The Capitol Hill Occupy Protest was bound and determined to build their own Utopia in the middle of Seattle. They pushed out the police and set up what was, for all intents and purposes, their own government. Of sorts, anyway.
The City of Seattle was happy to have them. Even though they demanded the resignation of Mayor Jenny Durkan, she encouraged them. She even set up concrete barriers to keep them safe, giving them a kind of endorsement.
We don’t know how long the CHOP would have been tolerated had things continued on as they had, but when there are two shootings in as many days in an area that isn’t allowing the police to enter, there’s a problem. Even Durkan was forced to walk back some of her support.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan continues to be lambasted for a June 11 interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, during which she suggested the occupied protest around the city’s east police precinct could simply be a “summer of love.”
The remark has not aged well.
In the ten days since her comments on CNN, the zone referred to as CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) has seen several serious and violent crimes, including an attempted arson, multiple assaults captured on video, and the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old.
In an interview Thursday, prior to the deadly shooting in CHOP, Mayor Durkan acknowledged her poor choice of words.
“I clearly said that in jest, it probably was not the smart thing to do,” she said.
No, it wasn’t. Especially since there wasn’t really anything to suggest it was a joke.
Honestly, if that was all Durkan had to do, it would be enough. The CHOP is a blight not just on Seattle, but on her tenure as mayor of the city. It’s something that will be brought up again and again if her political career continues.
However, it’s not all she has to do. Luckily, it seems things have progressed to the point that even Durkan has to acknowledge more is needed. More importantly, she’s doing it.
aced with growing pressure to crack down on an “occupied” protest zone following two weekend shootings, Seattle’s mayor said Monday that officials will move to wind down the blocks-long span of city streets taken over two weeks ago that President Donald Trump asserted is run by “anarchists.”
Mayor Jenny Durkan said the violence was distracting from changes sought by thousands of peaceful protesters opposing racial inequity and police brutality. She said at a news conference that the city is working with the community to bring the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone, or CHOP, to an end and that police soon would move back into a precinct building they had largely abandoned in the area.
The mayor did not give an immediate timeline for clearing out the occupation but said “additional steps” would be examined if people don’t leave voluntarily. With scores of people camping in a park in the protest zone, Durkan said peaceful demonstrations could continue, but nighttime disorder had to stop.
“The cumulative impacts of the gatherings and protests and the nighttime atmosphere and violence has led to increasingly difficult circumstances for our businesses and residents,” Durkan said. “The impacts have increased and the safety has decreased.”
That’s great. However, Durkan should have seen this coming from a mile away.
When you create an area without law enforcement, you create an area without law. Without sufficient enforcement, laws are nothing but words on a page. They have no authority in and of themselves. Create a law and don’t enforce it and you have created nothing. Take away the enforcement of all laws in a given space and you create anarchy.
Oh, the CHOP wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It was filled with people sharing a common goal; a goal of a Utopian society they could build on that precise spot. It kept some of the stupid at bay for slightly longer than it otherwise would have.
But that stupid was coming one way or another.
Once it did, Durkan suddenly had a problem on her hands and is now having to deal with it. The problem is, it should have already been dealt with well before now. The police didn’t just abandon their station in the district. They were pushed out. Oh, they could have fought back, but it would have been ugly and deadly, something no one really needed at that moment, so they left. As such, this wasn’t some spontaneously generated version of love and peace that just happened to take place in that spot. It was built on the threat of violence.
And Durkan treated them like the greatest thing to ever hit Seattle.
I suppose we should applaud her for figuring out that the CHOP was a blight eventually. It’s only too bad someone had to die for her to recognize that little tidbit.