The Riot Party

The Wall Street Journal:

The “bro­ken-win­dows” school of polic­ing says that you can help main­tain pub­lic order by tak­ing care of even small ex­amples of dis­or­der—such as fix­ing broken­ windows. Lib­er­als scorned that pol­icy in the last decade as somehow racist. Well, in re­cent days we’ve learned that Amer­ica’s left does have a bro­ken-win­dows pol­icy: Let ri­ot­ers break enough win­dows and loot enough stores and maybe their right­eous anger will be sat­is­fied.
That’s cer­tainly how it looked when the June sun rose Tues­day over the bro­ken glass, looted store­fronts, burnt-out cars, and van­dal­ized build­ings in New York, Phil­adelphia, St. Louis, Madi­son and other Amer­i­can cities. Pub­lic of­fi­cials let ri­ot­ers exploit­ing the mem­ory of George Floyd run wild in the streets. Even af­ter nearly a week of violence, these and other lib­eral Demo­c­ra­tic cities let law­less radi­cals ha­rass and plun­der al­most at will.
In down­town St. Louis, four po­lice of­fi­cers were shot af­ter mid­night. “I be­lieve some cow­ard ran­domly shot at the po­lice line,” said po­lice chief John Hay­den. A 7-Eleven was looted and set afire, but fire­fight­ers were de­lib­er­ately slowed by protesters in re­spond­ing. “We had peo­ple ly­ing down in the street” and trash cans were placed as obsta­cles to block fire trucks, said fire chief Den­nis Jenkerson.
In Phil­adelphia, city of broth­erly van­dals, gangs of ri­ot­ers rolled through sev­eral neigh­bor­hoods Sun­day burn­ing businesses and cars. They re­turned for more on Mon­day, shut­ting down the high­way that bi­sects the city at evening rush hour.
Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Danielle Out­law said a crowd of more than 100 sur­rounded a lone state trooper in­side a ve­hi­cle and be­gan rock­ing it. When two SWAT teams ar­rived, the crowd pelted them with rocks from the road and above. Po­lice had to fire spray pel­lets, bean bags and tear gas to es­cape.
At first Mayor Jim Ken­ney backed the po­lice. But by Tues­day he was tweet­ing that “there may have been ad­di­tional uses of tear gas. I am deeply concerned by this de­vel­op­ment. All of these in­ci­dents will be investi­gated by In­ter­nal Af­fairs.” Po­lice are threat­ened by a mob, the of­fi­cers de­fend themselves by non-lethal means, and the mayor wants to in­ves­ti­gate the po­lice. No won­der ri­ot­ers feel they can do what­ever they want.
In New York City, hood­lums ram­paged through Her­ald Square and the flag­ship Macy’s store, Ford­ham Road in the Bronx, Times Square and SoHo, among other places. Nearly every store­front on lower Fifth Av­enue was van­dal­ized. A cop was struck and in­jured by a hit-and-run dri­ver in the Bronx. This isn’t protest. It’s anarchy.
Gov. An­drew Cuomo had set an 11 p.m. cur­few but some­how man­aged not to en­force it. TV cam­eras showed gangs of youths work­ing as teams to loot one store, then move on to an­other. Over­whelmed po­lice could do lit­tle more than wave their clubs and hope to catch one or two as they sprinted past on their way to their next tar­get.
The NYPD has some 36,000 of­fi­cers. How could they not be de­ployed in enough num­bers to con­tain this ram­page? And how can these pub­lic of­fi­cials not de­ploy the Na­tional Guard to as­sist the po­lice in restor­ing pub­lic order and pro­tect­ing the in­no­cent? This wasn’t the first night of may­hem. It was the fourth in a row, and the po­lice clearly knew what could hap­pen. The only explana­tion is that Messrs. Cuomo and de Bla­sio lack the po­lit­i­cal will to stop it.
This isn’t merely about dam­age to prop­erty. It’s about de­stroy­ing the or­der required for city life. Non-criminals are afraid to go into these cities to make a liv­ing. The po­lice pull back from ac­tive polic­ing, which cre­ates more oppor­tu­nity for crim­i­nals, es­pe­cially in poor and mi­nor­ity neighbor­hoods. Busi­nesses that are fi­nally start­ing to emerge from gov­ern­ment lock­downs have new costs to ab­sorb and more rea­sons for cus­tomers not to re­turn.
What all these cities have in com­mon is that they are led by De­moc­rats who seem to have bought into the be­lief that the po­lice are a big­ger prob­lem than ram­pant dis­or­der. They are ei­ther cowed by their par­ty’s left, or they agree that Amer­ica is sys­tem­i­cally racist and ri­ot­ing is a jus­ti­fied ex­pres­sion of anger against it. They of­fer pro forma dis­ap­proval of law break­ers but refuse to act to stop them.
They should recognize that wide-spread lawless­ness is not help­ing their cause. Amer­i­cans have the right to protest, peace­fully, and the killing of George Floyd in po­lice cus­tody is cause for anger and grief. But as the vi­o­lence con­tinues, Amer­i­cans of good­will will sup­port the po­lice and a re­turn to safe streets as the high­est priority. Po­lice re­form and so­cial in­jus­tice will get a smaller hearing.
Public officials need to deploy enough police and National Guard to stop the mayhem. They need to channel the peaceful demonstrations by time and place, as American law allows, so agitators can’t use them to attack police to create violent confrontations. If they can’t or won’t do that, these Democrats will be complicit in destroying their own cities and harming the very people they claim to speak for.

One thought on “The Riot Party

  1. How many of the perpetrators of looting and violence have you interviewed? Did you ask and of them their political affiliations?
    I already know the answer to both of these questions. You have interviewed none of these criminals and you have verified none of their political affiliations.
    Sadly Steve, you have broken the cardinal rule of “assumption”.
    Those who are peacefully protesting and voicing their concerns are not Republicans or Democrats, they are Americans.
    I have friends and acquaintances who share my concerns for our country. They are all concerned about the current violence and looting taking place. I “have” asked their political affiliations and they are of both political parties. These people I have asked are all responsible citizens who are concerned about police brutality and the abuse of power demonstrated in the killing or George Floyd. These are responsible and concerned citizens who oppose the rioting and looting perpetuated by criminals. These are responsible and concerned citizens who are disheartened by our government using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a gathering of peaceful protesters so the American President can walk to a church for a campaign stunt.
    No Steve, the looters and rioters are not Democrats or Republicans, they are criminals.
    And the peaceful protesters exercising their first amendment rights are not Democrats or Republicans, they are all Americans!

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