News & Politics

Georgia Governor Kemp to Deploy 1,000 National Guard Troops to Atlanta After City Explodes in Violence

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File

Over the weekend, the city of Atlanta exploded in violence as rioters tore into Georgia State Patrol headquarters, trashing the place, and 20 people were shot on Saturday alone.

Several other locations saw protesters clashing with police as Atlanta authorities seemed paralyzed with fear.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms decried the violence, begging the rioters, “This random wild, Wild West shoot-‘em-up because you can, has gotta stop. It has to stop.”

No word on whether she stomped her little foot while saying it.

Meanwhile, the adults in the room are going to take action. Governor Brian Kemp will deploy up to 1,000 National Guard Troops to protect public buildings in Atlanta.

AJC:

Gov. Brian Kemp will deploy as many as 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops to protect state buildings in Atlanta on Monday following a burst of violence across the city that left four dead, including an 8-year-old girl, and saw the ransacking of the headquarters of the Georgia State Patrol.

Kemp, a Republican, issued the emergency order after threatening late Sunday to “take action” to curb the unrest in Atlanta if Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms failed to do so, a move that highlighted the complicated, and increasingly tense, relationship between two of the state’s most prominent politicians.

Indeed, Bottoms is playing the old political game of forcing the governor to act while she stays above the fray. Kemp takes the heat, Bottoms gets plaudits for showing “restraint.” It’s cowardly and despicable, but there’s no one to call her out for it.

Kemp wants to deploy the troops around several critical buildings.

The National Guard troops will be dispatched to three locations in the city: The state Capitol, which has been the focus of protests over statues of segregationists and Civil War leaders; the Governor’s Mansion in Buckhead; and the recently vandalized Department of Public Safety building in southeast Atlanta.

“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead,” said Kemp. “This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city.”

State Democrats are accusing Kemp of ordering the troops to guard buildings where he works and where he lives. But instead of condemning the violence, they condemn Kemp for his response to the pandemic.

“For months, we have begged the governor to take serious steps to stop COVID-19 from decimating our communities, but he refuses,” said state Sen. Nikema Williams, who chairs the state Democratic Party.

“His choice to deploy National Guard troops for today’s selfish purpose is outrageous and will endanger lives.”

It’s a moronic criticism given the nature of the coronavirus and its impact on the black community, which Kemp has zero control over.

More than twice as many people in Atlanta have been shot since May 31 than the previous year, according to an AJC study. But one of the protest organizers tells us to pay no attention to bodies lying in the street. It’s “justice” that’s important.

Russell Trotter, who helped lead a “Rally for Reparations” event in downtown Atlanta on Independence Day, said the shootings over the weekend had nothing to do with the broader movement for racial justice.

“This is the thinking that is dividing us as a country and as a community,” said Trotter, co-founder of an Atlanta organization that calls itself The Black Agenda Group.

“We are bringing the National Guard in for protests, but we can’t even police our own community.”

Never has the incoherence of this “movement” been so obvious.

Order will be restored, but what of the future? Bottoms seems unwilling to do what’s necessary to keep the citizens of her city safe and is continuing her assault on the police. This is not going to end well for her or for Atlanta.