Proud Boys, Antifa Clash in Portland While Police Stand Idly By
The weirdest goddamn story you're likely to read today.
The most confusing story of the day (well, yesterday) comes to us courtesy of the Guardian and YahooNews: “Hundreds clash in Portland as Proud Boys rally descends into violence.” The lede:
A rightwing protest in Portland on Sunday has culminated in a gunfight, when antifascist demonstrators returned fire at a man who shot at them with a handgun in a downtown street.
Okay, so far, so good.
The firefight took place in the heart of downtown Portland, soon after 6pm. As antifascists followed a man at a distance who they were trying to eject from the area, he took cover behind an electrical substation box, produced a handgun and opened fire. He fired at least two shots before an antifascist returned fire with their own handgun. At least seven shots were fired.
So, now I’m confused. The some random yahoo—or a member of the Proud Boys?—shoot at some antifa dudes? Or did some armed antifa dudes come running at some random yahoo—or member of the Proud boys?—to “eject him from the area,” in which case he not unreasonably took cover and defended himself?
Portland police bureau confirmed that a man had been arrested over the shooting but did not have any information on any injuries.
The incident came after a day of protest descended into running clashes involving hundreds of protesters and counter protesters.
Earlier that afternoon, in the city’s suburban east, Proud Boys discharged rounds from airsoft guns, while antifascists threw firework munitions, and both sides exchanged clouds of choking mace and countless blows in a chaotic running street battle that lasted the better part of an hour.
So . . . has Portland defunded the police? I mean, essentially abolished the police force? Because, otherwise, what in the hell were they doing all day?
One presumes the Proud Boys and antifa folks had permits for a large gathering, so one would think there would be a police presence. Because, holy hell, the presence of either group is a recipe for violence and the presence of both is a nigh-on certain riot. And yet they were somehow allowed to shoot off guns, fireworks, and teargas while engaging in street battle—for over an hour—before engaging in a firefight. You would think law enforcement might have stepped in at some point in the festivities, no?
But, wait: there’s more:
The earlier confrontation, which began around 4pm in the carpark of an abandoned Kmart where about 200 members of far-right groups had staged a rally billed as a “Summer of Love” event, eventually spilled out onto a busy arterial road and the carpark of nearby Parkrose high school.
Why far-right groups are taking on the hippie-est of hippie slogans I do not know. But, again, you might think someone would have gotten suspicious with all of this going on on “a busy arterial road” near a school?
It began when a group of around 30 antifascists – almost all clad in “black bloc” attire – walked past the rightwing rally at 4pm and Proud Boys gave chase. The forecourt of a neighboring gas station and a convenience store were soon racked by explosions and gas-propelled airsoft projectiles.
This seems like the fourth different description as to “who started it” but I’ve lost track at this point.
The two sides briefly disengaged at about 4.15pm, and street medics on both sides attended to participants who had been beaten, shot, or overcome by mace.
Chivalry is not dead.
Soon, however, traffic was intermittently brought to a halt on busy NE 122nd Ave as the renewed battle stretched across the street and into the grounds of the high school.
There, Proud Boys set upon a small pick-up truck, smashing windows, slashing tires, scattering the vehicle’s cargo of bottled water, and severely beating the male occupant.
Not to make light of a horrible situation here but I would have had my money on the pick-up truck being affiliated with the Proud Boys, not its victim. Maybe he had a commie flag tacked up on the inside of his garage. Or voted for George McGovern for President.
When antifascists retreated from the carpark, Proud Boys erupted into chants of “Whose streets? Our streets!”
I mean, technically speaking, a carpark isn’t a street. But sure.
Back at the carpark, another vehicle was turned on its side and spraypainted with the letters “FAFO”, an acronym for the Proud Boys catch cry, “Fuck Around and Find Out”.
I’m not sure the Proud Boys invented that one but the report is decidedly unclear as to how the parked vehicle transgressed or what it is that its owner was to discern from it being turned on its side.
Returning from the high school at about 5pm, Proud Boys began to leave the rally venue. From a red pickup truck men fired airsoft guns at a small number of antifascists gathered at the entrance of the carpark, and then one of them trained his weapon at a group of reporters.
So, some PBs fired some toy bullets into a crowd of antifa, causing the latter to brandish a weapon at a group of reporters? FAFO, I guess.
The Proud Boys announced their intention to cross the Columbia river, and the Washington state line, to regroup at a city park in Vancouver.
I must admit, I did not see that coming.
Even before the black-clad group arrived, the rally had already departed from its avowedly peaceful intentions
after Proud Boys and other participants streamed away from the speakers platform – bedecked with a giant American flag and an 8ft replica of the Statue of Liberty – to confront a group of three women who were waving placards opposing the protest.
Fuck around with Lady Liberty you’re gonna find out, am I right?
In downtown streets, and during the suburban fracas, Portland police were nowhere to be seen
until the exchange of fire near 2nd Street and Taylor brought forth dozens of officers in cruisers, who arrested the suspected gunman and blocked surrounding streets.
So, it would seem that multiple arrests would have been called for in this instance. But I’m counting multiple “gunmen” in this story. Which one got arrested? Was it a PB? An antifa?
Asked about their absence in the Parkrose confrontation, a spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) repeated in an email the advice that police chief Chuck Lovell had given in the days leading up to the clashes.
“As the chief stated before the event today, people should keep themselves apart and avoid physical confrontation”, the spokesman wrote, adding that arrests may not be made in the moment, and may come in succeeding days.
So, I hate to judge police chief Chuck Lovell, whom I have never met and may for all I know be a swell fella, on the basis of this one incident. But, were I to do so, I would be inclined to say that he’s a goddamn moron and should not be the chief of a major city police department.
The 2pm rightwing rally in the city’s outer north-east had been moved from its original venue on downtown Portland’s waterfront to its suburban location after antifascists began publicly mobilizing to oppose it.
Many of those antifascists maintained their focus on the original planned location for the rightwing rally on Portland’s downtown waterfront, with around 200 attending the site.
This would seem to render the previous claims as to the control of the streets more complicated.
While those activists were watchful, but mostly peaceful in the early afternoon, at the fringes of the event, some people who fell under activists’ suspicion were confronted, with one man on a bicycle being maced, and two street preachers from Kent, Washington, being chased from the vicinity of the park.
So, there are two groups of “activists” in this story. I’m guessing from context that this is antifa? But who the hell knows at this point.
On Sunday, many proud boys were open-carrying handguns, and armed with batons, bottles of chemical spray, and baseball bats, while at least one man carried a pickaxe handle emblazoned with the Proud Boys insignia.
In the lead-up to the rallies, Portland mayor Ted Wheeler, other elected officials, and a number of progressive nonprofits urged protesters to “choose love” in a virtual rally and press conferences.
Which, given that the PB’s were calling their event “Summer of Love,” means that said officials were unintentionally offering their endorsement?
One of those nonprofits is the Western States Center. In a press release issued following the day’s events, that organization’s executive director, Eric Ward, demanded that “elected leaders from our neighboring jurisdictions, our state and our federal government” assist in helping Portland deal with the far-right incursions into the city which have recurred since the beginning of the Trump era.
“The idea that Portland, or any city, can single handedly defeat white nationalism is a fallacy”, Ward added.
I’m not gonna disagree with that.
How old would someone have to be today to have “voted for McGovern”? In their seventies, easily? You’re dating yourself, James. How groovy of you.
James: “But, were I to do so, I would be inclined to say that he’s a goddamn moron and should not be the chief of a major city police department.”
The Portland Police support right terrorism, end of story.
This story seems too weird and too badly reported to take much from, so I’ll focus on trivia. Kmart? They still have Kmarts? (I glanced at the Yahoo story, it’s a defunct Kmart. We have those in FL too.) Vancouver? Wouldn’t the Canadian cops have something to say about that? And isn’t it quite a hike? I looked at Google maps and find there’s a Vancouver, WA across the river from Portland. “Carpark”? Is the author a Brit, or Canadian, or is that also OR usage?
I can see the Portland cops being a bit dispirited after the last year or more, but if this story is remotely accurate, which is not a given, this seems like another argument for disbanding police departments and starting over.
@Not the IT Dept.:
Maybe he had a commie flag tacked up on the inside of his garage. Or voted for George McGovern for President.
I got your reference James. Did that one guy have “green teeth”?
From my recent experience, spending several days in Portland, the police are nowhere to be seen, except for traffic enforcement. I’ve seen more police in my sleepy suburb in Colorado than in downtown Portland, day or night.
Standing in line at Voodoo Donuts, an iconic business in the city, a tall homeless man with a skateboard staggered to the front of the line and demanded that the store give him something. He acted mentally ill, or certainly impaired in some way. One of the clerks unsuccessfully asked him to leave. Eventually, after a fruitless back and forth between them, the customer at the front of the line bought him a doughnut, after which he went away. There were no police around for anyone to ask for help.
Portland has a huge homeless population, with encampments all over downtown and beyond. I feel very strongly about the human treatment of the homeless. I also think it’s ridiculous not to police these areas, for everyone’s benefit, including the homeless. Even if there were not tents on the streets, or people passed out on the sidewalk, or creating incidents that I described, you’d expect to see some police presence in the downtown area of a city. And yet, none.
The Portlanders I’ve asked about this situation say that the police have basically given up since the protest last summer and the calls for defunding. The mayor is clearly incapable of handling the situation. (He’s highly unpopular, to the point where there is a push to recall him over the homeless problem.) Even without police officers being sympathetic to right wing militants, they are unlikely to intervene in clashes like the one on Sunday.
The one piece of good news: Portland is not in flames. It never was, not even during the height of the protests last summer. These confrontations have happened in very small areas, mostly a few blocks in the downtown area. The rest of the city functions normally. That is not an excuse for the non-policing, just a rebuttal to canard that Portland is a war zone. Parts of it are blighted with despair, but of course that narrative, which involves compassion, is not the story that the MAGA crowd wants to tell. A better fit for their worldview is a fiction about the City of Roses being a war zone.
P.S. Many of the antifa people are idiots.
I have two friends who moved from Trumper Florida to Portland and are head-over-heels about the place. Last summer, when media coverage of Portland depicted the place as like Mad Max but with more chaos and violence, I texted one of them “are you ok?” She texted back “what are you talking about?” I said “on tv Portland looks like a war zone” she said “oh that’s bullshit. That’s happening in like 3 blocks downtown”
I read the reference to “them” differently, James. I read it as PB brandished the gun at the reporters.
This really gets to the problem with policing and its role as a front line of government service delivery.
On the one hand, yes, you are totally right that everyone completely deserves to be safe. However, we as a culture have come to define “safety” first and foremost through a policing lens. Which is much like trying to define “nation-building” through a military lens. We’re getting a grim reminder of the efficacy of that right now.
Our current government structures are not set up in most cases to deal with the underlying (multi-vector) problems of homelessness. And so everything falls onto the police. And they have a really limited toolset which rarely helps the overall situation (especially when technically everyone in the encampment is breaking the law).
There’s video of Proud Boys straight up attacking a van and it’s inhabitant just for pulling into the lot they happened to be in. They flipped it over, smashed out the windows with bats and attacked the people that got out. The van has a handicapped logo on it – meaning it is either used to transport individuals with special needs or belongs to an organization that works with such individuals.
There’s video of multiple men just trashing and flipping a vehicle with people (potentially handicapped) in it and the police did nothing. How interesting that’s not in the Yahoo News article but seems to be included in others. Probably because it definitively paints the Proud Boys and the police in a terrible light instead of the bothsiderism the OP article is aiming at…….
Portland has a weird population mix that makes it ideal for this sort of nonsense.
Inside the city is as liberal as Haight Asbury in its prime. Surrounding the city are some of the evilest right-wingers in the country, groups that would put the coal-rolling confederate sympathizers in deepest Alabama to shame.
This sets up a perfect environment for conflict. Particularly when many, many of the police are recruited from the perimeter regions – making them counter-protesters rather than neutral arbiters of peace.
Thanks for the giggle. (Ballad of the) uneasy rider doesn’t get nearly enough airplay.
Although Puddletown is famous for it’s spinning top of rapid departing police chiefs.
Wheeler is a pleasant dude who got the job he wanted but is so far out of his depth it’s not funny. Homer Simpson is more competent.
There was a news article yesterday about police/sheriffs getting their diapers in a knot regarding an alleged but full of antifa, travelling and presumably looking for trouble in southern Oregon and northern Cali. Turned out it was nothing but a van w/a BLM sign on the back. But another piece of evidence that the police are at least sympathetic to RW mobs and will go out of their way to confront possible leftists.
I have a nephew and a good friend in Portland and they tell me the same. The nephew lives in what seems to be a hipster neighborhood, he’d fit in, while the friend is in the SW suburbs. Both tell me the craziness is confined to a few blocks of downtown and both confirm that homelessness is out of control. Neither feels threatened in going about their daily business and simply take normal precautions.
Crips and Bloods. The next step is clearly for Antifa and PB to start offering ‘protection’ to local merchants, and dealing drugs. I mean, a street gang needs cash.
I believe that the Portland mayor announced a hands-off policy before this event. The photos show a handful of people at these demonstrations; it seems that a minimal police presence would have blunted the problem. Other policing problems not being addressed are the homeless, automobile racing on city streets, and gang violence over the drug trade. I know that people are keeping their cool, but eventually that will pass. I predict a heavily policed authoritarian Portland in twenty years.
Agreed, and that’s a nice analogy. Well said.
Also, when I’m standing in line at Voodoo Donuts, and a person whose reactions I don’t trust gets into a confrontation with the store clerks and people in line, I want the help of a police officer. I want that person to defuse the situation, because that’s their job. Or if they can’t, and the situation is turning violent, I want them to use the minimum level of force needed to get that person away from the rest of us. Are the police the right people to figure out how to deal with a mentally ill person, after that? No, there are other services that should exist to help that person, and everyone else by extension. Portland is overwhelmed, clearly, so that isn’t happening. I have no idea how good the services are, if there were a tenth of the homeless in the city that there are now.
@KM: Thanks for that link. If anyone can tell from the picture of the interior of the van (scroll down) whether the driver or passengers were likely to be the handicapped ones, it would be good to know.
Particularly when many, many of the police are recruited from the perimeter regions – making them counter-protesters rather than neutral arbiters of peace.
I suspect the majority of antifa comes from these perimeter regions too. They hated the future cops and the racist thugs then, and they hate them now. And vice versa.
In my experience the rural parts of the Pacific Northwest and Northern Cal can be scary (for a white person) in ways that rural Georgia or Pa are not. Lots of serious white supremacists and separatists–not just jagoffs with big trucks and stupid stickers and dumb guns.
Fuck Yes I Will Move There Today!
I need to get a vinyl wrap that says 2 FAST 2 FIESTA 😀
The Proud Boys were just randomly attacking everyone in the area, and the news is dutifully slandering their victims as “antifa” so that people who don’t want to do anything about right wing domestic terrorism can pretend it’s just “bloods and crips”.
ANTIFA is not an organization that exists. Pretending it does is a way to justify unprovoked violence against left leaning demonstrators through guilt by association.
Police don’t want to police Proud Boy rallies because they’d up arresting too many off duty coworkers.
When I was driving through Idaho somewhere around Coeur d’Alene I thought to myself, this might be the prettiest place in America. And No FUCKING way am I moving here.
@Barry: I defense of the Portland Police Bureau, I will just note in passing that, as I recall, when the Proud Boiz moved their “event” to Parkrose, it became the problem of the Gresham Police Department. From that perspective the PPB defused a potentially violent confrontation in their jurisdiction.
I have now said my one nice thing for the year about the PPB. I was worried. I didn’t think I’d find anything nice to say about them and the year is fast coming to a close.
@gVOR08: ““Carpark”? Is the author a Brit, or Canadian, or is that also OR usage?”
Considering that the story came to Yahoo News courtesy of the Manchester (not NH) Guardian, Brit is probably right. (Although the big parking lot in Downtown Portland used to be called “The Parkade.” I’m not sure it still is–or is even there anymore.)
@Teve: If you like Fast and Furious movies, Portland is your place. https://www.koin.com/news/crime/ppb-not-enough-resources-personnel-to-deter-street-racing/
It is not just hipsters and PBs.
Well, some were there, as a lot of the Proud Boys are police, and others were sitting on their asses because they support the Proud Boys.
They’re Nazis, James. Nazis who hate the people they have sworn to protect.
100% to that And/Also. It also highlights the challenge of constantly having to deal with these issues on a triage basis.
I am really sympathetic to the point you are making (and how critical defusing situations like that are before they escalate). I also don’t know if most police get enough training in that area (or it’s necessarily reinforced by a system where folks are measured on what is made visible through an individual–arrest or citation–record). And that’s another part of the problem.
@Teve: While I see your point (although I have reservations about people being “head over heels” about Portland), I decided to take the light rail to the clinic in March of this year and have to note that the three or four blocks of deserted streets and still boarded up buildings dead center of the city’s governmental complex was unnerving. Not a good look. Fortunately, most Portlanders never see downtown. No reason to go there mostly. (Well, Rich’s Cigars is still downtown, but…)
@Flat Earth Luddite: True, but Anitfa and the PPB managed to make the Proud Boiz event a Gresham Problem. However they managed that, kudos to them for accomplishing SOMETHING. (And a Proud Boiz event in Parkrose makes A LOT more sense to begin with.)
ETA: (And to think I almost took a job at Mount Hoodlum CC back in the day. I was really naive in those days.)
@Just nutha ignint cracker: they are Graphic Novel amateur artistes and they moved there from a very degenerate rural part of Florida. The kind of place where seeing a barefoot, pregnant 14 year old smoking a cigarette is just a Tuesday. They were over the moon.
@Kingdaddy: Your comment prompted me to go back to look at the pictures. What is with RWNJ and warrior cosplay? At the Capital there was buffalo horn helmet guy and now the guy in PDX as neo-Nazi Hector from the Iliad? WTF?
On a more serious note, observe that in the photos of the struggle with whatever police presence was there, the Proud Boiz were better equipped than the police and the Proud Boiz with their helmets, face guards and shields, looked every bit the part to be the SWAT assault team we see on CBS. Interesting times…
No true Scotsman.
Much like the MAGA ability to hold two diametrically opposed ideas simultaneously: the insurrectionists were just tourists also they had a right to overthrow the election.
Antifa are just anti-fascists and we support them even though they don’t exist.
Also, the cops should do more and simultaneously they should cease to exist.
Crips and Bloods is exactly what this is now. Aimless young men fighting in the streets because aimless young men enjoy fighting in the streets. It’s not war, it’s symbiosis.
We don’t have a draft.
We have a volunteer armed forces.
Our armed forces have fascist leaning tendencies, and teach people to eliminate the enemy.
On leaving the military, many drift into some branch of the police, bringing their training and ideology with them.
They find the mindset, brotherhood and equipment familiar.
And for some, then we become the enemy.
Sometimes their standing back is an active choice.
And we have a problem.
Many Proud Boys don’t look very boyish to me. The guy who burned the BLM flag is almost 40. I think there’s a huge stretch of angry white conservative boys, ages 18-68, all of whom dream of fighting someone in Antifa.
That’s the real issue here–there’s virtually nowhere to go if you hate the left. You can’t convert your rage into something positive because there’s nothing positive at all about being an aimless far-right fuckup. Society has no use for your views.
I guess this one depends on who you are talking about. Maybe it’s true for some mainstream progressives and political moderates.
I can assure you that it’s not a contradiction held by the defund, abolitionist, or even mainstream police reform crowd.
The entire point of defunding is to shift police budget to social services and intervention work exactly because we don’t believe that “cops should do more.”
Just about every police reform person I know (and I’ve read)–including moderates–will tell you that our problem is that we are asking police to do *too much* with much of it being stuff that they are fundamentally not well trained to do (this goes back to my point about asking the military to do “Nation Building”).
Police were never intended to be the first line delivery unit of essential social services. And it’s honestly not fair to ask them to be. And unless people want to increase tax dollars, then the best way to being to ensure that police don’t have to be that first line is to take some of their budget and reallocate it to folks who are better positioned to do that work.
The tendency to divide the people of the world into Us and Them is baked very deeply into humans. Oxytocin has opposing effects on social behavior depending on whether the people dealt with are classified by the subject as one of Us or one of Them. It’s pretty scary, really.
We can manage this by patient careful construction of various forms of Us, and harmless outlets for venting on Them (You know, like Dodger fans). Or we can have guys like Trump who just fan that up as hard as they can.
But, you know, we all have it. Whether “antifa” does or doesn’t exist kind of doesn’t matter. What matters is to the Proud Boys there is a Them that is bent on hurting Us. I’ve been there. Not to the point of violence, but I’ve travelled that road.
That’s the dynamic that needs to be redirected or mitigated.
In fantasy world this would be great. We could be Denmark.
One big problem. When a Danish cop and/or social worker goes on a domestic, or deals with a mentally ill person on the street, they do so in a world without guns. The first time a Chicago or San Francisco social worker goes on a domestic call and ends up shot, we’ll go right back to armed cops. This is not Scandinavia, this is Dodge City but with fewer gun laws.
Chief Lovell’s twitter, in which he does some ‘splanin.
I agree, aimless old men, too. I’ve been riding this hobby horse for better than 40 years. We’ve made a world that has no special carve-outs for men. Women can do every job, plus have babies. So what’s the thing that makes men feel manly? What’s their place in society?
Women make up 54% of law school grads, 52% of all med school grads, and something like 60% of college grads. Men make up the heavy majority of school expulsions, drug overdoses, people in prison, homeless, murder victims and suicides. Men have shorter lives. An objective reckoning would suggest men are in trouble as a class. But all we’re doing across social and mainstream media is shitting on men. Deserved in many, many cases, but not always very smart. Try going on Twitter and suggesting that men are in trouble, see how that works out for you. We can’t even talk about the problem without a priori demonizing men.
This is not a stable situation. Men can be dangerous.
@dazedandconfused: Reasonable on some points, wholly unconvincing on others.
I have noticed this, both in what friends who live in the region talk about and in articles. Why is this? It seems more pronounced for some reason in Portland than other places. Is this a result of the original state constitution barring Black people from living there, and it’s still attracting nuts? I would have thought time/history would have caught up by now.
To understand the PNW one must grasp it consists of two distinctly different cultures, the absolute hard core blue collar ethos of the logger (see Kesey’s “Sometimes A Great Notion”) and the merchant class of city dwellers. Both are strongly, even radical libertarianistical in their own ways.
As to the banning of blacks. That is an interesting but highly misunderstood part of Oregon history. Quintard Taylor, arguably the foremost expert of the history of blacks in the western states, is utterly convinced that law was passed as a sneaky way to keep the slavers out. His study of the black families that were already in Oregon and nobody lifted a finger to chase out put him on that hunt. He found conclusive evidence that was the reason. Prior to the civil war the western territories were all frightened of what was happening in Missouri and Kansas. There wasn’t a heck of a lot of legal arguments that could prevent slavers from setting up shop, and once established, being all but impossible to remove.
@Modulo Myself: I’m not even sure that it’s “hate the left.” It often looks more like “hate whoever disagrees with you at this moment.” It seems like disagreement isn’t an available option. Going back to what we were discussing in the Open Forum yesterday, disagreement isn’t an option was a feature of the fundamentalist mindset when I was growing up. “Who is on the Lord’s side? Unless you agree with me, not you.” “I, my wife, my brother, his wife, us four, no more”–another popular adage from my childhood. [sigh]
You’re engaged in a composition fallacy. There are bowlers in our country, that doesn’t mean there’s an organization The Bowlers coordinating all of their activities. Likewise, while there are anti-fascist protestors, that doesn’t mean there’s an ANTIFA organization coordinating all of them.
MR wants to pretend there is so he can act like people like this:
Are in someway equivalent to right wing paramilitaries running around attacking everyone they come across.
@Michael Reynolds: I agree with you, and I feel like I’d like to refine your thesis a bit.
Men of today can not have, in general, the role that their fathers/grandfathers had in 1970. Then, a guy could get a job at the “plant” doing shift work, and bring home enough money to have a decent house, with a nice TV and could maybe save up enough for a boat or a camper or a trailer and spend weekends hunting or fishing or skiing or something like that. It was a pretty nice existence.
It doesn’t exist any more. That role of primary breadwinner does not exist for working class men, though it maybe still does for professional men.
It’s also the case that the roles available for women in 1970 also don’t really exist, but most women celebrate that, not mourn it.
That was point 1. Here’s point 2.
Over the last 10 or 12 thousand years of human development, the one field that men excelled in was violence. A lot of that violence was understood as pro-social. It was celebrated and appreciated, and provided an opportunity for status and advancement.
Now we have a society that is trying to walk away from it, without acknowledging how central a role it played. Lots of people don’t really want to own how complicit they are in all the violence that made the culture we live in. Now, I’m 95 percent pacifist, but I know that the America I love couldn’t exist without a bunch of violence, and probably also slavery. So I’m guilty, too.
And of course, then, digging into America’s racial history hits on “what role do men have” as well.
This is a wrenching confrontation. It’s stupid hard. I think we’re going to figure it out, though. We have Proud Boys and Antifa who want to claim the role of warriors – enactors of violence – because they think it will bring them status and approval. But not as many of them as they’d like you to think.
@Jay L Gischer:
I think we are figuring it out for smarter, better-educated men, but that just makes it another fracture line, with men divided basically by economic class. Very few men get to make a living sitting by the pool and making up stories for kids. The adaptable will adapt, some of the others will sink into depression, drug addiction, spousal abuse and shooting sprees.
I don’t have a solution beyond a forlorn wish that we could pump the brakes a little, give men more time to adjust to a rapidly changing world. Displacing heavily-armed men suggests caution might be wise, but of course we’re all having too much fun shitting on men to worry about downstream effects.
There does not have to be an organization for there to be an Antifa. Right? Or am I meant to pretend that Antifa is just a mirage?
You know sometimes you’re as dishonest and dumb as JKB.
@Not the IT Dept.:
Ha. Yes, very old song lyric reference.
It wouldn’t shock me but I really have little knowledge of the situation out there.
That makes the story make more sense.
This is not at all shocking.
That would make more sense but isn’t how antecedents work in well-written American English. But the report in question is not an exemplar of that genre.
Whether you realize this or not, this is backing us into “actually today’s heavy-handed approach to policing is in fact correct because everyone can have a gun.”
It’s a short step from there to “well policing is an inherently truly dangerous profession and therefore why should we question their methods.” Beyond not matching reality, it’s insulting to people with mental and emotional problems to assume that police are better first-line responders than mental health professionals.
Also, I’m not sure about where you are going with selecting specific urban areas for your examples.
BTW, the approach many American cities are taking is rather than sending two or more cops to the scene for a mental health emergency, you send a cop and a crisis worker. The crisis worker takes the lead and then, if things escalate, the police officer can step in.
Also, just to note–what I am discussing isn’t some wolly-headed pie in the sky theory. There have been active and ongoing deployment of Crisis Intervention Teams throughout the US. Here’s one page about them: https://nami.org/Advocacy/Crisis-Intervention/Crisis-Intervention-Team-(CIT)-Programs
Some of their measurable benefits (from the link)
CITs are not perfect by any means, but they are working in places like Detroit and Memphis (which are not exactly crime or gun free communities).
This is why the whole “fear for my life” cop BS is just that, utter BS. As you noted, there’s a wealth of evidence that de-escalation and resources like CIT *save* officers and “let them go home safe at night”. If they really were concerned for their hides, they’d be doing something that give them more protection and less stress while offering them a chance to not be in harm’s way. That was never the game, though. The game is control and power – CIT or any kind of non-police authority alongside them means questioning and deferring to someone else. It means no power games and not being in charge so no dice. They’ll take the risk of being attacked / attacking a victim rather than watching someone else have power over the situation.
However, I will note the “community-based mental health treatment” is probably so low because mental health resources are so underfunded in general. In reality it should be much, much higher to reflect a better level of care so how much cost saving are generated would be a lot less if something like this were implemented on a larger scale.
Dude, I’m not arguing that civilian crisis intervention is not effective in many cases, (although I don’t see any supporting data in your link) I’m looking at the political reality. One dead social worker, or one dead cop who only had a social worker for back-up, and the outcry will bring back the police.
Not to mention that SW’s may be just a wee bit nervous about future house calls. I have serious doubts that people with their masters in social work are going to spend careers paired with a cop and walking into the kinds of screaming, random, potentially explosive incidents urban life serves up regularly. Have you ever had a gun in your face? I have. I was calm but I also was not going to argue with the man, and having done it once I would sure as hell never volunteer to do it again. Ever had a red-faced drunk scream ‘I’m going to kill you!’ and mean it? I have. Not volunteering for more of that either. It’s rather disturbing.
As for arguing that guns in private hands justify heavily-armed and armored police, well, duh. Yes, if X has a gun Y needs a gun. Weapons shape the battlefield. I don’t like it, you don’t like it, but that’s the reality.
Look what’s happened already with Defund. Measure the number of actual reductions in police funding versus the calls for more police funding. What do you want to bet that by the end of 2022 we’ll have seen zero net reductions overall, and likely net increases. Defund is not winning this argument. Crime spikes, people demand more cops and politicians give them more cops.
Yes. It’s also job protection. Defunding necessarily means reducing the size of the police for to fund alternatives. And that’s counter to union goals (and often rendered near-impossible by union contracts).
BTW, the same is true with corrections unions–typically they are among the lobbying groups that fight among the hardest to oppose sentencing reform (because that threatens to shut down prison or jail pods, which in turn, leads to staff cuts). As much as people focus on private prison corps as the reason we have such harsh sentencing legislation, if we aggregate the data to the national level corrections unions spend way more on working to preserve things like mandatory minimums and other retrograde sentencing tools.
(Apologies, we’ve definitely gone off-topic).
No. Over-emphasized yes, utter BS? No. When you travel in Europe you realize that Americans are always in fear. There are more guns than people in this country, and if that doesn’t make you nervous walking through large sections of this country, you’re a fool. We tell women in boring suburbs to beware of rapists. We tell children in private schools to beware of molesters. But we’re laughing at cops who walk down dark alleys at 3 AM?
Try it yourself some time. Drive into the heart of your nearest city at 3 AM and take a stroll around. See if you don’t feel fear. I’m 6’2″, 228 and reasonably intimidating (though that’s diminishing with age) and I wouldn’t walk down skid row Los Angeles at night, full stop.
Dude, remember the conversation about how we all think we’re open to opposing views? This thread is a microcosm of how really not open you are.
It’s starts with you saying folks who are inherently contradictory about defunding.
The someone tries to respond — in this case, me pointing out that defund people are pretty consistent about reducing the size of the police force and shifting resources to crisis responders.
Then you respond with a just-so story about a fictitious social worker being shot in Chicago on a mental health call because we have so many guns in our society.
Then I respond, actually there are cities that are deploying these sorts of programs for years, including places like Memphis and Detroit, and there is data that they are having an impact (complete with links).
Then you acknowledge it for a moment and then immediately return to a fiction you are creating in your head. And then you go to the “I have first-hand experience* so I understand this better than you ever can despite the fact that you actually work in the space. What’s more important is I can create a compelling story and that’s all that matters in the end.” This essentially discounts any counterargument because you’ve created a closed universe that protects your argument.
This is like the discussion we had a few days after the capitol riot about trauma responses and suicide. I was talking about the first suicide being a potential trauma response to the incident and I hoped that the force would put steps in place to prevent future self-harm. You went into a long explanation about that isn’t how trauma works, based largely on your personal experience and your ability as a writer to understand other people.
BTW as of today there have been 4 capital suicides that appear to have been tied to the riot: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/02/3rd-police-officer-gunther-hashida-kills-himself-after-capitol-riot-by-trump-mob.html
But, what do I know, I’m just doing long-term training in trauma response and psychological first aid. I can never match the understanding of a writer in these or any other subjects.
* – in full transparency, while I have been involved in a few violent confrontations I’ve thankfully never had a gun drawn on me. Therefore apparently I cannot speak to the topic of police or first responder reform. Good to know.
I read this yesterday (or was it the day before?) and was every bit as confused as you, James. My best guess was the reporter found himself in the middle of a very chaotic situation and, unable to get the straight of what was going on cobbled together a bunch of incomplete anecdotal stories and submitted it as a “story”. Why the hell the editors ran with it I have no idea.
This is exactly the kind of story I would have normally linked to but I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Even the bit about the police chief was so lacking in basic reporting that it sounded more like rumor and innuendo than fact. Lacking time to figure anything out, I just let it go.
This is like masking, everyone should just take personal responsibility. Alternately, put up a sign that says “no criming today!”
You’re correct that was a high level overview.
Honestly, the jury is still out on how effective CRTs are (because this stuff takes a large amount of time to study). Results look promising, but measuring the efficacy of any criminal legal system program takes a long time.
Couple of metastudies on the topic. These two get to the promise of this approach:
This one suggests that while it can lead to improvements on the policing side, that it may not significantly reduce the number of life-threatening encounters:
Bleep, luddite! You hear that? They callin’ us old. AND GET OFF MY LAWN, YOU PUNK KIDS!!!!-
It wasn’t even that.
This in the text of your link: That’s because diversion programs like CIT reduce arrests of people with mental illness while simultaneously increasing the likelihood that individuals will receive mental health services.
Links to an 11 year-old study headlined: Crisis Intervention Teams may prevent arrests of people with mental illnesses
Another link takes us to a 21 year-old study covering a total of 7 pages. What does it tell you when the best available ‘study’ is that short and that old? Does not suggest there’s a bunch of hard data, does it?
So, we agree, there is apparently no hard data to support CIT, if there were NAMI would be touting it. Frankly this just confirms that they have no evidence.
Which is not in any way to say that CIT might not work, or might not at least work in some circumstances. But right now it’s just a theory held by academics who have in all likelihood never had their door kicked open by a lunatic screaming death threats, never had a gun pointed at them, and have not spent much time wandering the Tenderloin in SF or Skid Row in LA.
@Michael Reynolds: No Denmark is not a “world without guns”. Guns are legal and there’s quite a lot of them in circulation for the population size. Occasional Amnesty programs see fairly large numbers of illegal weapons and explosives turned in.
The difference is that Denmark has an exceptionally high standard of living with proper social services to take care of those that need it. The danes successfully “defunded” the police decades before it became a talking point in the USA.
Boom! This is the argument that I see being made in my state. “This is a good idea, but impossible to do at current funding levels because we don’t have the money for increased mental health services.” Can’t speak for other states, but I’ve seen the same argument for several different changes over the years in Washington. And, sadly, THIS IS A CASE WHERE BOTH SIDES DO IT. REALLY. Actions that are better and wiser in the long term are significantly aborted by the short-term thinking of our stupid legislature. I wish I could say that it will stop, but I’m too old now to say that I’ll live to see this change. Silents and Boomers wouldn’t do it. I see no evidence that Gen Xers and Millennials will get it done. Maybe the kids I see in high school will be able to connect the dots when they take over.
Take my word for it kids; when you get control, make the world what you want it to be FIRST. If you delay, you’ll never get there.
@Michael Reynolds: Do I detect a little Catch-22 here? We shouldn’t try to implement such programs because there’s not much research and we can’t research such ideas because the situations are too dangerous? Have I got that right?
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Gawddammit! Punk kids! Gimmie a minute to pull my Sansibelt pants up around my armpits and I’ll turn the hose on all of you young hooligans! Get outa my flowers!!!!!
Sidebar – I’ve met his mayorness – like I said, nice, wants to please, but why he wanted the job is beyond rational thought. Portland has, by design, an unworkable system of governing. AFAICT, Portland Police Bureau gave up on actually doing anything except cruising around way before the riots last year (except arriving 40 officers strong when there’s a shooting in a largely minority community)
You know, some of us *do* work with those who have mental health issues and don’t go into every scenario thinking it’s gonna end in blood and tears. I’ve had to break up a number of fights between patients or had patients attack staff. I had my wrist broken in my twenties after I disarmed a knife-wielding man twice my size who was in the middle of an episode and *still* didn’t go in thinking “I need to fear for my life” at my job after I healed. I’ve had lunatics screaming death threats at me for years and some tried to back those threats up. I went into work unarmed every day, continued to do so and if I was still employed there, nobody would take “feared for my life” as an excuse if I roughed up a patient. Only cops seem to get to claim their work is dangerous because of the mentally ill and that’s why they can attack the citizenry at will.
EMTs, nurses, doctors, firefighters, counselors, those who work the unhoused – we all get this on the regular. Find me an ER nurse who doesn’t have a story about a mental ill patient lashing out but they don’t reject measures taken to de-escalate circumstances. You don’t hear them demanding to be armed in hospital halls or EMTs demand body armor when they go to answer these types of calls. It’s BS because it presupposes that policing is inherently more dangerous than any other profession even if you would encounter the exact same people in the exact same circumstances. If you want to be safer in your job, then you look into things that can help decrease danger.
@Michael Reynolds: While I agree guns make policing (and much else) more difficult in America, it’s silly to imagine a worst case scenario so it will end in disaster, or declare it’s just an academic theory while sneering at it’s proponents lacking real world experience or data.
I agree that as a slogan “Defund the Police” was/is political malpractice. Saw an article the other day using the phrase “pivot from police” that strikes me as more promising, politically. In one year (in Denver) over 1300 calls were redirected from police to other response teams, with 0 need to call in police or violent incidents. Eugene Oregon has a program for decades now providing data on alternatives to police response. And yes, Eugene isn’t LA (or even Portland), but cities like Denver get a lot closer, and many other cities are experimenting as well. Matt Bernius is a lot better informed on this than you and I.
Alas I can never post any links for some reason on this site so you’ll have to Google “Denver’s pivot from police is gaining popularity nationwide” to see the article I’m referring to.
@KM: Big part of the problem is that police in the USA are taught to escalate ESCALATE until authority is reached. This is the opposite of how police are trained in the majority of Europe including Denmark.
It also doesn’t help that the majority of police are former military and the “us vs them” mentality exists. It always makes me face palm when a cop talks about “civilians” bitch you’re a civilian…
Is hyperbole your organic form of Cialis or something?
Last I checked, Crip and Blood sets are criminal enterprises formed to make money. When they fight in the streets, it’s according to the rules of the game. Sometimes, it’s territory. Sometimes, it’s to maintain reputation. But it all flows from the blueprint for making cash via crime. (Coincidentally, the comment by @Slugger that appears directly after your OP highlights this.)
PB are a centralized ideological activist group with a hierarchy. Antifa is a decentralized collective opposed to far-right groups. The former was started by a (possibly nihilistic) troll; the latter based on tactics described by scholars who studied the historical success or failure of resistance to far-right revolutionary movements.
But you’re right, they’re all the same.
@Just Another Ex-Republican: Ask and you shall receive:
Interesting discussion. Lots of recent and recurring forum topics converging. Mental health, legal system, political messaging, skin in the game, openness to changing one’s mind, epistemology, anti-intellectualism, etc.
Seattle at 3am is fine, even walking through Bloods territory. Haven’t done it in years, admittedly. Hard to wake up in time for my 9-5 that way. Maybe it’d be scarier if I got yelled at by children’s book publishers first?
P.S. @Kingdaddy, Seattle also has a demoralized police force, with lots of reports of officers quitting and departments stretched thin, but I’ve actually noticed an uptick in police presence. It wasn’t a lot before, though, so I can’t really identify a reason for it.
Tactics described by scholars, eh? Do they describe exactly how to break windows? If only the Proud Boys had some scholars. They should probably organize some seminars. And how did those confrontational tactics work in the real world? Say, Brown Shirts vs. Communists in Berlin? Can you show me a historical example of Leftist street activists defeating Rightist street activists? Not a snark question, I’m genuinely curious.
Disorder spurs calls for order. Has the years-long disorder in Portland built a consensus behind Antifa? Or did they just end up re-electing the mayor Antifa opposed? A very recent poll in Oregon:
An equal division 19/22 on whether BLM is a positive thing. My guess is that if you were to subtract Antifa from the picture the numbers would be more favorable to BLM, not less. But it is certainly not possible to argue that Antifa in Portland have strengthened reformer’s hands.
@Just Another Ex-Republican:
Again, I’m not arguing CIT one way or the other as a moral position to take. I’m not even saying CIT won’t work in many cases – though some actual data would be nice. I’m talking about it as political reality, just as I don’t spend a lot of time extolling cops (the irony meter would shatter) but do point out that Defund was terrible politics.
Posit this headline: Incident Turns Violent With Tragic Death Of Social Worker.. What’s the very next thing that happens? Social Workers call for more protection. Right? Multiple calls for investigations, calls to suspend the program so that pols can grandstand. It becomes a factor in the next mayoral election, etc… Does any of that strike you as unlikely? And, speaking historically, who wins battles between ‘protect us!’ and ‘show compassion’?
In a hospital setting you have one problem individual, surrounded by doctors, nurses, orderlies, other patients, hospital security and usually a cop or two. Overwhelming force on one side only. Right? How is that analogous to walking up to an unfamiliar apartment building at night with a bellowing argument going on while the neighbors are in the street, scared?
It took me ten seconds on the Google to find nurses complaining about security in emergency rooms, and talking about PTSD and low morale as a consequence of violent patients. (I’d link but the gods have not seen fit to give me editing tools at the moment.). Again, that’s in hospitals, a more controllable situation than the street.
A better analogy would probably be to look at EMTs as they are not in an institutional setting but out on the streets. This is from 2012 in EMS World:
Among the remedies considered: arming EMS.
That doesn’t sound as if there’s no security issue for EMS who, again, do not typically respond wit the goal of breaking up street fights. EMS are more likely to be welcomed than are police, or police in company with a social worker.
The battle of Cable street. Oswald Mosley was literately de-platformed over and over after world war 2 by antifascists.
In my limited experience most of the people being labeled Antifa would of been called black bloc in the 90s.. People who show up to protests looking to break shit and create general anarchy.