July 28, 2021

‘Mostly Peaceful’ Violence and Dueling Double Standards

Pictures matter. Images convey truths — and falsehoods — with an emotional impact that can amplify and sometimes completely overwhelm the messages imparted by words.

Consider the photo of the guy with the buffalo-horn headdress and naked midriff standing at the House speaker’s podium in the Capitol on Jan. 6. Or the video shot of a CNN reporter standing in front of fires blazing around burnt-out cars in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August.

Web surfers could discover that the buffalo horn-helmeted guy was always ready with an articulate line of patter, and television viewers could see the CNN chyron lamely characterizing the Kenosha protest as “fiery but mostly peaceful.”

But the pictures are what linger in the mind. The rationalizations and apologies some readily offer for these acts — the supposed stealing of the 2020 presidential election, the alleged epidemic of police shootings of unarmed black men — have nothing like the force of those pictures of wackos in the Capitol or rioters in Kenosha and other sites, including Lafayette Square in front of the White House.

These pictures of ebullient violence in symbolic civic space will have reverberations in politics and public life for years to come.

The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol failed to achieve its apparent goal: preventing the announcement of the Electoral College votes making Joe Biden the 46th president. But that action, following then-President Donald Trump’s speech to a crowd he summoned to the Ellipse, led to his impeachment by the House. That was not without justification: His words, as I wrote days later, “were uttered with a reckless disregard for the possibility they’d provoke violence that any reasonable person could find impeachable.”

They have also led to the construction of an ugly fence around the Capitol complex and the continued mobilization of thousands of National Guard troops — a perhaps-permanent militarization of our capital city.

We still need an explanation for why there were too few law enforcement and military personnel deployed to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6. Now there appear to be more than necessary. The sight of the Capitol fenced off from the petitioning and touristic public is not a happy picture.

Neither is life on many streets in America’s large cities, particularly in the mostly black neighborhoods. And it hasn’t been a happy picture since the video of the death of George Floyd on May 25 prompted multiple and extended “mostly peaceful” protests across the nation — and not just protests but murders.

With major police departments defunded, as Black Lives Matter spokesmen demanded, and with police officers avoiding the “hot spots” where intensive policing had astonishingly cut violent crime since the mid-1990s, murders skyrocketed from 2019 to 2020 — up 31%, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Academics placed some blame on the COVID-19 lockdowns, but there was no perceptible increase until Memorial Day weekend. And it’s not just a minor blip; the previous high percentage increase in murders, in 1968, was just 13%.

Multiple increases of that magnitude resulted in the national violent crime rate almost tripling from 1965 to 1976. As a law student, I worked in the mayor’s office in Detroit during the 1967 riot, and I can tell you what happens to major cities with sustained increases in violent crime: Very large parts of them are destroyed. That’s what I fear could happen again.

It’s all the more likely if liberal mayors and their cheerleaders in the press act as many did during the “mostly peaceful” BLM protests. Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted that it was “shameful” for federal police to use force to clear Lafayette Square on June 1. Those overrunning it tried to topple the statue of Andrew Jackson and started a fire in St. John’s Church, “the presidents’ church,” just to the north. That civic space was violated just as the Capitol was on Jan. 6.

Two days later, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton argued in The New York Times for sending the National Guard and federal troops into cities where rioting got out of hand, as was often done from 1967 in Detroit to 1992 in Los Angeles. That common-sense suggestion sent young Times journalists into tears, and they demanded — and got — the firing of editorial page editor James Bennet.

It’s easy to make fun of the double standard here, with Bowser decrying the active duty military being “used on American streets against Americans” in June and having no problem with it in January. Or with then-President Trump decrying rioters in June and spurring them on in January. But I fear we’re in for more unhappy pictures in the years ahead.

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.

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29 Responses

  1. Will not be reading your WORDS OF WISDOM any more. All I can read is leftist propaganda. Blaming Trump again and again. You people have no one to talk about so you slander and slander this great President.

      1. TALK ABOUT INCITING VIOLENCE AND RIOTING, WHAT ABOUT KAMALA HARRIS SAYING ON LIVE TV THAT SHE MARCHED WITH THE PROTESTERS WHOM HAVE BEEN PROTESTING SINCE MAY AND THEY WERE NOT AND ARE NOT PEACEFUL PROTEST. THEY HAVE BEEN VERY VIOLENT. LOOTING. DESTROYING POLICE BUILDINGS, KILLINGS OF THEIR OWN INNOCENT PEOPLE INCLUDING LITTLE CHILDREN, GOING FROM CITY TO CITY. BEING BAILED OUT BY KAMALA HARRIS WHOM ALSO STATED THAT SHE WAS BAILING THEM OUT. EVEN THOUGH SHE WOULD NOT EVEN GIVE A PRISONER LOCKED UP AS MUCH AS FOOD NOR WATER NOR EVEN JUST A SIP OF WATER. LET THAT SOAK IN, AND SHE IS OUR VICE PRESIDENT. WAKEUP AMERICA. TOO THE WHILES OF THE DEVIL IN JESUS MIGHTY NAME AMEN.

    1. I absolutely agree 100%! All they spew is slander! I will take them out of my phone now, they have absolutely nothing good to say. I Do Not need this garbage!!!!!

    2. Absolutely correct! This twit “writer” is obviously a dumocrap puppet – mental midget, no brains devotee of bumbling Biden, and the worthless dumocraps. I too am sick and tired of those idiots blaming our President Trump for everything bad that the dumocraps lackeys do and have done to our country. The way that idiot dictator Biden and his thugs are going, we will be lucky to have a country left by the end of the month.

    3. speaking of images I’m sure every one remembers the bus’s Antifa and BLM came in dressed up in trump costumes, and all the raiders that left Trumps speech so they could get there insurgence supplies, and the fact that the 2 bombs were planted the day prior according to the F.B.I.

  2. Time for the Democrat’s to come down hard on BLM and Antifa controllers BLM communist terrorists, Antifa raised by the left and Democrat’s. Will we ever see them in jail not if Harris has any say in the item she just bails them out again and again who is the criminal I ask ?

    1. Never happen… Those groups are the Democommies “brownshirts”. We’ll soon be seeing their “gestapo” in the form of a praetorian guard, the IRS, BATF, FBI and others being loosed on those Americans so naive as to believe that we still have a Constitutional government and Bill of Rights under the new regime. .

  3. Quite a slanderous article you wrote! What any reasonable human being would get from Trump calling for peaceful demonstrations leading to the riot at the Capital would be he that he SUPPORTED PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATIONS! Where is the outcry for the impeachment of Traitor Pelosi for not only supporting the riots that still plague our cities but stating that “they should continue”. She not only admitted to her treason but also to sedition. Why don’t you do something useful with your platform like write about that?

  4. What a ridiculous ‘article’. Bias much, Michael Barone??? That was pathetic. No wonder I’ve never heard of you before. I don’t read trash usually. Half the country KNOWS NONE OF THAT WAS TRUE, and it’s closing in on 2/3!

  5. The America Digest cites you, Barone, as ‘A Top Republican’??? You must be one of those ‘establishment republicans’ that have caused your President so much grief for the last 5 years. Shame on you. You should put your real label on your ‘work’ as a ‘Fake Republican’. You’re certainly NOT one of the TOP Republicans in our Party. Just tell everyone what you REALLY are… you can’t be a Republican when you don’t adhere to our Republican Platform, and you can’t adhere to our Republican Platform and be against Trump who was the BEST Republican there has been in my entire life, including Reagan whom I adored! for HIS Conservative/Republican stands (but he wasn’t strong enough to prevail like our President Trump WAS.) Is that why you hate Trump? Or why is it, exactly? Is it because he dissed Jeb and McCain, both only semi-Republicans, closer to Dems than Repubs ??? Trump PROVED himself to BE a TRUE Republican. When will YOU do the same???

  6. it is beyond absurd to think that the millions of peoples who had/have gathered together to cheer for Trump and MAGA on multiple occasions in states all across the USA peacefully;
    should all of a sudden create chaos and injury and damage in DC, this time only!
    Trump was never about violence, even when democrats were threatening and showing blood covered heads on stage etc etc…the maxine waters and the staci abrams are disgusting examples of what Trump had to endure and had to stay mum about during all these years since his election.
    and we all know who won this presidential election so don’t even get me started on the fraud

    1. Amen, and that’s where the problem lies. There must be honesty in government for the country to survive.

  7. Again as these treasonist grovement incouraged BLM to riot and made police not protect the people the demo did the attack on capital Jan 6 and r planning another one with trial Nancy bidumb Obama Hillary and Kamala along with other demo r behind these riots and need to be removed now .who were the busses let in capital last week Nancy at 2 am Nancy your police took them in what do u have planned more deaths .not on my watch I’ll expose u now and as long as u r alive

  8. Michael Barone you are so full of shiff your eyes are brown. The dangerous things that happened on 1/6 started BEFORE the President’s speech was over with. Telling people to peaceably walk to the Capitol bldg would only incite democrats.

  9. what lingers in my mind is the fact Pelosi and her family along with Schumer, Schiff, are the people who planned the Capital ordeal as is proven with pictures if someone really wants the truth. Her son in law is head of the deal.
    Newspaper already printed and was on streets descriptive articles/pictures prior to event time of article being 5:33 a.m. prior to OUR PRESIDENT EVEN SPEAKING 4-5 HOURS LATER!
    ALSO if you will listen to his speech no where does he use language real or suggested to cause the riot.
    Pictures clearly show it being planned with one man having his police bully gun laying ready to pick up after he has to beg the crowd to follow him up the stairs.

  10. Michael, you have swallowed the Kool Aid. The President did NOT! I repeat; He did NOT spur on rioters at any time. Encouraging his supporters to protest, but keep it peaceful and with no rioting is not encouraging a riot. The storming of the capital building occurred while he was still making his speech. This was another set-up by the despicable, disgusting, lying, cheating, bloody Democrats and their followers: ie BLM and Antifa. Stop listening to the MSM and reading the NYT.

  11. I remember the dictator Ceausescu in Romania acted the same as the democrats today always surrounded by high number of security and the palas were he lived was a miltary zone with no driving or walking on the surrounding streets ,remember dictators fal hard and this will be the end of this regime.

  12. The supposed stealing of the 2020 presidential election? There is evidence of other countries interfering with our elections and the person that wrote this seems to think it’s a supposed scenario. This article is a waist of space.

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