by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Despite some occasional looting, chaos, property damage, trespassing, rioting, graffiti, assaults, arson, and general mayhem, the media consistently assures 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. …
… 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 … 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.