Welllllll.......today it was decided that Oregon's largest county, which is Multnomah county will stay closed for at least another week due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Multnomah county was supposed to enter phase 1 today, most of Oregon's 36 counties are in phase 2 right now. The city of Portland is located in Multnomah county. And today Friday the protests/demonstrations in Portland are still going on, day/night 16 now. Of course I have been to downtown where the "action" takes place to see what is going on with my own eyes. I have been three times so far and I will most likely go again. I even got a whiff of teargas for the first time in my life (at least that I can remember).
The crowd was not as large the last time I went (a few days ago) compared to the first time but there are still a lot of people that gather.
I have mixed impressions. Most people protesting, participating in some way or just being there in person to watch are very friendly. There is also a presence of the mentally ill, the crazy and obnoxious acting, the ones trying to start problems mixed in with the crowd trying to engage in a peaceful protest. Of course the ones that are not being peaceful are the ones that stand out and of course the police will respond if attacked, which I do not blame them for and then in the end the police gets blamed for any issues that stem from confrontations.
Let's take a look at some pictures.....the times I was there the crowd had gathered in front of the Multnomah Justice Center which holds four courtrooms and about 200-250 inmates.
I saw bottles thrown (both plastic bottles with water and glass bottles) towards the police that stood guard in front of the Justice Center. I saw lasers pointed at the police.
Here the police had retreated for a while and suddenly called the gathering an unlawful assembly and announced (via megaphone) that protesters were subject to arrest. Nobody left. Including myself. According to a few people that I talked to the police had shot a person in the forehead with a rubber bullet and after that they (the police) went either inside or behind the Justice Center. I did not see anybody injured by a rubber bullet or any other object while I was downtown. That doesn't mean it didn't happen.
Painted on the boards that are put up to protect the stores.
I like the Lady Justice.
And then much of downtown Portland is covered in this.....Now I know what ACAB, Fuck 12 and other things like 88 mean. I guess you are never too old to learn new stuff.
Some people are giving out free water and are trying to gather up trash. Some businesses are completely untouched and others got looted and damaged the first night of the protests, many places are boarded up.
I saw a fire in a dumpster one night.
I don't understand why people bring animals and children to events like these. It is a loud stressful situation that can escalate into something violent and scary within seconds. I think it is very irresponsible and foolish to subject a poor animal to this.
Random scribble that I suspect don't mean anything really, people are just caught up in the moment. No thought behind it....more like, others do it so I will too.
Part of the protest reminded me of the raves I used to go to back in the day, similar friendly vibe except no music and dancing. But then there were other destructive aspects of the crowd that were very un rave like.
Here is what I think. I feel bad for the police, I saw them getting taunted and yelled at by people that perhaps one day will need the help and protection of the police. So I want to say THANK YOU to the police for being brave and helping people in need while often risking their own safety in the process.
I am against police brutality and I do think that there needs to be some sort of reform to get rid of the negative aspects in the police force but to defund and get rid of the police in today's American society and let people do what they want? I don't see that as a possibility. Regular society is not like Burning Man where the majority of people get along and help each other. Regular society are places like Chicago and Detroit and burglaries, rapes, child molesters, murders, abductions, violence - you name it. I am not an innocent angel and I have never pretended to be either, I am guilty of crimes as well but nothing that comes close to a serious felony.
I will watch how CHAZ is going to unfold, CHAZ or Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone that covers six blocks or so in Seattle since a few days now. I kind of want to take a trip there to see it for myself. Right away I thought about Freetown Christiania located in København (Copenhagen) Denmark when I heard of CHAZ. Christiania was created in 1971 and it still exists. But Denmark and the US are two very different countries.
George Floyd's GoFundMe has amassed a large amount of money (over thirteen million dollars). To achieve real justice in my eyes some of the money should go towards David Dorn's family, as well as to the other people's families that had somebody die because of the protests in George Floyd's name and to the injured like Shay Mikalonis. The money should go to the business owners that got their places looted and destroyed and the money should go towards cleaning up and restoring all the destruction of public property. Also let's not forget the woman that George Floyd threatened and burglarized years ago, she too should get some for her pain, suffering and the trauma the he caused her. THAT would be justice. Floyd was a 46 year old father of five (supposedly) that was trying to turn his life around (supposedly). I am sure he was a nice man to the people that knew him but I do not think a responsible father should have meth and fentanyl in his system. Clearly he did absolutely not deserve to die the way he did. And I think that most people agree with that what happened was wrong. But I do not think that he is some sort of a hero. Who is protesting for and speaking up on David Dorn's behalf? Where are the large gatherings of outraged people shouting his name? He surely did not deserve to be shot and killed so that somebody (a 24 year old black guy) could loot a shop. What kind of a life did David Dorn live before he was shot dead at age 77? He left behind a wife, five children, 10 grandchildren and decades of service for the St.Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Although many of the people that I encountered downtown Portland were friendly, I also saw things that made me feel sad and got me thinking that hell is here on earth. Human beings are so messed up. We are the real virus that will kill everything eventually. I feel that the situation on this planet as a whole, all the ongoing problems and suffering that go on all over the world, much of it is beyond repair.
I will try to do my part in what I believe in and I do believe in trying to make the world a better place, I do believe in helping others when I can and caring for animals and the environment but some people don't care about anything besides themselves.
In the end we are all humans sharing the planet together and the more we can all somehow try to coexist the better off we will be. It makes perfect sense and it sounds easy but it sure is difficult to put into practice.