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Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (capitolhillautonomous.zone)
588 points by obilgic 25 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 848 comments



All: this story is here because it's an interesting phenomenon, a la https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html. Before commenting, please make sure you're up to date on those rules and post in the intended spirit (curiosity and conversation) not the opposite one (ideology and battle).


This is a stub comment to collect replies in one place, so that it can be collapsed and prevent too much offtopicness at the top of the thread.


Thanks for leaving this one up. I understand it's not the discourse this site is directly interested in, but the occasional opportunity to debate such issues in an intelligent forum is something I have trouble finding elsewhere on the internet.

Having said that, I'm sure these types of post create a lot of work for you. I appreciate the upkeep and please keep up the good work!


> the occasional opportunity to debate such issues in an intelligent forum is something I have trouble finding elsewhere on the internet.

That's maybe the good place to ask:

What are other places (maybe places more open to political discussions) the HN crowd would recommend for "intelligent discussions"? Twitter and Reddit are an awful mess at the moment.


This has been asked before here. The best answers were essentially niche blogs with commenting systems and niche subreddits.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20023209


Thanks, it’s the first time I hear about https://www.well.com


This might merit its own Ask HN post. I’m curious what responses you might get.


LessWrong and niche subreddits depending on the political views you hope to find.


> depending on the political views you hope to find

It seems like the really good discussion places wouldn't have to carry this caveat. It's too bad those are even harder to find.


> It seems like the really good discussion places wouldn't have to carry this caveat.

Ideally, yes, but if the political views you are hoping to find are ones that overtly limit any dissent or respect for any other view (extreme absolute authoritarianism for example) then the views themselves subvert the ability to have meaningful discourse about them.


You cannot fit too much of the Overton window in any one place. And a lot of politics these days relies on entire parallel media structures so that what even happened is under dispute, let alone the moral response to them.

Wonkery can be debated; humanity can't.


I was more thinking about how all the right leaning subs have been co-opted by the alt-right gamer types and trolls. The far left subs aren't much better, but there are plenty of open minded moderate subs. I find neoliberal to be a great place to discuss center-left policy.


Yeah Lesswrong has gotten good again; the coronavirus discussion has stood out. They don’t really do politics but as an old user one could probably force a discussion through.


I'd suggest ActiviyPub servers (Mastodon, Pleroma, etc.) There are a ton of instances out there or you can start your own. There is a lot of good discourse out there .. and cat pictures.


Can we have this reminder posted on every ratio'd post? (Given the circumstances) things have gotten a lot more political on HN as of late (yes, my opinion, not driven by facts) and I find myself not making my daily lunch-time visit because of that.


Ratio meaning more comments that points?

This post has been killed and unkilled, downweighted by flagging and then unweighted by mods, then after a front page surge now downweighted because it has more comments than points.


That sentiment makes me pretty uncomfortable given the proximity of this article's topic to wider ongoing events. Like we should all pour glasses of single malt and sit around a table in our smoking jackets having a languorous discussion. These issues are too important, and the horror and shock and outrage are too fresh, to react to nauseating views by politely sipping your whisky instead of throwing it in their face.


I understand the feeling, but what good does throwing it in their face do?


If you're dropped into a totally foreign culture and one remark to your guide results in a slightly-discomfited "that's not really how we do things" then you might not think too much of it, but if you venture a comment that's met with an expression of abject revulsion, you know you've said something unacceptable. We're all constantly calibrating our sense of such things in everyday social interactions and those normative pressures ultimately define acceptable discourse. At the moment the Overton window unfortunately admits some very ugly things and I'm not sure it makes sense anymore to persist with gentle nudges in the right direction given the manifest urgency of the problem.

Those unwritten rules that govern social behavior can induce real internal change too. People's attitudes and beliefs are shaped by what they perceive to be customary and deviant in their culture.


this is not an interesting phenomenon, this has happened many times and still these places exist, whats not interesting is the civilians got caught in these dummies crossfire.


I think it's interesting in the context of current events.

Nothing interests everybody. If one story doesn't interest you, there are plenty of others to read here, and if you run out, the 'past' link in the top bar will take you to many threads you missed. Some of those will surely be interesting.


A friend lives in Seattle and texted me today about his visit last night:

> I was there last night and it's such a cool pseudo utopian place

> The media coverage of it is WILD

> People on the internet are convinced it's protected by armed guards and people are dying of hunger and instead its...like a music festival campground

> There are speakers, musicians, art walls. I took a group pic for a bunch of black guys last night and they were so proud of what was built because they felt like they fought for it, which in a sense, they did.


> The media coverage of it is WILD

I live 7 blocks away from "the zone" and can confirm, I have never in my life seen anything alike in this regard. The scale of the misinformation being spread in social networks and news media reached a level I couldn't believe possible before. Seriously, it's beyond absurd.

If anyone is interested, I have been taking some pictures of the ongoing protests (including a few of the zone): https://www.flickr.com/photos/peramides


I'm also about that far away and walked through there last night. It felt more like a summer street fair festival. I also took a few pictures. https://photos.app.goo.gl/UN8RpwWS5TYAY5Nn7


But then there's also this:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EaQyClgU4AEJnWf?format=jpg&name=...

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EaQyCmMUEAEn_1o?format=jpg&name=...

I've not before seen a summer street festival where armed militias wearing bulletproof vests patrol the streets.


I truly don't understand the problem here. Can you tell me what it is that makes these people dangerous and scary, but the similarly armed protestors who showed up at government buildings a month ago — or, frankly, the police — fine?


The police follow orders from their chain of command that goes up to an elected official. You can petition the elected official, occupy their building, grill them in the media, and vote them out if you convince the other citizens. For example the knee-to-the-neck move was a part of the "orders" in that it was part of standard procedure and it is now being revised and removed. Similarly the tear gas was part of the procedure and has now been suspended by the order of the mayor. This can only be done because of the chain of command.

The people with masks and weapons on the street report to no-one we know, it's either a loose anarchic group or some sort or they report to a warlord. Can you petition the warlord? Occupy their office? Vote them out? This is a regression to the medieval model of governance.

It's all fun and games when no one really disagrees about anything important, but things change for the worse when disagreements start happening. This is how communes fall - either they fail to disagree constructively or they get subjugated by a dictator who forces an agreement.

This is why we tolerate the police for a few hundred years now - on occasion they cause violence that's predictable and can be influenced. The alternative is the violence we cannot influence and that spiral out of control when the going gets tough.


> This is why we tolerate the police for a few hundred years now - on occasion they cause violence that's predictable and can be influenced.

The point of these protests is that the violence is not occasional. It is endemic, and attempts to stop it stretch back centuries. It has persisted across the country, under both progressive and conservative politicians, despite many, many attempts to eliminate it.

If the violent system we have has successfully resisted change and accountability for hundreds of years, how is this a regression?


> The point of these protests is that the violence is not occasional. It is endemic, and attempts to stop it stretch back centuries.

I feel like these statements need to be qualified to be useful.

Has the level of police violence over the years gotten worse, gotten better, or stayed roughly the same?

How does the overall levels of violence compare to places without an organized police force?


> Has the level of police violence over the years gotten worse, gotten better, or stayed roughly the same?

I understand why some people’s initial instinct is to believe this is a new problem, but groups have been desperately trying to get people’s attention about police violence for decades.

Rodney King was nearly 30 years ago. And people were crying for help long before that.

I knew there was a problem before, but seeing things unfold the last week made it clear, this is a much more widespread and a significantly deeper issue than most people realized.

Even with all of that said, I think we would be silly to imply that abuse has to happen for a significant amount of time before it’s justifiable for someone to demand it stop.


You have avoided answering the question you have quoted. It’s an important question.


The point they're making is that the current level of police violence is still unacceptable, regardless of whether it may or may not have been better or worse in the past.


A question – is the problem with police, or is the problem with US police specifically? Do we have the same problem with police in other countries? Canadian police? UK police? Police in EU countries?

If the US police have this problem and other (wealthy democratic) countries don't – or even if comparable countries have the problem too, just not quite as bad as the US has it – what makes US police different?

Racism and racial inequality. Yes, that's very real, but don't think for a moment other countries don't have that problem too – they do. But yes, historically speaking, the US was very much an outlier of extreme racism – few other countries ever had anything comparable to "Jim Crow laws", and the most obvious comparators (apartheid in South Africa and the Nuremberg Laws in Nazi Germany) are not what the US really wants to be compared to. On the other hand, my personal impression is that contemporary Americans are (on average) actually much more highly committed to anti-racism than people in most other countries are.

Could there be other relevant factors causing problems unique to US police? I think, everyone is (quite rightly) focused on the racial inequality issue, but could there be other causes which might be less deeply entrenched and quicker to fix? Easy short-term wins?

(My thought: US has more independent law enforcement agencies than any other country on earth – force all the smaller ones to merge – bigger police forces tend to have a more professional culture, and a smaller number of big police forces is easier for the media/NGOs/etc to hold to account than a larger number of small ones.)


As regards the Canadian police (especially, but not limited to the RCMP) they are no angels. Especially if you are indigenous/autochthonous. And that's because they are fulfilling the function for which they were created: taking land and living away from some people. A quick google on the history of the RCMP, their recent shoot-to-kill policies at indigenous roadblocks, the colonial/imperial origins will put Justin Trudeau's hypocritical taking a knee into perspective.

If you really want to feel sick read-up on the Highway of Tears and the systematic brutalization of indigenous women by Canadian society.


I know there are a lot of problems with how police in Australia treat indigenous Australians (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people), so it is totally unsurprising to hear that Canadian police have similar issues.

On that topic, how do US law enforcement treat Native Americans? In the present debate there seems to be very little attention to that question.


In the US it is believed the opposite - more local power structures are easier to influence through local elections. It may not be a huge problem on the scale of Portugal, but as countries get larger things get worse. Imagine the entire EU having one police force - how do you go about changing anything? In the US you can run for mayor or City Council, much more direct connection.


More local power structures are easier to corrupt.

And I’m not suggesting the US should have one police force for whole country, or that EU should take over policing for its member states. In a federal system like the US, local policing is a state government responsibility. So I wouldn’t advocate going any further than merging local police into state police. And in bigger states, like California and Texas, even that is probably going too far-but one could at least merge city police forces into the county level.


I don’t know why you are getting down voted. I think your comments are asking genuine questions


Police are safer than cars, by an order of magnitude.

The only violence I’ve seen from police that doesn’t seem like an anomaly is violence that protestors incited by starting a conflict with the police.

So, empirically, it seems like the violence is occasional except when you go asking for it and the protestors just have a problem with authority and society at large.

It’s why their complaints are big on individual sob stories but lacking statistics to back them up.


> Police are safer than cars,

For whom and per...what? Encounter? Mile traveled with them?

> The only violence I’ve seen from police that doesn’t seem like an anomaly is violence that protestors incited by starting a conflict with the police.

That suggests to me that either your perception of provocation or of anomaly is skewed (or that “anomaly” is used in the software sense of “behavior out of line with spec” rather than the more general sense of “behavior out of line with what is normal”.)

> So, empirically,

You just recounted what is, by the terms used, your subjective impression, and termed your conclusion built on that (which go far beyond what is justified even if that impression was undisputed fact) “empirical”.

That’s...not what that word means.


Per arrest to one year of driving: you would have to be arrested ten times in a year for your risk from the police to match your risk driving a car that year.

Per arrest for violent crime (where most of the deaths occur), blacks are safer than whites.

I’ve been reviewing the footage from Seattle — and protestors started every instance of violence by first getting forceful with the cops.

Show me any evidence that there’s an endemic problem of violence — because nothing I can find in either statistics about harm or footage from protests suggests there is.

That’s an empiric conclusion: studying the statistics about how often police harm people and comparing them to other sources of risk — which show they’re relatively minor.


> I’ve been reviewing the footage from Seattle — and protestors started every instance of violence by first getting forceful with the cops.

That's funny, because the majority of the clips I've seen have unprovoked or inappropriate responses from the police. Seattle alone [0] has had numerous incidents. It's trivially easy to see this, to the point that one would have to ignore many incidents to say "every instance" was started by protestors.

I believe that you are not arguing in good faith.

[0]: https://github.com/2020PB/police-brutality/blob/master/repor...


Can you elaborate on which of those clips you find that the police initiated or acted inappropriately?

The first one is what we should want to happen — a misplaced knee was moved by a colleague. There’s no context to decide if police inappropriately started an altercation. There’s no extended period of a knee on someone’s neck.

The second is police responding to someone on the ground fighting them and physically resisting arrest.

The third is pepper spraying a crowd that was refusing to move and let the police form a line, after someone lunged at the police.

The fourth is completely context free, and while unfortunate that a child was there, it doesn’t give us context to judge.

Your source also is using selective clips, that remove context to focus on emotionally triggering scenes.


So because not every clip has the full context wrapped up in a pretty bow, they're impossible to evaluate? To meet your level of standards, every single person would have to be recording video 24/7 and attach a written summary to every video. People don't really record things until a situation arises, so while we should take caution to understand the preceding events, we can evaluate things with the current information presented.

Blindly chanting "there's no context" to every single video is problematic at best; it's a dog-whistle for cop apologists at worst.

We have videos of cops shooting projectiles at people on their own private property; cops approaching people who are walking away and just shoving them or beating them up for no reason; cops driving vehicles (or horses) into crowds or towards pedestrians; et cetera. One needs to be adamantly ignorant in order to believe that every single instance has been instigated by protestors.

Saying "protestors started every instance of violence" and now going "wait, we need the context to judge these videos" makes me believe you have zero intent of approaching this from a viewpoint other than one that vilifies protestors and glorifies cops.


It doesn’t seem minor compared to other countries police forces. Why should being killed by the police be acceptable as long as the risk is lower than that from traffic?


Because we need laws and punishments to enforce those laws. What other countries have a population as diverse as the US and then let’s see some stats.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_killings_by_law_enforc...

Seems the problem is approximately 90 times worse (!) than the UK for example. The UK is somewhat less diverse, but what has a diverse population got to do with it? That might explain some of the killing, but it doesn't justify it.


What does this comparison have to do with anything though? Traffic deaths are themselves dwarfed by deaths from cancer and heart disease. So what?


The tech industry is trying to get rid of cars as we know it by inventing self-driving technology, so I'm not sure how germane they are to this conversation. Can we not work towards addressing multiple causes of death in society?


I believe the issue today is that the police are causing violence against the people with little power in our political system. To those people the distinction you are making is without a difference.


I feel like you're taking my reply out of context. Specifically I was addressing this questions:

> Can you tell me what it is that makes these people dangerous and scary, but the similarly armed protestors who showed up at government buildings a month ago — or, frankly, the police — fine?

and explaining why replacing police with warlords is not progress.

Are some classes of people unable to influence the system? I readily agree with that. Are we making our society better by replacing police with warlords or anarchists? I argue not.


It’s bizarrely contradictory to use democracy to decrease the accountability of elected officials, because no matter how bad the supposedly democratic government is, you can always just say it’s the public’s fault for not voting good enough or hard enough.

On the contrary, I think if a government claims to be democratic, then they are accountable for aligning their policies and outcomes with what the public wants. A democratic government should be actually accountable to the public.


[flagged]


I actually started with "low-grade ongoing violence" then replaced it with "occasional violence" thinking it better describes the perception in the media as attention to the subject comes and goes.

What would you rather see?


People aren't just scared of the idea of armed police, they're afraid of police departments who have a history of getting away with murder. John Brown Gun Club and Redneck Revolt don't have that history.

There were also rumours of proud boys and other far-right groups attacking CHAZ. It's understandable that people would be more comfortable with vocally anti-fascist gun clubs defending them than the police, who often treat the far-right as friends.


can you describe what you mean by “proud boys”? I have a bad feeling this word should actually be “patriots”


A downvote and no answer. Interesting


It’s possible you were downvoted without being answered because it’s trivial to Google “Proud Boys”. Here, I’ve just done it for you and here’s the first link: the Wikipedia page on the group —- https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proud_Boys


Fair enough, but with a name as generic as “proud boys” and given this same phrase is being used negatively to describe people who are actual patriots you can see the confusion. TIL “proud boys” is an actual, far right, org.


What makes these people dangerous and scary is that they're carrying dangerous and scary weapons. The flak jackets and face masks aren't making it any less scary either.

Personally, I'm not afraid of the police, of protesters, of armed militias, etc. I'm afraid of people with guns. Why does anyone carry a gun, unless they intend to use it, once some set of conditions obtain? I don't want to be around people like that, and I really don't want to live in places where they go around on public streets like this.


I think of it like nuclear weapons: it'd be great if they didn't exist at all, but if they do exist and are stockpiled by people who want to hurt us, then the only responsible action is to arm ourselves in self-defense.

In other words:

> An unarmed people are slaves or are subject to slavery at any given moment.

> -- Huey P Newton


That's MAD, right? Mutually Assured Destruction. Well, that is the logic of a species that has gone kookoo bonkers bannanas bongos mad and thinks that "let's all threaten each other with total anihilation" is "rational". Why is it so hard to agree to not destroy each other needlessly instead?


Again, I don't think that we should threaten each other with total annihilation, but if someone is threatening you and ignoring your requests that they stop threatening violence what other avenues do you have? Fight or flight.

If given the option to run away, you should absolutely do so -- but that shouldn't stop you from learning self-defense in case the 'flight' option isn't available.

We shouldn't have guns, but I don't think that we should disarm ourselves unless everyone else agrees to disarm themselves as well.



Game theory. The instant someone doesn't agree not to destroy, they have a massive upper hand.


And then, what?

Suppose the world agrees to dismantle its nuclear arsenal but a single nation, the great atomic nation of Nuclearia, decides that it will keep its weapons and it will destroy the world unless every other nation obeys its rule. And assume Nuclearia has magickal weapons that do not affect Nuclearia lands, or its citizens. The world refuses to obey and Nuclearia unleashes the nuclear holocaust.

Now what? What did Nuclearia achieve by destroying the rest of the world with nuclear weapons? What will Nuclearia do in a world of its own? Note that the rest of the world is now a radioactive waste where nothing lives and nothing grows. Other nations' lands cannot be annexed and used for farming, because there is no fertile soil left anywhere. While some intrepid souls no doubt long to visit the great glass fields of New York, spending any time outside Nuclearia is deadly and most of the world is a depressing burned desert so travel is pointless and tourism is a joke. International commerce of course is out of the question because there is no other nation than Nuclearia. Any resources, such as metals, gases, fossil fuels etc are limited to what Nuclearia has in its own territory. Any scientific progress is limited to what Nuclearian scientists can achieve on their own, without any input from the outside, given that there is nothing on the outside.

How does destroying everyone else increased Nuclearia's chances of survival?

How do you protect yourself by destroying everyone else?


I was actually talking about gun ownership, not nukes, but it's eerily similar.

You don't glass everybody immediately. Nuclearia basically does a protection racket. Do what we want, or we progressively make an example of you. Each "round" is 1) issue demand 2) if no compliance, respond with N units of force 3) N++ 4) repeat until results. Rebels get the Alderaan treatment. Rule by fear. Either every country decides to let themselves get scorched to prevent Nuclearia taking resources as a last FU, bend the knee, or re-arm. But one well-placed rebel ICBM ought to dissuade Nuclearia from their racket.

Having some subpopulation (police or even military) with guns but not the populace is a similar power dynamic. It doesn't take many "rebels" to make the hegemony think twice about a takeover. But a complete monopoly on power means a "clean sweep" military coup with minimal bloodshed is possible. My finding of the world is that most people just want to live their life and do their thing. So in such a takeover, I believe most people would just fold. But a small rebel % can turn that bloodless takeover into an indefinite boondoggle.


I feel like you need to read the history of at least WW2 again just based off of that 3rd to last sentence.


this seems to be a common attitude in America. It’s game theory, but you should look more to the nash equilibrium than the prisoners dilemma. Unfortunately it must all start with trust, which seems like the fundamental scarcity in the US


The problem is we have basically 2 "phenotypes" (gross oversimplification) with radically different risk tolerances, one "tribe" is okay with abstracting away their security/defense, the other wants granular control over it.

So there's 3 agents:

1. Government. Trustworthy, until it isnt.

2. "Union" - Trusts govt. Ok with "gun grabbing" because civians with guns make them feel safe.

3. "Rebels". doesn't trust government. Ok with guns - armed society is polite society.

So it's a very unstable dynamic. It's stable at the extreme ends - everybody has guns, or only government has guns - but the transitions are high activation energy states.


> Why does anyone carry a gun, unless they intend to use it

Yes, I carry a gun because I intend to use it. In self-defense, if ever necessary.

What is wrong with wanting to protect my own life?


Deterrence also counts. You don't need to pull the trigger on order to use a gun.


Sure, that's fair — my question is really "what makes this person with a gun scarier than the other people with guns that we've seen lately?"


Nothing. They're all scary people with guns. That is my point. Apologies if that didn't come across.


"Why does anyone carry a gun, unless they intend to use it"

Oh you mean like police officers?


For some people it feels dangerous and scary because they're on the other side

For other people it feels dangerous and scary because rhetoric about "abandoned by the authorities" and "siezed by anarchists" alongside an unofficial militia sounds like the state's monopoly on violence being usurped.


I spent a lot of time in combat zones with the Army, where everybody is required to carry a loaded weapon at all times, and actually, in terms of petty crime, squabbles and victimization, I’ve never felt safer. If there’s only a few people with guns, however, signs of emotional instability make me very nervous.


You draw a false dichotomy. Nobody in this thread said that armed protestors or the police aren't scary.


I'm not drawing any sort of dichotomy; I'm just asking for an explanation as to why this is notable.


"There are no armed guards", "It felt more like a summer street fair festival" picture of armed guards with semi-automatic rifles "Why do you think this is notable?"


There are armed guards in everyday life as well (police). So again, why is this especially scary or notable?


Because this entire subthread is about some claims that people are misinformed about CHAZ, including:

> People on the internet are convinced it's protected by armed guards


I expect that someone with an assault weapon and what looks like a bullet proof vest is scary for quite a lot of people. And that's notable in the sense that is goes against the idea of "a peaceful event similar to a music festival" (paraphrasing).


But you see stuff like that at music festivals as well, in the form of police. So I'm asking why this is scary or notable but that is not.


The policeman is a trained and vetted, albeit imperfectly, professional standing in a venue, the likes of which you've encountered many times. That policeman's goal is (highly likely) to keep order at the venue and collect a paycheck.

Contrast this to armed anarchists, anti-fascists, whatever, occupying city blocks as part of an organization that's connected to street violence and looting. The CHAZ guard, hasn't been trained and vetted and you don't know what his goals are and you haven't experienced it before.

As others have noted, it's a bit of a false premise to ask "Why are we scared of these people but not those other recent protests?" Because, of course, you assume people weren't scared by the other protests, which is not necessarily the case. Imagine someone who worked in one of the government buildings that the end-lockdown people occupied, there are now a hundred guys with masks and rifles occupying the building - is that imaginary worker scared or disturbed, and can you see why "But you aren't scared of the armed courthouse guards" isn't exactly equivalent?


Just my personal opinion: I’m from a european country, so not a US perspective. Anyone with a weapon is scary as hell. I avoid to come close to any military or police people if they seem to be armed.

Also I don’t know how are festivals in the US, but I’ve never seen armed cops at one, and would be really uncomfortable if there would be some.


> Anyone with a weapon is scary as hell. I avoid to come close to any military or police people if they seem to be armed.

I agree. But most people who have been claiming that "CHAZ is being ruled by warlords" (or some similar permutation) are the same people who were totally fine with armed anti–lockdown protests at government buildings a month or so ago. They're the same people who have sided with the police as they attack peaceful protestors in the name of "law and order".

My presumption was that the OP basically shares these views. So I'm simply trying to understand why this one guise of "person with a weapon" is especially scary but others are not.


> are the same people who were totally fine with armed anti–lockdown protests at government buildings a month or so ago. They're the same people who have sided with the police as they attack peaceful protestors in the name of "law and order".

I didn't see where this person up thread was fine with the anti-lockdown armed protesters or claimed to side with the police attacking peaceful protesters. Can't those things be wrong and having local warlords in charge also be wrong?


All police are armed in the US and Canada, and police doing crowd control is fairly common. I can think of a few where it was entirely private, but every "aboveground" festival I've gone to has had armed police.


The only big music festival I've been to is Sasquatch (twice). I certainly did not see people with assault rifles there. Which festivals are you talking about?


Police and security at festivals almost never take guns into them (it's almost always private security) as the chance of someone taking their weapon in the chaos is too high and discharging a firearm in a crowd has a high chance of hitting a bystander. Pepper spray and batons are standard practice (though, of course, there are always bad actors. These are the exception, not the norm).

EDIT: Sorry. I should have stated that this is for liability issues more than any other reason, not out of any "goodness of the heart". Though, given the opportunity, most people will do the good thing rather than the out right psychotic thing, clinical testing has shown.


You don’t see a police officer at a music festival in the US with an AR-15. In fact in california (yes seattle) that specific rifle has been under attack for private ownership for a while with such things like “that gun is only meant to kill efficiently, no person needs one”. So, while not entirely on subject, I have a question as to what changed and why now the same groups of people trying to get this rifle banned are now walking the streets with them.


I've never seen police wearing armour with rifles at a music festival.

Your experience of music festivals and heavily armed people going hand in hand is not universal.


Armed protesters aren’t scary. The fact that armed protesters managed to occupy a statehouse was confirmation that we still live in America.


Because these people have claimed territory and held themselves out as challenging the sovereignty of the United States. So the implication is pretty clear, that the guns are there as a show of that sovereignty. Are they serious about using them? Who knows.


Challenging the authority of the police department is not anywhere close to "challenging the sovereignty of the United States". No new state is being proposed, no old state is being dissolved. The people (in whom the power of sovereignty resides in the United States) are merely promoting policy change. Do you think if the U.S. Army marched on the CHAZ that these people would fight them? Do you think there's any chance that they could win? Where is the challenge?


So to recap, these people know that if the US national guard (not the army) marched on them they’d lose, so then what is the purpose of the guns? Shoot civilians? Shoot protestors? Who is getting shot by these weapons? If nobody then why are they there? What law(s) give them the right to enforce the law on their own?


That's just a plate carrier, with no plates in it. It won't stop a bullet, definitely not a rifle round. Maybe he has some soft armor jammed in there but doubtful based on the rest of his "I bought this from the local gunstore 3 days ago setup."


You cannot buy a semiautomatic rifle in 3 days in WA. There is a minimum 10 day waiting period.

You could buy the pieces and build it yourself, but you'd need some tooling.


Yes, you're correct and it's a good clarification. Thanks. The rifle in this photo is definitely purchased and would've been subject to the waiting period you mention.

I was being a being a bit sarcastic about his gear being brand new and forgot about the relatively new laws as part of my joke. :)


True, I'm being needlessly pedantic here :)

And who knows, they could have bought the parts and assembled it, if they can find things in stock somewhere.


Looks like a completely stock S&W M&P 15 Sport II, 16” barrel, GI style mag, collapsible stock, plus a cheap airsoft optic.

M&P 15 is a complete knockoff of US military M4/M4A1 carbine, except barrel is longer and has no full auto function to comply with regulations.

Way too boring configuration to build from parts or build out of an 80% blank, and also probably not an airsoft.

Disclaimer: I’m an airsofter outside US at best in the context


You got this backwards, an M4 is actually a knock off of the AR-15. That is to say the AR-15 came before both the M16 and the M4 and both of those guns were built from the AR-15.


I mean that pictured gun is an M4gery isn’t it


Sure? If you mean it's probably a 16" with a carbine-length gas system, tube-like handguard that probably isn't floated, and a carbine stock, that looks about right.

It's kind of an ill-defined term, and doesn't really mean that it was purchased whole. It could easily be a stripped lower + lpk + complete upper, or complete lower + complete upper. Either of those sidesteps the 10 day waiting period, and it's about the same price - you can get a lower+lpk with buffer tube and halfway-decent buttstock for something like $120, or you can buy a complete lower for about that same price.

Assuming you just buy a stripped lower and not an 80% lower, assembling requires minimal tooling - a couple roll pin punches, a hammer, some pliers, a hex wrench, and maybe another wrench. A vise grip makes it easier but isn't strictly speaking required. Takes like an hour or two even if you have no idea wtf you're doing.

That said, I agree it's probably more likely they bought it whole, or bought a lower+upper and just slapped it together (which takes 5 seconds and zero tools).


What's the waiting period on rifles looted out of stores, cop cars, and police buildings?


> I've not before seen a summer street festival where armed militias wearing bulletproof vests patrol the streets.

In big European cities it’s pretty normal to see cops wearing body armor and carrying rifles around such events.


It is not common in the US. In parts of the middle east it’s a daily affair to see someone walking around with an AK or equivalent


This is the point of the Second Amendment: for when people feel safer with random dudes in bulletproof vests and AR-15s providing security than they do with the police.


How many summer festivals have you been to where to people in charge are at risk of being attacked by armed white supremacists?


Putting aside the question of who is going to attack these people, that's my point. It's not a summer festival.


Summer street festivals often have a police presence.


I know those "summer festivals" from Europe.

Especially the "free spech"-debates and their "diversity" of opinion. I just imagine how it must feel living there for years and not being 100%-OK with your neighbourhood becoming a "summer street fair".


This section of town is normally the busiest part of the Seattle nightlife. They didn't just turn some random residential block into Coachella.

It's right by where the Capitol Hill block party is run, legally and with the city's blessing, every year. That's a major corporate event with _significantly_ more powerful sound systems.


I'm sorry for my sarcasm not coming through ;-)

I was referring to the "block party" feeling of European "autonomous zones", i.e. in variaous European cities like Hamburg, Berlin, Kopenhagen, Barcelona, …, where Antifa/Anarchists/Far-Left "took over" an area/building, with city-officials telling the police to back-off, which created "never ending block-parties".

Growing up there, seeing that it was always the same no matter which city or country, was the best vaccine against their school of thought.


This is going to come to either an immediate or tragic end when someone inside this zone needs the police to come save them. Either the police will tear down the fences and fight whoever they must to rescue this person, or the mayor will order them to stand down and an American is left to fend for himself so that a politician's agenda can be advanced.


There aren't any fences, and the police are currently operating in the CHAS like normal.

From https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2020/06/11/43892640/busines...: "And get this—the police are still in the neighborhood, doing routine police stuff. Last night I watched two cops deal with a person who had passed out on Broadway. They prodded her and asked “you wanna go to detox?” until medical professionals arrived. (Obviously, we should be funding social workers to take care of these kinds of problems instead of cops!)"


Seattle police chief said on TV [1] that "Rapes, robberies and all sorts of violent acts have been occurring in the area and we're not able to get to [them]."

Doesn’t sound very utopian

[1] https://twitter.com/mrandyngo/status/1271291958296604675?s=2...


FYI the Seattle Police Department retracted previous claims yesterday:

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/seattle-area-prote...

This is not the first time Chief Best and the SPD made things up during these events, and in fact they have a long history of misbehavior:

https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/crt/legacy/2011/...

Note that in your video Best is not being too explicit on where exactly those crime reports happened, she just says "in the area" while talking about their response times (CHAZ is a relatively important intersection of Capitol Hill and it is causing some traffic). Note also that this video was filmed in the East Precinct itself (i.e. inside CHAZ).

After everything that happened over the last few weeks it is now my belief that they are being dishonest, which is why two days ago I submitted my first FOIA request to learn more about some events connected to the Seattle Police Department.

By the way, I don't think many people here in Seattle believes this is an "utopia" nor anything close to that, in fact I think that CHAZ may be moving away attention from BLM.


Note that Andy Ngo himself, author of the tweet linked in the grandparent, helped spread the false claims that SPD has retracted: https://twitter.com/MrAndyNgo/status/1270820367573999616


Ando Ngo has frequently posted information to intentionally muddy the situation and incite an anger against protestors. As a Seattle resident, my fear is that people are beginning to act on this disinformation from Andy Ngo and others.

Here, a multi-racial family was menaced by residents of Forks, WA. Residents actually cut down trees to block the road.

https://q13fox.com/2020/06/05/spokane-family-harassed-strand...

Here, a police offier's relative drove into the protests, shot a protestor, and ran to the police station.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/06/08/seattle-sho...

While these instances are not widespread, they are incredibly troubling.


He was quoting the police chief in the video? Doesn't seem very malicious to me.


He refers to his "sources" right in this tweet, which predates the police statement.


Ah, I thought you were referring to the original tweet which has the source video in the tweet. So that separate claim of business extortion is what was retracted by SPD?


It was.

The Seattle Times [1]: This is a rather long mega thread kind of post, but if you do a ‘Find’ for the headline, it’ll take you there:

Headline to search: Police walk back report that Capitol Hill protesters extorted businesses

For the too lazy to click, here are some quotes:

> That has not happened affirmatively,” Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best in a news conference Thursday afternoon, adding that the police department had based earlier claims on anecdotal reports, including in the news and on social media. “We haven’t had any formal reports of this occurring.”

> In a news conference Wednesday, Assistant Seattle Police Chief Deanna Nollette said police have heard from Capitol Hill community members that some protesters have asked business owners to pay a fee to operate in a roughly six-block area around the precinct. Best repeated the claim in a video address to officers Thursday morning.”

> The police narrative rang false to many in the Capitol Hill business community. Restaurant owners said they hadn’t heard any reports of extortion in the Autonomous Zone. On the contrary: Sales are strong and the increase in walk-up business is cutting down on delivery costs.

> “This protest has not hurt us at all,” said Bok a Bok Chicken co-owner Brian O’Connor...

> ” Apart from those sources, Christina Arrington, who heads the Capitol Hill branch of the Greater Seattle Business Association, said she has had “no other indications that this is taking place.” The GSBA “found no evidence of this occurring,” the group tweeted, based on conversations with area business.”

The Greater Seattle Business Association tweeted [2]:

> ” GSBA and Capitol Hill Business Alliance have also reached out to businesses in the area, and we have found no evidence of this occurring.”

Relevant Seattle area Reddit threads [3][4][5], at least one of which points out how the sinclair owned stations are still running with proven untruths. (For those who don’t remember, Sinclair is company who owns TV and newspapers all over the country and were forcing newscasters to read the same scripted pro-trump news in stations across the country.)

[1] https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/seattle-area-prote...

[2] https://www.twitter.com/GSBA/status/1271132476329431040

[3] https://www.reddit.com/r/SeattleWA/comments/h7ecp2/seattle_p...

[4] https://www.reddit.com/r/SeattleWA/comments/h7uf4l/komo_news...

[5] https://www.reddit.com/r/SeattleWA/comments/h78xn0/police_wa...


That's good to hear.

The reports of BLM leader avoiding answering any public questions about where funds are going [1] was already concerning. Having stories on top of it that some of these funds may also be coerced from non-protestors would be a bad look and I'm happy that isn't the case so far (assuming business owners aren't just staying quiet as the physical threats of speaking out still exists as long as the occupation continues).

I really hope focus goes back on positive police reform and avoids these internal distractions like the merits of a burning-man style street parties and silly attempts at building temporary urban gardens or bringing in dairy cows which take real care/time/investment vs focusing on tangible action and strong pressure towards police reform.

Unlike occupy this (the wider movement, not so much CHAZ) has the potential to result in real wins for once and already has a few. This deserves far more support from the supposedly libertarian-leaning right who despise many of these same police policies.

The vegan hippie utopia stuffs seems to be mostly a distraction from that and easy fodder for dismissal by the mainstream media.

[1] from BLM AMA on Reddit: https://preview.redd.it/3ebhf4rrei451.jpg?width=750&auto=web...


So far.


Wasn't it the police who abandoned this area in the first place?

The impression I'm getting from this and other events from the past weeks is that the police would like us to believe that without them, society turns to chaos, but in practice, US police turns out to be a major source of chaos, and without them things often turn much more peaceful.

I'm not saying there should be no police at all, but that police should work with the community, instead of trying to dominate it.


> police would like us to believe that without them, society turns to chaos

The police benefit from chaos during these protests, I'm sure the temptation to foster chaos and destruction is quite high for them right now. It puts the protesters in a bad light and reinforces the idea that police are needed.

There are multiple cases where police have been observed contributing to the chaos or just idling around while it happened nearby. Definitely not universal, but some departments are doing the opposite of their job.


You think the protestors also don't benefit from chaos? Neither side is innocent here.

Any time the police are pushed to the point where they use force on the protestors, mass media is then awash with out of context clips of the event, claiming police brutality, drumming up more support for the protestors and their cause. The more chaos, the better it is for the protester's message.

There's lots of peaceful protests every year that don't end in the police using force. In fact, the vast majority of them, before this. These protestors benefit politically if the police use force. So what's the difference here, why do these "protests" result in use of force? It's blatantly obvious to me ..


> You think the protestors also don't benefit from chaos? Neither side is innocent here.

I don't see how your point is relevant here.

Protestors aren't paid with tax dollars.

Cops are getting paid massive amounts of overtime to prevent looting and damage during this crisis and instead they are contributing to it.


From the mayor's public statements, it's clear that there's political pressure to not intervene - it doesn't seem to be solely a police decision.


Nah people who get hurt don’t benefit. One side is organized like a military with command stations and ranks like captain and lieutenant, while the other is just people marching because they feel like it.


Because they are protests against the police, and the police don't like that? Simplest answer I can see


Use of force by police in those protests results in more protests.

So the simplest answer is actually: protesters benefit from police using force. (because they'll get more protesters, more media coverage etc.)


> So the simplest answer is actually: protesters benefit from police using force.

I'm struggling to see the equivalency here. In one case you have cops, getting paid to protect people and property and ignoring that responsibility (or actually participating in mayhem) at no cost to themselves. Lots of incentive to act poorly, little personal consequence.

On the other hand you have protestors who might collectively benefit from police using force at the cost of taking a club to the head or pepper spray to the face.

Not seeing how the two are comparable.


The goal of the protesters is not to have more protests. I'm pretty sure they'd rather stay at home and do something fun. The goal of the protesters is to stop police violence. So the police using force is the exact opposite of what the protesters want.


People in large groups typically don't exhibit intelligent coordinated behavior taking advantage of second order effects without training and coordination. Soldiers in battle require training to maintain formation in violent circumstances even though that's in their advantage as a group. It sounds like you may have a blind spot based on a preconceived notion here.


Yes, I get that, but protests are rarely spontaneously created, they are organized by someone or some group of people.


The whole area is only a few blocks. A society on that scale can be peaceful even without any organized police presence, but we knew that already: just look at how any small town or village is run. The problem with larger neighborhoods and cities is that often there is no real sense of community to speak of, so nothing for police to "work with" in the first place.


Maybe there's a valuable lesson in that too: foster a sense of community, instead of trying to control people by force.

My impression is also that many cases of police abuse in the US happen in situations where most of the police officers policing a community are not themselves members of that community, but outsiders looking down on that community.


> foster a sense of community, instead of trying to control people by force.

The institutions that are most effective at "fostering a sense of community" are voluntary ones like churches and cultural centres, not coercive ones like police. Social scientists have known for a long time about the critical importance of this sort of civic and community engagement, but it is often misunderstood and considered irrelevant at a political level, especially by more liberal or radical sorts of politics which often advocate for a mixture of extreme social individualism and a radical redefinition of social groups-- generally emphasizing a simplistic view of power relations over a broader sense of community.


which often advocate for a mixture of extreme social individualism and a radical redefinition of social groups

Additionally, they advocate mixing together people who have little in common, to obtain diversity. That's not conducive to sense of community either, as Robert Putnam's research showed[1].

[1] - https://www.puttingourdifferencestowork.com/pdf/j.1467-9477....


Partly true. Yes, more emphasis in those cultural centres, churches, and other sources of community participation is absolutely necessary. But the police can contribute too. Netherland has neighbourhood cops that try to make sure they're known in the neighbourhood. They try to stay in touch with youths who hang out on the street. They try to make sure they know potential troublemakers and vice versa. They build relationships, which means they can talk, instead of just using force to solve every problem.


The police left because they were told to leave not because they wanted to leave.


It is really not clear at this time why they left. Chief Best claims she did not order police to leave. SPD's organizational structure is such that the police report only to the police chief. However, it was clearly organized — police brought in a rented commercial truck and removed some belongings, and boarded up the outside.


It's somewhat telling that both the mayor and the police chief deny ordering the abandonment. Who the hell is running the city?


The open question is not about the city generally, but the police. "Who are the Seattle police accountable to?" And: good question. No one, apparently.


The question of why the Seattle police abandoned a precinct isn't really a question of who the police are accountable to. Clearly someone who feels that the police are a malign force ordered them to leave. Who had the power and did it?

My guess is the mayor and/or the forces that pull her strings.


> Clearly someone who feels that the police are a malign force ordered them to leave.

I don't think that's remotely clear. No one in SPD's chain of command feels that way and they definitely don't take orders from outsiders.

> My guess is the mayor and/or the forces that pull her strings.

Certainly Durkan doesn't feel that SPD are a "malign force" — she's a former prosecutor and has only been supportive of SPD. Including and especially during the last few weeks. She also doesn't have the authority to direct SPD, aside from appointing a police chief. So she has some sway over Chief Best, but she and Best are buddy-buddy. And Best has consistently claimed she (Best) did not order the withdrawal.

My best guess is it was a political / tactical retreat by a lower-level leader to end the violence and save face. That or union action by East Precinct officers — they just didn't want to be there anymore.


Have you seen the looting videos where streets of NYC got ransacked ?


She said that, but is it actually true?

Besides, one of the long list of complaints is that police are often useless or worse at dealing with rapes; Minneapolis PD had a massive backlog of untested rape kits.

(edit: correctly gendered the police chief, hadn't bothered looking at the tweet)


In the past week SPD has lied about:

- "Incendiary devices" being thrown at officers: it was a candle - as can be seen by the sticker visible in SPD's own tweets

- Businesses being 'extorted': appears SPD leadership got a false report of this from a local alt-right personality and spread it in their press briefing.

- People checking IDs for entry: streamers have been trying to find anyone on the ground who can substantiate this claim and have been unable to. A small handful of people have been kicked out by being swarmed by a crowd and told to leave (and some more colorful language) without violence. These few instances have all either been counter-protestors or people trying to be senselessly destructive, as far as I've seen.

I'm skeptical of these most recent claims


> A small handful of people have been kicked out by being swarmed by a crowd and told to leave (and some more colorful language) without violence.

This sounds like at least an implicit threat of imminent violence, without disputing the rest of your description.


Why can't people counter protest?


They can. Public officials spreading damaging falsehoods may violate the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments. I believe that is the issue being discussed.


Yeah, rape is a particularly lousy excuse considering the poor record many police departments have in addressing rape cases.


> He said that

I'm quite sure she's a woman.


> Seattle police chief said on TV

And the media didn't post a non-biased account of what's going on?

It's become incredibly difficult to take what the PD says at face value anymore.


Whether or not the PD is biased is one thing, but it's kind of a joke if you're honestly suggesting that Seattle news media isn't also extremely biased and partisan.


While The Stranger is obviously pretty left-wing, KOMO, KIRO and MyNorthWest are pretty right-wing, actually. KOMO in particular did the Seattle is Dying[1] documentary that was ultimately pro law-enforcement (framing the homelessness debate largely as a problem with judges not sentencing detained criminals, leading to a reduction in arrests as police felt they were useless). Jason Rantz[2] gets a fair bit of publicity out here as well for his conservative coverage of this stuff.

Now I'd say your statement about "extremely biased and partisan" is accurate, but the implication was that it's exclusively in a pro-protestor sense, and that's really not the case.

I say this as someone who lives on the political fringes and generally disagrees with both sides of the partisanship.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpAi70WWBlw [2] https://mynorthwest.com/category/jason-rantz/?


and the media


Yeah, that is flat-out misinformation. The SPD has been lying left and right.


The only available public data[0] contradicts this statement by the police chief. The truth doesn't matter, of course; the linked video has been seen over one million times and will continue to be spread, on HN and elsewhere.

[0] https://twitter.com/spekulation/status/1271631384025554944


Chief later suggested building some sort of wall...


One of the things you should be learning from these protests is that the police lie all the time, and are never held accountable for it.

Look at how flagrantly the police lied to cover up what they did to Breonna Taylor, or Freddie Gray. This is their standard MO: Lie and cover-up.


How, after all the events of the last two weeks, is anyone still willing to take a police-person’s word as truth?


Because some people are still rational enough to treat individuals on an individual basis.


If that means people are taking the SPC's word as truth because they have priors she's generally truthful, that's sensible.

If people are taking the SPC's word as truth because they have priors that cops are truthful, that's an invalid prior based on how much general lying recent events have demonstrated cops do.

If people are taking SPC's word as truth because they have no priors, that's bias to authority and people should probably employ more skepticism.

Do we have any evidence that the Seattle police chief is generally truthful?


> Do we have any evidence that the Seattle police chief is generally truthful?

Chief Best has made multiple false statements of fact just this week, so, no.


That is a much better question.


And this particular individual has already had to walk back false statements: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/seattle-area-prote...

> The Seattle Police Department walked back its claim, widely repeated in the news media, that denizens of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone are extorting businesses.

> "That has not happened affirmatively," Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best in a news conference Thursday afternoon, adding that the police department had based earlier claims on anecdotal reports, including in the news and on social media. "We haven't had any formal reports of this occurring."

> That contradicts earlier statements from the police.


That's an individual, correct.

My response, if you look, was to a post that posed the question:

> How, after all the events of the last two weeks, is anyone still willing to take a police-person’s word as truth?

That is not speaking of an individual, but of a group, and then asserting claims regarding all members of that group.


Government agency spokesperson says something => most people automatically give it higher credibility.

Of course technically that's a logical fallacy but in practice I don't think most people are used to questioning the truthfulness of official positions by the police.

In fact if we were to start questioning police truthfulness more, there'd be pretty big changes to how police testimony is treated in legal cases.


How would she know?


she also said they were extorting businesses and later when asked for clarification said she heard about it on social media


I would not expect the rate of rapes, robberies, and violent acts to drop to zero unless the area is completely depopulated. However, I think it is safe to assume that there are fewer instances occurring now that the police are excluded from the area.


With what logic is it “safe to assume that”?

Police presence ergo more rape?


It looks....empty. Thanks for taking these - looks nothing like the media portrays it.

BTW - love the church picture (I think it’s the one in Spain?)


Thanks! I'm not sure which one you are referring to (maybe Sagrada Familia?) but yeah, they are all in Catalonia :)


I saw the archway and thought it looked very similar to Seville cathedral! But the tower is nothing like Seville, it's much more modern.


Sagrada. Very cool church. Must have been fun to photograph.


The scale of misinformation reminds me a lot of the media coverage of the pre-tanks weeks of the tiannamon square protests, and that scares me.


Were you around for Occupy, can you compare?


Very similar.


Unfortunately not here in Seattle.


Do you have any critical things to say about the zone?


got a URL that doesn't require an account?


Nop sorry, but I'm surprised that Flickr asks you for one! I wonder if it's some sort of geographical restriction.


What actually happened is it opened in the Flickr iOS app, to which I hadn't logged in. (Poor UX, giving new visitors a much better experience than logged-out users w the mobile app installed.)


this url (maybe they updated it) does not require an account


You're right. What actually happened is it opened in the Flickr iOS app, to which I hadn't logged in. (Poor UX, giving new visitors a much better experience than logged-out users w the mobile app installed.)


> The media coverage of it is WILD

Yep. I live three blocks south of CHAZ and it's so overblown. Conservative family from the east-coast have told me they're very worried for me, and I check fox news and see images from "Seattle" of parking lots of cars on fire. Those images were from Minneapolis last month, not even from Seattle.

As another nearby commenter said, last week when the police were here gassing us, throwing loud bombs at protestors at 1am, and having 24/7 helicopters directly overhead, it was hard to sleep. We could feel the gas blocks away. Ever since the police vacated the precinct and "CHAZ" started, things have been so peaceful and safe in this community.


On the right, I am seeing:

- It's called Antifastan

- Warlord Raz is prone to violent outbursts, and is an AirBnb Superhost.

- There are open carries with automatic rifles. They get the most respect.

- Laughing out loud at an attempt to create a vegetable garden. Didn't appear promising.

- Laughing harder at a cry for 'please send vegan meats and soy products, the homeless took all the food!'

My thinking is, the truth is much more clearly painted in this forum than on either side of the mainstream media. I do consider them the enemy of the people for dividing us, pitting us against each other, and creating an oppression of fear. So they can sell more clicks.


Those are not automatic rifles, they're very likely all semi-automatic. Semi-automatic rifles can look the same as automatic rifles, visual appearance doesn't mean much. Automatic rifles in the US are much, much more difficult and expensive to acquire than one would think--tens of thousands of dollars usually vs ~$500 for a semi-automatic variant.

Sorry if that seems pedantic, but the media uses the understandably easy confusion between the two to misrepresent issues around gun rights a lot.


The whole 'fully automatic rifle' is such a nothing burger anyway. M4s and M16s aren't controllable on fully automatic at anything over 10m. Watch modern combat footage of any trained unit, and I guarantee you'll see them using semi auto.

My point? Semi auto AR-15s are every bit as effective and deadly as their fully automatic military counterparts. Whether civilians should have such weapons is another discussion.


Regardless, full auto is misleadingly portrayed in media as being orders of magnitude more deadly than semi auto, hard to change that (for example[0]). Nevermind handguns kill more than all other gun types combined, it's the "military" style ones that politicians and media focus on because they look scary (again, also disregarding the fact that a functionally equivalent semi-auto hunting rifle has exactly the same destructive power).

[0] https://youtu.be/VYOjWnS4cMY?t=113


>a functionally equivalent semi-auto hunting rifle has exactly the same destructive power).

I'd strongly argue against this point. Most hunting rifles have 5 round mags (legal limit for hunting in a lot of places). They won't accept 30 round mags. They're also chambered in more powerful calibers which have much more recoil.

An active shooter with his dad's hunting rifle is much less dangerous than the same shooter with an AR-15 with 30 round mags.


> They won't accept 30 round mags.

Why not? Seems like as long as the magazine can protrude from the bottom, you can have any capacity magazine you want.


Have you ever trained with a firearm? Magazine capacity is a useless metric, because you can change a magazine in seconds.


Gew98 was the Nazi’s frontline infantry rifle. 8mm Mauser, .30-06, 7.62mm NATO, those are/were proper military rifle cartridges, just obsolete.

It’s not like WWII rifles had wooden furnitures as luxury items.


The Texas Tower sniper killed 14 with a Remington 700, at up to 500 yards, though he had an M1 too.


To add to this, having had quite of bit of firearms experience both semi and auto, the real limiting factors are, as mentioned, controllability and ammo.

With a 30 round mag and a cyclic rate of 700 rounds per minute (AR-15 mods run 700-1000 RPM), you get a little over 2 seconds of trigger time. That assumes you don't experience a jam, which is very likely with an AR-15 variant modified for automatic fire, and because of the weight distribution and recoil deflection, you won't hit anything you aim at after the second round leaves the chamber. So, if they are packing fully auto AR-15 mods, I'd be wayyyyy less concerned than if they were using semi automatic.


> I'd be wayyyyy less concerned than if they were using semi automatic.

In general, yes. To play devil's advocate though, accuracy/controllability is not really needed if your goal is just to spray as much lead as possible into a densely crowded area from, say, a hotel room above.

Such domestic terrorist events are extremely rare, but I would guess in these specific cases where the goal is to spray as many bullets per second as possible into a crowd, full auto + large magazine is going to kill more people than semi auto.


Semi auto fires as fast as you can tap the trigger, they still fire plenty fast. Test out how long it takes you to get through 30 clicks on your mouse. Now keep in mind with the automatic, by your third or fourth shot your aim might be 10 feet higher than where you set off aiming at the start of the burst, and you can see how even in crowds a semi automatic weapon would be far more dangerous as you could control where the rifle is pointed.


Late reply, sorry. I'd say that in the domestic terrorism situation you describe, even someone completely untrained would still be more deadly taking aimed shots than with full auto or auto bursts. With auto, most of those 30 rounds would impact the ground unless they were shooting into a really, really dense mass of people, and even then you'd have many shots that would be grazing or non lethal hits. And by the time the second magazine went in, people would be clearing out fast.

With a large magazine it would be a different story though, you are right about that. This is why I think that it's good to have fully auto by design weapons be illegal (think the SAW, or the M240), along with magazines above 30 rounds.


Yeah you say that but in a tight crowd with nowhere to go, and enough ammunition, you can do a lot of damage. E.g., the Vegas shooting at a music festival with pseudo-automatic bump stocks.


Each bullet does the same amount of damage, regardless of whether they are fired 0.1 seconds apart or 0.3 seconds apart. (Made up numbers, but a semiautomatic can be fired very quickly if you aren't taking time to aim.)


This pedantic distinction ignores reality. Police response to a shooter is measured in some finite number of seconds. N / 0.3 is smaller than N / 0.1. Slower fire rate matters.


> Semi-automatic rifles can look the same as automatic rifles

And the people who confuse the two often talk about banning semi-automatic firearms (which ends up being just about all of them).


Yea one of my best friends has two fully automatics. He needed to get permits signed by the local sheriff and both of them cost more than his truck. He's a collector and likes shooting WWI and WWII era guns.

But yea, legal fully automatic weapons are not cheap.


> Automatic rifles in the US are much, much more difficult and expensive to acquire than one would think--tens of thousands of dollars usually

Clarification: to acquire legally. It is not nearly that expensive black market.


Yeah, not that expensive to get illegally if you're fine with the ATF shooting your wife and dog.


For sure there are negative externalities; I wouldn't recommend it! I also wouldn't recommend dumping new car money into a legal automatic weapon.


Just think of the ammo costs!


Yeah that's fair. One could also just make one pretty easily, it doesn't require too much knowledge to modify an existing semi-automatic.


> One could also just make one pretty easily, it doesn't require too much knowledge to modify an existing semi-automatic.

Sure, you can make an unreliable automatic from a semi-auto easily. But it's a far cry from a commercial/military product.


I would check your sources on that. As one example, there are plenty of registered legal “Lightning Links” in the US. They are drop-in fully automatic on many (otherwise) unmodified AR-15 variants. With small exception, they shoot and cycle just fine. They’re literally just one small piece of steel.

One could make [1] their own in 2020 illegally with the hand tools you find at an Ace Hardware Store.

[1] - http://www.thehomegunsmith.com/pdf/fast_bunny.pdf


> either side of the mainstream media

The “mainstream media” has exactly one side: whatever generates the most money.

Thus: wall to wall coverage of a couple of peaceful blocks without police and almost no mention of the $500 Billion that their advertisers recently looted from the American public.


To see this in action, check out this crappy prototype I built: https://spin.report/

Makes it easy to see how different outlets are doing their best to earn those ad dollars with different strategies (horizontal rows) and to see how their strategies are evolving over time (columns).


Cool site. Thanks for making/sharing.

It would be cool to see your timeline with a site like https://freespoke.com/?q=Capitol%20Hill%20Autonomous%20Zone&...


I hate the laughter at the vegetable garden. Oh lets mock people for planting what could be food where it used to a a useless piece of turf. We shouldn't be mocking them we should be following their example across the country.


It wasn't a useless piece of turf, it was a park that the residents of the neighborhood, myself included, used to be able to enjoy. Now we can't, because hundreds are camping on the area.

I am all for their cause, but I feel like the methodology of 'camping in a park' is not the right way to enact civic change at a policy level.


You can't go to the park, because it's too crowded, because people are gathering there to enact change.

I'm sorry, I simply disagree as to the role of public space in a free society -- them occupying the park is the LEAST objectionable thing about this.


How is occupying the park enacting change?

I thought the meetings with the mayor were excellent, but via this avenue, all they are doing is changing the park.

There's a whole city out there where cops still operate under the same laws they have for many years. Protesters should try and change _that_, imho.


That's exactly what the protesters are fighting for. Protests are almost by definition inconvenient to some people.


So if the whataboutism of sleeping in the park were removed we could have a discussion about sharing the use of the park?


We mocked them because they didn't dig up the turf first before dumping the potting soil on top and planting things that are going to wash away into the nearest storm drain in the first heavy downpour.


Look up sheet mulching. They did that poorly rather than doing the wrong thing in an absolute sense as you suggest.


> - Warlord Raz is prone to violent outbursts, and is an AirBnb Superhost

That sounds like a phrase from a novelty D&D campaign or some form of parody. What an odd year it's been.


[flagged]


just so I can calibrate the scale of all those descriptors, could you give a list of descriptors you would use for yourself and how you spend your time? does your brain not regulate with dopamine?


I live less than half an hour’s journey away but seemingly most of the people on my neighborhood facebook pages believe Fox News’ reporting more than their own neighbors photographs and videos. They refuse to even drive over there to see what is going on, so certain they are that they are right.


What you're saying is fair, but also imagine that's how conservatives felt for years. The left-leaning media outlets appear to be wildly exaggerating things they want to exaggerate, just as Fox News does on their side. Not sure if examples are needed.


> The media coverage of it is WILD > People on the internet are convinced it's protected by armed guards and people are dying of hunger and instead its...like a music festival campground

This seems like propaganda in its own right. With the exception of Fox and Sky, most news coverage I see on YouTube is neutral or positive:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=capitol+hill+au...

Most mainstream coverage of protests in general seems to be totally biased in favor of the protestors and against the police. The only big channels that show anything going in the other direction are, again, Fox and Sky.


Fox is by far the most popular news channel in the US and pretty close to bigger than the rest combined.


I've heard this explained by a comparison. If you have a block with four burger joints and one taco joint, you'd expect the taco joint to be the most popular.

Not saying this is correct, but I thought it was an interesting analogy.


So one might expect the taco joint to be the most popular.

But explicitly the parent is saying that the taco joint is more popular than all of the burger joints _combined_. Which is not what I would have guessed.


Would you have guessed it if there were equal numbers of burger-lovers and taco-lovers?

'Cause despite what it looks like online, the US is about equally split between liberal and conservative.


If CNN was as partisan as MSNBC, maybe.


...it was nicknamed the Clinton News Network in 2016 because of how partisan it gets.


By Limbaugh?


By anyone. Any "news" network that's on TV is rubbish. It's not like there's a certification or anything.

Anyone who mocks Fox news and then turns around and watches cnn, msnbc, etc, is a fool.


Rush Limbaugh coined that term in 1993 in his book (or perhaps earlier), it wasn't a 2016 invention.


They’re pretty close, especially in regard to Trump himself. For whatever reason his existence turned up partisanship to 11, on both sides.


If we are talking cable, I believe it. I haven’t had cable for the last couple of decades, I would venture that not many liberals, who tend to be younger, have cable. If you were going to start a cable channel now, who would you pander to: the audience that doesn’t have that much cable (liberals) or the audience that does (conservatives).


Median age (2017)[1]: CNN 60 Fox News 65 MSNBC 65

From my peer group (around forty), rather than liberal vs. conservative breakdown, I'd say those who reluctantly subscribe to cable are sports fans.

[1]https://www.adweek.com/tvnewser/heres-the-median-age-of-the-...


That is only measuring people who still have cable. It doesn’t tell you anything about those that don’t watch cable news at all. All we can tell is that the 60+ group prefers Fox.

I did say liberals tend to watch less cable because they tend to be younger, it doesn’t mean that liberals in general have a propensity for cutting the cord.


Most people don't get their news from cable news. Fox has a near monopoly on conservatives, and even they they capture a relatively small audience.

fox's highest rated show is 4.8 million viewers.

ABC and NBC each get 10 million viewers for nightly news, cbs gets 6 million viewers. CNN and MSNBC have lower ratings, but there are a alot of mainstream-to-liberal sources of news to choose from. Liberals tend to like John Oliver and the Daily Show over fox news.

And the 11 O'clock local news still tends to get a lot of views, I think more than all of those others put together.


I was all set to post a comment about how I dream of an honestly fair and balanced news channel, unlike Fox, CNN or MSNBC. I was going to post some outrageous headlines from each site right now. Surprisingly, the front page of foxnews.com was pretty sane and sober, remarkably so — and by far better than cnn.com or msnbc.com.

I am honestly stunned. I really expected Fox News to be as much of a dumpster fire as CNN or MSNBC. Certainly their video coverage, every time I have walked in front of a TV playing them, has been horrible. And I could swear that maybe six or seven months ago I walked by someone with a browser open to the Fox News site, and it was just execrable.

Maybe they are trying to turn over a new leaf?

That said, I still dream of truly fair news channel. Not opinion masquerading as news: actual, trying-to-be-objective news.


You'll never see a fully "fair" news channel, for two reasons:

- Humans will bring their implicit biases to any reporting they do; I feel like it's better for the reader to make implicit biases explicit, and call out where the writer feels uncomfortable.

- If you try to cut humans out of the loop and replace them with algorithms, you're creating two problems: algorithms will have implicit biases from their creators, and there will be attempts to game and dupe the algorithms.


You can make a fair news channel if you give a news channel the right incentives. You need to create a news outlet where biased reporting is an actual scandal.

The problem in the US is that news outlets are expected to be biased and so they take full advantage of that to make their news more entertaining.

These news channels are driven by add revenue. And divisive, incendiary reporting is the best way to get people to keep watching.


What about wire services? AP and reuters reports are so brief and to the point they read like the wikipedia paragraph that will shortly plagiarize them.

Apart from that, you are perhaps asking for data devoid of biased analysis. You can keep up with current events like this on your own. There is plenty of public data on anything that you can analyze yourself and draw your own conclusions. Instead of reading business news, read SEC filings. Instead of reading about coronavirus, graph the raw data and make your own models. Skip the sensationalist science and health articles, and go right for the peer reviewed article. Open that layer on GIS yourself. Ignore medium blogs and read the actual documentation. Become your own data scientist.

This all takes a lot of mental effort and time, which few people have, so most people actually prefer to read summary articles from biased sources that reinforce their existing world view.


Fox News has definitely not turned over a new leaf. Here's an example from the Fox homepage that impressed you so much. It's about the latest developments from the CHAZ:

"Black Lives Matter protestors say Seattle's autonomous zone has hijacked message" https://www.foxnews.com/us/black-lives-matter-protesters-sea...

This seems like a straightforward and believable article. There's infighting at the Zone because a bunch of anarchists have diverted from the core message about police brutality targeting blacks and other minorities, and now the BLM camp is pissed off. Right?

But wait, even though the title unambiguously states that BLM protestors are blaming the autonomous zone for hijacking the core BLM message, the article instead explains that the quote about "hijacking the message" actually comes from a woman who is speaking on behalf of the African American Community Advisory Council, and she's the one being booed and heckled by protestors.

So what's the African American Community Advisory Council? Probably some BLM-related thing, right? After all, if the title of the article states that "Black Lives Matter protestors" are accusing the CHAZ of "hijacking the message" while the actual quote came out of the mouth of someone from the African American Community Advisory Council, then surely Black Lives Matter == African American Community Advisory Council.

Right?

I mean sure, technically they must be two separate things because they have two separate names, but surely they're closely connected. Just to be positive, let's find out. Type that name into a search engine and click on the first result:

https://www.seattle.gov/police/community-policing/demographi...

Wait, the African American Community Advisory Council is actually a department of the Seattle city government. And they "work collaboratively with the police."

So Fox News saw a story about a city government employee scolding protestors. This employee works in a department that is closely aligned with the police and sides with the police, but because the department has a name that evokes blackness, that was enough leeway for them to write a false headline that intentionally confuses the reader into thinking that this is a story about internal conflict and infighting among the protestors.

Sure enough, the bovine reader comments at the bottom of the page confirm the success of this tactic:

"Even the idiots can't agree. What will they do now??"

"I guess nobody told BLM that you can't negotiate with terrorists."

"Leftists arguing over whose riot it is???"

"Eating their own"

Fox News knows that they can trust Fox News readers to glance at the headline, skip the article, feel confirmation of their biases and preconceptions, and tuck another false anecdote in their pocket to use as ammunition in case they get in an argument with a family member, coworker, or person online.

Here's a reminder that we should never be passive consumers of of a biased narrative!


I didn’t catch this when I looked yesterday, but apparently they photoshopped an image of a person holding a gun into an image of the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone [0]. “Fair and balanced” indeed.

[0] https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/fox-news-...


Are we seeing the same front page of foxnews.com? The top story is about the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone, and the biggest text on the page says "Clueless in Seattle".


No, I do not see that anywhere on the page. I do see '"YOU HAVE HIJACKED THIS" Black community activists clash with Seattle anarchists over BLM message, seized district' and other stuff like 'Washington restaurant apologizes after police officer finds derogatory acronym on receipt' and 'Seattle mayor, police chief deny making call to abandon police precinct.' It's mostly sane news.

I wonder if it shows different things to folks without ad blockers, JavaScript blocking &c.?

Agreed, though: 'Clueless in Seattle' has no place on a news site.


I took too long writing my other comment, but it's all the more relevant given the fact that you were misled by the very article headline that I chose to single out.


Just checked back, it seems they've changed the headline.


Fox News often changes headlines. The original is usually the best/most informative. Throughout the day the headlines seem to get more and more click-bait.


No ad blocker, on mobile from Asia, and I see what you see.


I'm somewhat confused about the TV media landscape, as there are cable news channels, Fox / CNN / MSNBC, but there are also the big 3 networks, ABC / CBS / NBC, which also air news and are also available on cable.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_cable_news

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Three_television_networks



It's an entertainment channel with two hours of daily news.


It's wild that the first time I saw this on the NYT was an article talking about Trump's tweat about it. I don't quite understand why they didn't think it was newsworthy


> I don't quite understand why they didn't think it was newsworthy

It's pretty obvious that they do not want to go into detail on anything that would paint the actions of the past two weeks in any negative light. There's no positive way to spin losing control of multiple city blocks, including a police station.

Bias does not have to be a slant in an articles content or writing style, though that happens as well, e.g. including phrases like "mostly peaceful protests" in articles describing looting. It can also be as simple as not reporting things you do not want to publicize.


Portraying it as some mad max wasteland is absurd, but so is referring to it as even pseudo utopian.

It's not sustainable in any way and there wasn't exactly a democratic process by which the residents of Seattle agreed to having a section of their city turned into an autonomous zone. Though it could be an interesting experiment to do this somewhere, I think it'd have to go through a vote.


>there wasn't exactly a democratic process by which the residents of Seattle agreed to having a section of their city turned into an autonomous zone

it is still a protest, right? this is why peaceful protest is so hard, because as soon as it stops being violent people find some way to dismiss it. when stuff is being set on fire, the argument is "why can't they protest peacefully", but when the protest is actually peaceful we get critiques like this one.


Protest has to be inconvenient or else it can be ignored. People really don't understand how angry others must be to riot until they've _been that angry themselves_.


> Portraying it as some mad max wasteland is absurd, but so is referring to it as anything remotely utopian.

Why couldn't it be positive? I think it's fair to say that these are early days and there is a general lack of data about what's going on, but most of what I've seen has been pretty positive.

Here's a video I watched from inside: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=610393902995230


I don’t think parent meant to imply it couldn’t be positive, just that the general process of declaring an autonomous zone as was done here has a few warts when you consider property rights and the context within which it has occurred.

I think parent mostly meant mad max wasteland and utopian are both two extremes.


burning man?


Basically. Between covid masks and the music, nice weather, art, co-op style stuff it looks and feels very Burning Man. Which is a popular event for folks here anyway so perhaps unsurprising.


Yep, I’ve been staying in Seattle with my girlfriend since quarantine began. We live about 9 blocks away up Madison and have been walking around the zone almost daily. Hard to believe how much fear-mongering, disinfo, and straight-up lying I see in every thread/post about the subject.


I'm up north about the same distance. Only bad days have been this Sun/Mon with all the gas/flash-bangs and the sheriff's plane flying loops over the city until the wee hours of the morning.

Since the police cleared out, everything has been much MUCH nicer around here.


As someone who has never been to Seattle, I am shocked by how bad your police department appears to be. Even the LAPD behaved ... well, less bad from what I’d heard.

Flash bangs? Those are for assaulting buildings, not crowd control.


I think over the past few decades, there's been a movement towards increasingly aggressive use of some police weapons. Using tear gas to disperse a crowd is also needlessly aggressive. When I was a kid, Dutch police used water for that. And only when it was an actual riot. I've seen videos of police tasering someone who wasn't the least bit violent, but simply uncooperative. That's not what tasers are for. But if someone is violent, they get shot immediately, rather than tasered.

Police have all these weapons, and they want to use them, instead of first trying more constructive, peaceful methods.


Tasers a great example of the problem of "less lethal" tools.

The theory is that tasers are a (edit: partial) replacement for firearms for cops. The reality is that approximately 0% of cops are willing to draw a taser if they suspect that someone else has a firearm; they go for their firearm too.

Instead tasers have replaced other methods of de-escalation and containment, which is very bad if you're not a cop. Combine this with cops being called out for people experiencing mental health crises, and this is a recipe for disaster.


A lot of less lethal crowd control is about imagery and perception. Water can’t be used on crowds in America because it was used against crowds in the civil rights era so comes with a historic connotation of racism even though in reality it’s safer and more reasonable than CS gas.


That’s a great point. I’m sure CS gas will soon become associated with this round of police violence and soon have similar issues.


High pressure water can cause injuries, especially eye injuries. I believe tear gas is relatively benign other than possibly for asthmatics. Fully agree with you on the tasers though. They should be just one step below using a gun, not “I’m lazy and don’t want to deal with this person.”


I don't think OP said "high-pressure."

On tear gas, CDC has https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/riotcontrol/factsheet.asp :

  People exposed to riot control agents may experience some or all of the following symptoms
  immediately after exposure:
  
  * Eyes: excessive tearing, burning, blurred vision, redness
  * Nose: runny nose, burning, swelling
  * Mouth: burning, irritation, difficulty swallowing, drooling
  * Lungs: chest tightness, coughing, choking sensation, noisy breathing (wheezing),
    shortness of breath
  * Skin: burns, rash
  * Other: nausea and vomiting
  
  Long-lasting exposure or exposure to a large dose of riot control agent, especially
  in a closed setting, may cause severe effects such as the following:
  
  * Blindness
  * Glaucoma (a serious eye condition that can lead to blindness)
  * Immediate death due to severe chemical burns to the throat and lungs
  * Respiratory failure possibly resulting in death
Coughing and shortness of breath are especially nasty during the COVID pandemic. And none of blindness, glaucoma, immediate death, or respiratory failure sound especially fun.


Police usage of CS gas killed a woman this week, she was young (22) with no history of asthma.

Tear gas is not benign, it is nasty stuff that has already killed people. Some preliminary research points to it potentially damaging the lungs of people who are exposed to it for a long time, possibly permanently.


Police used tear gas on my college campus after we were celebrating winning the national football championship. If the army did that, it would be a war crime.


I’m sure there is more to the story than “celebrating”.


I mean, it's par for the course across America during protests. It's important to remember "less than lethal" doesn't mean safe - I saw a photo of a dude who's eye was.. exploded by a tear gas canister. Forget where that was but it was not Seattle.

If anything's weird about the Seattle PD, it could be they remember the 1999 WTO protests and want to crush them this time. But overall they all seem to be around the same -- very low -- standard


The other issue I've noticed with the less-than-lethal ordnance use is that in order to be non-lethal, they need to be used according to manufacturer guidelines. I've used rubber coated bullets, bean-bag guns, and flashbangs. The police are not using them according to non-lethal guidelines. Example:

Rubber coated bullets have explicit instructions to be aimed at shin height or below. This is because everything below the knees doesn't have large masses of non-muscular soft tissue, reducing the chances of permanent injury. These rounds are designed to hit the ground first, lose some velocity, and skip into crowds, causing pain but not debilitating injuries. I haven't seen a SINGLE video of police using them like this. It's absolutely insane.


I imagine its because all their other training, all their range practice, is to shoot at center of mass three times in a burst. Hard to change in the heat of the riot.


That's fair, and understandable. But at the same time, I don't think it absolves them of misconduct. "I'm used to shooting at the body and the head, so I shot the protesters in the body and the head because I panicked" doesn't really hold up to any kind of scrutiny. I know in the military, that kind of excuse would be noted in the court martial paperwork, but not have any impact on judgement or sentencing.

If they choose to use these weapons and tactics, they are responsible for how they use them. In a situation where the officers are in danger of physical harm, they are fully within their rights to go against usage policies to protect themselves. But in the vast majority I've seen, these officers have been shooting at unarmed protesters, not rioting mobs. It's simply illegal, a violation of the Constitution, and a chargeable offense.


That might explain misapplication during a riot, but it does not explain cases where police appear to deliberately target peaceful protestors or single out individuals like the press. In those scenarios they are either incompetent, deliberately aiming to wound, or too angry to think clearly. None of those are a good explanation.


I would say this is spot on from what I've heard. When emotions are this high ( look at the cops faces when they are exposed ) there's nothing but muscle memory.

I took a class on active shooter scenarios where they focused on that "be careful how you train" aspect with the illustration that a police officer ( no idea where ) once responded to a call where an armed man pointed a pistol right at the cop close range. The cop quickly disarmed the man, but then returned the firearm to the man, whereupon the man shot him dead.

In drilling the technique he used to disarm the man, police would practice in pairs, taking turns disarming each other from the draw. This meant that two officers would stand facing each other, pistols in holsters. One officer would draw, the other would disarm, hold the weapon pointed at the first officer for a beat, then return it to the first officer in order to draw his or her own weapon.

Then when you start to hear about corrections departments sending officers for crowd control... the animal instincts and things these guys are trained for is so volatile.


> I would say this is spot on from what I've heard. When emotions are this high ( look at the cops faces when they are exposed ) there's nothing but muscle memory.

I think that's an understandable point of view but, frankly, one of the key points of training (military experience only, but I know police do similar) is to force people to learn how to think and act correctly in high stress situations. If you're in direct engagement with someone trying to hurt you, you do let the training take over. But if you're just scared, or nervous, or some kind of emotional, the point of high stress training is to teach how to remain calm, controlled, and analyze the situation. Civilians may not get that, having not gone through it, but that really is the point.

> I took a class on active shooter scenarios where they focused on that "be careful how you train" aspect with the illustration that a police officer ( no idea where ) once responded to a call where an armed man pointed a pistol right at the cop close range. The cop quickly disarmed the man, but then returned the firearm to the man, whereupon the man shot him dead.

To me, this screams of a notional anecdote to reinforce the idea to train properly, not of an actual occurrence.


I think it’s worth asking why the cops are so angry at these protestors. We didn’t see this level of police anger and misconduct during the protests over the lock down, but during these protests the cops appear to be furious in a way I have never seen before.


is this a rhetorical question? the protestors are calling for anything from decreasing police department funding to abolishing it altogether. I'm sure there's a diversity of viewpoints within the movement, but to a cop it looks like a big crowd of people trying to eliminate their job. this certainly doesn't excuse their actions, but it's not hard to see why this would be upsetting.


My gut instinct is that the “abolish the police” crowd, however you define it, got much louder after the violent reprisals. My belief is that a lot of cops attacked when the protests were more about anger over police brutality in general and George Floyd’s murder in particular, which hints to an even darker motivation than keeping their jobs.

And if they thought brutal reprisals were a good plan to keep their jobs ... oh boy. They did not plan that out well. The level of sudden radicalization against the police has been breath taking.


I don't know why we have these less than lethal rounds if they are proven time again to be so damaging. Paintball guns leave welts and bruises just fine and don't maim you in the process. Take 30 paintballs to the upper body and you will be begging for mercy.

The complaint from police, especially with tasers too, boils down to that this needs to be strong enough to stop someone on meth with hulk strength. Police already have much more effective tools for this: Horse cop and lasso.


LAPD was handling the protests extremely badly to begin with as well. They may have calmed down sooner than SPD did. As far as major west-coast city police departments, both LAPD and SPD have handle things somewhat better than the Portland Police Bureau (PPB).


I think the media has been playing this up like crazy to try and get the alt-right to react. The alt-right consensus, at least on 4chan, is the absolute best thing for the alt-right to do to get the Democratic party to look stupid and inept and invite a voter backlash is to do nothing.


>>I think the media has been playing this up like crazy to try and get the alt-right to react.

The media already tried this tactic once and failed: with the release of the "Joker" film. Remember all the hysteria about angry white incels? It was as if the mainstream media WANTED a theater to become a bloodbath. But in a lot of the YT comment sections I read the atmosphere was "We're on to these scumbags, everybody just be chill, don't prove them correct."


This jibes with what I'm seeing. Fox News is trying their damndest to get people worked up and generate support for intervention. Amongst my friends (many right-leaning), there is a strong consensus that this is a trap laid for Trump and that the best thing to do for everybody involved is to ignore it and leave it to the Seattle government. If it really is as chill as folks say here, it settles down and is out of the news cycle in a week. If it gets truly bad, the egg is on the face of the mayor and governor for not dealing with it sooner.


If CHAZ is successful, it'll be a template for other protests.. protestors will realize they can push for "autonomous zones" and it can actually happen.. if protests are battles, now land can be won, at least for a while.

I think that has conservatives (and probably neoliberals) pretty freaked, so they want to hit it like Waco, to snuff out the idea.


CHAZ seems to be a response to a pretty extreme situation. If you don't want these sort of autonomous zones, just don't create those sort of extreme situations. And I think that's ultimately what everybody wants: for police not to use unreasonable violence to crack down on peaceful protesters and harmless citizens.


The issue that I think a lot of people are missing is that CHAZ paints a picture of " protests are battles, now land can be won" The American people have proven they are willing to turn a blind eye to nasty(evil) shit being done in their name during war. If CHAZ spreads it makes it easier for the right to paint them as terrorist or a armed rebellion. Its nearly asking for a false flag.


Yeah, they don't need a ton of help there. Biden's response is to shoot them in the legs, not the chest! The entire Democratic establishment seems completely unable of taking a moral stance for fear it would offend somebody.


You thinking 4chan is "alt-right" and they have a consensus is just as ridiculous as facebook boomer/media reactions to CHAZ and it being Mad Max style postapocalyptic.


4chan sort of has a consensus in that it is contrarian by default. If the right was in power (Congress, media, and so forth), they would be left. The contrarian stance extends within itself in a fractal manner, so of course you have people inside objecting to that.

However, the image I cannot stop smiling at is an elongated figure with an FBI cap, glowing green and using a stick to poke at a small ball with the 4chan logo, with the speech bubble "C'mon, do domestic terrorism."


> If the right was in power (Congress, media, and so forth), they would be left.

How much power does the right need before they're considered "in power"? They controlled both branches of congress and the presidency until 2018, and have a majority on the supreme court. Fox news is the most popular media platform, and have tremendous (but not full) control over the mainstream narrative.

This as "in control" as a single party gets in the US.


You have left out a word perhaps I should have included in all caps: MEDIA.


I mentioned the media. Fox News has tremendous influence on the mainstream conversations/narrative. Not full control, but I don't think that's a requirement for being "in power"


Whose media is the question. A bit under half of the votes went to Donald Trump 2016, and I bet few in this demographic are listening to NPR just like few who voted for Clinton are watching Hannity. There is this narrative among the right that the vast majority of media is left leaning, but given the numbers and viewership of conservative voices on cable news, talk radio, the internet, and the fact that nearly half the voting block of this country consumes this media and votes R, I don't buy the argument. A lot of the supposedly leftist major media articles I encounter read as firmly centrist or even center right to me at least.


On the other hand, you've got CNN's Donna Brazile leaking debate questions and topics to Clinton's staff ahead of the debate. I'm at work so I don't have it on hand, but someone made a really amazing chart of the various relationships between Obama's staff and CNN's staff. I would have thought it was the work of a kook until I began to look up randomly selected relationships to verify them.

Aside from the LPFM repeater stations, largely used for religious broadcasting, I would say that the radio market has been completely captured by the left.

When it comes to the right, they have Fox for television networks and that's all.


> Aside from the LPFM repeater stations, largely used for religious broadcasting, I would say that the radio market has been completely captured by the left.

That's true for the lower half of the FM dial (aka the public good section that naturally aligns with left leaning ideals), but not the top half or AM.


From https://www.foxnews.com/media/highest-viewership-network-his...

"[Fox News] has been celebrating a 44-month consecutive streak as the most-watched network on basic cable and a 218-month streak as the most-watched cable news network, averaging 3.5 million primetime viewers and 2 million total-day viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research."

For terrestrial broadcast television in the US, the pro-Trump Sinclair-owned stations possesses 294 stations for around 75% penetration of total US households.

Also, news-talk stations are right-wing with the exception of NPR and sports.

Therefore, one can conclude the right-controlled media is mainstream media.


People often mistake "having their own opinion" and "free thinking" with "being in opposition to the mainstream".

A strict contrarian viewpoint is just as conformist as a strict mainstream opinion, it allows someone else to define your opinion.

So I don't think it's as fractal as you imagine. I think what you might be seeing are those with general principles rejecting the contrarian view because the contrarian view is counter to their principles.

Let's say I like chocolate. But the mainstream opinion is chocolate sucks. Currently, I'm a contrarian. I'm against the mainstream opinion. I get on certain boards and rail against how chocolate is disliked by the masses and how they're missing out. Then, the tide shifts and chocolate becomes popular. A portion of my compatriots who claimed to like chocolate, now say it sucks. Because that's the contrarian opinion now. And I say they're missing out because I still like chocolate. Because I like it for reasons other than mainstream opinion of it. So, while not changing my stance at all, I've gone from contrarian, to mainstream, to complaining about the contrarian stance.


4chan certainly doesn't have a consensus, but it sure does have some reliable patterns


Isn't it also possible that your friend is experiencing confirmation bias because they agree with CHAZ? It wasn't reported until much later but during the Occupy movement, rapes skyrocketed around and among the encampments. I have little doubt that there are a lot of things that are going unreported at the moment which will eventually come to light when people don't feel coerced or intimidated by the community (and they probably will barely make the news, unfortunately.) I've seen enough videos from inside the encampment to know that your post isn't the entire story. Group think is a very strange thing, and sometimes it takes a while of removing yourself from the group to realize some of the wrongs (look at cults/extremist groups.) Again, people said the same things about Occupy, I walked the grounds myself and it looked fine...but under the surface, women especially, were being taken advantage of/raped at a high rate.


Assuming you can believe the SPD, the rape calls are already coming in.


They’ve already retracted that statement.


Source for either of these two statements?


Seattle has 600,000 people. In a given year there are 30 murders and 300 rapes. One can collect 175,200,000 amateur camera footage of 'an hour in the life of the average Seattle-ite' until one encounters an hour with a murder, or 17,520,0000 such peaceful one hour videos until one captures a rape on camera.

Does the presence of overwhelmingly peaceful footage of average people going by their average days make Seattle at large an Utopia with no crime? Is that footage in itself sufficient evidence to abolish the police and the court system, because, look, there are 17,520,000 hours of peaceful footage before something terrible happens to someone?

It is incredibly difficult to build an accurate image of a large scale group of people judging by a few hours of direct experience. 1000 harder if through footage selected by people with their own agendas. Media coverage, especially audio-visual coverage, is wild because media coverage is simply an inappropriate way to depict such phenomena.


> like a music festival campground

Every generation needs a Woodstock. Burning man is not real enough.


The tricky part of ephemeral culture is keeping it ephemeral while still allowing it to reoccur often in new forms, and not just having a crystalized form of spontaneity that future generations are supposed to appreciate in the correct way.


>Every generation needs a Woodstock

A massively failed capitalist project that leaves behind an enormous mess?


Yes, actually.

The ability for people to make a mess on occasion, for whatever reason, is an essential freedom to be cherished and fought for.

Every generation needs an act of rebellion. It's a sort of fundamental law of nature, as a right of passage in a way.


The organizers of Woodstock knew they weren’t going to profit, and they did it anyway.

They also knew that crowd control was going to be a problem; instead of hiring police, they brought in people from a commune who were used to doing crowd control for large peaceful gatherings.



Not sure anyone is "convinced", but yes, there are stories of uncertain believeability suggesting that there are people with guns at the "border" demanding ID to enter. Sounds dubious.

Also, that the Antifas are asking for protection money from businesses within the zone. Again, dubious.

But, if either of those things are happening, I'm pretty okay with putting an end to them, by whatever means necessary. Threatening Joe and Jane citizen with violence is not cool.


Did you hear about the ice cream man who goes around town serving rancid rat milk sundaes to kids?

Of course, he doesn't exist, but, if he did, I'm taking a strong stance against him being taken down, by whatever means necessary. Threatening to serve dubious sundaes to kids is not cool.


They don't exist? Why are there photos of them then?

https://a57.foxnews.com/static.foxnews.com/foxnews.com/conte...

https://twitter.com/DrewHolden360/status/1271196018554494977...

The claims that these militias are extorting businesses doesn't come from "the right", it comes from claims by the local police chief.

Addressing the takeover of the area surrounding the Seattle Police Department’s abandoned East Precinct building, Chief Carmen Best said ... using air quotes, that police had heard reports of armed people “patrolling” the area, which she said was “very concerning.” “Especially because we don’t know who these people are,” she added. And she hinted that they may even be extorting local business owners and demanding local residents show identification.

Chief Carmen Best may be totally wrong or making that up. But knowing these sorts of things is part of her job, so to dismiss it would take something stronger than some mocking denial. Especially because this is exactly what always happens when police vacate an area. The result is not "no police", the result is that militias and mafias step in to do it themselves. But worse.


    Chief Carmen Best may be totally wrong or making that up.
https://www.businessinsider.com/seattle-police-retract-claim...

As it turns out she was, in fact, wrong or making it up.


> "We've heard, anecdotally, reports of citizens and businesses being asked to pay a fee to operate within this area."

I dunno. She 'walked back' the statement. Maybe people were making that up to try to get the cops to retake the area? It could have also been absolutely true. Having lived in that area, I wouldn't put it past them.

Honestly, it's impossible to know at this point.


The SPD was probably watching foxnews, reported what they were hearing on fox, which FoxNews then took as evidence that their reporting was accurate. There is a reason they call it an “echo chamber.”


> Honestly, it's impossible to know at this point.

What is possible to know is that she knew damned well that any statement like that would be repeated 10 times more than any later, retraction of those statements.

> Police chief Carmen Best walked back prior statements made by her own department, which have since circulated widely and attracted condemnation from conservative critics of the protesters.

Those same critics have almost certainly not retracted their comments based on her statements. She clearly understands how to effectively feed her biggest fans.


> these militias

It's one dude, every single post about the militias shows this exact dude in these exact clothes. One dude is not a militia. There are a bunch of stories about this guy apparently he's guarding all the entrances and still has time to extort local businesses. No wonder he doesn't have time to change clothes, he's one busy dude.

> But knowing these sorts of things is part of her job

Knowing that she has a massive vested interest in demonstrating that police are needed in the zone, I take everything she says with a massive grain of salt.


> But knowing these sorts of things is part of her job, so to dismiss it would take something stronger than some mocking denial.

On the contrary, if it comes from Seattle PD it's better to just assume it's not true.


Or the governor, apparently.


The SPD walked back those statements when they admitted there weren’t actually any reports of such things occurring. Really, I think the SPD was just listening to right wing news sources, who then used the SPD’s acknowledgement of their speculation as evidence in a circular way.

https://www.seattletimes.com/subscribe/signup-offers/?pw=red...


> I'm pretty okay with putting an end to them, by whatever means necessary

I don't know you, nor do I know your views on capital punishment. That said, I suspect you don't intend to promote that these crimes justify summary executions.

Consider the realistic logical endpoint of the statement. It ultimately means that it's acceptable for the police to storm the space, guns blazing, shooting (and reasonable probability of killing) anyone who doesn't immediately surrender.


Summary executions are never necessary, so this seems moot.


Notice how none of these stories are ever “this happened to me” from someone credible who provably lives there? It’s always “a friend said...”


> the Antifas are asking for protection money from businesses within the zone

That's one of the most hilarious and absurd things I've ever heard. All of my antifa friends are the most wonderful, gentle nerds. They're gardeners, organizers, history buffs, parents, writers, table-top gamers. It's so bizarre (and shitty) that the public conception of "antifa" became twisted into this nonsensical cartoon of looters and pillagers (and mafiosi now, apparently).


I don't know if they're shaking people for money, but I have seen plenty of videos of alleged antifas sucker-punching people that they think are fascists. There's videos of them throwing rocks at the police, too. There are stories of them setting fires during protests (before the current ones). There are also stories of violent street fights with neonazi groups. To me, it's just as hilarious and naive to think they are all pacifists.


You should watch some of the riot videos. In one, I saw an Antifa kick an unconscious man in the head. My mother, who lived through Nazi Germany, would have understood these people as brownshirts.


Going Godwin? You are the first; something to mull over, I suppose. (I separate your "Nazi" from the "neonazi" used in an adjacent post).

However, as Antifa is decidedly Anti-Fascist and without the paramilitary aspect of the brownshirts, perhaps they would be more closely identified with the Rotfrontkämpferbund.


> Antifa is decidedly Anti-Fascist

I have not noticed this. They seem like a hateful mob to me. Or worse. I'll be happy enough if the Feds just roll them up.


then you really havent been paying attention. most of their activities are doxxing white supremacists.

Seattle is a special snowflake because their PD is actively white supremacist and they regularly have out of town white supremacists harassing the local populace.

I'm happy their doing their thing when government fails so hard at its job.


I suppose the police chief is a white supremacist in black face, as a black female.


"they were so proud of what was built"

Curious, since I can't trust news media to not sensationalize this:

What has been built, according to your friend? Have they set up infrastructure of some sort for housing people? Kitchens, latrines, etc?


An amateur map of infrastructure right on the site: https://capitolhillautonomous.zone/img/16.jpg


There's a more recent map. It's a lot busier, but looks like they're building out.

https://capitolhillautonomous.zone/life.html#pid=23



Wow, that's grown up and filled in quite a bit since last I saw the map. They seem ready for a longer haul. Now that they have our attention, I wish them the best in making their voices heard. So this is what democracy looks like.


Do the property owners have a say in this democracy?


They're only really on public land in the parks and to be honest I bet a lot of the people are pretty happy they're not getting second hand tear gassed every night or having choppers overhead all day.


The city is maintaining a row of porta potties, and someone rented one privately a block or so away. Some businesses are opening their restrooms too. As of this evening I saw at least three soup kitchens, two well equipped aid stations, a community garden plot with zucchinis and other food, a row of freshly planted trees, planters of decorative plants which double as barricades, and lots of barricades. Half of that wasn't there yesterday.


Bit ironic that they are building a wall to protect their community.


Pretty sure the community garden plot was there before the protests.


They put up a cardboard sign that said "you are now leaving the USA" and graffitied some surfaces.

https://i.imgur.com/f6VHPJ0.jpg


I wonder what the end game is. The police is not going to disband. People asking for that don't understand how States work. You cannot have a State without a monopoly on violence. America disbanded police once, in 2003, in a city called Baghdad. That turned out wonderfully.

I suspect they'll all just get bored at some point.


They apparently also did it in Camden, NJ, and that turned out quite well.

I think the real issue here is: the police want to show that without them, things turn to chaos. Instead, they show that with them, things turn to chaos. Meanwhile, the protesters want to show that without the police, things are peaceful, and they seem to be succeeding.

That's not a great story for people who believe in police brutality, of course.

And yes, if the entire police department believes that they need to use force to dominate the American people, they refuse to stop when ordered to by the civilian government, and resist change, then disbanding the police and starting over with a better organised police force might not be such a bad idea at all.

It's not easy, and it's important to quickly have some alternative to fall back on, but when it's the police itself that's part of the problem, something needs to be done about that.


> Camden, NJ

People keep brining up Camden, but in that instance, didn't the State Troopers still maintain control of the area during the transition?

From a political perspective, "disbanding" will most likely mean just making existing cops re-apply for their current roles (like how TVA did mass layoffs and rehires in the 90s).

I'm still convinced actual disbanding, without a security force in the interim, will be straight up disastrous.


Some other, less toxic police force during the transition seems totally fine to me. Didn't State Troopers also take over at some point in Ferguson?

I don't know what state troopers in Minnesota or Washington are like, but having them step in during the transition while those cities rebuild healthier police forces, sounds like a reasonable idea.

Though I'm not convinced it will actually be disastrous to do without police, or with dramatically reduced police, for a short period.


>They apparently also did it in Camden, NJ, and that turned out quite well.

This is an appalling misunderstanding of what really happened in Camden. Take a trip there, know what you'll find? Police cars, policemen and police stations. THEY STILL HAVE POLICE! What they REALLY did was a police reboot, essentially fired everyone and rebuilt from the ground up. People who point to Camden to try and support their narrative are dangerously misinformed.


The endgame is a radical re-think of society, and how society is funded. You've probably seen "defund the police" as a slogan bandied about lately -- police departments have been taking an ever-increasing chunk of city budgets, while education and other social services have either remained at the same funding level or have been cut. Spend less money on the state's monopoly on violence, spend more on reducing the need for violence.


Not according to marginal revolution[1] who presented a graph showing it remaining flat relative to other spending

[1] https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/06/ha...


> I wonder what the end game is

I don't know, it's like a massive catch-22. People are sick of police abuses, but society needs police to some extent. I agree with much of what the protests are about, but struggle with their solutions.


But if you look at the numbers, police abuse has gone down. There were 1007 shootings by US police last year. Yes, that's still terribly high, even per-capita, for a high income/developed nation, but police departments have been embracing body cameras.

If you watch YouTube channels like Donut Operator where people do police breakdowns, a lot of people .. really do deserve to get shot. Body cameras also make it way easier to get rid of police who are psychos who shouldn't be on the force, and can help push back against police unions.

Body cams are great solutions, and we're already seeing departments firing people who turned them off in bad faith (mostly due to these protests). Maybe more money should be diverted to training and wages, and less to equipment and vehicles?

I think there were already a lot of positive changes, and this whole set of protests may give us more. By disbanding or defunding the police is an absolutely crazy idea, that I think the vast majority of Americans do not support.

I get it. I hated cops in my 20s. I hated speeding tickets and saw friends get busted for pot and minorities get pulled over a lot. But a lot of that changed via policy. Pot is less of an issue in many places, and legal in several states. As far as people calling the cops on people (one of my good friends, black, had a neighbour call the cops on him, while he was jogging in his own neighbourhood, where he was a home owner)... yes that's racism, but not from the police; from a person in his community. That said, I have seen neighbours pulled over and searched in Cincinnati and it seemed like it was totally because they were black in a cheap car. shrug

I no longer hate cops. I've seen some do really amazing things for people they didn't need to. Yes there are probably 8%~10% that are psychos and I think most officers wish they could get rid of those people from their ranks too, but hating police just for hating police is childish. All these people calling for disbanding feel like they're just children.


> There were 1007 shootings by US police last year.

Shootings aren't the only abuse. When a cop shoots their weapon, there is a bunch of paperwork, body cameras get reviewed, lies have to be created to cover it up, etc etc.

Lesser forms of violence get little or no scrutiny. The officer who killed George Floyd didn't have didn't have any problem with sitting on his neck for nearly 10 minutes and his partner didn't see fit to stop him even though the 2 rookies with them and multiple witnesses tried (verbally) to get him to stop. It's pretty clear the Floyd arrest was not that unusual for this guy.

The other big problem is "Discretion". Cops are encouraged to pull people over for random things and what happens after people get pulled over varies greatly based on who you are. If you are black, a broken tail-light pull over can quickly turn into a vehicle search and escalate from there. This hasn't improved either.

> Yes there are probably 8%~10% that are psychos and I think most officers wish they could get rid of those people from their ranks too,

The problem with the "Bad Apple" theory you espouse is that in so many cases the other officers at the incident, the police department, and the union are perfectly willing to circle their wagons and cover up for the Bad Apples. Cops refusing to stop bad cops and lying to protect them is super common. It's become clear that so long as cops are policing cops, the bad apples will remain.

> but hating police just for hating police is childish. All these people calling for disbanding feel like they're just children.

I suspect the people who hate cops, hate them for a good reason. Likewise, I suspect the people who call for disbanding cops honestly feel like it's the best solution to a difficult problem. Yes, some cops do amazing things for people... but for a lot of people an encounter with the police is literally the most dangerous experience of their lives. In order to address this problem, you need to fix that last bit or we're going to see this problem over-and-over again.


> Maybe more money should be diverted to training and wages, and less to equipment and vehicles?

The police in my town make more than I do. NYPD officers make way more than I do and get sweet benefits I will never enjoy. In return they act petulant and ignore their duties whenever someone forces them to apply less than brutal tactics to non-threatening people.

They need comprehensive retraining and removal of the problem cases.


I grew up in a small city in Tennessee. I remember reading about a cop whose income topped out at $38k when he retired. I was making $45k in my 2nd job, in my 20s, only a few years out of college. Sure my job probably required more knowledge, but I'd argue his was more dangerous. I dunno .. there are a lot of trade-offs and it varies greatly per municipalities. Not all police departments in all cities and counties can be lumped together under the same metrics.


Depends on the city of course, but a lot of officer compensation is in the form of overtime, pension, early retirement, and other benefits.


85k for almost 6 years of experience in New York is pretty severely underpaid.

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nypd/careers/police-officers/po-be...


How so? The median individual income in New York City is $50,825 [0].

[0]: https://smartasset.com/retirement/average-salary-in-nyc#:~:t....


> Yes there are probably 8%~10% that are psychos and I think most officers wish they could get rid of those people from their ranks too

I personally don't think it's even close to that high. We never see a denominator; how many millions of police interactions are happening that we just don't hear about because nothing went badly?


How do you count bad-apples?

Are we just talking about the guys who actually murder people in custody, or do the ones who beat the crap out of them or rape them count also?

Also, do we count the cops who lie and cover up for the abusive cops as bad apples or are they just like neutral apples? If these complicit cops count as bad-apples, then we're talking something like 60-70% of the force.

And it's that last category is the one that concerns me because ultimately so long as the whole "Brothers in Blue"/ "Snitches get Stitches " attitude is pervasive in police culture, it's going to be impossible to root out the actual psychos. "Good cops" are willing to cover up for bad cops, the DA won't prosecute cops, judges take cops word at face value... so long as that exists, this problem exists.


I don't think people hate police just to hate police. Here is Dave Chapelle's "8:46" video:

https://youtu.be/3tR6mKcBbT4


It's less about end game than it is simply about practicing a set of ideas, and really just about living life the way they want to live it. Isn't that the essence of America? And will it last forever? No, probably not. That doesn't mean it was a failure or that it wasn't worth doing.


Sounds a lot like Occupy


This iteration of the Black Lives Matter protests has a lot in common with occupy. The main difference seems to be that this time the protests and direct action are actually causing the intended change in society, which as a cynical person that loves the aesthetic of protest, is really beautiful and surprising.


That comparison kinda worries me. Occupy had some hygiene issues and did not have a coronavirus to worry about.


Occupy was in a pretty tiny little park, that was stuffed full of people. You could barely walk through it - you had to step over people sitting on the ground.

CHAZ is multiple city blocks. I doubt it's comparable in terms of hygiene.


The city has put in Port-a-potties and there are maps of nearby businesses friendly and with restrooms. Iirc, there is also some sort of plan for trash collection.

The coronavirus bit still isn’t good, but the city has learned for the hygiene bits.


I was just down there and saw a volunteer with a trash stick cleaning the streets. Seems like a good culture.


It seems much less densely populated than the various Occupy camps ever were. Also their relationship to the cops seems 100x less adversarial given SPD has willingly abandoned the area.


the people involved in this have a very adversarial relationship with SPD, which is likely a big part of the reason SPD abandoned the area.

but the fundamental nature of these people are live and let live. So i'm not surprised at all that the area is doing fine and is perfectly safe.


worries? its the most accurate obvious observation


Are media being allowed in? If independent journalists were there then maybe more people would know the "truth".


It’s awfully hard to tell whether this is parody or not, but yes, media are “allowed” in. In fact, far as I can see on the various vids, anyone can just walk in



probably they claim hes a white supremacist. i suspect he is probably know by the locals as being associated with proud boys or some shit.

notice how they are peacefully escorting him from the area? its fine.


It’s a public space. You can walk in. No one mans the gates.


Then why are they building walls? Why are there armed guards?


There are no armed guards. Some nut jobs did go there with guns but they didn't do anything. The current state of it...think of it like kids hanging out at the mall - skateboarding, socializing, eating and then they go home at night.


One of my friends that lives in Seattle gave me a very similar description and also mentioned how differently it is being portrayed in the media than it is in reality.


the annotated maps are funny, portraying a vibe of relatively relaxed occupation. but serious too, monitoring police activity nearby, like swat.


> a music festival campground

Which is fun for a while until people start dying or fighting like they always do and suddenly you need a group of people who spend their time dealing with it. Anarchic utopias do not stay utopic for all that long.


> Anarchic utopias do not stay utopic for all that long.

At least one counterexample to this is Exarcheia[1] in Athens, which has been relatively unpoliced for the last 50 years.

I was there about a year ago and was struck by how both peaceful and lively it was. Nowhere in Athens felt nearly as alive.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exarcheia


Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen is an anarchist commune too. [1] The police have largely left it to its own devices since 1971. They show up from time to time as the political whims change. Their green light district is something to behold, with the street vendors and their bricks of hash.

I've been a few times, quite lovely, would recommend.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freetown_Christiania


I have first hand experience from both Exarcheia and FC. I grew up in central Athens until 2 years ago where I moved to Copenhagen. I have been at both regions a ton of times and have very close friends that live in the regions.

Exarcheia has a very long history of participation in the movement and a lot of anarchistic spaces but the organization is not at all as cohesive as portrayed here. Police presence has varied through the years. There is a police department very close to the heart of the region (the square) and 2 years you would have clashes between the police and anarchist groups ~bi-weekly. Due to the absence of police there is and was a problem of drug trafficking (something that a lot of comrades fight against). Now there is a way stronger police presence.

FC had a stronger system in place, because of circumstance, politics and culture. Regardless, police has swept through FC quite a few of times, on charges involving drugs as well. I have not been part of any organizational elements in FC, but my ignorance here should not be considered as a guide.

Nevertheless, my point here is that both communities do not have combative capabilities against the organized force of police.

If you'd like me to elaborate more on a specific subject regarding my experience, especially about Exercheia, please let me know.


One of the general trends on anarchism is that most people have never heard of the anarchistic communes that have been around for a while.


Hmm. Now I want to visit these areas. They both seem relatively small enclaves though. They must depend heavily on the outside state for .. everything. I wonder if it just evolved into a "they're cute, let them have their fun, don't let them vote" type acceptance from the rest of the community.

If you want to learn about a real breakaway province, look up Transnistria:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transnistria

I've only been to the border. I was staying with Peace Corps volunteers and they risked getting fired if they crossed the boarder (I was told there have been kidnapping situations, but not sure if that's true).

US embassy officials have gone, but they are required to turn around if asked for passports since the US doesn't recognize them as a State. Members of the Peace Corps told me the Russians have supported the region with troops which they've brought in via Ukraine with Moldovan escorts, so there's all types of corruption leading up to that. I was visiting around the time the head of state of Moldova was arrested for embezzling several billion euros.


I was there about fifteen years ago. Great place. Try the “Gluug”! (Spiced mulled wine with raisins soaked in liquor for a year).


Does self policing constitute anarchist? The few times I've dug into the background of anarchist communities have shown they do have some enforcement of social standards, and can effectively be viewed as a smaller scale government that the larger government has decided to take a more hands off approach compare to other areas of similar size that attempt to act legally independent.


Yes! Anarchist does not imply "individuals can do whatever they like", that's more a right-Libertarian thing. Anarchism (or at least the relevant bit here) is largely the idea of challenging and trying to avoid creating persistent power structures and dynamics, so communities regulating themselves without creating a persistent, external-to-the-community police force is very anarchist.


> relatively unpoliced for the last 50 years

Source on that? 75% of that link talks about:

- riots following police action

- attacks on police stations

- special policing tactics for that region

- evictions by the police


My source is first-hand experience: the police do not enter Exarcheia, because they know that they'll be attacked if they do.

The Wikipedia page documents precisely what has happened each time the police have tried to establish a foothold in the neighborhood since the 1973 student uprising. They currently operate from patrols and bases outside of the neighborhood. Any effects they have on the neighborhood (like squat clearing) tend to be impermanent.


Very interesting. Although from what I could find on it, it doesn't really sound like a good example to argue that an unpoliced society can be a nice, safe place to live. I certainly wouldn't describe it as utopic.

> locals and activists help with the cleaning and cooking and even take turns being a night watch after someone – reportedly far-right activists – set a squat on fire.

> “It’s hard to live in peace when teenagers come here just to get high or you need to run to your car because protesters are setting them on fire,” says Dioni Vougioukli, a journalist who has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years.


It's not a utopic commune though, it's a normal neighborhood, apart from frequent violent and spectacular fights with police.


Yes, that's the end goal of a utopic commune - normal life.


i mean, the neighbor is not a commune. only a handful of squatted buildings are


Unpoliced and relatively unpoliced are drastically different.


It's like we're watching Animal Farm play out in real time.

All animals start off equal, but some animals will eventually grow to be more equal than others.


What examples do you have in mind when you say this? The main case studies that I see get brought up are Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War and the Paris Commune, but the wartime pressures that led to their collapse strike me as much different from the present situation. I think the CHAZ will be an interesting experiment given the context.


Specifically the music festivals I've been to. It's fun and a wonderful feeling for a while, but eventually the idiots/assholes will become a problem that needs to be dealt with. Or nature throws a disaster at you and there is chaos.

It's a little hard to come up with historical examples because the utopia portion is often quite short and overshadowed by the negatives that follow. Generally, I would point to almost any historical 'revolution' as a warning that tearing down a system and rebuilding it from scratch does not mean improvement, even if it appears to be at the beginning. You could probably point to the August 1789 period of the French Revolution as an example of the 'utopic' phase, but I'm not certain. The fall of Saddam's government in Iraq would be another example. Kurdish Syria is probably another decent example.


They're trying out the many proposed and proven methods of community management other than armed, poorly-trained cops. Music festivals aren't trying to prove the viability of alternative societal structures. They're different things.


And I hope it works. But history says it's going to go poorly and they're going to need to end up with something resembling a police force, even if they don't call it that.


I don't know how your interactions with police have gone, but I've never had them show up when I called, and most accounts I hear are that they don't do anything at best when they do. At worst, they kill someone. Most of what they do is not stuff they should be doing.

There's some niche a well-trained police force can fill, but it's a lot smaller than what the poorly-trained forces do now. Almost no one is actually calling for a complete and permanent abolition of police. Just a redefinition of their role.


The first line of the CHAZ demands:

> The Seattle Police Department and attached court system are beyond reform. We do not request reform, we demand abolition. We demand that the Seattle Council and the Mayor defund and abolish the Seattle Police Department and the attached Criminal Justice Apparatus. This means 100% of funding, including existing pensions for Seattle Police

Also, I would look at the Baltimore police/crime post-Freddie Grey to see how diminished police action leads to much increased crime. What the BPD did was horrifying but so was the rise in crime once they became less active.


On the other hand, rather "diminished police action", the NYPD went on strike for a couple months in 2014-2015 and crime actually went down. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-017-0211-5


With regular assholes you have the right to self-defense. With the police you don't.


Without police or “criminal justice apparatus” your rights are merely theoretical.


I have a gun and my right to defend myself is a practical, factual statement. American police have no duty to protect you and are free from legal punishment if they choose to idly wait while you are assaulted and raped.[0]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia...


You missed the point. You can assert your rights all the livelong day, but without a criminal justice apparatus all you have are a gun and some fine words. Given the relatively high mortality among armed gang members in America's underpoliced inner cities, your gun isn't the reason you and yours enjoy relatively low mortality--the difference is either one of policing or fine words, and I'm pretty sure it's not the latter.


No, you are missing the point. Without a gun there is nothing keeping you safe aside from a cop's whims. If someone wanted to walk into your house/office and kill you, a cop would (1) stop them, (2) choose not to stop them and not get punished for it, or (3) not get to you in time to be of any help. Defending yourself is the fourth option you exercise with your right to self-defense. If you really think that cops are bad, arrange your life so that your life doesn't depend on their whims. I live in a state where at least two thirds of people own guns (usually multiple guns) and the crime rate is very low.


I really don't think I'm missing the point. I might be missing your point, since you seem to have misinterpreted the thread and gone off onto your own digression. I'm all for 2A and I don't think cops are bad, but guns aren't keeping the peace, the police are keeping the peace, even if they aren't a perfect institution. There are lots of places with lots of guns and few police, and they are not known for being nice places to live. This conversation has reached the absurd--those of us without guns aren't dying multiple times per day as your "without a gun..." comment suggests. I'm not interested in debating absurdities, so I'll leave you with the last word.


police are not the reason we have safety.

a police force doesn't prevent you from being attacked, they only dispense justice after the fact and only sometimes.

welfare, courts and legal systems have a far larger impact than police as a means to prevent violence by having a peaceful way to resolve issues between individuals and ensuring basic needs are met. they also happen to be cheaper.

most violence happens at the edge of society where people cannot avail themselves of the court system. (drugs/prostitution)


Yes, I was using police as a shorthand for the criminal justice system. The fear of being caught and sentenced has a deterring effect on crime. The criminal justice system, however, depends on police, and police officers visible in the community also deters crime.


If anything I would think them even more practical, but require one to be more active in their enforcement.

But that is the thing I don't see being recognize. While the current institute that is the police could pass away, society will still have rules and will still want enforcers of those rules (though not all rules are equally enforced). And you see this in any supposedly anarchic community, they still have social standards they enforce, they just do not rely the nearby government for enforcement of smaller issues (though there is still a reliance for larger issues, such as stopping annexation by an entity with a larger force). In turn this makes me think all such communities are actually minarchist instead of anarchist, which is a drastic difference in base assumptions.


If you feel this insecure, you should purchase firearms and practice using them. Many of your neighbors are doing this.


Why not have the government hire people to do that for me? Call it "socialized defense" or something.


American police departments have no duty to protect you. They are law enforcement officers who choose at their own discretion to arrive at your home seven minutes after you dial 911.


Make it their duty to protect you.


What do you do with all of the people, and the entire system, that's been built and trained for a century to not do that?

I doubt many people are against the idea of a specialized government role that provides protection services.

What they are against is:

* Thinking we can get that role by reforming existing police systems, given how opposed police systems are to such reform

* That these systems need the absurd budgets of police departments

* That the role requires absurd levels of protection for violent actions

* That the role requires armaments in the majority of cases

Going form police to a role that fits those criteria is going to start with not having police.


You fire them all and rehire the ones that are capable of being proper police officers.


It's federal case law that the profession of policing doesn't require what you're asking.


Then you make it law that it becomes required.


I guess I'm just on the side of: if the only thing we think police should be doing is something they already legally don't have to do, achieving the goal of getting that covered is better handled by tearing the entire system down and building a new system with a new name and new members than trying to force reform on orgs that have fought it tooth and nail. The actors that have gotten rulings like Warren v. District of Columbia obviously don't want reform in this area, and I don't see much success in forcing it on them. They have the time, resources, and inclination to fight it at every step, and piecemeal subvert the spirit of the reforms as they occur.


That's what I pointed out upthread, tear it down and rebuild it.


I guess the point I'm dancing around is that words have power, and rebuilding a force called police is still a half measure. Don't just rebuild, but instead create a new force with a new name as part of gaining new semantics. People bring baggage with them when you use the same words.


I don't think that is true, plenty of police forces around the world call themselves police without feeling the innate urge to shoot at innocent protesters with lethal force.


Maybe we haven't voted hard enough?


I'd say Minneapolis voted pretty hard the past couple weeks and are getting tangible results from it.


Absolutely. Now we realize the decades of voting more softly were just a waste of time.


I don't think they'd be qualified for the job.


Then they don't get hired.


It's really strange how people in this thread refuse to believe that the "reform the police" option even exists. As though we must either have a subpar police system or no police system at all. It's also strange how many people think that getting rid of the police will just work itself out.

1. Abolish police.

2. << A miracle happens. >>

3. Prosper.


"Reform" is a well known word in the US that translates to "do the very minimum necessary to shut most people up for a while". The fact that proponents of radical changes to policing have not come up with terms you like more should not be an indictment of their perspectives.


Many other countries have a police system that works much better than the US but obviously the only possible solutions in the search space are "Americanism" or "Nothing".


If reform worked it would have already worked.


Right, because police rarely break the law?


Hence you ought to rebuild it from the ground up and if the police breaks the law they'll be punished for it.

Why is it so hard for americans to imagine that it's possible to have atleast a semifunctional police apparatus?


Your experiences with this may have gone better for you than those of many of your neighbors went for them?


Or we could keep the police and purchase firearms.


The book Animal Farm is a great representation of this concept as a fable.


Animal Farm is not intended to be a fable. It is an allegorical retelling of Stalin's co-option of the Russian revolution - and that co-option is presented as only being possible because the populace is illiterate and ill-informed, which allows for revisionism from the Stalin-figure.

Orwell almost certainly did support anarchist revolution and utopia, given his role in the Spanish Civil War - and his concern about the suppression of anarchism through a totalitarian control of information is exactly what 1984 is about. He never would have felt that "Anarchic utopias do not stay utopic for all that long."


Is it? I thought Animal Farm was specifically about communism (it's been a while since I read it). Wouldn't Lord of the Flies be a better fable?


The continued existence of Christiania in Denmark should prove to you sufficiently that these types of attempts are not automatically doomed.


I mean would Seattle residents really consider CHAZ turning into Christiania a win? For a community of less than 1000 people, it seems to have a ridiculous amount of violence and crime.


What violence? How many serious injuries or deaths have occurred?


  eventually the idiots/assholes will become a problem that needs to be dealt with
Like the police force?


I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. While many of the police actions are inexcusable, trying to have a society without an active group of people enforcing law and order doesn't work well. Just look at Baltimore for the downsides of police inaction.


Baltimore police are not exactly inactive, they are more like an organized gang (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/b...).


Here's data on the drop in police-initiated policing following Freddie Grey's death - https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/07/12/baltim...


When people start policing the police force, don't they become....the police (by definition, not legality)? And therefore susceptible to becoming just like the "idiots/assholes" they were empowered to deal with.

Certainly an interesting recursion problem.


The solution to that is not having an "empowered" caste, and leaving it to a community to police themselves.

Everyone tends to get nervous about that though.


Something about witch hunts and lynching perhaps?


Both of these represent the same phenomenon as the modern police force, which is class oppression (in the first case anti-intellectual misogyny, in the second the same base racism underlying the current struggle). Communities can and will self-regulate, when let out from under the thumb of state-sanctioned violence.


What is “the community” supposed to do if there’s a murder or rape?


no, because they don't have authority to police civilians. there is no recursion here.

police force -> used to arrest dangerous criminals only

police wardens -> used to review, charge, change police policy, and arrest police officers who violate the law.

social officer -> used for all non-violent community enforcement. fines, ticketing, homelessness, mental health issues, etc. have no power to arrest anyone.


Revolutionary Catalonia and the Paris Commune are interesting examples of libertarian socialism. You could also look at the Korean People's Association [1], Rojava more recently [2], or the Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in Chiapas (EZLN), which seem to be exceptional in having lasted 30 years or so.[3]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_People%27s_Association_... [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rojava [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebel_Zapatista_Autonomous_Mun...


Look into what happened with the various hippie communes that sprung up across the US in the late 60s/early 70s, and how they fared.

Most came together with utopian ideals but fell apart as tension arose between those that just wanted to drop out and take acid and those who actually worked hard and tried to build something. Only one remains AFAICT and that one is atypical, enforcing sharing of everything, down to having a communal wardrobe, and having work schedules etc.


There were quite a few utopian socialist (not necessarily anarchist) projects started in the United States in the 19th century, especially following the proto-socialist Charles Fourier. Wikipedia has a list based on a wide variety of different philosophies:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_Utopian_commu...


Yeah, eventually it will end up with all homeless people and drug addicts, unfortunately. For now, there's enough regular people to keep it feeling safe and fun, but eventually it will get 'scary' and the normal people will leave and it'll basically be skid row.


Well to be fair it's not like Cap Hill wasn't already full of "homeless people and drug addicts" before, and that hasn't stopped it from also being a hip neighborhood.

It'll be a decent experiment to see if they can come up with non-violent policing alternatives to keep order, or if they resort to the same tactics as before.


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Probably not wise to put words in my mouth. I have no love for the police but the kumbaya bs people are spouting about the CHAZ is ludicrous.


My friend in Seattle told me they put up a wall, armed thugs are shaking down businesses inside and ICE agents were controlling admission. I'm glad to know it's just a mural.


Has your friend gone to witness it themselves? I had gone to the local protest in our city. My next door neighbor, unaware that I had marched, told me that it was a violent mob. She didn't believe me when I contradicted her until I showed her video footage I took with my phone. She didn't have a good answer when I questioned who told her it was violent; I'm assuming it's just wrong information passed along in social media.


Actually no, I called him out about it but he's not that interested about going the 8 blocks East to check it out in person.


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