by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Restoring order to America’s cities isn’t a complicated proposition.
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.
As has been established across decades of civil disturbances, it is police passivity that emboldens mobs. 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.
Out-of-control looting is almost always a failure of municipal resolve or police tactics, and we have seen plenty of just such cowardice and foolishness over the last several days, most notably in Minneapolis, ground zero for this spasm of urban disorder.
In a display of sloppy wishful thinking at the worst possible time, the city’s leaders decided last week to vacate the third police precinct. Mayor Jacob Frey explained that they believed this would be “a way to both help de-escalate and prevent hand-to-hand combat.” Instead, it allowed for a major escalation, as protestors gleefully torched the police building, in the worst symbol of official abdication of this crisis so far.
During the first couple of nights of violence, Minneapolis barely managed to arrest anyone.
For his part, the governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, hesitated to mobilize the National Guard lest he seem “oppressive,” apparently unaware that his target audience wasn’t a social-justice seminar at Oberlin College but provocateurs and nihilists who were going to take every inch they were given and make it a mile of broken glass and looted goods.