by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It is hard to tell what the current revolutionary violence in our major cities is all about.
So far, hundreds of police have been injured, dozens of people have been killed, and we have seen billions of dollars in property and collateral damage.
Ostensibly, many of the summer demonstrations were in protest over the gruesome detention and death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.
Yet three months later, few of those trying to burn down a Portland police precinct — with police barricaded inside — or looting the high-end boutiques of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, or indiscriminately beating up innocent pedestrians, appear to be driven by Floyd’s death.
Apologists argue that the perfect-storm furor of June, July, and August was the dividend of a collective six-month fear over the COVID-19 pandemic that has, as of this writing, killed nearly 180,000 Americans.
The unprecedented national quarantine and the sudden, self-generated recession of a once-booming economy certainly added to the tensions.
Millions of youths were sequestered in their apartments and basements, unemployed, without school, and worried over their career prospects. Many simply wanted to vent their rage at the world and almost everything in it.
The media romanticized the “summer of love” unrest and downplayed the violence. Newspapers ran bizarre photo essays on the chic garb at the protests — umbrellas, leaf blowers, wooden shields, armor, and colored bike helmets.
Many in the street seemed as interested in taking selfies as they were in smashing windows.
Some cite furor directed at President Trump, the tensions of an election year, and the weaponization of almost every current issue by both political parties.
Still others claim that the violence is mostly careerist-driven. Demands are made to fire ideological enemies and hire partisan friends.