Last week, social media was flooded with blacked out images captioned #blackouttuesday. In response to the unfortunate death of George Floyd, people all over the country were expressing compassion for the black community by peaceful demonstrations of solidarity and by posting their support online. Despite most of the country still in various stages of lockdown due to COVID-19, large crowds have been regularly gathering in the streets to protest police brutality. Another group is taking advantage of the situation, choosing to loot and set fire to small businesses, promoting violence and rioting.
The protests and riots are being portrayed as all part of the same movement, but are they? The mainstream media is not widely reporting on the different groups hijacking peaceful protests. There are three different groups at play here: the protesters, Antifa, and looters…each with their own agenda. Antifa is using this crisis to cause terror by damaging private property, physically harming others, and promoting violence and harassment. When these different groups are viewed as one whole, facts and motives become muddled, and confusion results. We must differentiate them for clarity.
In Grand Rapids, MI, there were peaceful protesters in Rosa Park Circle last Saturday. A few hours after the protest ended, around 7 pm, a whole new group — thought to have come from the greater Grand Rapids area — arrived at the police station and began rioting. A police officer I interviewed in Grand Rapids, who requested anonymity, said this was unlike anything she had ever seen. Some are saying that they have not seen anything like this since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
The rioters were attempting to break into the Secretary of State’s Office, which is connected to the police station, by throwing homemade bombs, attempting to make their way into the police department. Additionally, over 100 businesses were broken into and looted, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. The rioters seem oblivious and unconcerned about the potential legal consequences of their actions and how ineffective they are in changing policy.
The right to peaceably assemble and the right to freedom of speech are protected by the Constitution, but there is no right of protection for those who incite violence and destruction. The murder of George Floyd was inexcusable and unjust. Because we live in America with a rule of law, justice is being served as we speak. What we are seeing portrayed as a general uprising is a coalition of different groups using this crisis for their own ends, manipulating the situation.
In response to these events, former Freedom Conference speaker and black conservative activist Candace Owens wrote that “we are doing nothing but hurting ourselves.” I agree with her sentiments. These riots are putting innocent people at risk. Owens brings attention to what happened in Chicago and Detroit when race riots started in the 60’s. Business owners pulled up stakes and left the looted areas in the aftermath. As a result, those areas became depressed and crime ridden. The long-term damage and effect of these events could turn out to be catastrophic, as many business owners were already on the brink of going out of business permanently due to COVID-19. In Grand Rapids, businesses near the police station were hit particularly hard, and many have now been boarded up for protection. This could be disastrous in cities, particularly if Coronavirus begins spreading rapidly again.
The Left is using these events as a weapon to inflame violence and hate by pointing the finger at white supremacy, police officers, and angry business owners, labeling innocent people racist. As Owens stated, “…the result will be that black neighborhoods are decimated, black people are arrested, and black families are impoverished, while white liberal politicians will stump on our issues, pretending to be a shoulder to cry on. They will tell us it’s because of systemic oppression and we will believe it and repeat the same bull**** again, every four years.”
The hijacking of the protests by rioters and Antifa is causing confusion and fear in the country. By pitting people against one another, leftists are cultivating anxiety and anger, which increases the likelihood of chaos and violence. The fact is, most people find racism un-American and believe that we have a system where there is equal justice under the law. However, that does not preclude the idea that evil exists in the world, and it always will.
America has a tiered justice system. This system consists of a rule of law, built on a Western culture rooted in a Judeo-Christian ethics, that recognizes the equal worth and dignity of all men as created by, and in the image of, a good and loving God. This philosophy holds that all men are created equal, and in the case of the pursuit of justice, innocent until proven guilty. In that case, one must be proven guilty by evidence presented to a jury of one’s peers. Our representative republic means that we vote for fellow citizens to do the people’s business of making laws that protect the natural rights and responsibilities of each member of society. Our elected officials work with local police officers through local government to ensure liberty, equal opportunity, and safety for all. As Americans, we believe and trust in that system. That is what makes the George Floyd tragedy so hard to accept. We want, and should be able, to expect more. George Floyd cannot be brought back to life, but the officers involved in his death are being charged and justice is being served quickly in this matter.
There’s another thing to consider: riots and violent protests are tactics commonly used to bring ‘revolution’ and socialist change, as seen in recent history in countries such as Russia, China, Cuba, and Venezuela. The people there have no true representative government, nor any power to effect change through legal means. One can see, looking at these countries, how their ‘revolution’ does not result in more freedom for citizens. Quite the opposite, in fact. The result is much more power and wealth for the few at the top and living in fear and poverty for the rest.
While concerned citizens raise their voices in grief and solidarity for the black community, Antifa is working on effecting their ‘revolution’ by fanning the fires of hate and misunderstanding. The media seem to be helping foment the anger as they spin information to fit the narratives of white against black, police against blacks, as well as the myth of a fully racist America and anti-capitalist propaganda. This is about certain, nefarious groups pitting people against one another for their own ends. For Antifa, it is the death of America. For the media and those in Hollywood, it is the defeat of President Trump. For the globalists, it is the death of a sovereign America and free market capitalism. For the looters, it is free stuff.
The principle that America was founded on — that all men are created equal — is still one that animates us today. We are not perfect, but we will keep trying to uphold justice for all–and especially for George Floyd right now.This aim has remained true throughout our history and is apparent by the heartfelt outcry of all Americans, of every race, for justice to be served for Floyd.