Peaceful protesters (aka rioters) in Portland, Ore., were in for a rude shock last night when they blocked traffic, started breaking windows, and assaulted at least one police officer: The entire crowd was detained, ID’d, frisked, and photographed. Some of them didn’t cooperate and got themselves pepper-sprayed or banged up with impact munitions.
Police arrested 13 peaceful protesters and confiscated a big pile of weapons: Guns, knives, homemade blackjacks (socks stuffed with gravel) bear spray, hammers, a crowbar and firearms.
So why did Portland mayor Ted Wheeler order police to stand down during four solid months of nightly riots last year, but not now?
Part of it was that Wheeler, IMHO, made the classic mistake: Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line—no, wait. That’s just a movie.
Last fall, it looked to me as if Wheeler made the mistake of thinking BLM rioters would be his friend if he let them engage in their peaceful protests as much as they wanted. He fell out of love with that delusion pretty damned fast when the peaceful protesters followed him to the condo tower where he lived, started smashing windows and throwing burning debris at the building. And suddenly, Wheeler decided the peaceful protest was actually a riot. So the police stomped on the riot, and Wheeler moved out.
But I suspect this is the main reason: Wheeler’s a Democrat. So are both of Oregon’s Senators, four of Oregon’s five Representatives, and Oregon Governor (and the lone Republican Representative’s district is the rural farmlands east of the Cascades. Go figure).
And now that we’ve got a Democrat in the White House, Wheeler apparently realized he can’t blame anyone who’s not a Democrat for Portland’s riots. So There Went the Boom.
Trump would have been well within the Executive branch’s authority to send the National Guard into Portland last year, whether Wheeler liked it or not. Makes me wonder what would have happened if he did.