Rioting has become routine in America over the last year. At least one state is doing something about it.
The Florida state GOP has advanced a bill that would ratchet up the penalties for civil unrest, the Washington Examiner reported. After a white police officer accidentally shot Daunte Wright, a black man, in Minnesota, the state has made a proactive move in anticipation of civil unrest.
The state legislature passed the bill with a 23-17 vote. Some of the proposed changes include stiffer penalties for crimes like burglary, vandalism, and assault and battery committed during civil unrest. Also, new crimes against “mob intimidation or defacing or damaging a memorial or historic property” will be created.
The bill also grants civil legal immunity to drivers who are forced to advance through a roadblock of protestors and makes it more difficult for municipalities to defund police. In addition, people arrested while participating in the riot or committing a crime during it will not be permitted to post bail until after their first appearance in court.
“We can’t allow riots and violence to prevail within our society,” Florida GOP state Sen. Danny Burgess said. “We are a nation of law and order, and we need to govern ourselves as such.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill since he has been working on anti-riot measures since September. “Our right to peacefully assemble is one of our most cherished as Americans, but throughout the country, we’ve seen that right being taken advantage of by professional agitators, bent on sowing disorder and causing mayhem in our cities,” the Republican governor said at the time. “I will not allow this kind of violence to occur here in Florida.”
Predictably, Democratic state legislators don’t support the bill. State Sen. Jason Pizzo quoted the First Amendment during proceedings about the bill and said it was hard to define a riot. He also claimed it wasn’t fair to penalize a crime based on the setting. “It is a fact-specific circumstance on the scene,” Pizzo, a former prosecutor, reportedly said.
There’s something wrong with riots becoming the default way to handle police shootings whenever there’s a white cop and a minority suspect involved. Democrats turn it into a battle cry as angry mobs burn down American cities regardless of the facts of the case. DeSantis is right to protect his constituents from the violence and mayhem the left is perfectly comfortable tolerating.