Philadelphia businesses endured several nights of looting and vandalism last week after a judge dismissed all criminal charges against a former police officer who shot and killed Eddie Irizarry.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “The plans to break into, vandalize, and steal from Philadelphia businesses on Tuesday night were not much of a secret.” The Inky even offers a reason or excuse for the vandals: “It’s the only way they hear us.”
I’ve heard that before. That’s what the protesters told us during the “mostly peaceful” protests after the death of George Floyd. Those who have heard everything about January 6 have heard it too.
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Vandalism, rioting, and looting have become familiar scenes across the American landscape since the summer of 2020, which followed the death of George Floyd.
As the George Floyd riots took place, the media and leading Democrats stood in front of burning buildings and destroyed city blocks and told Americans they were “mostly peaceful protests.”
Democrat politicians, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, called the events in the aftermath of Floyd’s death “righteous indignation” and “righteous protests.” Living in Minneapolis, where Floyd died, I witnessed a police precinct burned to the ground and more than 1,500 businesses worth over $500 million across the Twin Cities destroyed, according to a Minneapolis Star-Tribune report.
I believe most people who came to the initial protests were there to make their voices heard, and most came with no intention of committing acts of violence. However, some came with bad intent, and others decided to join in as the destruction and looting began. I believe the same can be said about the January 6 Capitol riot. The same probably happened in Philly last week.
As the riots spread to other cities across the United States, most Americans knew these were hardly “peaceful protests.” Anybody who had their business looted or burned wouldn’t find anything righteous about the protests, but these are the narratives the media and Democrats sold to Americans during the summer of 2020.
Making their voices heard is a common theme between the George Floyd protests, the looters in Philadelphia last week, and the protesters at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Stories from the Associated Press, the Washington Post, and NBC News each quote protesters who either didn’t give their name or only provided a first name, saying, “We’re here to make our voices heard” or “I’m here to make my voice heard.” The Inquirer also doesn’t mention the name of the person who said, “It’s the only way they hear us.”
During the January 6 rally, Trump himself said, “I know everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
If your cause is politically correct, the consequences for bad behavior are minimal.
The media and Democrats called the destruction done during the summer of 2020 “mostly peaceful” and justified behavior that led to over $2 billion in damages and losses, not to mention 35 deaths and 15 times more police injuries than on January 6. By the evening of the Capitol riot, the “insurrection narrative” was firmly planted.
Despite the tears at the purely showbiz-style January 6 Committee hearings, there was one death during the riot, and it wasn’t a police officer. It was a protester named Ashli Babbit. She was shot dead by a Capitol police officer who was cleared of all charges without any public hearing.
Rioters did no permanent damage at the Capitol, and there was plenty of opportunity to destroy priceless and irreplaceable historic artifacts. However, some stole items, such as the infamous scene of a guy walking out with a podium.
Like those who rioted and looted at the Capitol, those who terrorized Philadelphians and their businesses last week deserve punishment.
The longest sentence for a January 6 rioter is 24 years. Another received eighteen years. Over 600 have been charged, and about 400 are serving jail time, with most sentences ranging from ten months to seven years. However, at least a dozen are doing eight years or more, including Zachary Rehl of Philadelphia, who received fifteen years in prison and three years of supervised release.
So, what should happen to the rioters who left a trail of destruction from Center City to the Great Northeast, where they emptied an Apple Store, Luluelemon, GameStop, J.D. Sports, Patriot Pharmacy, Footlocker, and eighteen state-run liquor stores? (Those are just the ones the Inquirer mentions.)
What happened in Philadelphia over the past week wasn’t because angry people wanted to make their voices heard, as the Inquirer reported. It was because the thugs responsible for the damage knew they would face few consequences.
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While thousands were arrested during the summer of 2020, no cash bail or bail provided by organizations like the Bail Project, National Bail Out, and the Minnesota Freedom Fund (Vice President Kamala Harris donates to each) have provided millions of dollars to help bail out people arrested for crimes associated with the riots of summer 2020.
The Hill reported that most protesters were booked not for violent crimes but for low-level offenses such as curfew violations. Obstructing roadways and carrying open containers were other reasons for the arrests and “failure to disperse.” Right, and everybody at the Capitol was dangerous and carrying a gun.
In particular, what is the proper sentence for 21-year-old Dayjia Blackwell, better known to her social media followers as “Meatball”? She was so brazen that “Meatball” played a cat-and-mouse game with the police, telling the looters where to strike next, and they were clearly listening.
Whatever the worst of the “Proud Boys” received is what “Meatball” deserves.
It’s long past time to stop permitting shoplifting. I’ll never understand why rioting and looting were allowed in June 2020. When the riots in Minneapolis were allowed to grow after the first night, and the media and Democrat politicians said they were “mostly peaceful protests,” they sent a signal across the country that if your cause is politically correct, the consequences for bad behavior are minimal.
If the January attack on the Capitol was a “threat to democracy,” the vandalism and looting in Philadelphia last week, like during the summer of 2020, is a threat to the rule of law and civilization as we know it. It’s time for the Philadelphia DA’s office to protect the residents who make Philadelphia a great city.
Andy Bloom is President of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He has programmed legendary stations including WIP, WPHT and WYSP/Philadelphia, KLSX, Los Angeles and WCCO Minneapolis. He was Vice President of Programming for Emmis International, Greater Media Inc. and Coleman Research. Andy also served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio). He can be reached by email at email@example.com or you can follow him on Twitter @AndyBloomCom.