Help wanted: Someone who knows how to stop riots
There was an interesting piece in the Times the other day about what went down in Minneapolis when the riots started. The main takeaway is that the mayor, City Council, and police chief didn't really know what they were doing.
Reading that, I was reminded of the old adage, something like: Don't automatically attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence.
I'm getting the same feeling about the nightly disturbances in downtown Portland. They really are riots, and they really are happening every night. You can watch them in real time on Twitter if you follow the right accounts. Hundreds of young people getting deep into it with militarized cops in the late-night hours. Shooting off M-80s and aiming big fireworks at the side of the jail. Throwing rocks and full soda cans at the armored police. Trashing the federal courthouse. Always fires.
Law enforcement pushes the protesters around, and arrests some of them. Eventually the rest go home. But the next night they're back. It's going on 40 nights now.
By day, you can see the mess that downtown has become. Debris, broken windows, charred wreckage, boarded up addresses, inane graffiti all over the place. "Kill all cops," that sort of thing. It will take a long time for that district to get back to a semblance of normal, if it ever does.
The mayor says it's time to sit down and have a study group on police brutality. Good luck with that one, dude.
This doesn't seem to be much about Black lives mattering any more, anyway. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but it's getting kinda scary. I wish there were some sign that the powers that be had a plan, and the competence, to calm things down. One of these nights, somebody's going to get killed down there.