The Grim Lessons of CHOP

Early this morning, Seattle police began dismantling the barricades, tents, and signs that demonstrators had used to control several city blocks for most of the last month. The area was originally known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), but had recently been renamed, for reasons nobody could quite explain, the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (or Occupied Protest), producing the ominous acronym CHOP—as in what happened to dissenters during the French Revolution.

In recent weeks, the area had begun to acquire a correspondingly evil reputation, particularly after nightfall.

This reached a breaking point about a week ago with two shootings in 48 hours. In one of them, a 19-year-old kid who was trying to get other protesters to stop setting off dangerous fireworks was shot and killed. The protesters prevented police and ambulances from arriving at the scene. The victim died after being taken to the hospital by CHOP “medics,” and no suspects have yet been identified in his death.

On Monday there was another shooting, which left a 16-year-old dead and a 14-year-old in intensive care. In this case, there is some indication that the shooting may have been done by CHOP “security” after they had been alerted that the Jeep the victims were driving was stolen. So much for addressing the problems of police brutality and excessive use of force.

As with the previous shooting, there are no suspects and no one in the CHOP was cooperating with police.

Both of the young men killed were black.

Now that the barricades are falling and CHOP is apparently coming to an end, we must ask: How could a movement so quickly and so thoroughly become that which it claimed to despise? Nobody who has studied the history of socialism and its supposed utopias should be surprised by any of this.

Read the rest at The Bulwark.

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