It was mercy, not justice, that spared Portland

You’ve probably already heard that Portland, Oregon prohibited its police officers from working with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force—the very unit which intervened in the case of Mohamed Mohamud and deflected his planned mass murder attack into a sting operation with false explosives.

But guess why Portland found the Joint Terrorism Task Force so offensive? Byron York writes in the Washington Examiner:

In April 2005, the Portland city council voted 4 to 1 to withdraw Portland city police officers from participating in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Mayor Tom Potter said the FBI refused to give him a top-secret security clearance so he could make sure the officers weren’t violating state anti-discrimination laws that bar law enforcement from targeting suspects on the basis of their religious or political beliefs. [emphasis added.]

So, Portland refused to cooperate with federal anti-terror police work because such work involved … profiling. It involved using, among other factors, the fact that someone was a Muslim. It was discriminatory. Portland preferred to leave itself helpless in the face of Islamic terrorism than discriminate against even one possible Muslim terrorist.

York continues:

In the Mohamud case, it appears that Portland’s anti-law enforcement stand might actually have influenced Mohamud’s decision to undertake an attack in the city. According to the FBI affidavit, the undercover agents asked whether he worried that law enforcement would stop him. “In Portland?” Mohamud replied. “Not really. They don’t see it as a place where anything will happen. People say, you know, why, anybody want to do something in Portland, you know, it’s on the west coast, it’s in Oregon, and Oregon’s, like you know, nobody ever thinks about it.”

Now, there are indications that the Mohamud case might cause city leaders to change their mind about the FBI and the war on terror. Current mayor Sam Adams, who says he was not aware of the Mohamud investigation until after Mohamud had been arrested, told the Oregonian newspaper that he might as the city council to reconsider the decision to pull out of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Because he now realizes the city was wrong? Not at all. “[Adams] stressed that he has much more faith in the Obama administration and the leadership of the U.S. Attorney’s office now than he did in 2005,” the paper reported.

I am reminded of the climactic scene in Atlas Shrugged in which a thuggish government bureaucrat, in a rush to get to California for a political rally, forces a Taggart Transcontinental passenger train to go through a Rocky Mountain tunnel using a coal burning engine, even though the decision means certain disaster. Every employee of the railroad who speaks reason and warns of the dangers is gotten rid of. It is a total denial of objective reality. As the train begins to move forward to its destruction, the author gives a capsule summary of the character and worldview of each passenger on the train. Every one of them is a collectivist who shares the anti-reality beliefs that are leading them all to their doom. The idea is that they deserve what is about to happen to them.

May we similarly say that had Mohamed Mohamud’s plans for mass murder not been intercepted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task force, and had he successfully murdered hundreds—or thousands—of Portlanders, then each of those Portlanders, as a presumptive supporter of his city’s rigid anti-discrimination policy, would have been a subscriber to the belief system that resulted in his death?

- end of initial entry -

John Hagan writes:

The irony that this degenerate mayor of Portland Oregon Sam Adams carries the same name as a great American patriot boggles the mind.

LA replies:

Well, his historic America name is like the name of Romulus Augustulus, the pathetic last emperor of the Western Roman empire.

David B. writes:

Do the Portlanders subscribe to the beliefs that would result in their deaths and are they willing to die for them? No, they don’t want to die themselves, but they are willing for others to die because of their beliefs. They just don’t think it will happen to them.

Liberals believe in destructive policies as long as they can keep themselves and their families insulated from the consequences. The affluent liberals who demand integration and diversity while sending their own children to private schools and living in the whitest neighborhood being an example.

Donald Hank writes:

I am receiving an unusual number of emails today pointing in the same direction: The self destructive, senseless and abject dhimmitude of the West, i.e., its willingness to bow to Islam even at a time when Islam in no way controls our political policy. Imagine how cowardly they would behave if there were a sizeable proportion of Muslims in America!

I previously forwarded an email showing that an articulate, well educated European lady who had been brought up in the Middle East is being tried in court for daring to warn Europeans of the dangers of Islam, followed by a report from Germany about heavy-handed censorship there (it’s been there all along but only now is coming to light).

America has not quite come to that level of insanity and degeneracy as Europe. But what happened in Portland shows we are perilously close and not getting any smarter.

Paul T. writes:

Thank you for your excellent coverage of the Portland horror. One small bone to pick re: the following:

Mr. Guffey, 20, said that Mr. Mohamud had a solid group of friends who were also Muslim, and that he was interested in sports and hip-hop culture. Mr. Guffey said Mr. Mohamud and his friends never acted in a way he considered extreme, adding he never heard Mr. Mohamud talk about religion or politics. [LA notes: See how the Times doesn’t actually say that Mohamud is Muslim; it just says that he had friends who are “also” Muslim. This is absolutely typical of the way the liberal media deliberately taunts its readers with its refusal to identify Muslim terrorists as Muslims, a phenomenon I have discussed several times before.]

Well, if they say “also Muslim,” they are saying that Mr. M. was Muslim. Isn’t it most likely that the Times reasonably assumes that their readers will know that “Mohamed Mohamud” has to be a Muslim, so that the point isn’t necessary to state? “Rabbi Goldberg (who is Jewish)…. ” :)

LA replies:

Of course they are saying that he is a Muslim, but by deliberately saying it in this odd, indirect way, they are taunting us.

November 29

Richard W. writes:

In answer to your last question: No, Portland is not monolithically liberal. The city council voted four to one for Potter’s plan to end cooperation with the FBI; thus 20 percent of the council dissented. In the most recent 2010 election Jim Huffman, the Republican challenger to the incumbent liberal Senator Ron Wyden received 56,000 votes in Multnomah county (the county that Portland lies within and dominates) to 212,000 for Wyden. About 20 percent.

I think it’s fair to say that Portland has about 20 percent conservatives across the board. The three other counties that make up the metro area are all much more conservative than Portland. Portland’s endless coddling of minorities, the homeless, petty criminals, and public employee unions has meant that most people with families have moved to towns like Beaverton, Tigard, Clackamas and even Vancouver, Washington which is just across the Columbia River. All these suburbs have better schools, safer streets, fewer gangs and street criminals, and lower taxes. Vancouver (WA-3) just replaced a liberal Democrat with a conservative Republican, and was therefore part of the general red-State repudiation of Obama.

Still Portland remains the urban center of the area and many people from outlying suburbs do venture in for just such events. My family attended the year 2000 New Years celebration in the square, and also the last game of the World Cup soccer match, which Nike put up a huge outdoor screen for.

And of course, even misguided liberals who vote for fools like Potter, Adams, and Obama do not deserve to have their families splattered over the city center by Moslem terrorists.

Richard continues:

Clearly, Portland has passed some tipping point where non-liberals are no longer comfortable living there.

Among my six close conservaitve friends only one lives in Portland, and he is the lone renter of the group. The other five live in the surrounding counties, including two of us in Washington, which has no income tax.

LA replies:

I did not mean to state positively that if liberals who had refused to support police surveillance against Muslim terrorists had been killed by a Muslim terrorist, they would have deserved it. Obviously, no one deserves to be murdered. But clearly there would have been a causal connection between their decision and their deaths. What, then, is the correct way to speak of such a causal connection?

For example, let’s say a young white woman goes biking by herself in a black, crime-ridden neighborhood of New Orleans at night, and gets murdered (as actually happened a couple of years ago). Obviously she did not deserve to be murdered. No one deserves to be murdered. At the same time, her negligent actions clearly contributed to her death. If a person recklessly puts himself in a situation that he should have known was mortally dangerous, and he is murdered, there is a kind of fit between his actions and his fate, and thus a kind of justice. Which, again, is not the same thing as saying that he deserved to be killed.

I am not satisfied with my articulation of the problem. I am looking for the right words to convey this idea.

Richard W. replies:
I see exactly what you mean, and agree. It is not only a causal connection, it is also clearly forseeable. It is similar to homosexuals who have promiscous sex and then contract AIDS. Most compassionate people will still feel badly for their suffering and death, while also acknowledging that it was highly likely given their lifestyle choices.

I suspect we need some German word, sort of a variation on Schadenfreude, conveying the idea of “sadness at the inevitable misfortune of another based on his own obvious foolishness.” It seems related to the classic theme of hubris in Greek tragedy, but isn’t based on overwhelming personal egotism, but rather on what you have termed the gnostic view of reality.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 28, 2010 06:47 PM | Send

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