I hope no one missed the irony in the Republican Convention kicking off its message that “no one will be safe in Biden’s America” within hours of right-wing protesters disrupting Idaho’s special legislative session. No one in Boise was seriously injured as the Capitol police and the Speaker of the House Scott Bedke worked to deescalate the conflict — just as Trump warned that Biden would do.
That night the Republican Convention featured a video of riots and looting that occurred (mostly) in Donald Trump’s America as a warning of what might happen in Joe Biden’s America. (That big fire, however, occurred in Barcelona, Spain.)
For many, the message was that Trump has increased the intensity of conflicts in America to the point that only someone willing to call in his own militia — and teargas a mayor —can restore order.
I’ve talked to Democrats deeply disturbed by the violence and looting accompanying Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the country. I’ve also heard from Republicans that demand that Democrats now be shamed and shunned by all. They anticipate the party’s demise.
An anonymous Democrat created a meme clarifying the issue. “Just to be clear: I support police officers, but not the ones who commit crimes. I support protesters, but not the ones who commit crimes. It really is THAT simple.”
Yes, it is.
Unsurprisingly, Republicans who see all Democrats at fault, don’t comprehend that they are in a parallel position. Many Americans see all Republicans guilty of supporting armed militias that bully elected officials and of condoning police killings of unarmed civilians.
I suspect many Republicans ignore violence by right-wing groups because it doesn’t threaten them; it’s such a constant in our country that it seems normal; and they don’t feel responsible for the actions of people they don’t even know.
Other Republicans, however, including well-known media pundits, applaud armed militias and brutal police.
A study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies states that since 2010 left-wing violence has killed 21; jihad violence, 95; and right-wing violence, 117. In 2019 “right-wing extremists perpetuated two-thirds of the attacks and plots in the United States.”
Moreover, our police kill far more persons each year than other major countries. In the most recent statistics, the number of police-caused deaths per 10 million people in the United States was 33.5; in Canada, 9.8; in Australia, 8.5; in Germany, 1.3; and in England and Wales, 0.5 (Prison Policy Initiative, June 5, 2020).
If the United States breeds so many more dangerous criminals, we need to figure out why. But seven bullets into the back of a man walking toward a car where three of his kids wait reveal a different, and equally serious, problem.
The fact the Kenosha police welcomed armed vigilantes really bothers me. Apparently, they felt that a gun and good intentions was all that’s needed for their job. Either they had little other training themselves or they felt it had been a waste of time.
You got a gun? You’re one of us.
Unarmed? You’re a curfew violator and deserve whatever happens.
Imagine this scene. A gunman with an AK-47 fires off some shots. People are startled and scared and scrambling for cover. But a few unarmed men step forward and risk everything to save others.
Anthony Huber, Joseph Rosenbaum, and Gaige Grosskreutz are heroes. Yes, they reached for Kyle Rittenhouse’s gun. No, that didn’t justify killing them.
Yet, Rittenhouse is lauded on Fox News and social media and within hours gets $100,000 toward his legal fees.
We live in sad times.