What the hell is going on?

Miami, Fla (May31, 2020)

Stealing, burning and shooting have nothing to do with the murder of a poor civilian!

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa

(Washington DC, May 31, 2020) There’s hardly a need for another rant about the need for law and order to fight the chaos America has seen the last few nights. So, I will ask another question,

Where were the police?

In city after city, the rioters are being allowed to ravage whole neighborhoods with not a cop in sight. Even though most cities have access to their National Guard, none were used even to limit, let alone stop the mayhem. Here in Washington DC, the Secret Service were out in force to protect the White House – which they did — so the crowd was moved on to wreak havoc elsewhere.

Other cities do not have a Secret Service, but they do have other outside resources including the State Police and the National Guard. Minnesota actually called in the State Police, as presumably other states did also. So, where were they when the trouble started? Are we facing a national revolt by police departments in addition to all our other problems? If so, they aren’t telling anyone.

The absence of police protection violates the most basic of all the responsibilities the police take when they are sworn in – to keep and maintain peace. How can they justify their lack of enforcement during this crisis? The answer seems to be that the law enforcement establishment in general was woefully unprepared – in resources, manpower, and psychologically – to deal with such an uprising as we have seen for the past week. If so, this shows an absence of planning which is not only incompetent but — after Ferguson, Baltimore, and other such events – rises to the level criminal negligence.

To blame the departments, however, may miss the true target. Behind the public safety departments stand the budgets, and budgets are the responsibility of the elected officials, starting with the mayor. Over many years the governance of most American cities has been a “high tax, low service” operation, perpetually overspending, frequently corrupt, and also frequently biased against its own public servants, especially the police. Wherever the responsibility for public safety lies, the fact is that it has been proven to be grossly incompetent by this latest urban crisis.

The second question will undoubtedly be debated for years to come, namely,

What is motivating the rioters?   

The first distinction to be made in considering this question is between the protestors and the rioters. The protestors far outnumber the rioters. Their cause is legitimate and protected by law. Ostensibly, the reason for the protest was what appears to be the cold-blooded murder and subsequent lack of punishment of George Floyd’s killers. Clearly, the right to protest is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. As far as I know, no one has been denied that right.

But then the rioters showed up and began looting and violent attacks on persons and property – including some law enforcement officers. This behavior violates every rule of law and has nothing to do with the tragic murder of George Floyd. Rioting undermines the message of the protests.

It has been established by such legal arrests as have been made that the rioters are mostly out-of-town imports present for the purpose of doing what they did. Whether they were paid has not yet been established, although past experience says that they were. If so, by whom? Various suspects come to mind, including foreign agents, such as Iran or China. Left to their own devices, without any opposition from the police – at least in the first several nights – they created an urban jungle, a state of barbaric chaos, ruled by violence and senseless attacks on stores and anyone who tried to stop them. Witnesses tell of the coordination which existed among them, with radio communications, weapons, and Molotov cocktails. This is the Antifa that the President has condemned.

But there may also be another group. These would be local criminals who have suffered with the rest of us through the lean times of the lockdown. After all, burglaries, smuggling, and prostitution are not viable when there is no traffic anywhere, with all homes being protected by their omnipresent owners. It seems quite likely that by the second night of the Apocalypse, these outlaws were ready with their masks, battering rams, unmarked cars and designated targets to proceed to the greatest hauls of their lives, tons of expensive products available virtually for the taking, for s few hours’ work, night after night.

After all, what good to a poor kid is a $2,000 bicycle? He can’t take anywhere without arousing suspicion. And odds are he doesn’t know a fence who would give him a reasonable price. The same for jewelry, clothes, furs, athletic equipment, and prescription drugs – all of which were lost to rioters. This smells of organization and local knowledge.

So, what now? For one thing, a lot of innocent people have been hurt by this last episode in what is shaping up to be the worst year since 2001, or maybe 1968. First a pandemic, then a three-month national lockdown, followed by a tenuous recovery, and now chaos in the streets. We can’t help asking,

What’s next?      

Well, as we gradually try to recover from this breakdown of public order, we have to remember that the so-called recovery was just getting started. No one knows how that is going to come out. This past week is certainly going to slow things down- —   maybe kill the recovery for many businesses which were already in deep financial trouble. In which case we may be in for an extended and perhaps very severe recession. Another possible outcome of this national catastrophe could be a virulent resurgence of COVID-19, exacerbated by all the crowds of demonstrators, most of whom showed little regard for the danger of contamination – – except for the handy disguise of the masks.

One good thing may be in our sights now: the serious attention that should be shown to the cause of racial inequality before the law. This is part of an ongoing cancer in American society. Of course, there have been several other incidents in recent history which pointed to the same problem, Let’s hope that this time we can get it right.

In any event, our lives are not going to stop because hard times are upon us. We have to keep going. To find the strength to keep on keeping on, we have to dig deep into our own souls and find that ultimate force within which makes us stubborn in our hope. For most of us, that bedrock is love. Love of our family, our nation, and over it all love of our God Who gives us that strength. It is there someplace. We have to find it; then we can live by it! It is the key to our survival.

 

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