The Problem in Portland Isn’t the Law — It’s the Lawlessness

Despite the occasional looting, chaos, property damage, trespassing, rioting, graffiti, assaults, arson and general mayhem, the media consistently assure us that antifa “protesters” are “largely peaceful.” And since the majority of buildings in Portland, Seattle and Denver haven’t been looted yet, who am I to argue?

Of course, it takes only a sliver of the population to transform downtowns into a mess and create quality-of-life issues for thousands of law-abiding citizens. And the mayors who surrender parts of their cities to left-wing “protesters” are tacitly endorsing lawlessness themselves.

There’s little doubt that if alt-right activists had occupied a few city blocks in Seattle or tried to firebomb a federal courthouse in Portland, we’d be in for feverish wall-to-wall media coverage, engulfed in a national conversation about the perils of right-wing radicalism. Every elected Republican would be asked to personally denounce the extremists to make sure they take implicit ownership of the problem.

When a few hundred angry tiki torch-carrying Nazis marched in Charlottesville, you would have thought the RNC had deployed the Wehrmacht. Those who led the riot were even asked to opine on CNN. On the other hand, left-wing rioters — the people Chris Cuomo and other journalists compared to GIs landing on Normandy — are immediately transformed into apolitical actors, rogue “anarchists,” as soon as any violence starts.

Who knows? Perhaps the majority of citizens and businesses in Portland, Seattle and Denver want their elected officials to let antifa act with impunity. Or maybe some of those citizens and businesses will begin fleeing those cities. Whatever the case, it’s a local concern.

To a point. If mayors do nothing to stop anarchists from tearing down federal monuments or from defacing, vandalizing, and attempting to burn down federal buildings, the feds have every right to dispatch teams of agents to restore order.

None of which is to deny that there are legitimate concerns about how law enforcement is conducting itself. I’m sympathetic to criticisms of the federal officers who operate in camouflage and in unmarked vans. Cops should display badge numbers and identification — if they truly aren’t doing so right now — otherwise civilians have no real way to hold those in authority accountable for their actions. But the claim that Pinochet-like secret police have begun snatching Portland protesters off the street and making them disappear amounts to the arrest of one man, who refused to speak without his lawyer and was released a little more than an hour later without any charges.

If it were up to me, I’d leave Portland to the anarchists and their political accomplices. But federal law enforcement — including agencies such as the DEA, FBI, ICE, ATF, Department of Homeland Security and Marshal Service — regularly operate across the country. Sometimes they make arrests, and sometimes they do so after going undercover. This happens under every administration, every day, and it often happens for far less compelling reasons. As far as we know, cops haven’t broken any laws in the streets of Portland. The protesters who cover their faces have broken tons.

With this in mind, it’s been instructive watching many of the same characters who cheer on governors who take undemocratic emergency powers and shut down houses of worship without the consent of the people — and who sometimes arrest Americans for playing Wiffle ball, attending church or cutting hair — act as if policing portends the end of democracy. The same people who incessantly clamor to empower the federal government when it suits their purposes now act as if protecting a federal courthouse is the Reichstag fire.

MSNBC’s John Heilemann says that Trump’s sending federal police into Portland is a “trial run” for using “force” to “steal this election.” In a piece titled “Trump’s Occupation of American Cities Has Begun,” Michelle Goldberg, somehow still allowed to freely opine at The New York Times, says that “fascism” is already here. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls the police “stormtroopers” who are “kidnapping protesters.”

All of these contentions are ugly conspiracy theories, hyperbolic allegations meant to fuel partisan paranoia before an election. Even if we accept the criticisms of law enforcement, the driving problem, and it’s been happening to various degrees in a number of major cities, is that mayors are allowing “protesters” to trample on public and private property. They allow it because they share the same left-wing sensibilities. But protesting should never be a license for anarchy.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer at National Review and the author of the book “First Freedom: A Ride Through America’s Enduring History With the Gun.” To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

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21 Responses

  1. Thomas J Coyne Jr. July 26, 2020 at 5:53 pm
    I am very disappointed that every politician from the Oregon democratic party, governor,Brown, Sen. Merkley, Sen. Wiyden, Rep Blumrnauer, all had the audacity to openly state that President Trump had violated the Constitution, Amendment X by sending in federal troops when they say that “Powers not delegated to the U.S. by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” what this means is that if there is anything going on and the constitution does not cover it, it must fall to the states or to the people. In this case it has been declared both by the protesters and the self proclaimed terrorist, antifa, and the federal gov’t, the President, that the activities are riots and looting and physical property damage with fires and against the law enforcement instructions to disperse and the protesters and terrorists have caused harm to the police that this action is cause against the U.S. and the guarantee by the Constitution to the U.S., Article IV, Section 4, ” The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union, a Republican form of gov’t, and shall protect each of them against invasion and on application of the legislature, or of the executive against domestic violence.”
    It seems that these above dem politicians do not know anything about the Constitution or they can’t read or they never took this class in civics in HS, or they are just trying to pull a fast one over on the citizens of the U.S. and most of all their constituents of Oregon, just another episode in the fake news and obama lies that they will find someone else to be blamed, a staff member perhaps?
    But as you can see the verbage in Article IV, section 4, plainly gives the executive , the President the authority to protect the state, each and every one of them against domestic violence and a guarantee that we shall maintain a Republican form of gov’t.
    I guess that means the pledges that have been made by soros and obama and biden and all the hooligans in Congress that have determined to overthrow the gov’t to a socialist/communist form and destroy the Constitution and our freedoms and rights given to us from our God in order for them to form a dictatorship here in the U.S. and around the world with the KSA and with China involvement

  2. If it wasn’t for Fox news, the problems that are going on ,Portland, Seattle Califorina, NewYork Virgina Illinois, Michigan, Minasota, Vermont,the list is too great to print. I have never seen and heard all the lawness in my 75 years. i’d say about this mess is for the police and manybe the Milatry to grab your shotguns and load up with no.8-9 shot and open fire on these group that would kill the police officers if they got the chance.

    1. That would be to good for them. Load those pistols up and rat shot. #12 to 20. Vermin Don’t deserve quick ends. All those tiny little lead balls causing huge cases of lead poisoning. Not the quick and easy kind. The slow agonizing kind
      It’s not like it’s cause anymore brain damage.

        1. This is what I would love to do with demo–RATS because they are pushing death, and much more. This is not a protest, it is a criminal part of American Society and they all should be arrested and either in prison or returned to whatever country they came from. No more foreigners in America at the present time. This is an attempt of show mu opinion and to let all know that I fully support President Donald trump.

  3. George Soros is the one that should be arrested NOW! He is the one that is paying antifa and the other looters. He needs to lose his citizenship and sent to a very deep grave.

  4. The US is under attack by the Soros-funded Marxists. Not with a polarizing event like an attack on a Pearl Harbor or on the Twin Towers, but from within, like a Lenin or a Hitler or a Mugabe.
    Americans, unfortunately, let down their guard many years ago. This allowed the mass media to spew forth all manner of distortions, distractions, contradictions and outright lies in their attempt to deceive Americans and others: that we have a “democracy,” and that this socialist ideal is “good” and “fair” and “correct.”
    In former times, any ideal form of government, instituted by a unified people, was understood to be a natural outcome of that people’s political, cultural, moral and spiritual cohesion and excellence. Today there is only one type of government proposed to be ideal, and that is democracy, a form of government expressly rejected by the American founders,
    Once again, it is the students, followed by the unions, who continue to be the “useful idiots” marshaled by the Marxists to fill the first ranks of the attackers on the govt that they wish to overthrow. That is why it is up to us, the voters, to stand up, to be the monuments to American exceptionalism that the Marxists wish to undo. Stand up! Reject the Marxists! Say No! to the globalists. Save our American legacy! Vote Trump 2020!!!

  5. ANTIFA is NOT a new group of collage age people looking for social justice. This group has been around since at least 1915 and they are all Communists who ended up taking over Russia and founding the USSR as well as Communist China, Vietnam, Cuba, and numerous other nations. Look it up! They are attempting to overthrow the Republic of the United States of America and insall a Communist Government!

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