weren’t riots and violence. There were, only they weren’t taking place in Kenosha. We saw a few protests spur some minor damage in several cities, including New York, where there were five arrests made in Queens. But the first actual riots I saw declared broke out all the way over on the west coast in Portland, Oregon. Of course, as anyone who has been following the news for the past few years already knows, rioting is something of a way of life in what’s left of that city. (Associated Press)

Portland police Friday night declared as a riot a demonstration downtown against the acquittal of a teen who killed two people and injured another during a protest in Wisconsin.

The protest of about 200 people was declared a riot after protesters started breaking windows, throwing objects at police and talked about burning down the Justice Center, KOIN TV reported.

The protesters gathered following the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The timeline of the riot unfolded pretty quickly according to the Portland Police. By approximately 8:50 last night at least 200 protesters had gathered and begun blocking off the streets. By 9:00 there were windows being broken and some other rioters told reporters they were threatening to burn down the Justice Center. Shortly after that, there were rocks and bricks being hurled at police officers. It was quickly declared to be a riot by officials.

It was obvious from the beginning that there were going to be a lot of angry people out there if Rittenhouse was found not guilty. (Primarily among those who had made up their minds long before all of the evidence came to light and didn’t actually watch the trial.) But the declared riot in Portland once again shines a glaring light on the nonsensical nature of the rioters. Perhaps they feel justified in being angry at Kyle Rittenhouse and the other “militia” members who attempted to defend people and property during the Jacob Blake riots. Maybe they are angry with the Kenosha Police for being too accepting of the presence of Rittenhouse and the others.

But if they want to vent that anger, why aren’t they on a plane to Kenosha? Portland, Oregon is literally more than 1,400 miles away from the site of the trial. They were throwing “objects” (rocks and bricks) at the Portland Police again. They were breaking windows and threatening to burn down the Justice Building. In Portland. What did the Portland Police or the city’s municipal government have to do with the outcome of the trial?

Even more to the point, why would you once again go out and smash the windows of local businesses? You’re not harming anyone but the local employers who operate those businesses and the people who rely on them for both shopping and jobs. I’m fairly confident that Kyle Rittenhouse isn’t doing any shopping in Portland.

Of course, I suppose nobody has ever tried to claim that Portland’s riot culture ever had to make sense. Perhaps they have a lot in common with the woman I mentioned above who collapsed on the steps of the courthouse. If the general message is “F— America,” then it probably doesn’t matter which part of America you destroy. And the Portland riots probably make just about as much sense as all of the activists who were out there last night screaming about white supremacy and racism over a case where a white teenager shot three other white people.

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