Rantz: CHOP Seattle is very clearly not a peaceful utopia but maybe it can be

Jun 15, 2020, 9:08 PM | Updated: Jun 16, 2020, 7:49 am
A protester uses a scope on top of a barricade to look for police approaching the newly created Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in Seattle, Washington on June 11, 2020. (Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)

CHOP is not a peaceful, social justice utopia where Antifa, anarchists, and community organizers come together for meaningful discussions on policy. It’s a cop-free zone of fringe ideologues, well-intended activists, and tourists looking to be part of something that unfortunately is becoming a something to parody.

It’s peaceful, until it’s not. Suggesting otherwise is willful ignorance.

Some media outlets spin yarn about CHOP, the Capitol Hill Occupying Protest. They’ll have you believe it’s “a homeland for racial justice” and that businesses simply adore being in the CHOP zone so they can take part in the activism. Indeed, it’s just like a street fair or block party.

That the CHOP is wholly peaceful is demonstrably false. So why are some claiming that?

The peaceful CHOP lie

There are some outlets that want you to believe CHOP is peaceful because they simply want it to be.

The CHOP is a symbol of what progressive journalists and activists hope can pop up nationwide: safe spaces for exclusively-progressive organizing; areas where you truly don’t need the police. Aspirations are fine, we all have them. I certainly want CHOP to be as peaceful as the recent marches in Seattle have been. Reporting what you aspire CHOP to be, however, is dishonest.

As I wrote in the National Review, you don’t get assaulted the moment you step foot in the CHOP. And CHOP in mid-June is much different than CHAZ of last week (indeed, it’s even changed its name!).

But you earn ire and harassment if you dare disagree publicly with one of the resident’s many fringe beliefs. You have no First Amendment rights in the CHOP. And you know that cops aren’t entering the area, which makes tense situations potentially more dangerous. And yes, there’s frequent violence. Don’t forget: CHOP (then CHAZ) was created out of violence.

Acknowledging the dangers of CHOP doesn’t mean you can’t aspire for it to be that utopia you pretend it is. And being honest about what’s happening doesn’t betray any cause. It’s just honesty. And isn’t it in the city’s best interest — CHOP’s best interest — to acknowledge the problem and address it? Or is the fear that the answer to the problem may be that cops are, in fact, necessary?

The violence on video

There’s plenty of evidence that CHOP has had its fair share of violent skirmishes. Fights routinely break out. There are plenty accusations of theft, too, and if you’re not honest with their police force (either the militant Antifa group John Brown Gun Club or heavily armed security with other groups within CHOP), you stand the chance of being beaten.

And if you’re a business in or near the zone, you’re not guaranteed any kind of protection. Ask the owners of Car Tender, just about 2 blocks away from the CHOP. Their business was allegedly hit by an arsonist before a mob of protesters came by to defend the criminals instead of the shop owner.

My takes aren’t theories or guesses. They’re not even based on inside sources so deep undercover I can’t show you the intel. It’s quite literally recorded.

(Warning: videos contain graphic language and are NSFW)

Is CHOP a gun-free zone?

The other claim that feels like it’s getting traction is that there are few guns in the CHOP. Armed security? They don’t exist, people claim. To be fair, this isn’t a big misconception yet. But I see enough tweets making the claim (or downplaying the guns-at-CHOP reality) that it deserves addressing.

There are tons of video and photos of people with guns. Oh, and the security groups are literally on record saying they carry.

“It’s not our intent to try to create any paradox to try to incite violence or have that be a motif,” activist Maurice Cola told KIRO Radio’s Nicole Jennings. “We’re not trying to use our guns to flash around — it’s for defense.”

So now what?

Where do we go from here?

How about when discussing CHOP, we do it with facts rather than hopes? If you want to joke about it, have at it. Some activists make it easy to turn it into a satire (which is what we’ve been doing on Tucker Carlson Tonight).

But if you want CHOP to be something it’s not, why not put in the effort to make it less violent? While I’m never going to back the fringe idea of either abolishing police or cutting the budget by 50%, which is as dangerous as it is absurd, I don’t see the harm in creating an open space for community organizing in the general area. It would, however, actually have to be open to all ideologies.

You can’t will the violence away. How do I know? An organizer literally asked the audience to will away the violent instigator who disrupted her speech. It didn’t work.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter and Instagram or like me on Facebook

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Photo taken from surveillance footage shared with the Jason Rantz Show through a friend of the term...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Grocer says he was fired after defending himself against homeless assault

A 23-year-old grocer was fired after defending himself against a homeless man who attacked him.
1 day ago
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle judge releases homeless, prolific shoplifter caught stealing 70-inch TV

A homeless man is charged with burglary for stealing a TV from the Seattle Target. Staff says it was the 22nd time he stole from the store in three months.
2 days ago
downtown Seattle Target...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Downtown Seattle Target barely surviving as shoplifting ravages store

The Target department store in downtown Seattle is being absolutely ravaged by shoplifters. I saw two incidents in 12 minutes.
4 days ago
hostages, Target...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle man live-tweeted ‘hostage taking.’ He keeps getting out of jail

A man who says he suffers from mental illness attempted to take hostages at a Seattle Target. He's pulled this dangerous stunt before.
5 days ago
Seattle police, COVID...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Concern as 20 percent of fully vaccinated Seattle police hit with COVID this month

A fully vaccinated Seattle Police Department suffered nearly 20% of its staff contracting COVID in just the first 21 days of January.
5 days ago
King County jail, staffing...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: King County fired the unvaccinated, now pays $103 an hour to fix staffing crisis

The staffing situation at King County jails is so dire that some correction officers are now being paid over $100 an hour for overtime.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Rantz: CHOP Seattle is very clearly not a peaceful utopia but maybe it can be