Last night, NewsBusters captured CNN’s Don Lemon in full meltdown mode. Lemon spent close to 11 minutes melting down about the riots and missing one of the main storylines. Namely, that the whole country agreed on a great deal regarding the death of George Floyd until the rioters and looters got violent and destroyed a building national comity.
Lemon offered his throwaway line that “[n]o one condones what’s happening” and “[t]his is actually quite sad to watch.”
In the very next sentence, he undermined his case: “[I]t’s indicative of the pain and sadness in this country of people who feel they have no other alternative but to exhibit this behavior in our country. No other option. When you have nothing to lose, you have nothing to lose.”
The nation has everything to lose, and we have already lost the opportunity that the Floyd tragedy presented us — thanks to the violence Lemon saw on screens in his studio, and excused and failed to report accurately.
The nation from President Trump to local police officers and civilians left, right and middle agreed that based on the video, Floyd need not have died and that Officer Derek Chauvin acted out of bounds. The later autopsy report really doesn’t change that. It’s horrific to see one man holding another down with a knee to the neck, regardless of any other details. Add in the racial and police components and they compound the horror. And pretty much everyone agreed. This did not need to happen, and justice must be served.
Peaceful assembly and protest is so American it’s in the First Amendment along with several other bedrock human rights. No one had a problem with people taking peacefully to the streets to protest and be heard regarding Floyd’s death.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, is facing serious charges. The other officers on the scene that day likely will too. This is how things are supposed to work. The nation agreed.
Then the rioters came along, first looting a few stores in Minneapolis, then causing mayhem in cities all across the country. They burned the courthouse in Nashville, looted stores in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas and other cities. They damaged the capitol in Texas and got too close for comfort to damaging the Alamo in San Antonio.
They’re not rioting because they “have nothing to lose.” They’re rioting because they have some political goal and have no problem hurting people and property and destroying the country to achieve their goal. Or because they just love chaos and violence. Or some other non-reason that provides them no excuse.
The violence appears to have been coordinated nationally. Media could examine that. Some of it was certainly pre-planned, as evidenced by the “Molotov sisters,” Samantha and Darian Shader, who traveled 125 miles and participated in the violence in New York City Saturday night. Samantha Shader admitted she hurled a Molotov cocktail at a police vehicle with four officers inside. She now faces federal charges. Darian, the younger sister, allegedly bit a police officer trying to arrest her sister for throwing the Molotov.
Molotov cocktails require some assembly and preparation, suggesting that the sisters and their cohort pre-planned the violence. If that’s the case, it may be terrorism. They weren’t there just to peacefully protest, which is as American as apple pie. They were there to smash America.
If the riots are coordinated nationally, it could be approached as an interstate problem with a federal solution that takes it out of the hands of leftwing local mayors and DAs — and the local police departments that need to rebuild some local goodwill right now.
That’s one of the stories of the riots. Here’s another. We had a moment in which police officers themselves acknowledged the injustice done to Floyd and others. And the rioters took what unity there was and intentionally smashed it like so many broken windows and kicked out teeth.
Let’s not let them do that — not the rioters, and not media figures and celebrities like Lemon who excuse them.
Here’s something I saw last night. Like many large cities, Austin’s protest got violent and late Saturday night a gang of rioters looted first one then another storefront on 6th Street. I watched it play out on a local TV station’s live feed. After the first building was looted, a group of young men including white, black and Hispanic men stood in front of the store and put the broken security gate back up to keep others out. They stayed in place a minute or two, until the rioters moved away, guarding. None was armed as far as I could tell.
The rioters eventually hit a second store a couple of doors down. As the second building was being looted, I saw one black man try to enter the store. A second black man turned to him and happened to be facing the camera. He shouted “This is not why we’re here!” He blocked the other man’s way, convinced him not to loot, and they both stayed out of the store.
Here’s another positive story from Saturday night. In Kentucky, a white police officer was stranded in the chaos. As captured in photos, a group of black men formed a cordon with their bodies and shielded the white police officer from the riot.
Despite celebrity virtue signaling and media hand-wringing, supporting violence is not mainstream. Most Americans of all backgrounds do not want to smash the system. They were looking forward to the country reopening and now we’re seeing our cities come apart.
Anyone can find these stories even in the midst of heartrending chaos. It just requires looking for them. Why is it that mainstream media figures such as Don Lemon so seldom do?