The cold blooded assassination of unarmed Trump supporter Aaron Danielson allegedly at the hands of self-described "antifa" anarchist Michael Reinoehl was met with cheers and ghoulish celebration by the shooter's comrades on the streets of Portland.
The killing has sparked a debate on the left on whether to escalate the violence. The argument is happening over social media platforms, which tech corporations deliberately freely grant to "antifa"/anarchist groups for both legal and illegal activities.
One anarchist "collective," CrimeThinc, took to twitter to blame the shooting on Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson.They urged rioters not to engage in "political gun violence" or "symmetrical warfare."
This sentiment was quickly slapped down by Brooklyn Base, a physical location in Bushwick, Brooklyn where members of NYC Antifa and the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement organize and recruit.
According to The Base's twitter, CrimeThinc's appeal to reason "is truly demonstrative of the encompassing whiteness that attempts to discipline the revolutionary movement in the streets." The next message affirmed commitment to a "diversity of tactics" -- a codeword leftists use to get less violent activists to support acts of terrorism -- and that peaceful "activism is not the only way forward!" This view was amplified by Washington-based "antifa" account @WABlackFlag and many others in the Pacific Northwest.
Echoing this sentiment, another "Antifa" account promised to purchase bulletproof vests and firearms for non-white activists who "are willing to use them." He ended his call to action with "Black lives, and making #BlackLivesMatter, are worth dying for." This message was retweeted by @PNWResistance, the main "antifa" account for Portland, and many others.
The wind appears to be in the sails of the faction of anarchists who want more killing. On Reddit's "antifa" hang out, r/Anarchism, a poster dedicated to the shooting titled "The Best Medicine" showing a knife marked "community defense" plunging into a snake marked with a Swastika got 1,300 up votes.
Interestingly, members of the Southern Poverty Law Center are taking a more hard line stance on the issue than even some of the anarchists and communists.
In response to socialist commentator and Current Affairs editor Nathan J. Robinson's warning that gunning down random Trump supporters takes away the left's moral high ground, SPLC senior researcher and "antifa" sympathizer Hannah Gais responded angrily by accusing him of "downplaying" far-right threats.
A number of groups that openly embrace violence and espouse the anarchist/"antifa" philosophy have been popping up and recruiting on social media in recent months as well. The Autonomous Anarchist Revolutionary Front (AARF), based out of Los Angeles, is one example. A caravan of Trump supporters were randomly shot at yesterday while traveling through LA.
How the left will react as popular anger at them hits a fever pitch remains to be seen. What is certain is that almost nobody on the left has expressed empathy or regret over the killing of Aaron Danielson. The lack of accountability for acts of violence and elite support for the anarchists and communists guarantees more egregious acts are just over the horizon.