Two Proud Boys leaders ordered locked up pending Capitol riot trials
‘Twisted’ justice in Minneapolis and other commentary
Angry protests break out across US over Minnesota police shooting
Riots rock Montreal as COVID lockdown protests turn ugly
Are some riots good and others unacceptable? Surely not. Those who destroy property and commit assaults, whether against law enforcers or civilians, ought to be punished, no matter the cause they claim to support.
But today’s liberals reject this fair, universal standard. Some riots deserve legal protection, they insist, while others must be harshly repressed. It all depends on the politics of the rioters.
Some, such as the excitable Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), are cheering the prospect of another round of Black Lives Matter riots, er, “peaceful protests,” if the Derek Chauvin trial doesn’t go their way. They’re also up in arms about a new Florida law that strengthens punishment for those who take to the streets to commit violence.
Yet some of the same progressives are also demanding that authorities throw the book at Trump supporters who participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. They’re also on board with the DC authorities stonewalling demands for more information on the officer who shot and killed one of those entering the US Capitol.
The double standard is overt and infuriating: One group of demonstrators, the left says, should be permitted to commit mayhem. Another group deserves to be locked up as seditious insurrectionists, and the police-involved killing of one of them can and must be brushed aside.
It’s the clearest indication that the modern left subordinates all principles to the distinction between political friend and enemy: The Democratic Party sees itself allied with one group of violent demonstrators. That group’s excesses must be tolerated as an understandable reaction to racial injustice; the enemy must be punished.
Innocent Americans will pay the price for this cynicism and irresponsibility. As the Chauvin trial comes to a close, the situation in Minneapolis is especially febrile. Yet encouraging more explosive rioting of the kind we saw last year seems to be a priority for some Democrats. Waters was just in Minnesota protesting the police shooting of Daunte Wright, which set off violent protests around the country.
Waters told demonstrators to “get more confrontational” with law enforcement if the Chauvin jurors decide wrongly (by her political lights). Not long after she uttered those words, some “mostly peaceful” protesters committed a drive-by shooting of National Guardsmen, there to protect against riots.
The Florida bill, then, is necessary. The law makes it easier for authorities to prosecute rioters while still preserving the right to protest peacefully. It’s a smart response to the fact that when rioters burned businesses, attacked public buildings and generally created mayhem last summer, the police were often ordered to stand down.
Even when arrests were made, the rioters were often quickly released, reinforcing the impression that those committing violence on behalf of a fashionable cause like BLM shouldn’t be held to account. Some were quickly bailed out by funds promoted by then-Sen. Kamala Harris, now vice president of the United States.
It’s nonsense to claim that the Florida measure will have a chilling effect on the exercise of the First Amendment. So, too, is the American Civil Liberties Union’s claim that anti-rioting laws are “racist.”
But somehow the harsh treatment meted out to the Capitol rioters — who are no less deserving of punishment than BLM and antifa hooligans where they broke the law — doesn’t bother anyone on the left. Indeed, Waters and some of her Democratic colleagues in the House are suing ex-President Donald Trump for allegedly inciting a riot — even as they seem to encourage the very same activity in Minnesota.
They can’t have it both ways. Florida is right to crack down on politically inspired violence, and the rest of the country would do well to do the same. Those who grant immunity to one group of rioters while harshly prosecuting another aren’t just hypocrites. They’re doing exactly what they accused Trump of doing in January: trashing the rule of law.
Once political and cultural elites wink at rioting, illegal behavior once universally condemned, the rioting won’t stay limited to their preferred causes. Telegraphing approval to one group may well inspire other groups to do the same. The peril to the civic fabric is incalculable.
Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS.org. Twitter: @JonathanS_Tobin
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article