BY ED FELIEN
Jojo Rosenbaum was killed trying to talk Kyle Rittenhouse out of his gun.
Anthony Huber was killed trying to knock away Rittenhouse’s gun with a skateboard.
Michael Reinoehl was killed by the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force, a group organized by Erik Prince for Donald Trump. It was made up of people from the U.S. Marshals Service, the Lakewood Police Department, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington State Department of Corrections.
Prince had been responsible for recruiting and organizing Trump’s response to the demonstrations around the Federal Building in Portland. He’s the former head of Blackwater, the mercenary army responsible for civilian massacres in Baghdad. His sister is Betsy DeVos, education secretary.
Normally, when someone kills someone and flees to another state, the attorney general from the state where the incident occurred will sue the other state for extradition of the alleged offender. That’s what happened to Kyle Rittenhouse. After he killed Rosenbaum and Huber, he walked through police lines and went home to Antioch, Ill. Trump saw no reason to intervene. And the states began the legal process of extradition.
Michael Reinoehl didn’t expect the same kind of treatment for his killing of Aaron Danielson on Aug. 29.
He expected federal agents would come to kill him. He gave an interview to a reporter from VICE: “You know, lots of lawyers suggest that I shouldn’t even be saying anything, but I feel it’s important that the world at least gets a little bit of what’s really going on. I had no choice. I mean, I, I had a choice. I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color. But I wasn’t gonna to do that.”
According to local news reports:
Detectives found a loaded 9mm handgun on Danielson’s waistband and three magazines of 9mm red-tip ammunition in his right cargo pants pocket. Surveillance video from the nearby Third Avenue parking garage showed Danielson holding a baton in his left hand and the bear spray in his right hand before the shooting, according to police.
An hour before his fatal encounter with law enforcement, Mr. Reinoehl was on the telephone with Tiffanie Wickwire, who was helping him set up a GoFundMe page, Ms. Wickwire said in an interview.
“We were talking about his kids and what to do for them if anything happened to him,” she said, referring to his 17-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter.
“Stay safe,” they told each other at the end of the call, she said.
Trump thanked the U.S. Marshals Service for their “strength” and “bravery,” saying that Mr. Reinoehl was killed after drawing a weapon when officers attempted to take him into custody.
There is no film from body cameras, though some in the posse were wearing body cameras. There is no evidence that Reinoehl drew a gun. Some witnesses said they heard 30 to 40 shots fired.
Trump and Erik Prince have organized a national secret police force to work with sympathetic local police to take care of political undesirables.
It is very similar to the Geheime Staatspolizei (abbreviated Gestapo—the Secret State Police) created by Hermann Goering in 1933 that worked with local police departments to eliminate communists, Jews and Gypsies in Nazi Germany.
On Friday, Sept. 4, Trump’s attorney general Bill Barr said, “The streets of our cities are safer with this violent agitator removed, and the actions that led to his location are an unmistakable demonstration that the United States will be governed by law, not violent mobs.”
KATU TV from Portland announced Sept. 4:
“Reinoehl wrote on his Facebook page that he was a professional snowboarder for Deviation, a Portland ski and snowboard company, and he posted several videos of himself and his son snowboarding. But in a statement Monday, Deviation said Reinoehl had never been an employee or sponsored athlete of the company.
One friend who knows Reinoehl through snowboarding said he had been sponsored by various companies over the years and had sometimes won ‘big air’ competitions—to the point that his nickname became ‘Big Mike.’ The friend described him as ‘a really nice guy, a gentle giant’ who sometimes fashioned himself into ‘a defender role.’”
The New York Times, Sept. 4:
“Oregon State Police arrested Mr. Reinoehl in June after the authorities said he raced against his 17-year-old son on Interstate 84, with the Cadillac he was driving careening down the highway at 111 miles per hour. His 11-year-old daughter was in his car, according to the police report, and the police found a Glock pistol for which Mr. Reinoehl did not have a permit.
“‘I am 100% ANTIFA all the way!’ he posted on Instagram in June, referring to a loose collection of activists who have mobilized to oppose groups they see as fascist or racist. ‘I am willing to fight for my brothers and sisters! Even if some of them are too ignorant to realize what antifa truly stands for. We do not want violence but we will not run from it either!’”
Big Mike Reinoehl had a big heart. He quite consciously and quite deliberately was willing to give his life in defense of Black lives.
Like Jojo Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber.
Like the First Infantry Regiment from Minnesota that suffered 82 percent casualties at Gettysburg.
Like my great-grandfather from County Fermanagh, wounded twice fighting for the North.
Like everyone who believes in justice for all.
But we need to think this through very carefully.
Please, we do not need more martyrs.
We need people to do the hard work of changing our government—to demand justice and accountability from our elected officials and our police.
We need people to get organized.
City elections are next year.
Yes, of course. We need to protest, to demonstrate our opposition to an injustice. But we must be disciplined. And we must not just be against something. We must be for a specific and concrete change.
But, please, stop throwing yourselves into the mouths of cannons.
There is a civil war. There are people who want to kill you if you threaten their privilege. They believe they are superior to people of color. They believe women are meant to be subservient to men. If you threaten those fundamentals they will resist with the force of arms.
And they have arms. In 2006 the FBI warned that white supremacists were taking over local police departments. The chief of police of Portland deferred to the special forces organized by Eric Prince to protect the streets surrounding the Federal Building. The chief of police in Kenosha allowed armed right-wing militia to patrol the streets. White supremacist police departments are acting under the direction of a federal gestapo and in collaboration with right-wing militia. We need to understand that.
And we need to prepare for it.
Frances Fox Piven, professor of political science and sociology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), was asked in a recent interview in Jacobin magazine: “Is part of what you’re saying that we need not only to be honest about the facts of history, but also to train to do forms of disruptive direct action that might not be part of our current repertoire?”
“That’s right. And we have to figure that out. We have to do it with caution. We have to worry about repression. We have to worry about the cops beating our heads in. All that is true. We have to be careful. We have to be informed. We have to protect ourselves with bail money and lawyers. But we should not fall on this very narrow path of nonviolence.
“There are no examples for us. There are no models, for the United States or for rich countries generally. Nobody has been in this situation before. So, we have to figure it out if we want to survive. There are no models.”