This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican. com on Tuesday, June 23, 2020:
During a Monday press conference, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced plans to dismantle and reclaim the Capitol area variously called CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone), Free Capitol Hill, or CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest). “There should be no place in Seattle that the Seattle Fire Department and the Seattle Police Department can’t go,” Durkan said.
She was referring to the anarchists who refused to let SPD officers enter the zone following the shooting early Saturday morning that led to the death of a 19-year-old black man.
Her change of heart was remarkable. On June 11, three days after anarchists seized part of downtown Seattle for their own, she referred to the protests following the death of George Floyd as a “summer of love” and a “block party”:
[It’s] four blocks in Seattle that is more like a block party atmosphere. It’s not an armed takeover. It’s not a military junta. We will make sure that we will restore this but we have block parties and the like in this part of Seattle all the time.… There is no threat right now to the public.
When President Trump called her out, she responded in kind. Tweeted Trump on June 11: “Radical Left Governor Jay Inslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stopped. IMMEDIATELY! MOVE FAST!”
It’s simply not true. Lawfully gathering and expressing first amendment rights, demanding we do better as a society, and providing true equity for communities of color is not terrorism. It’s patriotism.
SPD Chief Carmen Best also briefly suffered a disconnect from reality early on. She walked with the protesters and afterwards said, “I just realized it was a moment, an epiphany, that this is a pivotal moment in history. We are going to move in a different direction and policing will never be the same as it was before.”
It took just 10 days for reality to set in and force them to change their tune. It happened at 2:19 am on Saturday morning when local residents heard gunshots. When police arrived they were turned away by the anarchists. Two victims were transported to a local hospital by volunteers but not in time to save the life of one of them, a young 19-year-old black man. The other was in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.
A second shooting occurred the next day.
At her presser on Monday, Durkan said, “We cannot let acts of violence define this moment for change. [The city] will not allow for gun violence to continue in the evenings around Capitol Hill.”
SPD Chief Best also expressed her change of heart. She said there are “groups of individuals engaging in shootings, a rape, assault, burglary, arson and property destruction.… I cannot stand by, not another second, and watch another black man, or anyone really, die in our streets while people aggressively thwart the efforts of police and other first responders from rescuing them.”
This is what happens when the rule of law breaks down. Society degenerates into mobs and demands. And the anarchists had plenty of demands: 30 of them, including defunding police, releasing prisoners, mandatory retrials of criminals, and abolition of prisons.
Innocent citizens caught in the middle saw what was happening and the word got out, thanks to Seattle’s KIRO-TV, which interviewed an eight-year resident of the area: “We are sitting ducks all day. Now every criminal in the city knows they can come into this area and they can do anything they want … and the police won’t come in and do anything about it.” Other media outlets reported that more than 100,000 emergency calls for help from residents have gone unanswered.
Durkan said, “The cumulative impacts of gatherings and protest and the nighttime atmosphere and violence have led to increasingly difficult circumstances for our businesses and residents. The impacts have increased and their safety has decreased…. We can still accommodate people who want to protest peacefully. But the impacts on the businesses and residents in the community are now too much…. SPD will be returning to the East Precinct. We will do it peacefully and in the near future.”