The high-risk felony stop of a Donald Trump supporter in Portland seems to have fallen right out of a left-wing Hollywood scriptwriter’s box of deplorable cliches.
A Battle Ground man was arrested for displaying what turned out to be a replica gun from the window of a pickup passing a peaceful rally in downtown Portland, according to police.
Witnesses flagged down officers at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 12:28 p.m. Monday to report a passenger in a truck displaying a handgun as he passed the “No Ban, No Wall” rally in the park.
Officers located the pickup circling the area and conducted a high-risk traffic stop at Southwest 4th Avenue and Salmon Street.
Both the driver and passenger were taken into custody. Witnesses said the truck had an American flag on the back, as well as one supporting President Donald Trump.
— Kandra Kent (@KandraKPTV) January 30, 2017
Inside the truck, officers said they located the gun, which turned out to be a BB gun. Officers also located an unloaded AR-15-style rifle that belonged to the driver, according to police.
There were no reports that the driver displayed the rifle during this incident.
The driver was released without charges, “however, the rifle was taken for safekeeping,” according to a Portland Police Bureau statement.
Police said the driver will be allowed to retrieve the rifle at a later time.
The passenger, 20-year-old Sergey E. Antonov of Battle Ground, was arrested and booked into the Multnomah County Jail on the charge of second-degree disorderly conduct.
So, just to make sure we have all the common stereotypes covered:
- Trump supporter in a jacked-up 4×4 pickup flying both U.S. and Trump flags (I’m curious to see just what a “Trump flag” is, by the way).
- The Trump supporter was promoting violence (which is actually rare in the real world, compared to progressive violence against Trump supporters) by displaying what appeared to be a gun.
- The Trump supporter’s handgun turned out to be a BB gun and not a firearm, verging on being “fake news” (but which is still very much a crime).
- The Trump supporter’s name was Sergey E. Antonov, which sure as heck sounds Russian to me.
Police arrest 2 men circling immigration rally with Trump flag on their truck. Unclear what charges they face. pic.twitter.com/g2mWSJQ3t6
— Jamie Wilson (@JWilsonreporter) January 30, 2017
I have to confess that I’m a little disappointed that Sergey wasn’t wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat when he was taken into custody to make this living parody of a Trump supporter complete.
* * *
As American citizens we have the right to use the Freedom of Speech to share our opinions via letters to the editor, posts on blogs or social media, through our votes, and via protests and marches. I love this freedom to debate and disagree, which runs ideas through the crucible of public opinion so that we all have the option of seeing every side of an issue and can be better informed participants in our democratic Republic.
Being an American doesn’t mean you have to listen to the other side, of course. You have the right to think that your fellow citizens are power-crazed mouth-breathing cretins with no morals or intelligence. I know that I often cheat myself by taking the easy route and thinking that of my ideological opponents, instead of asking myself why and how they got to their opinions. I aspire to be better, but often fail. It’s something I’m working on.
What we don’t have a right to do in this country is to threaten people for their political views or political speech. It’s bad when people like Mr. Antonov (allegedly) brandish fake guns in an attempt to intimidate opponents of President Trump’s executive order, just as it is bad when Trump supporters have been beaten, intimidated, and had things thrown on and at them by progressives. As our parents told us when we were kids, “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
I’m sure that these Portland protesters were absolutely livid to see a jacked-up, chromed-out Ford circling them, taunting them with a Trump flag and and American flag, but you know what? That’s a valid expression of free speech, just as their chants and protest signs are a valid expression of their political opinions.
Antonov, however, didn’t stop by merely displaying flags or even expressive hand gestures. He instead allegedly produced a realistic-looking handgun in an apparent attempt to intimidate his political opponents. It’s not right when the left uses threats of violence to push their political agenda, and it’s not right when the political right uses those tactics either.
Let’s be better than this folks, regardless of who you support politically. We don’t have to agree with what everyone says, but we should not stoop to attempting to intimidate our opponents or suppress their speech.