Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Street takeovers are common now in Portland, a Black! and brown thing that has migrated north out of California, drawing enthusiasts from the Willamette Valley’s surplus of white yahoos. Something like hip hop that way. They’ve been a deadly problem here since the BLM insurrection of 2020 ushered in Portland’s Racial Reckoning® and the consequent decrease in public order, entering its third year with no political exit in this one party state–despite widespread public dissatisfaction.

Police still haven’t recovered from all the reckoning, remaining understaffed, underfunded and demoralized. Recruiting is difficult and weighed down with diversity requirements; many veteran cops have decamped for suburban and other friendlier municipalities. As I’ve pointed out here before, the abolitionists have succeeded in their goals of eliminating police through the attrition coming with all the demoralization and harassment, whether by design or not (though I very much think by design, as evidenced by the strain of “drive cops insane” propaganda and tactics they employ). I’m heartened to see Tucker Carlson make that point in a segment that calls out the Black! malice that’s filling the void left behind by order’s retreat.

The “dog whistles” are numerous, but Carlson also points out directly the color of the crime wave, showing the recent viral video of a Black! bully savagely beating a white kid at school.

In Portland our police appear to have indeed heeded the abolitionists’ call to “re-imagine public safety”, largely by doing what Steve Sailer calls “retreating to the donut shop”.

This is all the point of police abolition. Complete police disengagement with the public is the end goal of the movement; the movement welcomes it wherever and however it occurs, whatever its consequences. Abolitionists oppose things like shot-spotter technology mostly because it leads to police engaging the public (by responding to someone firing guns on your street). Likewise of course traffic stops, gang intervention strategies and other life-saving police functions.

Police abolitionists are forthright in stating they seek to end all encounters between traditional police and the public and they’re honest the goal is reducing the numbers of Black! criminal convictions. This model–when all surrender something, in this case public order, due to its disparate impact on Blacks!–manifests wherever it can, but nowhere so plainly as in law enforcement. You may want police to show up if someone is firing a gun on your street, but advocates for Black! thugs have gained the upper hand, so we all must accept the lowest common denominator of order–determined by Black! malice and including firing of guns on the street.

We are to go without traditional police to spare Black! criminals, because law enforcement is racist, as evidenced by all the Black! people in prison; this is our hell. Likewise we are soon to go without competent medical professionals, engineers, administrators.

(Entertainment was surrendered long ago. And despite the profusion of dull Blacks! it doesn’t feel like it’s theirs either–it’s nobody’s and that seems to be the point. Blacks! are oblivious to the condescension of it all and so take this looting of the culture on their behalf as a right, so the effect of repeated failure and rejection by non-Blacks! of this mediocre fare only inspires, like everything now, more Black! resentment.)

Public opinion is against them but the abolitionists don’t recognize public opinion, or any failure of their ideas (such as increased homicide rates and traffic fatalities) and are always pushing aggressively. Their gains of the past two years are modest on paper–they only managed a fraction of the police defunding they sought–and the city may eventually reverse course, but it will be a long time, if ever, until the city returns to “normalcy”–if it can. But the effect of 2020’s other street takeover, the BLM riots, goes well beyond the dollar figure.

Trust between police and public is shattered. The criminal and the crass have joyously adapted to lower standards of behavior as police have miserably adapted to impossibly higher standards of conduct. One retreats and one advances on the street. The police you see now drive about in cars scarred and dinged from abuse the city can’t keep up with.

Just over a year ago the problem of street takeovers was already far enough gone the city responded by passing an ordinance against it, but police mostly aren’t responding to 911 calls reporting takeovers, citing a lack of manpower. The takeovers can involve hundreds of cars and even a fully staffed department would be strained responding to this now regular occurrence.

Police recourse to the manpower excuse a lot now–and it’s always plausible. Ironically, genuine police accountability is impossible as a result of the abolitionists’ successes-and while they won’t say it, that too is feature-not-bug. They don’t really want police accountability, or reform; they want the police gone (really they want to be the police ultimately). Abolitionists work to wreck your trust in the police; for them bad police are good politics.

The so-called “social worker” model offered by abolitionists to replace police in dealing with mental health calls, Portland Street Response, establishes an important beachhead in the campaign to take over all police authority. That program remains small, but its proponents–biggest being abolitionist leader Jo Ann Hardesty–keep pushing to expand it to cover all mental health calls in the city.

But I wanted to address street takeovers specifically.

I was struck watching the footage of the crazed nurse who took out a busy intersection in LA: she flies over pavement marked with the familiar circular rubber tracks you now come upon regularly in Portland. One act of disorder taking place on the scars left behind by another–and I do believe the nurse’s mindless act is just as much a result of our new disorder as the street takeover of that intersection days before. To further indulge this idea (I wouldn’t know how to prove) I believe when Anne Heche crashed her car days later in a similarly suicidal or just wreckless act she was subtly influenced by the footage of the crash we all watched. We are too: we’re all swimming in the same water. And it’s getting more toxic.

To highlight the lunacy of it all is the inherently dumb nature of “drifting” and “doing donuts” in cars: spinning mindlessly in circles.

In August of 2021 a section of busy freeway on Portland’s Fremont Bridge, which looms over the Willamette River, was taken over.

Commenter: “This shit happens all the time in Norcal [northern California]”.

Street takeovers aren’t just a nuisance; they’ve become deadly. And it isn’t just because of the inherently dangerous nature of them–people are getting shot now, and without police on the scene they’re not even making it to the hospital. When an elderly man wandered upon one recent scene and panicked, someone starting shooting at him, killing a 20 year-old bystander. The victim didn’t make it to the hospital for some reason and died on the street somewhere else in town, where he was at first mistaken for a drug overdose:

Police on Sunday night discovered a man who’d been shot to death in the Eliot neighborhood, the Portland Police Bureau said.

Officers responded to a call about a suspected drug overdose at 15 Northeast Broadway shortly before 11 p.m. and found 20-year-old Cameron Taylor “suffering from a gunshot wound,” police said.

Medical examiners determined it was a homicide by gunshot, police said in a statement Wednesday…

Portland police said three people were killed and nine injured in shootings and other assaults since Saturday morning, including a ride-share driver held at gunpoint and a dangerous street-racing incident involving “hundreds of people and cars” that impeded officers who were responding to a call about a man who’d been wounded by gunfire.

Police would later determine Taylor was the man wounded by gunfire at the takeover.

Video posted to social media from the Marine Drive event shows gunfire and chaos as someone in a white van seemingly tries to break through a blockade of wall-to-wall vehicles. At one point, someone hits the van with a bat. As the van driver gets more erratic — hitting a vehicle after backing up and then surging ahead again — another person pulls a gun and starts shooting at the van.

Needless to say no shooter is in custody.

Cameron Taylor wasn’t the first casualty of our post-Reckoning streets. KOIN News:

A year after enacting an emergency ordinance aimed at cracking down on street racing and takeovers, Portland still struggles to contain the illegal events, which can draw hundreds of spectators who block major roads, including Interstate 84, the Burnside Bridge, the Sunset Highway Tunnel and the Fremont Bridge, endangering participants and bystanders. The events have left two people dead and injured at least eight others since August 2021.

Ashlee Diane McGill, 26, was struck by an “out of control” street racer at around 5:30 a.m. on Aug. 27. The driver who hit her was racing another car on Southeast Stark Street near 133rd Avenue, police said. McGill’s mother, Misty Nicholson, told KATU that her daughter was waiting for a bus when the car leapt the curb and struck her. McGill had a 6-year-old son, Nicholson said.

Cameron Taylor, 20, of Vancouver was killed the next day after he was struck by a stray bullet at an illegal street racing event. According to a family friend, Taylor was in a crowd of hundreds at North Marine Drive and Interstate 5 to “check out all the cars” when he was shot. A friend got Taylor into their car and tried to take him to get help, but he died on the way, police said.

Two others suffered gunshot wounds during the same event.

Since 2015, at least seven people have been killed in street-racing related incidents, and more injured – including an 11-year-old boy injured by gunfire in March and an 18-year-old woman in a coma after being hit by a racer in 2018.

The 2021 ordinance revised city code to make street racing or takeovers misdemeanor offenses, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Since then, Portland police have partnered with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police on multiple “speed racing missions.” Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a written statement that the city has “seen success,” noting that Portland police have made 21 arrests, conducted 50 traffic stops, confiscated three guns and towed 10 vehicles associated with illegal street racing.

And I don’t expect Taylor to be the last.

5 thoughts on “Where the Rubber Meets the Road

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