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OpEd by Brian Cates

 

On June 28, journalist Andy Ngo and several other unarmed people were violently assaulted by a masked mob armed with weapons in the city of Portland, Oregon.  Video footage of these assaults went viral in the news media, calling attention to an issue that has been building for some time.

For the past year, several right-wing groups have been deliberately organizing events in Portland in order to facilitate violent confrontations with this anonymous mob.  The new name this highly organized  and armed masked mob has adopted for themselves is ‘Antifa’ which is short for ‘Anti-Fascist’, but those who’ve followed this extremist group for decades know it still the same old Black Bloc.

This group of anarchists is against all civil authority, free speech, capitalism, private ownership of property, and is Marxist to it’s core.  And for years this masked black-clad gang were allowed to wreak havoc in European & American  cities. Though the Black Bloc started as chiefly a Western European phenomenon, it quickly spread to California and Washington state in the 1990’s.

While many other venues across the US were plagued with Antifa riots following President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, many cities managed to get a handle on the problem and the number and frequency of such riots had dramatically declined by the end of 2018.  Only in a small handful of places does Antifa pose any kind of a threat to the public safety or civil order.

Even the long time super-Progressive city of Berkeley managed to get Antifa under control in 2018, chiefly by unmasking and disarming Antifa protesters and then publicly posting their mug shots.

Is there a possible explanation as to why the authorities in Portland seem incapable of preventing this kind of violent mob action at this late date? I believe there is.

Thomas Sowell wrote a book entitled “Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation As A Basis For Social Policy”, which had as it’s main premise that Progressives come to see social policy as a tool to be used to highlight their moral superiority.  Public policy becomes almost exclusively an avenue for their endless virtue signaling rather than good governance or meeting the needs of their citizens.  They end up being far less concerned with whether or not the the policies they enact achieve good results as they are with demonstrating their manifest virtue for all to see and admire.

I believe this kind of philosophy of governance can in large part explain the events in Portland, Oregon the past several years.  Determined to prove how “woke” they are, Portland officials have adopted a mostly ‘hands off’ policy when it comes to dealing with organized protests by masked mobs carrying weapons in their city.

For almost 3 decades this subversive, anti-social group has been allowed to engage in violence and vandalism with their masks firmly in place in major cities across the world.  And there is absolutely no reason it should have been allowed in any American city, as there is no constitutional right to protest in America with a mask over your face.

No matter how “enlightened” or “woke” an elected official might truly believe themselves to be, they have in fact failed at their job if they are in charge of a city where masked and armed Antifa mobs are still allowed to roam the streets and assault unarmed people. Which is exactly what happened in Portland recently.

The election of Donald Trump as US President raised Antifas visibility greatly as there were dozens of loud angry protests across the United States.   After months of unrest and numerous brawls, authorities in many parts of the US quickly discovered they could get Antifa under control with just one amazing trick:  making them take their masks off.  The anonymity afforded by concealing their faces is what gives Antifa the license to act as a violent mob working in concert to destroy property and assault people. Police and eyewitnesses are thwarted in identifying who exactly did what because everyone in the mob is anonymous, and thus cannot be held accountable for any crimes committed.

No one can pretend that violent assaults on people by this armed and masked gang is something new in Portland Oregon. This has been going on for some time now. The armed gang assault on @MrAndyNgo is just the latest example, it’s not the start of a new trend.

There is a definite historical record – much of it in video form – that starkly shows that, for whatever reasons, the powers-that-be in Portland have been allowing this extremist group that carries weapons to operate on it’s streets.

Let me give just a brief record of what kind of insanity has been going on Portland for the past 3 years:

  1. It was last August that Antifa members in Portland, Oregon were caught ON CAMERA using a deadly weapon – a home made spring-loaded TRENCH CLUB – to hit a man in the head from behind. Why were these Antifa goons attacking this person? Because he dared carry an American flag where they could see it. Antifa is virulently anti-American, something this poor gentleman learned the hard way.

Note how cleverly disguised that trench club is – its made to look like it’s a harmless umbrella, but in reality it is a rod with spring on it’s end, and on the end of that spring is a heavy weighted solid metal block.

A German trench club from World War I
  1. Another incident was caught on video where Antifa protesters in Portland are determined to block traffic by marching in the middle of the street. When a elderly driver tries to go around them, they attack his car. This is from last October.

  1. Antifa in Portland regularly throw rocks at police and assault them. Note the key phrase at the end of that video description: after violently rioting, property damage and assaulting police officers, NOBODY WAS ARRESTED. How is that possible?

4. Imagine trying to be a police officer in a city that allows masked goons to hang out everywhere. Imagine having to deal with this lunacy almost every day. Go ahead, imagine it.

5. This is from October 2016. A whole lot of these protesters became violent when the city RENEWED THE POLICE CONTRACT. Apparently, a lot of these protesters want the police department DISBANDED, and they were not happy about this. So this scene resulted.

6. From May 1, 2017, “May Day”, masked antifa rioters vandalize stores and destroy a Portland police car.

7. And let’s not forget this shameful episode when Antifa protesters surrounded the ICE facility in Portland, mayor Ted Wheeler told the ICE personnel there that they were on their own. FEDERAL AGENTS had to be sent in because Ted Wheeler told the Portland PD to stand down and stay away.

These are NOT state or local police. These are DHS personnel.

  1. To grasp just how dysfunctional a city Portland is right now, here’s a ‘listening session’ from last February hosted at a local church by the Portland PD. Journalist @MrAndyNgo shot the footage.

As you can probably guess, Portland has a massive police personnel problem. Cops are quitting and nobody is replacing them.

“Portland, Oregon is facing a severe shortage of police officers due to “the intense anti-police sentiment in our City that City Council seems to share,” Daryl Turner, the head of the Portland Police Union said in a press release on Monday.”

That’s the head of the Portland police union publicly saying that the CITY COUNCIL is part of the problem, that it has a well known anti-police sentiment and it’s affecting the city’s ability to recruit new officers.

Here’s a member of ‘Rose City Antifa’, the group that violently assaulted @MrAndyNgo and several other people with weapons in Portland Oregon this past weekend, calmly explaining what his group is about. To hear him tell it, ‘self defense’.  They are assaulting unarmed people like a pack of wolves because they are ‘defending’ themselves.  Or something.  The video is nice window into the mind of the kind of lunatics we’re discussing here.

Ponder this:  A major American city still let’s masked armed goons like that creep in that last video form gangs and  MARCH AROUND THEIR CITY where they commit vandalism, assault people, and even attack their own police officers. What possible excuse could be provided for allowing this activity?

There’s no getting around it: Antifa goons are being allowed to march around the city of Portland with their masks firmly in place because that is what the authorities in Portland are allowing to happen.

Well it seems to me that this needs to change. And change quickly.

There is no constitutional right to assemble a gang of armed mask-wearing goons and parade through cities committing acts of vandalism, assaulting police officers and any journalists they happen to come across that they don’t like.

This situation is simply unacceptable and it’s time to hold the authorities in Portland accountable for it.

This is Portland Oregon mayor Ted Wheeler.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

This is Portland Oregon Chief of Police Danielle Outlaw.

Portland Chief of Police Danielle Outlaw

This is Portland Oregon City Council Member Chloe Eudaly.

Portland City Council Member Chloe Eudaly

This is Portland City Council Member Nick Fish

Portland City Council Member Nick Fish

This is Portland City Council Member Amanda Fritz

Portland City Council Member Amanda Fritz

This is Portland City Council Member Jo Ann Hardesty.

Portland City Council Member Jo Ann Hardesty.

And this is Portland City Auditor Mary Caballero. She doesn’t appear to be listed as being an official member of the City Council, but she holds an elected office.

Portland City Auditor Mary Caballero

Portland is obviously a city that has a lot of problems if it’s gotten to the point that masked goons are regularly allowed to form gangs and run amok in the streets. And I believe these problems started at the TOP.

As the videos I’ve linked in this article demonstrate, the manifest problem of masked rioters armed with weapons in Portland is not a recent development. Whatever measures the leaders in that city have undertaken to handle this growing problem, they clearly are not working.  When what you have been doing isn’t working, it’s time to try something else.

I would suggest an unmasking law, for starters.  The ball is in your court, Portland authorities. The country is watching to see what you do next.