In my three decades as a media critic, this summer’s huge effort by the press to cover up the endless rioting by George Floyd’s mourners has been its most shameless and shameful episode yet.
Until very recently, a remarkable number of naive Americans had fallen for the mainstream media’s repetitions that the Peaceful Protesters were not—repeat, not—looting and burning. The MSM has been in such flat-out denial mode that it hasn’t even bothered to concoct exculpatory euphemisms for the riots, such as Retail Mourning, Do-It-Yourself Reparations, or Arson for Equity.
Even last week a new report from a leftist think tank, the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, admitting to the immense number of violent demonstrations during this Summer of George was spun by the media as proving that all those boarded-up shops near you don’t exist. CNN, for example, declaimed:
About 93% of racial justice protests in the US since the death of George Floyd have been peaceful and nondestructive, according to a new report. The findings, released Thursday, contradict assumptions and claims by some that protests associated with the Black Lives Matter movement are spawning violence and destruction of property.
About 7,750 of those protests were linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, the report states. Peaceful racial justice protests took place in more than 2,440 locations across all 50 states and Washington, DC—violent demonstrations occurred in fewer than 220 locations, according to the report.
In other words, there have been riots in almost 220 different cities. Now, to you and me, riots in approximately 218 places might sound like a lot, especially since there were multiple riots in many of these locations. For example, ACLED records 69 separate riots in Portland.
If you look at the data behind this report, you will see this leftist group has characterized 617 incidents in the U.S. since the death of George Floyd as “riots,” with 598 falling in the subcategory of “violent demonstrations” and 19 of “mob violence.”
A few were unassociated with Black Lives Matter or Antifa, such as a July 21 brawl in Los Angeles between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. But the vast majority of the 617 riots were related to the media-proclaimed Racial Reckoning.
Indeed, ACLED may be undercounting the number of lawbreaking events. For example, commenter Steppe-Optimized pointed out:
This is one of the real howlers. They count the Seattle CHOP as a peaceful protest…because the police stood down and let the rioters have their way.
Even with all the leftist biases, this is an eye-opening database for the sheer quantity of bad behavior it documents.
Because the media has spent the past half decade warning about the purported vast menace posed by the violent right while imposing a virtual embargo on all reporting about the much larger forces of the violent left, many credulous readers have assumed that the disorder must be due to right-wing “outside agitators.”
In reality, there was almost negligible rightist opposition for the first three months of rioting. The basic pattern has been the same all summer:
—A black criminal, such as George Floyd in Minneapolis, Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, or Jacob Blake in Kenosha, resists arrests and thereby comes to grief at the hands of the police.
—Local black youths begin to joyously loot neighborhood stores.
—The next night, white Antifa arrive and break glass, set fires, and attack the police.
—Gangs launch expeditions against expensive stores in white neighborhoods.
One novel development this year has been these semiorganized raids by caravans of looters on expensive shopping streets. While Rodney King-era rioters mostly just walked to the corner in their own dingy neighborhoods to break into liquor stores and birthday-party supply shops, this summer’s Restorative Ransackers have used social media to converge en masse on elite shoe stores that LeBron or Kanye might patronize.
For example, after a police shooting in Southern California last week, the police department in wealthy Santa Monica noticed that yet another pillaging was being organized on Instagram: “Looting Santa Monica at 7 p.m.”
Santa Monica had been stormed by buccaneers on May 31, and the cops were not in the mood to let it happen again. The Santa Monica Outlook reported:
An hour later—as called for in the Instagram post—caravans of rental cars began exiting the freeway and traveling in rows of three to five towards the Downtown. Officers began pulling over drivers who violated the traffic code, [officer Candice] Cobarrubias said. “As soon as we started doing traffic stops the others would leave,” she said. “As soon as they saw the officers, they veered off.”
This alert response succeeded in scaring off the bandits.
The pattern of the looting was similar to that in other cities like Chicago, she said. “It’s the same M.O. (modus operandi). Organized groups are renting cars and driving in caravan style. They meet outside the targeted area and drive in,” she said.
Who are these pirates?
While many of the rental cars used in Santa Monica had out-of-state plates, those inside were mostly young residents of the Los Angeles area, with a few from Northern California, Cobarrubias said.
I’m guessing they tend to be South Central criminal gangs and their associates. From Los Angeles magazine, an account of the May 31 Sack of Santa Monica:
I was in Santa Monica that afternoon, on my way to the protests when a caravan of luxury vehicles brimming with passengers arrived on the scene, leaving a strong scent of cannabis in their wake…. [What] I witnessed was a well-planned organized heist that used the protestors as a shield and a diversion for their own nefarious purposes…. [About] 25 people spilled out of their autos and onto the street. They appeared to be highly organized. As they fanned across the neighborhood, a few people yelled out orders from inside their idling vehicles, waving this small army from one target to another with military precision. I watched as one group would break into the stores, smashing the windows with their hammers and screwdrivers. When the doors were finally breached, a second group would file in with empty duffel bags and emerge a few minutes later with their bags full. Then they would jump back into waiting vehicles and speed away to the next target.
But this reporter refuses to mention the race of the criminals he observed.
In general, law-abiding Hispanics have seemed unenthusiastic about Black Lives Matter this summer, but in Los Angeles, Mexican and Salvadoran gangs outnumber and out-organize black gangs. In Chicago, though, the repeated raids upon the Magnificent Mile appear to have been largely black.
Who are the various flavors of rioters?
Unfortunately, the well-funded press has done little reporting on even the basic demographics of rioters. I suspect there are four main types:
—The initial looters hitting Targets and Walmarts tend to be local black kids.
—In some cities, such as Oakland, there are black radical organizations that riot fairly frequently.
—The whiter, more political vandals who smash the windows of unlootable venues like Starbucks (what are they going to steal: coffee stirrers?) and burn police stations are Antifa.
—The more organized raiders of upscale shopping streets tend to be criminal gangs and their hangers-on.
Who make up Antifa?
One thing that is clear is that Democrats’ conspiracy theories about white supremacist outside agitators have failed to pan out despite three months’ opportunity to prove their case. On May 30, Minneapolis’s feckless progressive mayor Jacob Frey tweeted:
We are now confronting white supremacists, members of organized crime, out of state instigators, and possibly even foreign actors to destroy and destabilize our city and our region.
But the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported this month:
Of the dozens of people charged so far with crimes related to the riots, none have been publicly linked to white nationalist groups.
Moreover, no evidence of Putin’s spetsnaz commandos air-dropping from their base in Murmansk into Minneapolis, Portland, and Kenosha has turned up.
After all these years of Antifa violence in the streets, we still know very little about their makeup because the press hasn’t been interested in reporting on them.
Judging from mug shots, they tend to be ugly people with bad teeth and even worse taste in grooming.
A remarkable fraction in Portland are some version of transgender. Oregon has offered free transsexual health services for several years, so perhaps the state attracts this type of mentally ill person from across the country?
Also common are drug addicts, sex offenders, punk rock fans, educators, and general lowlifes who have personal reasons for hating cops. On the other hand, they don’t seem particularly interested in stealing nice things the way the black looters are.
The riots tend to go on the longest in places like Portland where there are few blacks, so it’s easier to theorize about what they must be like.
Not many whites in Detroit (if any are left) feel like rioting in the name of black impunity. In fact, Detroit blacks seem chastened by what they did to the city from 1967 onward, with Detroit’s white mayor and black police chief speaking out forcefully against riots this summer with good effect.
Ethnically, Antifa arrestees tend to be of Anglo or German stock, with not that many Catholics or Jews. (There has been little Antifa rioting in heavily Jewish cities like New York and Los Angeles.) Some are from affluent backgrounds, but more appear from their lack of orthodontic care to have always been fairly downscale.
Are Antifa led by behind-the-scenes masterminds? Perhaps, but their actions don’t seem anywhere near as clever as, say, those of Hong Kong demonstrators. They seem to mostly succeed by having Democratic politicians on their side.
Are Antifa being funded with George Soros’ money? I don’t know. To me, what they are doing doesn’t look all that expensive, especially during a time when government cash is flowing to the unemployed.
My impression is that the Soros family has recently been pouring its money into a more respectable way to cause chaos in the streets: by funding anti-law-and-order district attorneys in elections across the country. For example, one of the most consequential races this November will be in giant Los Angeles County, where the Soroses are funding a white male leftist challenger against the incumbent black woman district attorney Jackie Lacey because they object to her effective anti-crime stance.
What can be done about the rioting?
As with the huge increase this year in black crime, the first step is to tell the truth about how bad it has been. In particular, please mock the influential for the stupidity of their spin.
One obvious response to looting is shooting, which gets the deterrent message through quickly and vividly.
For example, the teenage marksman Kyle Rittenhouse appears to have single-handedly ended the Kenosha riots by shooting the three Antifa who attacked him. The Texas Rangers cherish the phrase “One Riot, One Ranger,” but in Kenosha, it was “One Teen, No Riot.”
On the other hand, the press is positively salivating over the prospect of getting some Horst Wessel-type Antifa lowlife, or, ideally, some angelic black youth killed so they can blame it on Trump. If Biden can’t get the job done, the deep state very much wants a Color Revolution in Washington this November and it will gladly sacrifice a few BLM or Antifa thugs to accomplish its ends.
So, it’s imprudent to shoot many rioters.
Alternatively, the Constitutional authorities could impose rule of law by prosecuting the guilty, as the Tory government did after the 2011 London Riots. Just like in the U.S. in 2020, these free-for-alls began with the police shooting a black criminal, followed by yet another peaceful protest, then the usual giant orgy of criminality.
Many at the time assumed that the looters would of course get away scot-free. But England was thoroughly wired with video cameras, so Her Majesty’s Government put hundreds of detectives to work scanning the tapes and then arrested 3,000 surprised and indignant rioters.
In 2020, U.S. cities have many high-definition cameras. Plus, there now exists facial recognition software that is extraordinarily accurate, at least with the unmasked.
Of course, the fundamental problem is political rather than technical: Democratic governors and mayors haven’t wanted to arrest the criminals.
But it would be reasonable after Nov. 3 to treat race rioting as a federal civil rights offense. Rioting over race should be treated as a hate crime and punished accordingly.
After all, one lesson of 2020 is that the country will have to be reorganized on the unifying principle that the equal protection of the laws applies to all races, not just to the privileged ones. To survive, the United States of America can no longer afford to treat some races as above the law.
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