Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
9-year-old Hadar Kedem was playing with her father, brother, and family dog in a Portland city park when the gunmen came and the bullets began flying.
“They huddled up into this group and we thought they were going to do a race or something, but instead they pulled out guns and started shooting and then I got really scared,” the little girl told the Portland City Council. “There was a bullet that shot like four or five feet away from my right..”
The exchange of gunfire between over a dozen men was just one of the gang shootings that delivered Portland to what its police chief called a “grim milestone” of 1,000 shootings.
Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and the police defunding movement had taken Portland from 388 shootings in 2019 to over 1,000 this year. Murders in Rose City rose by 83% breaking its previous high score set in 1987. As the Black Lives Matter race riots got underway, Portland went from 23 shootings in March 2020 to 104 by July of that same year. By March 2021, there were 93 shootings. Gone were the pleasant days of 2019 when Portlanders might complain about 30 shootings. The summer of 2021 saw around 400 shootings: more than in all of 2019.
Rose City Park with its cedars and rose gardens located right next to a golf course is exactly the sort of amenity that its upscale residents moved there for. Now it’s a brutal war zone.
But trapped in their woke fantasies, the city’s Eloi can’t come to terms with what’s happening.
Shoshana Gugenheim Kedem, Hadar’s mother, an “insectional feminist” who “dismantles patriarchy”, and advocated for “Palestinian rights”, denounced her daughter’s “white privilege”.
“We are a white family of privilege,” the leftist hipster artist confessed. “No one in our family wants to see the result of this be more police presence at parks. That’s not the answer.”
What was the answer?
Gugenheim insisted that instead of police, the solution to a dozen men opening fire in the park was dealing with root causes, “services for disadvantaged communities”, “education”, “gun control”, and “a task force of people with equity training to tackle the issue of gun violence”.
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who had called for defunding the police before calling the police on her Lyft driver when he asked her to leave his car, welcomed Gugenheim’s nonsense.
But after years of dealing with root causes, offering more welfare and equity task forces, Portland tripled its shooting rate, and even the nicest places have become war zones.
Portland Democrats cut $27 million from the police budget. Over 200 police officers have left the force leaving the city with far more armed gang members than cops. The failing city has stopped investigating and intervening in some crimes not just because of the pro-crime ethos of BLM, but because the manpower doesn’t even exist to deal with the runaway crime wave.
“We are running on fumes. There’s no way we can investigate thoroughly, and correctly, all these shootings,” Daryl Turner, the head of the police union, had warned.
But while the murderous Morlocks roam Portland, its woke Eloi refuse to deal with reality. They munch their soy, graze at trendy eateries, and huddle in their parks when the bullets fly.
“The Eloi, like the Carlovignan kings, had decayed to a mere beautiful futility. They still possessed the earth on sufferance,” H.G. Wells wrote in The Time Machine of a future humanity divided between the decadent Eloi who play all day and the Morlocks who live in the dark and prey on them. The Portland Eloi, like their fellow coastal city hipsters, possess their cafes and parks on a sufferance that vanishes when the gun-toting Morlocks come out of the darkness.
Not even bullets flying next to their children’s faces can prompt anything except recitations of hollow dogma. Gugenheim did not blame the thugs who now freely roam the city without fear of the police for the gunfight in Rose City Park, but the desire of her “neighbor to own guns”.
Even though any armed neighbors would be the final line of defense for her family.
How do you stop a dozen men with guns from opening fire in a park? With a dozen other armed men who are willing to put their lives on the line to stop them. The Portland cops, the armed men that the financial analysts and artists like the Gugenheim-Kedems had been paying to protect them from the brutal realities of human nature, increasingly no longer want the job.
And that’s how their son and daughter wound up dodging bullets in the park.
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth,” Mike Tyson used to say. “A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality,” Irving Kristol observed. He added though that some liberals “refuse to press charges”.
In her letter to the Portland City Council, Gugenheim denounces individualism and freedom, “the gun laws in this country that obscure us from our freedoms rather than maintain them”, and calls for a collectivist “freedom that nourishes interconnectedness, interdependence not the fierce
independence for which gun supporters are staking ground.”
The interdependence of the herd animal whose only herd instinct is denial and is incapable of even banding together for mutual protection.
“I could talk about the fear in which children are being raised today. Fear to go to the playground, to walk down the street at night or even during the day,” she pleads.
“And why were they so terribly afraid of the dark? I proceeded, as I have said, to question Weena about this Underworld, but here again I was disappointed. At first she would not understand my questions, and presently she refused to answer them. She shivered as though the topic was unendurable,” H.G. Wells’ Time Traveler relates.
Why are the mothers and the children of the Portland Eloi so afraid? They know the Morlocks are there. And nothing in their intellectual degeneracy has prepared them to face the threat.
Guggenheim’s incoherent call to action blamed the fashionable culprit of “systemic racism” and insisted that the “racism must be examined and reconciled”. But the only systemic racism here was the shutdown of a service that minority communities needed most of all. That’s why polls show that white people are more likely to support defunding the police than minorities.
Minorities are the canary in the crime coal mine. By the time upper class white people are dodging bullets, the situation is catastrophically bad because the warning signs were ignored.
When Jacob Eli Knight Vasquez was shot and killed in Portland, his brother-in-law pleaded, “Let’s please untie the hands of our law enforcement officers. I believe if the proper tools were in place for our law enforcement officers, this wouldn’t even have happened.”
Police defunding is the real systemic racism.
Not everyone in Portland is an Eloi. Firearms background checks increased 32% in Multnomah County. Without the police around, Portlanders have a choice between cringing in fear while prayerfully reciting passages from Ibram X. Kendi or defending their families.
“There is so much to say about the complexity and absurdity of a nine-year-old appealing to her city council to please, please find the means to protect her and others from such wanton violence,” Gugenheim complained to the Portland City Council.
“I know that not only do I want change, but everyone wants change,” her fourth-grade daughter told the City Council. “I want to feel safe.”
But it’s the City Council and her parents that placed her in danger.
Adults are supposed to protect children. It was the job of Hadar’s parents to keep her safe by locking up criminals and empowering the police. They failed her and all the other children. And their only response to that failure is to double down on it, reciting the familiar doctrines, and throwing out worthless buzzwords, instead of doing anything practical to protect their city..
The only thing that will stop the violence is to bring back the cops and lock up the criminals. And that’s the one thing that the mother of a child huddling as bullets whizzed by refuses to do.
“I grieved to think how brief the dream of the human intellect had been. It had committed suicide,” Wells’ Time Traveler observed.
The suicide notes are scattered across the streets of Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The coastal cities that claimed to be on the leading edge of technology and culture have become hellholes where the Eloi elites tiptoe past human waste, dodge bullets while on a night out, and then huddle in their tiny apartments for fear of the Morlock hordes.
They believe that they are a superior race, standing on the right side of history, and ready to inherit a utopian earth, when they are really little more than a Morlock snack.