For the past several weeks, I have watched in growing terror as our cities have been taken over by angry, violent mobs. In this article, I will not discuss the motivation—political or otherwise—for the violent demonstrations, but will restrict my comments to what we should do about the actual riots themselves. Let me make my position very clear at the outset: A civilized society cannot tolerate lawlessness.
“Fundamental to eliminating mob violence is to first identify it as criminality, rather than a social phenomenon,” says forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner. That is not what we are witnessing. The mayors and governors responsible for maintaining order in our cities either have failed to act or have openly encouraged the violence. When the mayor of Seattle insists that the riots in her city are a “summer of love,” says Dr. Welner, she is “legitimizing lawlessness.” He cites the example of New York Mayor Dinkins who held back the police in 1991 because Brooklyn rioters “needed to vent.” The same thing happened in Baltimore during the 2015 Freddie Gray riots when Mayor Rawlings-Blake said she wanted to give “those who wished to destroy space to do that.” My conclusion is that these mayors and governors have made it all possible, and so must assume responsibility for the current rash of violence.
When writing a piece like this one, I always like to research what others have written. In this case, I was shocked by the proliferation of articles suggesting that a strong response to violent rioting only increases the violence. Article after article argued something like this (my paraphrase): “We have to end the violence, but if the police pro-actively try to stop the rioting it will only escalate the violence.” In other words, if the police use elements of force to stop violence, the violence will get worse. Sorry folks, that is the illogic of our liberal elites. When rioters are burning down police stations, destroying entire neighborhoods, and beating up innocent people, how can it get worse?!!!
The dawning of sense appeared in an article by Damon Linker in The Week entitled, “There Will Be No Justice Until the Riots Stop.” We must have order, Linker says, before we can have fairness. “A society that has fallen prey to anarchy must restore order,” he says. “The worse the riots become and the longer they drag on, the further we will drift from a situation in which we can begin to address the injustices that sparked the unrest in the first place.”
Finally, I found someone who hit the nail on the head. “Restoring order to America’s cities isn’t a complicated proposition,” Robert Mecea writes in the New York Post. “All it requires is resources and determination, and a firm rejection of the longstanding progressive fallacy that an overwhelming police presence is ‘provocative’ and ‘escalatory’ and must be avoided.” Police passivity emboldens mobs, Mecea says. “When the cops stand by, or don’t show up or, even worse, run away, it is a permission slip for destruction. They might as well supply the spray paint, bricks and hammers for the crowds, and beckon them into the local Target or Nike store to take whatever they want.” Riots are not brought under control when violence is tolerated.
As Neville Chamberlain proved in 1938, appeasement never works. “Disorder feeds on itself,” says Mecea. “Looting one store, overturning one police car is never enough. There is no alternative to imposing curfews, zealously enforcing them, arresting violators and calling out the National Guard if there’s not enough police manpower for the job. This doesn’t escalate the violence, it stops it.”
Lastly, let me turn to Newt Gingrich, a frequent voice of sanity. “The scale of violence and the number of cities being attacked is a war against America,” he said. “If we saw this level of violence by an attack from ISIS or Al Qaeda, we would understand that we are engaged in an act of war.” Gingrich advocates the arrest without bail of as many violent demonstrators as possible. “Arresting and releasing them actually increases the confidence of the violent offenders, because it leads them to believe they can get away with it.”
Gingrich’s formula for riot control has my endorsement: “When faced with a mob with a high potential for violence and property destruction, the streets should be flooded with the forces of civilization. If on the first night, the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota had fielded the 13,000-member National Guard there would have been no violence.” The sooner the violence is contained, the better. “Massive strength leads to the smallest loss of life and the least property damage,” Gingrich says. “It also discourages others from joining the violent faction.”
If we are to regard the US as a civilized nation, our civil society cannot be sacrificed to the mob. It is not too late for decisive action. These animals must be stopped before all is lost. When you are afraid to leave your home, when your supermarket runs out of food, when the police are not there to protect you, believe me—you will wish that the violent demonstrators and their Democratic Party enablers had been nipped in the bud.