Gabe Johnson was being in his house Saturday night in Portland, Oregon, when he heard the gunshots that took the life of a guy later determined as Aaron “Jay” Danielson.
Johnson, a Marine Corps veteran and Portland local, has seen the violence unfold in his city over the past three months. He also enjoyed with disappointment as the media typically failed to report what is actually taking place there.
After he heard the gunshots Saturday night, Johnson said, he was concerned that the media would not report the event properly, so he strolled the four blocks to the scene of the criminal offense to see the circumstance firsthand.
Johnson joins the podcast to explain what he saw and what it has actually resembled living so close to the continuous riots in Portland.
We also cover these stories:
- President Trump is going to Wisconsin regardless of a demand by Gov. Tony Evers that he not check out the state.
- The case of previous national security advisor Michael Flynn will continue to weave its way through the courts.
- The number of coronavirus cases reported in the United States is now over 6 million.
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Virginia Allen: I am joined by Gabe Johnson, a marine veteran and Portland local. Gabe, thanks so much for beginning the program today.
Gabe Johnson: Hey, you’re extremely welcome.
Allen: Gabe, we had the enjoyment of speaking on Friday, and you told me in detail truly what it’s resembled to live just a few blocks away from the courthouse in Portland while there’s been so much discontent, and you started going down to the riots in July due to the fact that you wanted to see on your own what was in fact taking place. What made you say in July, “I need to go down there and see this for myself”?
Johnson: Well, in July, which looks like nearly a year ago, it looks like this stuff’s been going on so long, but in July I had been laying in bed and, after about 20 explosions, I chose that, “Hey, let me just count how many are going to go off tonight,” not recognizing that I would get to about 82 prior to I stopped counting.
Along the way, I closed my eyes, just because, I resemble, “Gosh, this actually feels familiar.” And I state “feels” due to the fact that being a veteran and being in Desert Storm, Desert Guard, and after that returning as a contractor, it felt like I was back in Iraq, back in Mosul, and I remain in my bed, even though it actually didn’t affect me till simply then. Therefore, more surges continued to go off that night and I simply chose, “Enough’s adequate.”
I actually jumped out of bed shouting, “Oh, my God.” And I chose I’m going to simply sleep on it and see what happened. When I awakened in the early morning, it simply came to me that I actually required to simply go out and do something, whether it was start a discussion, do something. Due to the fact that what I’m seeing and hearing is just infuriating.
I decided to, with a buddy, head out and use the American flag as a kind of unity, a kind of simply bringing individuals back together. Since among the important things that I’ve discovered is that just we as Americans, no matter our political association, a great deal of us have quit our patriotism.
And I say, “A great deal of us,” I’m not including myself because, however it certainly was a tip that, gosh, the thing that brings us back together is this American flag. Which hasn’t been our sign and individuals have actually just offered it up.
I decided that I would just go there and begin a discussion, not understanding just how far, I wish to state as far as we’ve come, but as far as we’ve just gone backwards existing, due to the fact that I was met immediate hate. And I say hate, but hate from blacks calling me the N-word and calling me a coon and calling me Uncle Tom and jigaboo, and simply saying what the flag represents to them.
Now, mind you, these are black youth that I was talking with. And I wish to make the distinction because I believe that older black Americans might or might not feel that method. However the ones that I have actually talked with that have actually really come out and supported me have actually been an older generation.
So, as I’m down there talking with some of the youth, and I was in fact speaking to this gentleman who was asking me concerns on cam, this black girl grabs my flag from me and diminishes the street, throws it in the street and, I don’t know, starts shouting something.
This 65-year-old black guy, veteran, walks over, grabs my flag, and is coming back, and he’s saying to me, “There’s no chance I’m going to let them burn the American flag.” He had been there observing, listening for a while, hadn’t stated anything at all. However when it pertained to burning the flag, I think that’s where he drew the line in the sand.
As he was coming back to me, he gets leapt by these 2 black kids, actually roundhoused, punch him in the face. And as he hit the ground, they started stomping on him. So, I run over there to help this man and they run away. As they’re running, they grab the flag and they throw it over the huge fence that remains in front of the federal court house.
There’s just been a lot division through this entire thing, whether it’s black on blacks or, regrettably, white on black crime, and the like we saw just occur over the weekend. It does not truly matter what race you are, but this thing is absolutely dividing our country. And so, back in July, it doesn’t look like it’s gotten any better since then.
Allen: Gabe, it’s shocking to hear you inform this story. This is occurring basically in your backyard, simply a few blocks far from where you live. You’re merely carrying an American flag with you, … like you state, it ought to be this remarkable symbol of unity in our country. And for so long it has actually been that symbol of unity. And you simply enter the scene with the flag and you’re consulted with such hostility.
So I understand that, from that point, you have actually continued to see things carefully in Portland and just pay extremely very close attention to the manner in which the media is reporting on what’s happening. So I want to ask you about Saturday night. Unfortunately, a male was shot on Saturday night in the middle of all of the chaos and demonstrations and rioting in Portland. How did you find out about the shooting?
Johnson: Let me start with on Friday due to the fact that this really, for me, started on Friday. And I say that because I wanted to see if there [were] any stark differences in two occasions that were going on recently. And one was the NAACP March on Portland that went off on Friday, no issues, no objecting, no absolutely nothing, just the march.
There were a couple of Black Lives Matter individuals blended in with them, but absolutely nothing like you see in the carnage that goes on night after night after night downtown. So, I make note of that. One rally, simply great, no issues.
Going into Saturday, I actually sat down and was viewing and texting a good friend, and we’re texting back and forth about the Trump rally, and we were actually pretty shocked.
There were a great deal of people, a great deal of proud Americans out there in assistance of their president. We make it through the entire rally. And I say make it through the entire thing, including them taking a detour and coming through downtown, a minimum of part of them, it wasn’t all 600 cars, it was about 100 vehicles that came through.
And actually, KATU, the regional ABC affiliate, they dropped their helicopter feed. The CBS affiliate, they dropped their online news feed. And after that the feed from YouTube decreases. And we just made note of it, like, “Yeah. OK, it’s sunset.” So it’s best around 7:45, almost 8.
About an hour later on, I’m sitting on my sofa and seeing television and I hear 2 shots. And I’m believing to myself, “Damn, is that shooting?” Because, unfortunately, I know distinctly what shooting sounds like. And then it was followed up by 2 other explosions, which had to be some fireworks.
As I’m sitting there, I get a text message and it’s from among my friends in law enforcement. And he’s like, “Hey, somebody simply got shot 4 blocks from your home.”
Therefore, I chose that, well, … Most likely not a great concept, I want to decrease simply to see if the story is going to be informed accurately. And I’m so happy that I did. I really spent about two hours down at the scene talking with police officers, speaking to the responders that are in the location, and then just getting an overall sense of the mood, the tone in the atmosphere.
Among the important things that I am simply absolutely horrified by is that there are real individuals in the streets in Black Lives Matter clothing stating that they’re not unfortunate that a fascist Nazi died tonight. And that’s simply incorrect. That is just straight hate. And those are the things that we hear from hate groups day in and day out, every year.
You can’t celebrate somebody’s death. I don’t care what side of the fence that you rest on. But more notably, what’s highly disturbing is simply the environment that [Portland Mayor] Ted Wheeler and our city commissioner and our guv has actually allowed to settle in our city, and the atmosphere is lawlessness. And this is a direct reflection of that, of people dying in the street.
Allen: Wow. There’s still, certainly, a lot of info coming out about this shooting, about what led up to it, the details. But you’re strolling down there and you’re saying that the atmosphere, basically, … it’s not one of sorrow and sorrow that a life was lost. It’s individuals stating, “No, this is right.”
Johnson: Yeah, it’s, “This is right.” And it’s on video and they’re not sorry. You look at all the videos that [were] retweeted from that night and there’s people burning the American flag, playing a song, “Down Dixie.” And it’s … dreadful. You can’t sit here and one minute demonstration injustice and oppression of humans and then at the extremely turn of a hat, commemorate somebody getting killed.
Allen: You consulted with police, you said. What were they stating?
Johnson: They were really, very careful about the details that they could put out. They let me know that, once again, someone had passed away near to my house, occurs to be a good friend of mine, and just honoring keeping information private. It’s normally extremely unclear. And I’ll keep it that way, too.
What I can tell you in what was just put out is, sadly, we’re visiting this, and regrettably, I’m visiting it a block from my home in Terry Schrunk Plaza.
Actually, paradoxically, I was married there a few years earlier. And there was going to be a, probably, demonstration going on. And these are individuals that the prayer warriors belong of, and it’s another group that isn’t kind.
So now we’re going to have more hate groups integrating and clashing in Downtown Portland. Why? Since of the atmosphere that was developed.
And I believe this is something that could have been completely prevented. And I believe it’s something that may get lost, but our chosen authorities selected … not to prosecute rioters, and they made that publicly known, and they stood by that choice. And they took the authorities off the streets. So, once again, a lawless environment has actually just been developed and you can’t just clean it up at the breeze of a hat.
Probably what’s much more insulting, and I understand I’m using that word a lot, is that the governor came out with a plan last night and it’s a unified law enforcement plan. She goes on to explain where Portland public authorities are going to get support from Washington County, from Gresham City Cops. So basically everybody in the metro location. All the departments in the city area are now going to help [the] Portland Cops Department.
Earlier in the spring, the mayor removed the protection, so if you’re an officer and you come and you help in Portland, you’re not covered, implying that your union, your insurance coverage securities that you have as a policeman are removed beyond your jurisdiction.
So they took those away. However astonishingly, now … they’re providing back, and support from the state police to reduce the violence in the streets. So, if she had this strategy in her back pocket, where was it 90 days back?
Allen: You actually had the benefit of participating in a city center in mid-August with different leaders from Portland, consisting of Mayor Ted Wheeler. Tell me a little bit about that experience.
Johnson: The experience, I’ll state it was simply a bit more eye-opening, more than what I had currently experienced. I didn’t understand that I would be among 2 individuals there with the exact same view.
However, one of the important things that Ted Wheeler extended at the very beginning of the town hall was an invitation for those in the community, those individuals that are at the city center, to come in and work with him on a few of the services on moving forward.
I emailed, I called his workplace for about a week. I didn’t hear anything. Paradoxically, end of recently, someone from KATU connected to me and was like, “The Mayor’s Office would like your phone number and your email and your contact info because they wish to invite you to some events that they’re having,” I don’t know.
I had not heard anything as of last Friday. After this previous weekend and a great deal of my remarks in the media, I really am not claiming him to call me since I’m extremely upset. And I blame him and I blame our city authorities for a resident of Oregon dying on the street, regardless of the color.
Something I do also want to note, and when this story force first broke, The New York Times reported, and they had actually because done a correction, however The New york city Times reported that a black male was shot and eliminated in the street by a Trump advocate.
So, you have reports that are coming out from individuals that are on the ground that are giving incorrect info to the media, and the media is just keeping up it without validating any reality.
And it’s horrible due to the fact that in the first 10 or 20 minutes after I got home, I’m seeing all this things about this black guy being shot in the street when it wasn’t even real. It’s nearly like we wish to see more blacks dying to more push this agenda along. And it’s not one that I concur with.
Allen: In your viewpoint, what needs to take place today in order to bring that law and order back to the streets of Portland?
Johnson: The governor’s primary step, it’s a good one, that does need to occur. You do have to bring law and order back to the streets. You’re going to have to discover a medium that will permit city and state authorities, neighborhood members to talk with a few of these groups. And one of them exists’s a fantastic chance, however happy authorities aren’t coming till Sept. 16, I think, for their event.
What an opportunity as a city leader to begin a discussion with them and show some empathy for their associate who just died. Regardless if you think their beliefs or anything, you’re going to have to reveal some empathy and understanding and try to deescalate the scenario because right now people desire retaliation. And those individuals are bound for retribution. Therefore, that’s the first risk that we’re going to see on our city. So we need to go out and speak with them.
We also need to speak to these BLM and Antifa and really speak with the leaders and simply put a time out on the objecting and the violence that we see day after day. And if that means instituting a curfew in all parts of the city and having a heavy authorities existence, then that’s simply what needs to occur, since you can’t keep going on like this. It’s going to intensify way out of control.
Allen: You have actually chosen personally that you want to do something to support the police in your neighborhood. Can you tell us a bit about the charity event that you introduced?
Johnson: Yeah. Me and Nine Line Apparel, or in fact, I had actually went to them and had actually inquired about doing a promotion that would generate funding for the Portland Cops Department. And, in specific, at the time it was exclusively for the Portland authorities chaplains, which was more extended from my meeting with Constable [Michael] Reese at the city center.
However 9 Line partnered with me and coming up with a style, and it’s “A Stand for Justice.” A portion of the earnings from the Tee shirts, sweatshirts, the variety of outfit that they have actually come out with will be given back as a contribution to support pastors in Multnomah County and Portland public cops.
So, all together, there’s 14 pastors from Multnomah County and two for PPD. The chaplains aren’t paid. The pastors are the very first line of defense for authorities, whether it’s just, “Hey, I’m having a bad day. I had a bad call. I require to discuss this, I wish to get it off my mind,” or just they know that officers remain in distress and they head out and seek them and take them out to dinner and lunches and whatever.
Considering that these acts of generosity are not funded, I really wanted to simply do something kind. We require to do more kind things and put them out to the universe, and hopefully that will change some of the environment around here.
But these individuals need support. And so, again, 9 Line Clothing partnered with me on this. We in fact even extended this promo through Monday. So, once again, it’s a method to just give back to humanity, however give back to our very first responders, too, who require it the most.
Allen: We’ll make certain to put a link for that fundraiser in today’s program notes, so if any of our listeners have an interest in purchasing a shirt and supporting these cops pastors, they can.
But Gabe, we just actually want to thank you for speaking up and for … basically, you have actually sort of become this person journalist who’s just … telling it like it is. You’re reporting on what you’re seeing. So thank you for being strong sufficient to do that.
Johnson: Yes, naturally. And I think that if more citizens did this then we would not be getting gaslighted as much as … we are.Source: dailysignal.com