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Commentary

Seattle Residents Now in Danger of Being Burned Out of Their Homes by the Mob

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In Seattle, 47 rioters were arrested and 59 police officers were injured after a Saturday “protest” in which crowds set fire to a building that not only contained a Starbucks coffee shop but apartment dwellings as well.

According to KIRO-TV, the “protest” was declared a riot by Seattle Police.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, at a media briefing, said that the protest wasn’t intended to be peaceful and ended up risking human safety.

The gathering started in the Capitol Hill district — formerly home of the infamous CHAZ/CHOP “autonomous zone.” Its intended goal, according to KIRO, was for Seattle radicals to show solidarity with the ongoing Black Lives Matter riots protests in Portland. That should have been a bad augury, given the consistent violence those protests have engendered.

I’ll say this for the Portlanders, though: They haven’t, in my memory, set a Starbucks ablaze when there were apartments above it. More on that later, though.

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Anyhow, the protests began as your standard defund-the-police fare at Seattle Central College in the early afternoon, complete with the usual signage and absurd demands:

Seattle Police say things began to take a turn at 4 p.m. when protesters marched past the site of the King County Youth Detention Center. Apparently, the leftists think criminal youths shouldn’t be detained or something,

By the by, according to a Patch report last week, Seattle’s King County plans to attain “zero youth detention” by 2025, so good work, guys.

The rioters moved on from there, of course. Construction trailers where the old juvenile detention center stood were also firebombed (again: excellent work, protesters) and employees at the youth detention center had their vehicles vandalized, with tires slashed, windows smashed and other damage done.

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“I didn’t deserve this, OK!” said King County youth detention officer Daryl Breux, according to KIRO. “I’m a hardworking individual, college-educated young lady, black lady at that! Born and raised in Seattle!”

This was bad enough — but predictable, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. What happened next was unusually problematic, even for these protests: Five blocks from the juvenile detention center, a Starbucks was demolished.

“Everything outside and inside the Starbucks appeared to be shattered, mangled and looted. Even nearby parking pay stations were destroyed,” KIRO reported.

The problem wasn’t simply the Starbucks, though. After all, razing a Starbucks is almost a ritual for these sorts of protests; it’s not officially striking a blow against capitalism unless some Venti-sized damage is done to one of its multitudinous franchises.

Apparently, none of the rioters cared about the apartments above the Starbucks. A tweet from The New York Times’ Mike Baker showed smoke coming from the building and said residents were being told to evacuate; the website MEAWW reported the unit had been set on fire.

Police eventually declared a riot.

“Seattle police said some protesters spray-painted the East Precinct at 12th and Pine Street, tried to disable cameras and caused damage after someone breached a fence line,” KIRO reported.

“Moments after the breach, a device exploded, leaving an 8-inch hole in the side of the precinct, according to police.”

The Seattle Police delivered updates on how this all progressed:

I’m assuming this wouldn’t classify as “mostly peaceful.” Perhaps the most fitting tweet to come out of all of this:

Paul Gallant, it’s worth noting, is a host on ESPN Radio’s Seattle affiliate. While I’m sure there’s some individual diversity of opinion within ESPN as an organization, as there is with any media conglomerate, the worldwide leader in sports isn’t precisely known as a hive of open conservatism.

In fact, that same Paul Gallant published a Twitter post six weeks ago actually mocking President Donald Trump for warnings about the dangers of violence in Seattle.

In the two tweets posted on Saturday, Gallant had a different take on the new events:

Strong words, but then, it’s not as if Seattle’s government views the safety of its residents as a higher priority than letting protesters do whatever they bloody well please.

This is a city, after all, that decided to ban the use of tear gas or pepper spray, as well as other crowd control measures, by police. That move was temporarily blocked by a federal judge on Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

KIRO reported that police on Saturday used methods like blast balls, pepper spray and sponge rounds to disperse the rioters, but didn’t resort to tear gas.

When CHAZ/CHOP originally set up shop in Seattle shortly after the death of George Floyd in police custody, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said the environment was “like a block party” and hoped it would engender a “summer of love” in the city.

The “autonomous zone” may be gone, but the revolutionary foment remains. If we still want to make parallels to the Sixties, I have to commend this generation of new left protesters for haste: We seem to have moved from Haight-Ashbury and “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” to Altamont and the Weather Underground in just a matter of months. And they say, today’s kids mature slower.

The reality is that this parallel with the beatific elements of the Sixties never worked. As much as the mainstream media wanted to focus on the fact this protest movement has been “mostly peaceful” — and it has been, mathematically speaking — it’s always been infected with a dedicated element for which violent disruption wasn’t an unfortunate outgrowth of the movement but the primary objective.

This is bad enough, but for certain elements of the left, property destruction is a perfectly acceptable form of protest. “Plateglass windows don’t bleed,” leftist commentator R.H. Lossin wrote in June piece in The Nation titled “In Defense of Destroying Property.”

“They don’t die and leave loved ones grieving. They don’t contribute to the collective trauma and terror experienced by their communities,” wrote Lossin, who holds a Ph.D. in communications from Columbia University. “They just break, and then, at some point, they are replaced by identical sheets of glass.”

Leaving aside the economic damage that’ll eventually add to “collective trauma” for those to whom it invariably trickles down, what happened at the Starbucks in Seattle is the perfect object lesson in how there isn’t a discrete line between property violence and personal violence.

Apartments with families caught unaware can burn just as easily as Starbucks cups do.

Are we to say these individuals should have known what they were signing up for when they rented an apartment above a symbol of capitalist decadence? Do they bear responsibility for the sins of Howard Schultz?

Saturday’s riot ended without the nightmare scenario playing out. One of these days, it won’t — and it won’t just be the rioters who’ll shoulder responsibility for whatever happens.

They’ve had a lot of encouragement from academia, from the liberal media, and from powerful figures in the Democratic Party.

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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).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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