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

Car Shot Seattle...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Man nearly murdered in random Seattle drive-by while celebrating job promotion

My 25-year-old coworker had just finished hitting a bucket of golf balls at a North Seattle golf range. Moments later, his elation turned to terror as a man tried to murder him.
2 days ago
Bellingham Sex Shop...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: School Board director hosts ‘Queer Youth Open Mic’ at sex shop

Unless Jenn Mason clears out the store, those children will be near sex toys, graphic books, and lingerie, with a curtained doorway keeping them away.
3 days ago
King County Courthouse from City Hall (flickr creative commons)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle judge slapped in the face, but refused to report assault to police

The unidentified suspect allegedly slapped a King County Superior Court Judge in the face, but the judge didn't want to be identified as a victim.
4 days ago
(Seattle Police Department)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Victim died as medics waited for critically understaffed Seattle Police to arrive to scene

Due to critically low staffing, Seattle Police were unable to quickly respond to a deadly hit and run as medics waited to be cleared to treat the victim.
5 days ago
Police officers block a street as city crews dismantle the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) ar...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Did Seattle councilmembers abuse police help, while defunding department?

I didn't come up empty-handed because I have no idea whether or not it's true. In this case, I was stopped from doing a part of my job.
9 days ago
Slides from Kirkland Middle School's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Presentation  from April 28...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: School used unsubstantiated hate speech claim to push kids into equity training

KiMS principal alleged there was an "an increase in use of racial and identity slurs." The incidents were "pervasive rather than an isolated incident."
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

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