Westboro Baptists, meet May Day ‘anarchists’

The News TribuneMay 3, 2013 

Organizers of Wednesday’s May Day marches in Seattle were hoping — really hoping — that the usual black-clad, rock-throwing morons wouldn’t steal the show from them this year as they did last year.

No such luck. As happened on May Day last year, thousands of people walked through the streets in peaceful demonstrations for immigration reform, same-sex marriage and other liberal causes.

Then came that sinking feeling. Late in the day, the masked punks crawled out from under their logs to assault police officers and smash things.

Sorry, law-abiding demonstrators. There’s only so much space in the newspaper and only so much time on the evening news. An attempted riot will upstage decent people carrying signs every time. The public would scream if the media downplayed orchestrated violence in the state’s largest city.

The street thugs claim to be anarchists. But they are best compared with the Westboro Baptist Church, another collection of vicious ranters who leverage their minuscule numbers by parasitizing high-profile events organized by serious people.

Say this for the actual Westboro Baptists, though: They don’t throw actual rocks at human beings.

One of the grievances of the “anarchists” is the FBI crackdown that’s been putting some of them behind bars in recent months. That’s one of the better uses of FBI time that we can think of. We hope the City of Seattle will succeed in securing another round of convictions after this week’s tantrum.

The Seattle police shone on May Day. They opened the streets to the peaceful marches. When the thugs emerged, the police herded them carefully, then stepped in forcefully when the clubs came out and the rocks and bottles started flying.

One officer was injured in the knee by a heavy stone, but the force shut down the wannabe rioters before more people were injured.

Now that this has happened two May Days in a row, the police can reasonably target masked punks carrying clubs and backpacks full of rocks before they have a chance to pull out the weapons.

Violent “anarchists” in this region frequently come from Olympia, Eugene and Portland. In Olympia, they are typically connected in some way to The Evergreen State College – students, graduates or groupies.

Evergreen spawns an uncommon amount of political violence for its size. There’s a difference between diversity of viewpoints and proclivities to hurt people. The college might be a little more proactive in expelling students who can’t tell the difference.

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