“Lawlessness is lawlessness. Anarchy is anarchy is anarchy. Neither race nor color nor frustration is an excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy.” — Thurgood Marshall
Eric Adams, the incoming mayor of New York City, met last week with Hawk Newsome, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter (BLM) of Greater New York, and about a dozen other members of the organization. According to local Fox5 TV, Newsome threatened “riots, fire and bloodshed” if Adams reinstated the NYPD’s controversial anti-crime unit. That unit was disbanded last year due to rioting that followed the murder of George Floyd. The unit was credited with reducing some violent crime in the city, but also blamed for a spate of police shootings that targeted residents of Black and brown communities.
Adams reacted by saying he won’t stand for inflammatory language or threats. Good for him. One hopes Adams, a former police officer, follows through. There is far too much intimidation from groups that have never held public office or been held accountable for their actions. BLM is not alone. We can also include the Proud Boys, followers of QAnon and the riotous MAGA crowd that stormed our Capitol on Jan. 6.
Looting and destruction of property seems to have become the norm in major cities. Prosecutors and judges do not appear to enforce the law so much as see the criminals as victims of society’s main ills — racism, poverty, ignorance. They seem to care less about the real victims, who are business owners and law-abiding citizens.
When BLM burst on the scene, many white people, including friends of mine, engaged in virtue signaling by putting the group’s logo on their social media pages and their signs in their front yards. Large companies contributed money. Few — and virtually none in the media — delved into the philosophy and background of BLM.
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank, did. It found a 2015 interview with BLM leaders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi in which Cullors said, “Myself and Alicia in particular are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists.” That same year, reported Heritage, “Tometi was hobnobbing with Venezuela’s Marxist dictator Nicolas Maduro of whose regime she wrote: ‘In these last 17 years, we have witnessed the Bolivarian Revolution champion participatory democracy and construct a fair, transparent election system recognized as among the best in the world.’”
Venezuelans who have fled the country would disagree. Others who have stayed struggle to obtain basic needs, including medicine, food and lifesaving surgery.
The threats of anarchy in New York and elsewhere should be met with a promise from Adams. He should announce that if people break the law they will be arrested and put in jail. If they destroy property or loot, they will be forced to pay back businesses several times the value of the property. If they are on government assistance, their payments will be reduced or eliminated until the debt is paid. Gun ownership should be made easier for business owners and private citizens. Those intent on breaking the law should be advised if they threaten someone with a weapon the targeted person will have the support of the legal system if he or she shoots in self-defense.
Coddling criminals invites more lawlessness. Watch videos of people looting stores in San Francisco with no reprisals. Watch video of the Capitol riot. Police seem afraid to intervene, given the anti-police sentiment. Shop owners, too. Criminals rule in many of our cities. Leftist judges and district attorneys who let them get away with their crimes, or minimize their penalties, should be voted out of office in cities where they are elected, just as is now being done with some school board members who have promoted teaching of subjects opposed by parents.
Eric Adams should not be bullied. Thurgood Marshall would likely have had his back.
Cal Thomas may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.