Friday night Portland, OR, was hit by a spate of violence that is more senseless than the usual variety. A guy named Jeremy Joseph Christian (6′-0″, 235 lbs) got on a Portland streetcar.
The incident unfolded shortly before 5 p.m. on a Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) light-rail train as passengers attempted to stop a man from loudly spewing hate speech, Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said at a Friday evening press conference.
“This suspect was on the train and he was yelling and ranting and raving a lot of different things, including what we characterized at hate speech or biased language,” the spokesman said, focusing on two women in particular, including one wearing a hijab, a Muslim veil.
At least three bystanders intervened to get Christian to leave the women alone. All three were stabbed, two of them fatally. Christian was a self-proclaimed Bernie Sanders supporter, a self-proclaimed pagan, a self-proclaimed white nationalist. He opposed Trump, Hillary, and circumcision. (The Daily Caller has his Facebook posts aggregated.) He was tossed out of a Trump-oriented free speech event because of his Nazi rhetoric. He is a self-declared Tim McVeigh fanboi. Before he got on the Portland tram he was seen seig heil-ing and shouting on the street. Charitably he sounds, to use the medical term, nucking futs. However, none of that is relevant to what happens next.
neo-communist progressive mayor of Portland, some guy named Ted Wheeler, has decided that these murders demand that free speech be suspended. This is from his Facebook page:
As Mayor, I wanted to update you on a few developments:
1) I have reached out to all of the victims and their families, including the two women who were terrorized and subjected to such hatred and bigotry. I have offered my unconditional assistance and support, day or night.
2) I have confirmed that the City of Portland has NOT and will not issue any permits for the alt right events scheduled on June 4th or June 10th. The Federal government controls permitting for Shrunk Plaza, and it is my understanding that they have issued a permit for the event on June 4th.
3) I am calling on the federal government to IMMEDIATELY REVOKE the permit(s) they have issued for the June 4th event and to not issue a permit for June 10th. Our City is in mourning, our community’s anger is real, and the timing and subject of these events can only exacerbate an already difficult situation.
4) I am appealing to the organizers of the alt-right demonstrations to CANCEL the events they have scheduled on June 4th and June 10th. I urge them to ask their supporters to stay away from Portland. There is never a place for bigotry or hatred in our community, and especially not now.
The “alt right events” are a free speech rally and an anti-sharia march.
Wheeler is further quoted as saying:
“My concern is they’re coming here to peddle a message of hatred and bigotry,” Wheeler said Monday during a news conference. “They have a First Amendment right to speak, but hate speech is not protected.”
This is not how any of this works.
I don’t have a problem with this guy calling on the organizers to cancel their events voluntarily. This would be particularly true had Christian acted upon some political principle associated with the marches. I wouldn’t have a problem with the group organizers telling him to f*** off, either. Where I think he is on shaky ground is that he isn’t canceling permits for marches or protests generically, as some sort of bizarro world public safety measure in Portland. He singles out particular speech to be shut down. In fact, Portland has been obsequious in shutting down political speech by non-commies. In April, Portland canceled its Rose Parade because goons threatened violence it the County GOP organization was allowed to march in the parade.
The overreach by Wheeler is such that even the ACLU has come out against it:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon criticized the mayor’s attempts to shut down both rallies, saying the government can’t revoke or deny a permit based on the demonstrators’ views.
“It may be tempting to shut down speech we disagree with,” the ACLU tweeted, “but once we allow the government to decide what we can say, see, or hear, or who we can gather with, history shows us that the most marginalized will be disproportionately censored and punished for unpopular speech.”
“If we allow the government to shut down speech for some, we all will pay the price down the line,” the organization added.
I’m sure if any court looks at his campaign rhetoric they will have no trouble establishing that even if his decision is constitutional that he’s made enough statements criticizing non-progressives that it is all just a subterfuge to silence opposition.
Wheeler is using the typical communist/fascist model of glomming onto some real or manufactured crisis as a way of shutting down people who disagree with him. We all need to hope he fails.