Posted on June 5, 2020

Who the Looting Ruins

The Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2020

Luis Tamay is an immigrant with an Ecuadorean restaurant in Minneapolis. Zola Dias is the black owner of a clothing store in Atlanta. Sam Mabrouk has a denim shop in Columbus, Ohio. They’re only a few of the people whom intellectuals overlook whenever they rationalize rioting or say that property destruction isn’t violence.

“Seventeen years of work is gone,” Mr. Tamay told the Minneapolis Star Tribune after his restaurant, El Sabor Chuchi, burned to the ground. When the rioting began, he stood watch. But last Friday he obeyed curfew, believing that the National Guard would control the streets. Then on Facebook he saw video of his restaurant on fire. He told the newspaper he didn’t have insurance because it was too expensive.

Safia Munye, a Somali immigrant in Minneapolis, opened Mama Safia’s Kitchen in 2018 with money saved for retirement. When the pandemic arrived, NPR reported, she couldn’t afford both insurance and to pay her workers. She did the latter. Now the restaurant is wrecked, but she’s hardly the intended target of George Floyd protesters. “My heart is broken. My mind is broken,” she said. “I know I can’t come back from this. But this can be replaced. George’s life cannot. George’s life was more important.”


{snip} Some might have insurance to cover at least a portion of the losses. But others might not survive, and many companies will go bust quietly, without making the newspapers. Contrast this heartache with the cavalier attitude shown by at least some intellectuals, who seem to think that firebombing a local South American restaurant is merely the persuasive language of the unheard.