“Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen.” – wrote the 19th century German poet and essayist Heinrich Heine. Or in English, “Where they burn books, in the end they will also burn men.” I’d update the line to say – “Where they burn cities, they’ll burn the countryside, too.”
And since Antifa and Black Lives Matter demonstrators have been busily setting fires in urban protests, attempting to set fire to police stations, throwing Molotov cocktails and fireworks, and incinerating whole city blocks, businesses, pawnshops and bookstores alike, can one really blame residents of rural and small-town Oregon for assuming the worst and suspecting that the catastrophic fires scorching the west coast have a man-made origin? It’s a logical assumption to make, after six months of threats, violence, and deliberate urban arson. It’s not a great leap of imagination on the part of rural residents to assume that Antifa/BLM would move on after having comprehensively fouled their urban strongholds, especially if it meant striking hard at generally more conservative rural and small-town Americans in a way which would hurt, and hurt badly. My parents lost a house and everything in it, in the Paradise Mountain fire in 2003, a fire which was widely suspected to have been started as an illicit bonfire on reservation land. My parents were able to rebuild and counted themselves lucky that all they lost were things; they escaped with their lives and pets, didn’t lose a business or anything that couldn’t be replaced, unlike some of their neighbors.
So – I can hardly blame rural residents in fire areas for being suspicious of strangers; if not outright arsonists, there are always looters. Stopping strangers at gunpoint and demanding to see an ID and a reason for being there is a perfectly sensible precaution, and if the local police won’t do it, then civilian vigilantes will, especially of it’s a matter of life and death. And believe me, there are enough people dead and missing in this latest round of brush and forest fires for local people to take it all very seriously indeed. In looking over the stories posted in the major media outlets about all this, quite a lot is made, in a huffy and indignant fashion, condemning irresponsible rumor-mongering and wasting law-enforcement time, and insisting there is no credible evidence for Antifa/BLM activists going out and setting fires. It must be very nice to be so certain sure of that, but it remains that both the establishment national news media and certain law-enforcement bodies have repeatedly stretched the truth or lied outright of late in regard to Antifa/BLM (among other items of national concern) that their credibility among the wider public is seriously compromised. Comment as you wish.