Floyd unrest close to descending into a ‘war on cops’
In 2016, conservative scholar Heather Mac Donald wrote a book called “The War on Cops.”
Her premise was that the “Ferguson Effect” was making cops more tentative in enforcing the law, including confronting street thugs. The destructive rhetoric that fed the Ferguson Effect painted police as racists eager to gun down black men. It was named for Ferguson, Mo., where a white officer killed Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, during a 2014 confrontation.
Mac Donald’s argument was not well received in the liberal media. Newsweek called it “flawed logic and fantasy.” WNYC, the public radio station in New York, declared it “fake.” The website TechDirt.com characterized it as “pure bulls—.”
But in the violence that has erupted since the death of George Floyd, the black Minneapolis man who died while in police custody last week, critics would be hard pressed to prove Mac Donald wrong.
Within the past few days, as protests across America on Floyd’s behalf deteriorated into mob violence, police have been murdered and battered.
In Oakland, a federal law enforcement officer, Dave Patrick Underwood, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting, while a second officer was wounded. In other parts of the city 13 officers were injured during riots.
A Las Vegas officer was shot in the head and left on life support.
In St Louis, four cops were shot in one night. In New York City two police officers were hit by a motorist, while in Buffalo another scofflaw driver rammed through a police barricade and struck three officers, with one suffering a broken leg and pelvis.
In Madison, Wis., Las Vegas and Los Angeles, cops were pelted with rocks and other debris. One LA cop suffered a fractured skull.
In Washington, D.C., more than 60 Secret Service agents were sent to hospitals following a clash with rioters near the White House.
Thirteen cops were injured during a demonstration in Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, police cars and buildings are routinely vandalized and burned.
On one hand, such incidents are an occupational hazard. Police officers accept the responsibility of protecting the rest of society, and understand that sometimes comes with the risk of being injured, and perhaps killed
But on the other hand, the Floyd protests are different. Many are full-scale riots, and directed at the police. The mob’s mantra now is that police everywhere are just like those who arrested George Floyd and thus deserve to be brutalized.
Yet as Mac Donald described in her book, such violence results from an attitude expressed by politicians ready to abandon officers to the mob.
On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal editorialized about the chaos reigning in cities and states run by Democrats. One example by the Journal noted that two Philadelphia SWAT teams used tear gas and other devices to escape after rescuing a state trooper from a violent mob of more than 100 people. Mayor Jim Kenney then announced he would investigate the SWAT members for using tear gas. As the Journal noted, “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.”
And one thing they will feel further emboldened to do is attack and injure police officers who are the last line of defense for civilized society.
During these riots, we expect the wrongheaded and opportunistic thugs roaming the streets of America’s cities will claim cops are the enemy. But the more troubling aspect is the talk of politicians who have embraced their claims and think the police are more of a problem than the anarchy in their jurisdictions. That, more than anything, is laying the groundwork for a “war on cops” that is all too real.
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