That story about "outsiders" rioting didn't age well

Yesterday, while waiting for the SpaceX launch, I watched a number of public statements given by governors and mayors of large cities regarding the ongoing riots in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Atlanta, Chicago and elsewhere. If you did also, you probably noticed one interesting feature that all of them had in common. Now, I’m not saying that they held some sort of meeting in advance to plan out their strategy, but virtually every one of them included statements blaming “outsiders coming into our city” for all of the violence and destruction. Our fine citizens would never behave so reprehensibly. These are outside agitators and Left/Right-wing radicals.

Governor Tim Walz estimated that at least 80% of the “protesters” came from out of state. The Mayor of Minneapolis similarly pinned the blame on out-of-state anarchists. The Mayor of St. Paul engaged in some one-upmanship and boldly claimed that every single person arrested the night before was from out of state.

We heard the same thing during the Freddie Gray riots in Baltimore back in 2015. I didn’t believe it then and I didn’t believe it yesterday. And at least in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as it turns out, arrest records are available to show the false nature of those claims. Nearly all of the violent thugs and looters had local addresses. (Fox 9 Minneapolis)

The overwhelming majority of people arrested in connection with the Minneapolis unrest have Minnesota addresses, a search of the online Hennepin County Jail log shows.

Of the 45 people arrested for rioting, unlawful assembly, stolen property, burglary or robbery on May 29 and May 30 so far, 38 had Minnesota addresses, according to publicly available jail records reviewed by FOX 9.

Six had out-of-state address, and one person didn’t have address information listed.

It’s easy to understand why these elected officials want to shift the blame away from their own citizens. First of all, it’s a bad look, particularly when you’re one of the people responsible for keeping your citizens safe and preventing this sort of carnage. It’s also politically risky to go around blaming your own voters for bad behavior. If you’re the leader chosen to keep things under control, admitting the problem is home-grown could cause you to spend some time looking in the mirror.

Of course, there were obviously a few people coming from out of town to cause trouble. Antifa loves to engage in precisely this sort of behavior. But if you stop and think about it, this isn’t exactly a time when people are interested in hopping on a plane or going on long car rides. Even radicals must be a little bit cautious about catching the novel coronavirus, wouldn’t you think?

The fact is that most large cities already have built-in contingents of people who will immediately leap into action when an “opportunity” involving massive protests comes along. They all have local contingents including Black Lives Matter and other activist groups who are ready to call for violence against the police at the drop of a hat. On top of that, there are pretty much no American cities that don’t suffer from some level of gang activity and violence. Those folks aren’t going to pass up an opportunity to loot everything they can lay their hands on and set a few fires to boot, just to muddy the evidence trail. And I seriously doubt most of them give a hoot about George Floyd.

What seems to be different this year is both the scale of the violence and the audacity of the rioters in the face of law enforcement. In the past, a well-armed contingent of officers in riot gear frequently reduced the tension levels among protesters who might be considering turning violent. But not this week. Yelling at the police is one thing, but smashing the windows of police vehicles with officers inside, setting them on fire, and burning down police stations takes this to a new level.

The response in Minnesota from both state and municipal government officials has been weak thus far, despite the promises of more aggressive action from the Governor. And the predators in the streets each night can sense that weakness the same way wolves can smell fear. This was never going to end well, but if the government wants to put a stop to this madness there’s going to have to be some harsh measures taken in response to the violence and domestic terrorism we’re seeing in these cities.

David Strom 6:41 PM on September 26, 2022
David Strom 4:41 PM on September 26, 2022