Another round

I see that the Portland police are resurrecting a gun violence unit. The new language is "Enhanced Community Safety Team," but the idea is familiar: to cut into the nightly shootings on the east side of town.

And wow, the boy wonder of a county d.a. was heard to utter the "G" word – gang – in public the other day. Those are both 180-degree turnarounds from the policies of recent years, and critics on the left are predictably in an uproar.

The whole "gang enforcement" push by the cops, which went on for decades, was seen as racist. First it was renamed a "gun violence unit," but then it was disbanded entirely.

Now gun violence in Portland is out of control again. Innocent people are dying, and that's in winter. In the summer, the body count is at levels not seen in quite a while. Something has to be done.

But you can understand why people of color see this as an assault on them. The average Portland police officer is a white male from Clark County, Washington whose sympathies are more aligned with Donald Trump than with the ideals of community policing. 

Here's a story that illustrates the point. A volunteer Multnomah County sheriff's reserve officer was tweeting away about how wonderful the Proud Boys are. This is the history of policing in Portland. Blatant Nazi worshippers, cops handing out racist T-shirts, throwing dead possums on the doorsteps of Black-owned businesses, shooting Black people indiscriminately, the examples seem countless.

To me, it's okay, even a good thing, for the police to have a gun violence unit. Just not a racist gun violence unit. Unfortunately, Portland doesn't seem to be able to produce that. And so the beat goes on.