It would seem the ingredients for milkshakes have changed over the last couple of years, as has their use as an instrument of political violence.
It seems hard to imagine such a tasty treat could be weaponized, however, beginning in Britain this May, a growing trend of leftist protesters hurling milkshakes at conservative politicians has become quite trendy.
This promptly spread through social media to the United States and was quickly adopted by far left protest groups, which appears to be about 85% of all protest groups.
I suppose that's not surprising. Social media, including videos, can spread bad ideas much faster than the old way of just waiting until the network's evening news could properly frame them.
The practice escalated to being used on other types of people at the beginning of this month in Portland, Oregon, during one of their biweekly riots or protests over something or other. In this case, it was groups with whom protesters didn't agree being allowed to speak or appear in public.
At that point, the attack of the milkshakes expanded to include people not directly involved with protesting the other protesters (or whatever the case) and then included an independent journalist who often writes for what the New York Times described as "conservative" publications.
Andy Ngo, has attended a number of rallies that erupted into violent interactions and is known to many of the groups that are involved, particularly the political street gang known as Antifa. They bill themselves as a group fighting fascism, apparently by suppressing other people's speech.
The irony appears to be lost on them as well as most of the media.
Mr. Ngo was repeatedly struck by Antifa counterprotesters who were there to oppose a group rallying for what the Times described as, "Conservative marchers, this time pushing a #HimToo message." I'm not exactly sure what that is but obviously it's infuriating to some.
As sort of a supplement to the beating, Mr. Ngo was pelted with a "milkshake." There is a dispute on exactly what the milkshakes contained; Portland police believed some of them contained quick-drying cement along with other substances.
This was denied by the Antifa organizers, who said they had merely brought enough innocuous milkshake material to serve some 700 milkshakes, which of course is always something you see at protests — especially when the activists look a bit like scrawny Grim Reapers, dressed in black with many wearing bicycle helmets, padded clothing and with their faces covered.
Just another day in the Portland sunshine, slurping what they claimed were simply vegan "milkshakes" made with coconut and cashew milk. (That is not a milkshake but some sort of human rights violation.)
The milkshake makers claimed that most of the shakes were consumed, although video of the event shows many of them being launched at the objects of their scorn, as sort of vegan mortars.
The question arises as to how a group of people with their faces covered with masks and bandannas were able to hammer down those beverages at such a pace. Plus, I find it hard to believe that there are 700 people who would willingly drink that concoction.
As weird as this sounds, more troubling questions emerge, such as why police weren't more aggressive in stopping these assaults or the coverage of the incident by mainstream media outlets. They spent a lot of space chattering about Mr. Ngo writing "dangerous things" and implying he was pushing his luck by showing up at these demonstrations.
The answer to both is pretty much the same. Rumors say police were instructed to show a lot of "restraint" toward the counter-demonstrators by a very progressive city government. And most of the mainstream media outlets don't much care for conservative writers or speakers in general and seemed to consider the incident an unfortunate result of people like Mr. Ngo showing up at all — perhaps not something to be condoned but understandable nevertheless.
The media are right about one thing: These incidents highlight that political divisions (much of which they are creating) are widening. They don't seem to be worried about what happens when the things they are intensifying (or ignoring) causes the silent majority to be silent no more and things spiral out of control.
But I am.
Rick Wagner is a Grand Junction attorney. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His weekly political talk show airs on KNZZ 1100 AM/92.7 FM on Saturdays at noon.