Well, this is insanity. Pure insanity. Our own Julio Rosas covered the Seattle CHOP zone. It was chaos. And no one was safe, even those who supported this nutty leftist takeover of a seven-to-eight city block swath of the city. The move was quasi-endorsed by state and local leaders. The CHOP zone as it was called was only dismantled after a string of shootings left two people dead. It was the summer of love that never was, a phrase that Mayor Jenny Durkan used to describe the initial takeover. It’s insane. Now, The New York Times actually did a good piece about the small business owners inside the zone, who describe an atmosphere that’s literally out of the movie Escape from New York.
aNTi-fAsCIsT pic.twitter.com/l5TsieBZV4— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) August 7, 2020
“Lawless” is one word used to describe the conditions inside. Some business owners—get this—scrapped up enough cash to pay for…private community security. It was Mad Max in there. And for all this left-wing talk about abolishing law enforcement, which Seattle tried to do with an initial 50 percent cut to the police department, it’s small business owners who are now on the frontlines. While many are politically progressive in Seattle, the COVID lockdowns have killed their businesses and this left-wing CHOP occupation didn’t help. Oh yeah, and we all know that the Black Lives Matter movement has been taken over by white liberals, right? Well, a bunch of armed white progressives acted like the Gestapo in dealing with these business leaders and demanded loyalty. Sounds pretty…fascist, as some noted. They don’t think getting rid of police will help their already shaky situation.
While the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked the latest wave of left-wing activism, Black Lives Matter demonstrations and rioting, but it seems the places that are whiter than Wonder Bread are the areas still going crazy. In the meantime, Seattle’s businesses that were trapped inside the CHOP zone suffered further and now a few are suing the city for surrendering their duties in protecting them and over enforcing law and order (via NYT) [emphasis mine]:
Faizel Khan was being told by the news media and his own mayor that the protests in his hometown were peaceful, with “a block party atmosphere.”
But that was not what he saw through the windows of his Seattle coffee shop. He saw encampments overtaking the sidewalks. He saw roving bands of masked protesters smashing windows and looting.
Young white men wielding guns would harangue customers as well as Mr. Khan, a gay man of Middle Eastern descent who moved here from Texas so he could more comfortably be out. To get into his coffee shop, he sometimes had to seek the permission of self-appointed armed guards to cross a border they had erected.
“They barricaded us all in here,” Mr. Khan said. “And they were sitting in lawn chairs with guns.”
Some even call for “abolishing the police” altogether and closing down precincts, which is what happened in Seattle.
That has left small-business owners as lonely voices in progressive areas, arguing that police officers are necessary and that cities cannot function without a robust public safety presence. In Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland, Ore., many of those business owners consider themselves progressive, and in interviews they express support for the Black Lives Matter movement. But they also worry that their businesses, already debilitated by the coronavirus pandemic, will struggle to survive if police departments and city governments cannot protect them.
Now a group of local businesses owners — including a locksmith, the owner of a tattoo parlor, a mechanic, the owners of a Mexican restaurant and Mr. Khan — is suing the city. The lawsuit claims that “Seattle’s unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood, leaving it unchecked by the police, unserved by fire and emergency health services, and inaccessible to the public” resulted in enormous property damage and lost revenue.
The impact of the occupation on Cafe Argento, Mr. Khan’s coffee shop on Capitol Hill, has been devastating. Very few people braved the barricades set up by the armed occupiers to come in for his coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Cars coming to pick up food orders would turn around. At two points, he and his workers felt scared and called 911. “They said they would not come into CHOP,” said Mr. Khan, referring to one of the names that protesters gave to the occupied Capitol Hill area. “It was lawless.”
A confusing array of security teams wandered around, armed with handguns and rifles. Some wore official-looking private security uniforms. Others wore casual clothes and lanyards identifying their affiliation with Black Lives Matter. A third group wore all black with no identifying labels and declined to name their group affiliation.
When a tall man in a trench coat and hiking boots walked over to question Mr. Khan, the man spread his coat open, revealing several pistols on harnesses around his chest and waist. He presented a badge on a lanyard that read “Black Lives Matter Community Patrol.”
His name is Rick Hearns and he identified himself as a longtime security guard and mover who is now a Black Lives Matter community guard, in charge of several others. Local merchants pay for his protection, he said as he handed out his business card. (Mr. Khan said he and his neighbors are now paying thousands of dollars a month for protection from Iconic Global, a Washington State-based private security contractor.)
The employees of Bergman’s Lock and Key say they were followed by demonstrators with baseball bats. Cure Cocktail, a local bar and charcuterie, said its workers were asked by protesters to pledge loyalty to the movement: “Are you for the CHOP or are you for the police?” they were asked, according to the lawsuit.
The business owners also found that trying to get help from the Seattle Police, who declined to comment for this article, made them targets of activists.
Oh, so Antifa is there. Mr. Hearns, the BLM community police officer, said that he supports police reform, but was "appalled" by the violence that erupted inside the CHOP zone. He told the Times, "it's Antifa...They don’t want to see the progress we’ve made. They want chaos."
That’s not a shocker; this is their backyard. It’s becoming clear that the BLM activism post-Floyd was used to mobilize the far left who aren’t doing this to reform or abolish law enforcement. It’s about the Marxist revolution, and they decided to latch onto this latest wave of protests and riots like a barnacle to sew mayhem. Also, a bunch of white liberals with guns barricading minorities from accessing their businesses…isn't that problematic? Oh, yes. That's against the rules, right?
“The idea of taking up the Black movement and turning it into a white occupation, it’s white privilege in its finest definition,” said Mr. Khan. And it’s not just Seattle. In New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, the vast majority of BLM protesters are white, which has made leaders of this movement more than a bit wary.