The Mob Is Attempting To Breach Courthouse Security with Power Tools


Oh, what I would have been given to be in The Associated Press’ newsroom when this headline was brewed up: “On Portland’s streets: Anger, fear, and a fence that divides.”

The anger is the righteous outrage over pretty much everything that’s been percolating over the past few months. Take your pick.

The fear being described in the AP article Monday is two-fold: the fear being felt by the federal agents under attack at the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, and the fear felt by protesters who have to deal with the indignities of law enforcement enforcing laws as the city hits 60 straight days of truculent protests.

And then there’s “a fence that divides.” This is the fence recently put up to divide the agents tasked with protecting the federal courthouse with the demonstrators who want to get into the federal courthouse, and presumably not because they want a Kit-Kat from the vending machine in the lobby.

Picture this headline in other contexts. “At the airport: Delays, CNN, and a security line that divides.” “Jail: Criminals, orange jumpsuits and bars that divide.” “A NASCAR race: Loud noises, lots of sponsorship and a wall and a fence around the track that divides.”

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There are reasons barriers exist, a fact that has baffled a certain type of person throughout history.

Philosopher G.K. Chesterton summed the problem up thusly:

“There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, ‘I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.’ To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: ‘If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.'”

So anyway, to save a lot of people some time, this is the use of that fence that divides:

That’s a Saturday tweet from journalist Andy Ngô — best known as a tireless chronicler of all things in Portland that have to do with people who wear black bandanas across their faces for reasons other than preventing transmission of the novel coronavirus — going at that divisive fence with power tools. He credited the video to reporter and YouTube host Drew Hernandez.

The rioters actually used an angle grinder, not a circle saw, according to The Oregonian.

Ironically, given its timeline of events, the decision to use the angle grinder on the fence came less than a half-hour after someone projected “The Fence Is a Lie” on the side of the courthouse. If that were the case, it should have been easier to get past than with an angle grinder, now, shouldn’t it?

Unlike previous nights, protesters were able to do serious damage to the fence surrounding the courthouse:

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They would eventually manage to broach part of it.

Those lasers, by the way, aren’t part of some kind of lights-and-display show; this is what demonstrators have been shining at federal agents with the aim of temporarily — or permanently — blinding them.

Federal agents were able to get the rioters under control eventually; after several rounds of tear gas and other irritants, the crowd was reduced from over 1,000 to just a few hundred in the early hours of the morning.

This, however, was after projectiles were launched, fireworks exploded over the fence and the gathering outside the courthouse was declared illegal for the second straight night.

There’s nothing “mostly peaceful” about what’s been happening at the federal courthouse in Portland. No amount of rationalizing can make this appear to be anything but violence — and not just violence against property, which is considered very excusable in certain sectors of the left these days.

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“It’s scary. You open those doors out, when the crowd is shaking the fence, and … on the other side of that fence are people that want to kill you because of the job we chose to do and what we represent,” a deputy U.S. marshal told the AP. “I am worried for my life, every time I walk outside of the building.”

To the extent this is “a fence that divides,” it divides those who are sworn to protect life, liberty and property from those who don’t think particularly much of any of those three — at least not if it belongs to someone they don’t like.

There’s a better word for a fence like that than “divides”: “protects.”

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture