Illustration: Sequoia Blankenship
There have been some strange events lately in law enforcement, and I imagine some of you have been struck by the same thought I have: "What the heck is going on?" Let's take the growing trend of violent "protests" (which we used to call "riots") that have been allowed to occur in select locations all over our country. The media like to call these "organic movements" in an attempt to associate them with such legitimate grassroots movements as the Tea Party. But those of us who observe these "movements" know this is classic Leftist violence, and nothing about it is spontaneous.
Recently several officers from one of my old agencies got hurt near a busy downtown intersection while dealing with a "peaceful protest" against the efforts of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). When the officers tried to open the roadway, the demonstrators suddenly acted in a not uncommon, choreographed response. Screaming and suddenly falling down in a bad imitation of professional soccer players, some "protesters" acted as if the police were suddenly beating them. One rather large individual had to be carried from the street, and several officers were assaulted from behind during the melee.
My wife, the Sarge, dealt with these folks' mid-western cousins several years ago when "anarchists" came to express their anger at an economic conference in the Chicago area. A picture of the Sarge in her bike shorts, carrying a "family pack" OC spray, soon appeared on the landing page of the group's website. The difference between then and now is that back then law enforcement leadership wasn't concerned with the doting media's regard for the protesters; the well-being and safety of the officers was paramount. While watching news reports of the recent violence and arrests in my old jurisdiction, the Sarge shouted at the television, "Where are the helmets?"
Our leadership needs to understand that these rioters, these self-proclaimed "anti-fascists," are in fact fascists. They are now the "Brown Shirts" running around closing campuses and intersections, and it is time to call them out. History teaches us that Fascism is a left-wing movement that is birthed when the elites unite with the mob and focus on a single group as "the outsider;" an obvious example of this is the anti-Semitism of the early 1900s. We are seeing this today as the media and elites adore the "protestors" and continue to promulgate falsehoods about the rioters, as well as about law enforcement.
I recently read that George Orwell's' 1984 and Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism are again bestsellers among the young because they fear the current administration. If these kids actually read them like I did they will wonder where the demonstrations were for the preceding eights years. American nationalism is allegiance to a principle of individual liberty, a dedication to freedom as a way of life, not some tribal need to worship an ideology of authoritarian rule or a class of Guardians dictating from on high.
American law enforcement stands as the key to a civil society. Regardless of the media's bizarre opinion of us, we must stand by our belief that we are first and foremost protectors of life, liberty, and property; that is why we take our oaths so seriously. I keep hearing how law enforcement needs to "heal" its relationship with "the people;" yet "the people," when actually polled, have tremendous faith in the thin blue line.
Departments hoping to reach out to "alienated communities" are implementing training designed to: make us feel bad about who we are; encourage us to try to diagnose the "root cause" of a miscreant's bad behavior; and tempt us to hesitate to do our job for fear of prosecution or punishment. This is a recipe for disaster where officer safety is concerned.
We need to understand that violence is preprogrammed in the modern "Social Justice" (anarchist) movement, and encourage our administrators to plan accordingly; they need to realize that nothing short of actual law enforcement actions will stop the anarchy. Aggressively documenting, arresting, and prosecuting the offenders is critical; this seems to be a lesson from the past that we have forgotten.
Finally, the safety of responding officers must be an essential part of planning regardless of the media's perspective. And we must have faith that the vast majority of the American people want a Civil Society, not a Big Brother.
Dave Smith is an internationally recognized law enforcement trainer and is the creator of "JD Buck Savage." You can follow Buck on Twitter at @thebucksavage.