Roughly a week ago, Oregon's left-wing governor tweeted an announcement that federal law enforcement officers -- whom she called an "occupying force" that "brought violence" -- would be withdrawing from Portland. She wrote "our local Oregon State Police officers will be downtown to protect Oregonians' right to free speech and keep the peace," adding that the time has come for "bold" action to reform police practices. Nothing in her online statement placed any blame on the violent extremists who'd been rioting every night for two consecutive months, destroying property, committing arson and assaulting officers. Here was her "blame law enforcement first" spin:
Our local Oregon State Police officers will be downtown to protect Oregonians' right to free speech and keep the peace. Let's center the Black Lives Matter movement's demands for racial justice and police accountability. It's time for bold action to reform police practices.— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) July 29, 2020
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) clarified that Gov. Brown was exaggerating what was actually happening. In reality, DHS and other federal agencies said they would "continue to maintain our current, augmented federal law enforcement personnel in Portland until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties will no longer be attacked and that the seat of justice in Portland will remain secure." But it's true that a deal was struck and the posture changed:
Wolf also said in the statement that he and Brown had agreed to a plan to end the violence in Portland that "includes a robust presence of Oregon State Police in downtown Portland." He said the breakthrough in achieving the agreement was that "the governor reached out."...Asked later to clarify the deal that had been reached, Wolf told NBC News that "the federal government has agreed to a phased withdrawal of federal officers from Portland beginning Thursday."
Voila! A "phased withdrawal" of federal officers, whom Oregon Democrats have cast as the true villains and violence-provoking force in the weeks-long melee. So how are things going a full week later, after local officials claimed to have resolved the problem? Via The Oregonian, color me shocked:
Portland police declared a riot Wednesday for the second night in a row and used tear gas to disperse protesters gathered outside a Southeast Portland police precinct. The demonstration reiterated the growing divide among Portlanders who have protested police violence every night since late May. Confrontations between police and protesters have shifted from downtown — the historic heart of the demonstrations — to police buildings across the city, where a faction of protesters now gather every night...Downtown protests have not drawn a large-scale police response since July 29, the final day federal officers commanded security of the federal courthouse...Many protesters have shifted from downtown to police buildings elsewhere. In recent nights, demonstrators have converged in front of a second eastside precinct and the police union building, where protesters and Portland police clashed Tuesday...The precinct is in a residential area, surrounded by apartments.
An Oregonian/OregonLive journalist saw someone point green lasers at a security camera. People also spray painted the cameras and a glass door at the front of the building. Police said one person was seen trying to tear down a camera. Most of the windows had been covered with plywood, and demonstrators tore down some of the boards. People did not leave after police issued the warning. The size of the crowd increased...most people chanted as a few people started taking down plywood from the building, exposing glass windows and a door. Some people pushed dumpsters to form barricades in the street. Police called the gathering unlawful at 9:45 p.m., and told people to leave immediately. Several people wearing yellow t-shirts formed a line and linked arms at the south end of the street. The yellow t-shirts are a uniform of protesters who identify as mothers. They repeated, “Black lives matter!” Near the entrance of the building, someone used a metal tool to repeatedly hit the glass window. Police said demonstrators cracked glass doors at the precinct. Someone soon started a fire in a trash can next to the entrance. About 9:55 p.m., police declared the gathering a riot.
This excerpt speaks for itself. The rioters kept rioting, picking new locations to assault once the federal courthouse became less politically advantageous and therefore more boring. Their fresh targets are police stations in residential neighborhoods. Enjoy, residents. Oh, and the yellow-shirted "moms" -- an obvious PR manipulation swooned over by the media -- are still at it. I'm sure the Trump administration is somehow to blame for this, but Oregon and national Democrats may need some time to workshop their revised talking points. Or maybe they'll just walk out of the room, rather than acknowledge reality by condemning and rejecting a violent element of their own base:
Will any of this become an electoral problem for Democrats? In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell is leaning into the issue in an effort to bury his lefty opponent, who's already struggling mightily:
??????????— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) August 5, 2020
Grim Reaper Nuclear Cocaine Mitch calls out Antifa backed McGrath
We need more candidates with this message ?????? pic.twitter.com/1FR3PCoqCf
A terribly sad story. Two young and idealistic lawyers, get wrapped up in the BLM protest movement. In a moment of madness they throw a Molotov cocktail into an abandoned police car and burn it. Now they face a minimum 35 years in a federal prison. https://t.co/o8aRqjOSwY— Richard Spoor (@Richard_Spoor) August 5, 2020
I'm not really interested in piling on the random lawyer who tweeted this, but sympathizers and defenders of violence will surely make a similar plea for leniency for the pair of young attorneys who firebombed a police car. In a subsequent tweet, this guy likens it to drunkenly mooning someone. But even the quasi-sympathetic story he links to builds a pretty clear case that the couple went through the process of purchasing molotov cocktail ingredients, assembling the makeshift bombs, and hurling one of them into a police vehicle. That's not a momentary lapse of judgment; it's premeditated, lawless destruction. If anything, these attorneys should have the book thrown at them as harshly as possible. Their lives should be ruined and their freedom taken away. There must be visible and stringent consequences for violent rioting.
In case you missed it, I'll leave you with Gallup's latest finding that a massive majority of black Americans say they'd like to see the same or greater levels of police presence in their neighborhoods, with fewer than one-in-five saying they'd prefer a decreased presence. Think about how that polling result compares with the tone and tenor of most related media coverage.