While many people are expressing support for Kyle Rittenhouse after he shot three rioters, killing two, in what looks like a pretty clear-cut case of self-defense, there’s more going on in the world.
Portland, for example, has seen nearly three straight months of rioting, violence the media has tended to ignore for the most part. In fairness, though, just how many stories can you have of “Portland is screwed” if you’re not actually in Portland?
However, violence there escalated to a new level over the weekend when a Trump supporter was gunned down.
A fatal shooting in Portland, Ore., over the weekend led President Trump to unleash a torrent of tweets and attacks on Sunday, capping a volatile week of street violence that is becoming a major theme in the final weeks of the 2020 campaign.
On Saturday, a man affiliated with a right-wing group was shot and killed as a large caravan of supporters of Mr. Trump drove through downtown Portland, where nightly protests have unfolded for three consecutive months. No suspect has been publicly identified and the victim’s name has not been released.
The shooting came in the same week that a 17-year-old armed with a military-style weapon was charged with homicide in connection with shootings during a protest in Kenosha, Wis., that left two people dead and one injured.
The pro-Trump rally in Portland drew hundreds of trucks filled with supporters and adorned with Trump flags into the city. At times, Trump supporters and counterprotesters clashed in the streets, with fistfights occurring and Trump supporters shooting paintball guns from the beds of pickup trucks as protesters threw objects at them.
Mr. Trump on Sunday morning posted or reposted a barrage of tweets about the clashes in Portland, with many of them assailing the city’s Democratic mayor, Ted Wheeler. The president retweeted a video showing his supporters shooting paintballs and using pepper spray on crowds in Portland before the fatal shooting. Mr. Trump wrote that “the big backlash going on in Portland cannot be unexpected,” a remarkable instance of a president seeming to support confrontation rather than calming a volatile situation.
Frankly, the president isn’t going to calm the situation no matter what he does. There’s absolutely nothing he could say that wouldn’t likely be spun into something to get worked up over, so why should he bother?
I’m not here to talk about the president, though. I’m here to talk about the shooting itself.
Right now, information is limited. The L.A. Times is reporting that the victim was a supporter of Patriot Prayer. The group has long advocated members attend events armed, and we may be seeing just why.
Unlike Kenosha, we don’t seem to have a pile of videos of the incident, so we have far less to go on. I doubt the New York Times will be assembling a timeline of events this time, at least in part because they can’t. However, there are some things we can glean from this.
Now, we know that Trump supporters were using paintball guns. It’s possible that someone saw the paintball gun, thought it was a real gun, and opened fire. I’m putting that out there as a possibility, but I don’t see it as a likelihood.
You see, while we tend to have tons of videos from these “protests”, the complete lack of them suggest that those recording were sympathetic to the shooter and know that he was in the wrong. Someone was likely recording, but since they side with the shooter, they’re likely sitting on the video…assuming they haven’t just deleted it by now.
This is one of the few witness reports we have.
Justin Dunlap, who witnessed the shooting and captured some of it on his Facebook live stream, said he “didn’t hear much lead up to it.”“I heard like three seconds of yelling and saw a guy spray bear mace,” Dunlap told CNN. “The victim sprayed mace and launched it right into the other guy.”CNN has not confirmed if the victim is the person who sprayed mace.“I’ve watched the video 100 times, slow-mo and on my TV, and still don’t know where the shots actually came from,” Dunlap said.…“I was in the wrong place at the right time,” he said.”I’m just a citizen journalist. I just want people to know what is going on out here.”Before the shooting, Dunlap said he saw people who were part of the Trump supporters parade launch mace from the back of their vehicles to protesters walking down the street.
I guess it’s possible that they don’t realize that seeing a paintball gun and mistaking it for a real one is something that can actually be defended in a court of law, but I’m skeptical. Very skeptical. Especially since the odd witness is reporting pepper spray (which isn’t mace) but not anything resembling a firearm. I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t think lethal force is generally appropriate for something like pepper spray.
Instead, this looks like someone was gunned down for their politics, and that’s never a good thing.
That’s especially true when you look at the alleged shooter.
The man being investigated by police in the fatal shooting of a Trump supporter in Portland identifies as Antifa and is an ardent Black Lives Matter supporter. Michael Forest Reinoehl was previously arrested at an Antifa riot in July and charged with illegally possessing a loaded firearm and other crimes. He was let go and the charges were never pursued. He allegedly went on to kill Aaron “Jay” Danielson on Saturday night in downtown Portland.
The Oregonian was first to report that Reinoehl, 48, is being investigated by Portland police for the homicide. He has not been formally named or charged.
On Instagram, Reinoehl posted in June: “Every revolution needs people that are willing and ready to fight. There are many of us protesters that are just protesting without a clue of where that will lead. That’s just the beginning that’s where the fight starts. If that’s as far and you can take it thank you for your participation but please stand aside and support the ones that are willing to fight. I am 100% ANTIFA all the way! I am willing to fight for my brothers and sisters! Even if some of them are too ignorant to realize what antifa truly stands for.”
He continued: “We are currently living through a crucial point in Humanities evolution. We truly have an opportunity right now to fix everything. But it will be a fight like no other! It will be a war and like all wars there will be casualties.”
Reinoehl also touted his military experience and desire for armed conflict: “I was in the army and hated it. I did not feel like fighting for them would ever be a good cause. Today’s protesters and antifa are my brothers in arms. This is a Cause to fight for This truly is fighting for my country!”
In other words, he felt the protests weren’t the fight in and of itself. That suggests he felt that violence was needed and was ready, if not eager to commit that violence.
Well, it looks like he just might have taken that step. Now it’s up to law enforcement and the prosecutors. We’ll have to see if they have more evidence than we’ve generally seen so far, but it sounds like they do.