It’s a bit unnerving to see police in riot gear retreating into a garage when confronted by leftist crazies, but that’s what happened last week in Portland, Oregon.
Police officers were pushed back into the Multnomah County Jail garage during a demonstration Friday in Portland, according to KPTV-TV.
That’s right — the streets are in chaos and police apparently have no place to go but a police station, shutting the door behind them.
WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language that some viewers may find offensive.
Violent demonstrations in Portland followed the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, who was facing murder and other charges for shooting and killing two men and wounding a third during an Aug. 25, 2020, riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The teenager said he acted in self-defense, and a jury of his peers agreed.
Rioting is becoming a way of life in Portland, which suffered more than three months of street violence in 2020.
It didn’t help that the city last year defunded the police by $27 million. Or that criticism of officers’ handling of rioters prompted the city’s entire Rapid Response Team to resign.
Of course, when, as Fox News reported in September, you have a City Council that considers tear gas a “chemical weapon” and believes police should not dress in riot gear but in “soft clothes” in order not to provoke rioters, the message is clear: Step back, cops — the street thugs are in charge.
And they’re not wearing soft clothes.
A few years back, Portland was crazy enough to have spawned the hilarious sketch comedy satire “Portlandia,” but that’s long gone and some of the insanity that remains in that city is dark and far from funny.
Mayor Ted Wheeler has been criticized for taking a soft approach to rioters. Investment has dropped in the city, along with its ranking as a desirable place to live.
That was a topic of questioning in his May interview with KOIN-TV. Wheeler’s answers reflected the typical politician bobbing and weaving (summary of his response: the pandemic has caused our economic problems), yet there is some evidence he has become more concerned about law enforcement.
In September, he acknowledged the error of a “hands-off” approach to an August disturbance in which armed groups came into conflict, according to Fox News.
“It is clear, based on the public outcry, on the media outcry, on the national front, that the strategy was not the right strategy,” Wheeler told the City Council.
“I think we can all acknowledge that. I take full responsibility for it.”
And the City Council is making a bit of correction to last year’s police budget cut: It’s restoring $5.2 million.
For riots, Wheeler said, the city is trying to find the right balance between a strong police presence and restraint.
But Portland’s government obviously has a long way to go when the city’s image remains tied to the sight of police officers retreating before an angry mob.
Some have criticized Rittenhouse for being at the Kenosha riot, but he was part of a group of armed individuals on hand to protect people and property.
Whether police officers are outnumbered, ordered to stand down or — as human beings are inclined to do — holding back to avoid criticism, true justice, like so many things, abhors a vacuum.
Which means more Kyle Rittenhouse-like individuals may appear on the scene to try to keep order, because, for whatever, reason, police are being undercut.
And, as evidenced by the Rittenhouse prosecution and the St. Louis couple defending their home against a mob, people are also at the mercy of bad guys with law degrees.
As a result, vigilantism, while perhaps an improvement over absolute chaos, does not equal the careful balance of controlled force and God-ordained authority that is foundational to the rule of law.
A rule of law undercut by the scene of police retreating from forces on the streets.
And, as seen in the video above, with some in the Portland mob chanting the chaos should be everywhere, without a commitment to the rule of law, there is a danger that wherever we live might become Portland.