Uncle Ike’s owner: ‘Danger potential’ of destruction in Seattle is ‘horrifying’
On Monday, Uncle Ike’s on Capitol Hill was again targeted, this time with an incendiary device thrown into the business and more property damage. Owner Ian Eisenberg tells KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show that the destruction and threats against employees have become “untenable.”
“Last night was just a continuation of … about six months of almost nightly vandalism and young kids causing havoc on Capitol Hill,” Eisenberg said. “And I tend not even to say protesters, because the group last night — it’s not Black Lives Matter, it’s not police reform — it’s just anarchists, Antifa kids. When I say kids, they’re young, late teens, early twenties, running around, dressed in ninja outfits, causing havoc, knocking over every sign, breaking windows, doing graffiti. No political message that I could discern.”
“They don’t like capitalism, and they want a revolution and to take down society,” he added. “But other than that, last night’s cause was the anniversary of WTO. A few months ago was something about some atrocities in Lagos, Nigeria. Whatever happens anywhere in the world is an excuse to run around Capitol Hill and break things. And it’s really reached an untenable situation.”
Eisenberg says he has about 150 employees, and they’ve been spit on, threatened, had things thrown at them, and have even been followed to their cars or their homes.
“It’s just reached a breaking point,” he said. “And these employees, we’re about 40% people of color and about 40% women. We have single moms that these protesters are threatening and throwing things at. It can’t keep going.”
Dori disagrees with Eisenberg that there’s no message. He believes this is a well-coordinated attack with a precise message, driven by existing Marxist organizations.
“I don’t know how centrally coordinated any of it is, but other than that, yeah, you’re right,” Eisenberg responded. “They’re willing to have collateral damage of businesses they don’t like. They’re willing to shut those down, they’re willing to potentially hurt people, kill people because they feel that the end justifies the means.”
Eisenberg says he’s talked to some of the people, and most of them are from the suburbs, coming into the city to cause havoc where it’s “fun” and there’s “no consequences.”
“When they get arrested — I think last night there were four arrests — I’m sure they’re back out today,” he said. “The police are already understaffed, and if they have to spend their time arresting people just to have them released immediately, what’s the point?”
Eisenberg also pointed out that when they’re throwing bricks, rocks, and any incendiary devices through the windows, there are employees and customers inside the store.
“The danger potential is horrifying,” he said. “And it’s been going on for so long on Capitol Hill, it’s become normalized. This is not normal behavior. There are people’s lives at risk. People might not like me for whatever reason, but you’re taking it out on the employees and staff.”
Eisenberg says he’s a liberal Democrat, but apparently he isn’t progressive enough for Seattle.
“In any other city I’d be as liberal as they come. In Seattle, I guess I’m not,” he said.
He’s also said he supports some of the same causes.
“It’s part of this whole cancel culture thing nowadays, where if we agree on 99 things but disagree on that last issue that you have to be canceled, and boycotted, and you’re the devil,” he said. “It’s just not really a productive way to go through life. Nothing can get changed or accomplished with that kind of attitude.”
Eisenberg has also been accused of racism, sex trafficking, and being a murderous former cop, which he calls “absurd accusations.”
“People believe whatever they read on Twitter, and I’ve talked to enough of these activist kids when they tell me that I’ve done certain things, I asked, how do you know that? Well, I read it online. I read on social media. There’s no real fact checking,” he said. “… I guess I’m older generation. It’s just bizarre to me that people just believe what they hear.”
Eisenberg says he won’t be driven out by these groups, but will be adding more security in the immediate future.
“If you walk around Capitol Hill at night, there is armed private security everywhere,” he said. “… The police department in Seattle, we’ve been under the consent decree for about a decade. We probably are a model police force for the rest of the country, but we’re being vilified as bad as somewhere else where people are getting, innocent Black people are getting shot. Seattle is a model.”
“And the fact that in Seattle we have to have private armed security at local businesses, it’s ridiculous,” he added. “Sooner or later people will get hurt. If you’re throwing rocks at a building, our security can then come after you. You are attacking us. It is dangerous. It’s an assault.”
He believes Seattle will take longer to recover than surrounding areas, and Capitol Hill even more so as businesses are boarded up, not for COVID, he says, but for broken windows, and collateral damage.
“There’s a church by Cal Anderson. I always like this example. It’s a Lutheran Church, Central Lutheran, total do-gooders, feeding the homeless, taking care of LGBT youth. Really a great, great church. Every single one of their stained glass windows was broken about a month ago,” he said. “Why? It’s pointless.”
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.