The Happy Camper, a food truck in Portland, is no more.
It shut its doors after harassment and alleged threats of violence from demonstrators known as Occupy ICE PDX, who were protesting President Trump's border crackdown.
Located on a corner near both the federal immigration offices and the Occupy ICE encampment, the Happy Camper's continued to serve federal immigration officials.
Like most business people in her position, Julie Hakes, co-owner of the Happy Camper, who was initially sympathetic to Occupy ICE, planned to "stay neutral and serve all who are hungry."
This could not be allowed!
Although Julie and her husband Scott were active in the community, contributing to help provide services for Portland's homeless, they soon found that none of their good works could shield them from the wrath of Occupy ICE, as Reason's Christian Britschgi reports:
Video apparently taken by a female Happy Camper employee—and shared by a right-wing Twitter account—shows a demonstrator using a megaphone to call the staffer a "bitch" and accuse her of laughing at the victims of U.S. immigration laws.
According to Scott Hakes, the last straw came when protestors threatened his 21-year-old daughter for serving food to a DHS employee. "If they catch her outside the cart, they're going to hurt her. They're constantly cussing at her and screaming at her," he told KGW. According to the owners, protestors also threatened to burn down the cart.
On July 20, less than a month after protests began, a post went up on the Happy Camper's Facebook Page announcing that the food cart would be shutting down. Reads the post: "We tried repeatedly to try to work out peaceful solutions with the organizations and individuals protesting, but it all came back to being told almost daily to either support the anti DHS agenda or suffer the consequences (Quote Unquote)."
Needless to say, threatening violence against third parties for not being sufficiently in favor of one's chosen cause is inexcusable. It's also remarkably counterproductive.
Britschgi has written a fascinating report, and I urge you to read it, but I quibble with one point: is shutting down a business really counterproductive for the protestors?
It is certainly counterproductive for the Hakes family, who are now deprived of a living. Yes, that is certainly counterproductive–and howlingly unjust.
But is it really counterproductive for the protestors?
Reason suggests it is a bad PR move, but I think it is the opposite: the protestors are making innocent bystanders afraid to disagree with them.
Scratch that: the Hakes didn't disagree with them, they were trying to be neutral. These protestors didn't care–they don't allow neutrality.
As word of the viciousness of these mobs spreads, people may hesitate to attempt neutrality, if they are in a position to be intimidated, say, by depending on a vulerably located business for their livelihood.
But let's at the very least not idealize these hooligans, as many Democratic leaders did of the original Occupy.