By Paul deWitt Editor's note: This column originally incorrectly listed Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel's party affiliation. He is unaffiliated with a party. In his June 1 column in the Bulletin, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel lamented that “respectful and rule-following protests” have achieved little for the “oppressed in our country.”
Hummel compared the current demonstrations and violence with the Boston Tea Party. Such a comparison is ludicrous. In that case there was a specific target and legitimate reason for the ire of the colonists. Unfair taxation and the heavy hand of British rule left the colonists feeling they had no recourse. While tea was thrown in the harbor, no one was killed, businesses were not indiscrimately looted and burned; the Revolution that eventually resulted was an answer to legitimate grievances against a tyrannical king. I’m sure Sam Adams, John Hancock and the Sons of Liberty would be surprised to learn that Hummel believes their actions justify the wanton violence perpetrated in the wake of the Floyd death.
The virtue signaling has gone on long enough. Protestors have made their point. The police officers responsible for Floyd’s death will be tried and, if found guilty, punished. Notwithstanding the words of our district attorney, violence serves no purpose other than to inflame tensions.
Perhaps underlying all the protests and associated violence is an attempt to further undermine the President. After all, earlier attempts to remove him from office have failed. The pandemic released upon the world by the Chinese Communists was used as a political weapon against Trump. It seems that the tragic death of George Floyd has turned into another weapon to be used against the President.
Hummel should be ashamed of himself for his callous disregard of the law, which he is sworn to uphold, in his implicit suggestion that violence is acceptable as a means of redressing grievances. There are more effective and legal ways to deal with societal problems that do not include riots, looting, burning and the killing of innocent bystanders and police. Paul deWitt is the former chair of the Deschutes County Republicans and lives in Bend.