When it comes to dealing with violent crime, Portland is offering up a helpful handbook on how NOT to handle it. This city has spent the past year engaging in nightly protests that were designed to raise awareness about the importance of protecting black lives. How much consciousness needs to be raised at this point? You would think that everyone who lives there would have a maximum level of understanding by now.
However, the city has descended into madness. Violence is on the rise and minorities are the primary victims. Are the protesters ever going to reckon with that aspect of the equation? We highly doubt it. The Seattle Times has the latest report:
“As of Sunday morning, 37 people had died in Portland homicides this year, a more-than-sevenfold increase compared with the first five months of last year, and a stark contrast to Seattle, a larger city, where 11 homicides had been recorded as of late May. So far this year, the victims have disproportionately been people of color.”
To be fair, there are local activists who are trying their best to call attention to the problem. With over 400 shootings already this year, they knew that it was time for action. They organized an event called the March Against Murder. Turnout was not nearly as robust as it was for the violent protests, though. Here’s more from the Seattle Times:
“They numbered a few hundred compared to the thousands who took a knee on a Portland bridge last June to mark the death of George Floyd under the choking restraints of a Minneapolis policeman.
This May 22 event was called a “March Against Murder,” and some wore T-shirts that declared “Black Lives Matter.” But they were not focused on police killings. They were protesting the lives lost in a huge escalation of gun violence in Oregon’s largest city.
“Everybody wants to burn the city down when the police do something, and by right, I’m not going to tell you that we shouldn’t,” said Herman Greene, a Portland pastor recently elected to the city’s School Board, in a speech at a rally before the march. “But what are you willing to do when we’re doing the something? Where are you at, when we’re killing one another?”…
“This park should be filled. Because if we were talking about a police officer shot a Black man, there wouldn’t be a space for anybody to stand,” Green said.”
According to reports, turnout was not very good. There were 200 people at the park, at most. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the attendance at last year’s protests. There’s also a noticeable dynamic at play as far as the media’s relationship with the Black Lives Matter protests. If a white officer is found to have killed a black person, the mainstream media mobilizes in a way that cannot be replicated in any other instance.
The details are reported on a wider scale, giving activists the chance to mobilize their bases. That’s how large street protests have become such a regular part of our lives. Local politicians are heavily impacted as well, leading to rash decisions. Police are losing their funding as a result of the protests and it is time to reassess how we are going to proceed in the future.
When police lose funding and shootings start to increase, the media turns a blind eye to those because they have already gotten their way. The local leaders that should be responding to the higher number of shootings are not pressured to do so, so there is no progress being made.
At least the folks who showed up for the March Against Murder are maintaining the same level of care and consideration at all times. That is more than we can say for most Portland residents. Poll results indicate that many locals are not looking to get rid of the police after all, which is a strong indicator that things have gone too far.