hairylunch (hairylunch) wrote,

Portland and Protests

Truth is complicated. Memes and tweets serve as news for many today, and folks cherry pick their sources and the items they want to believe.

Portland is not in utter chaos, nor are the protests absolutely peaceful.

And as much as I hate this and realize how it's the exact thing I'm raving against, realizing that many won't read past the first few sentences, the TL;DR; is that the protests in Portland are predominantly peaceful with a handful of highly visible provacateurs that have grown an order of magnitude since the Feds escalated things (grabbing folks off the street and shooting them in the head)

For about the last two months, there have been nightly protests at the Multnomah County Justice Center numbering in the hundreds and taking up maybe a city block. Generally peaceful, but as the nights would start easing into the mornings, there were provacatuers in the crowd who would escalate, throwing things, shining laser pointers, modifying the fence, shooting off fireworks, etc. Eventually this would lead to the Portland Police Bureau declaring things a riot, and dispersing the crowd aggressively.

After the Feds grabbed people off the street, things escalated, with the protests growing from hundreds to thousands, spreading from a single block to a handful now, and the national attention again being drawn to Portland. The story hasn't changed much though - it's still peaceful protests, and as the night grows long, provocation leads to escalation, a riot is declared, and crowds are dispersed.

The national attention has resulted in two narratives, and you can see much of this divide by comparing the hashtags #portlandriots vs #portlandprotests.

Acts of violence by the provacateurs are not being hidden from people, it's that they are on the edges of the story. The media doesn't spend a ton of time on it since they only have minutes, if not seconds, of your attention span. I encourage everyone to remove their blinders and try to see more than the narrow tunnel of stories that appear in their social media feeds.

This post was motivated as I started seeing Dr. Roberts story circle back to me from when I originally saw it shared by his son-in-law/a friend of mine from my time in Reno. Most of the above is a rewrite of some of the comments/discussions I had as a result of that original post, before it blew up.

For context, I work ~6 blocks from the Justice Center. Many of the buildings along my walking commute are boarded up from months ago, covered with beautiful street art/graffiti murals, but the plywood is from the initial wave of protests 2 months ago, not the prolonged protesting at the Justice Center. Unless I walk 5 blocks or so, I would never know of the strife.
Tags: #portlandprotests, #portlandriots

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