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Douglas Andrews / Jun. 1, 2020

Rule of Law vs. Anarchy

All across the country, riots are breaking out ostensibly over the death of George Floyd.

Remember when we used to sneer at Venezuela, that sorry failed socialist state to our south? Well, we’re not yet eating dinner out of garbage trucks, but give it time.

Rioting grew more widespread over the weekend, and it soon became apparent that, as Minnesota Governor Tim Walz put it, “The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd. It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.”

How do we know he’s right? For starters, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, the man responsible for the death of Mr. Floyd, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday, but this clear-cut evidence of both due process and impending justice did little to impress the rioters. Unless we’re to believe that Floyd would’ve approved of the burning of a fellow black man’s business and the incineration of his life savings. (Heritage Foundation President Kay C. James has some additional thoughts on this misplaced anger from a black woman’s perspective.)

In fact, these riots (and the rioters) stopped being about police brutality almost from the onset. Instead, they’re about sowing dissent and disruption. They’re about attacking the legitimacy of our civil society.

Here, former Obama administration National Security Advisor Susan Rice may have accidentally stumbled onto something when she blamed the Russians. Do we think the Russians started all this? Of course not. But there can be no doubt about their common cause with antifa and the other anarchists. Their collective goal, as it was leading up to the 2016 presidential election, is to divide our nation and its people.

As for the “white supremacists” said to be among the rioters, not a single news reporter has provided evidence of their presence, even though the Left, including Governor Walz, has reflexively pointed to it. Could this smoke screen be an attempt to deny what we all know to be true — that there’s not a single Donald Trump supporter among this rabble, not anywhere across the country? In fact, the leading white presence among these rioters is antifa.

For his part, the president announced that he’d designate antifa a terrorist organization. But, as the editors of National Review put it, the first order of business is to restore order.

As for the nationwide mayhem, weak-kneed Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is as culpable as anyone, and perhaps more so. In a Fox News interview, former NYPD Commissioner Howard Safir pointed to a defining moment from Thursday night — a moment that likely set the tone for rioters across the nation. “The fact that the mayor ordered that the [third] precinct be given up was the absolute wrong signal,” he said. “The message that it sent … was, ‘You can do whatever you want, and we’re not going to do anything about it.’ Weakness never works in these kinds of situations.” Commissioner Safir, who served under Mayor Rudy Giuliani from 1996-2000 and helped clean up the crime-ridden Big Apple, got it exactly right.

“It’s a very delicate balancing act,” said inept former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake during the Freddie Gray riots back in 2015, when she explained why she kept her city’s cops from doing their job and instead allowed those who sought to destroy her city “space to do that as well.”

In fact, putting down a riot and protecting the people’s property is only a “delicate balancing act” when you’ve lost sight of the role of government, and of your duty as a public servant.

Law enforcement was once among the noblest of professions. Some of us still think it is. But ever increasing numbers of our fellow Americans have come to see cops as the enemy, as a symbol of oppression and brutality. This can’t stand — at least not in a civilized society.

Next time you pass a cop on the street or at the market, think about the thin blue line that stands between you and the anarchists, between you and the mob. And think about the choice he made. And thank him for what he does.


As a footnote, Mark Alexander, our publisher and a former cop himself, notes:

One thing is clear when reviewing the 11 fatal police encounters in Minneapolis in the last decade: If a thug confronts police and is killed, in cases where the officers are cleared of wrongdoing, the city has repeatedly paid big settlements to the families to avoid social unrest.

For the record, there was no nationwide violence in 2017 when a white Australian woman, Justine Ruszczyk Damond, was shot and killed by a black officer, Mohamed Noor. Damond had called 911 to report a suspected rape in an alley. Noor said when Ruszczyk approached his squad car, he thought she posed a threat to his safety. Noor was convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter. The only protests were in defense of Noor.

And does anyone even recall when a black perpetrator was convicted of attempted premeditated first-degree murder after he grabbed a five-year-old white child and hurled him from the third-floor balcony of Minneapolis’s Mall of America?

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