Friday, May 4, 2012

Seattle May Day Riots: Despicable Violence given a Shrug

May Day used to mean sweet little baskets of flowers left as surprises on neighbors' doorsteps, until it morphed into an excuse for anarchists to violently bash businesses, destroy downtowns and get away with it--like they have here in Seattle.

More than a week before the demonstrations by all-black-clad marchers concealing their faces as well as their bolt-studded window-smashing batons, the Seattle Times ran a small item I cut out and showed to my husband.  It described police awareness of workshops to teach protesters how to hide tools and weapons behind signs, and fend off those who'd interfere with their mayhem.  It warned that violence was expected at the May Day events downtown, so gentle people might want to stay away.

And of course, all that riot training was put to use. A group called the "Black Bloc" led the destruction (see them assembling in this news video), crashing windows of 300 cars parked on the street, smashing storefronts along several blocks, tossing explosives made from juice cartons and frightening everyone in the area. Rioters bashed the courthouse (video here) and thugs even drove out of the area to throw rocks through the Mayor's home windows.

The next day, some of the 8 arrested appeared in court. Ian Finkenbinder, shown in a Seattle Times courtroom photo from the rear sporting a massive magenta Mohawk, "shrugged off some of the property damage," according to the caption. He said, "When you have the inequity we see today, there will be a few broken windows."

No: Riots in downtown Seattle are not a passive occurrence. "There will be" broken windows, spontaneously?  Interviewed by the Times outside the court, Finkenbinder, identified as "an Occupy Seattle member who helped organize the May Day protest," claimed the mayor and police "narrative" amounted to "'trumped-up charges' meant to intimidate those involved in the Occupy movement." The response to Finkenbinder's comment by police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb is on point: "Trumped up charges? What about the smashing of windows, the hurling of paint, the setting off of incendiary devices?  These were deliberate acts, and people need to be held responsible."

That's what the Seattle businessmen believe, too. While the insipid mayor, Mike McGinn, beloved by nobody, crows that the handling of the event was hunky-dory because there were no injuries and just eight arrests, a table of confiscated weapons was displayed nearby, described as "Bags of rocks, hammers, chains, crowbars, wooden staffs tipped with bolts, shields and large sheet-metal barricades cut with ragged edges," by the Seattle Times.

The Downtown Seattle Association wasn't pleased with the extent of destruction the police abetted with their "restraint." Now rows of plywood line sidewalks where last week goods for sale beckoned shoppers. Association president Kate Joncas "said the attacks were clearly well-planned and no secret."  Given that, the police should have swooped in to arrest every perpetrator immediately--how did so much news footage showing the destruction get captured, while the guys doing it kept going?

I can't figure out what these criminals want, other than to get what others have earned, for free, so there's "equity" and nobody has anything. Anarchy: impractical even in theory. Evil and selfish in practice. "These are lethal weapons," said police Sgt. Paul Gracey about the criminals' confiscated items. "I'm not sure why anybody would carry these to a protest."

Here's why, Sergent: these guys goal is to register their hatred for effort-based rewards, for capitalism, and for prosperity, by destroying it. There's no positive view of a society they seek to create; no encouragement to create opportunities for the downtrodden to succeed. It's all about annihilation. These guys aren't just vandals, they're enemies of our merit-based system. Their law-breaking should not be tolerated, and should have been nipped in the bud.

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