While the debate rages over whether President Trump is “a threat to the Constitution” or just trying to protect the very businesses in the U.S. that have been decimated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is at this point a matter of perspective.
Those on the far-left believe that he’s trying to install a dictatorial police state while those on the far-right believe that he’s acting within the framework of the Constitution and isn’t doing anything that a dozen other Presidents had not done. The Insurrection Act of 1807, which President Trump mentioned invoking, has been invoked 20 times by 11 different presidents. Among them President George H.W. Bush after Hurricane Hugo and the L.A. Riots of 1992, and John F. Kennedy (three times) for enforcing desegregation in the early ‘60s.
Regarding the differing opinions on the situation, neither side will budge an inch and any hope of a discussion will disappear like flatulence in the wind. The rest of the Americans who are in the middle, are left trying to figure out what exactly is going on and how they should proceed.
While a lot of the protests surrounding the death of George Floyd have been peaceful, trying to write off the widespread looting going on in the country as just perpetrated by a small segment of the population is misguided at best.
Former general and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis statement regarding the president was plastered all over the news. But while his statement was extraordinary in itself, one part of it stands out, “We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers.” Yet, the numbers as will be shown below, do not support Mattis’s claim of a small number of lawbreakers.
I spoke with a couple of Marines regarding Mattis’s comments. Most felt that his comments were more personal than professional in light of their scathing nature towards Trump. One Marine had this to say:
“Then LTC Mattis wasn’t on the ground in LA [in 1992], but he was part of the 1st Marine Division as CO of 1st Bn 7th Marines in Twentynine Palms at the time. Point being that as a field grade officer his own division participated in the same type of thing he is now condemning, but he has never condemned sending in federal troops during 1992 or in the ~30 years since it took place.”
The rioting and looting are spread across the country as some people are taking advantage of the protests to either line their own pockets or create an agenda. Many believe that those people are outsiders.
However, trying to compare the current situation in Los Angeles with the 1992 riots after the Rodney King verdict or even the 1965 Watts riots is very difficult: The majority of the current protests have been peaceful, despite the looting going on in many cities. In 1992 there were no peaceful protests. Additionally, in 1965, 34 people were killed in the violence. In 1992, another 63. Illustratively, in Watts this week, peaceful protestors and police marched and took a knee together.
Also, both the Watts riots and the 1992 rioting, while lower decimating L.A. neighborhoods like Watts and Koreatown, barely touched the more affluent parts of L.A. The rioters in 1992 moved west of LaBrea Avenue. This time, however, the richer parts of L.A. were hit hard.
The damage done to businesses in 1992 was largely confined to the Los Angeles area. In the aftermath of the George Floyd death, there has been reported looting in more than 25 U.S. cities and many insurance experts believe that the cost to the businesses looted will surpass the $775 million in damages — compared to $1.42 billion in today’s dollars, that were suffered in the 1992 riots following the Rodney King verdict.
Likewise, the 1992 riots were mainly confined to L.A. Whereas, now, the National Guard has been called out to 24 different states to protect people, businesses, and property. A sampling of some larger cities shows the widespread damage done. ClaimsJournal.com indicates the below:
In Pittsburgh, the Public Safety Department reported that 50 businesses and properties in the downtown area were damaged. The Downtown Seattle Association reported that 50 businesses were damaged downtown and in the neighboring Chinatown-International District. The Chicago Loop Alliance said that at least 45 properties were damaged in the downtown area by rioting that also spread into the city’s suburbs. In Madison, Wisconsin, 75 businesses were damaged and some were looted.
In regard to the allegation that outsiders are taking advantage of the current protests, a very good example is once again L.A. In L.A. Jewish store owners and synagogues were being targeted with owners being subjected to racist, antisemitic slurs while trying to clean up after their businesses were looted.
Aryeh Rosenfeld told the Jerusalem Post that he received a notice that his store was being looted. Upon arriving, he saw men stealing his computer. “I chased [them] down and got them to drop the computer,” he said. Rosenfeld added that on late Saturday night people were driving down the Fairfax district streets in L.A. screaming, “effing Jews,” at them.
The JP also posted another interview that showed how some are highjacking the protests for their own agendas that go entirely against the racial equality message.
“Israeli-born philanthropist and activist Adam Milstein, who lives in Los Angeles, concurred. He said, ‘The Jewish community is in denial. The fact that synagogues got tagged and Jewish businesses were looted with [signs saying] ‘Free Palestine’ and ‘Kill the Jews,’ is not a coincidence. The rioters are Antifa and Black Lives Matter and they are inherently antisemitic.'”
The National Guard units can handle the current situation, just like they did in 1992. At the time, in L.A., the Guard units handled the rioting and the arrival of the Marines and 7th Infantry Division was really not required and plummeted the Guard troops’ morale. The active-duty military is not needed for this current situation.
However, proper planning and preparation, by having several units of the military on alert in case they are needed, is just doing what the military always does.
Finally, the message was lost somehow and needs to be added (perhaps too late) that the Guard units are not and should never be called out to put down peaceful protests. But the looters are a totally different scenario. The Trump administration needs to clarify that.
Would anyone be listening?