Posted on January 11, 2022

Insurrections and Double Standards

Heather Mac Donald, City Journal, January 9, 2022

The disappointment was palpable. As the one-year anniversary of the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot approached, the Department of Homeland Security had warned state and local law enforcement officials that “domestic violent extremists” could strike again. Security forces were on guard and many people were on edge, reported the New York Times. Yet, as a CNN anchor morosely observed during the network’s saturation coverage of the anniversary celebration: “There’s been no violence at the Capitol today.”

The letdown was all the greater, coming after so many similar disappointments. Early in 2021, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security predicted that white supremacists and militias would stage January 6-inspired attacks throughout the year. Fencing and bollards ringed the Capitol through July, protecting against the alleged white-supremacist threat. The Biden administration budgeted for attacks from domestic terrorists embedded within the military and law enforcement.  {snip}

Barricades went back up around the Capitol in September 2021 and law enforcement was put on high alert, in preparation for unrest from right-wingers protesting the treatment of the January 6 rioters. The FBI doubled its investigations of white supremacists and militias, since extremists “advocating for the superiority of the white race” pose the greatest threat of mass-civilian attacks, the bureau has concluded.

None of those expected attacks materialized—not last week, on the one-year anniversary of January 6, or during the preceding year. The media’s Capitol riot anniversary celebration, however, was choreographed to underscore the fictional claim that white supremacy is the biggest impediment to civil order in the U.S. today. “White supremacy is a clear and present threat, and must be rooted out,” Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley said on MSNBC. If that threat was not realized at the Capitol over the last year, we are told, that is only because it has migrated elsewhere. “Domestic extremists are glomming on to other issues,” Oren Segal, vice president of the ADL Center on Extremism, told CNN on Thursday. “They need to focus locally to keep extremism going,” so they’re showing up at school board meetings, Segal said. {snip}


So far, however, the most concrete fallout from the January 6 tantrum is not a “dagger at the throat of democracy,” as President Joe Biden put it in a speech from the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. {snip} The real consequence of January 6 is rather the excuse that the riot gives the Left to go after conservative causes and conservative speech, all in the name of fighting an imaginary white-supremacist threat. And to ensure that the pretext remains vital, leaders from Biden on down are peddling distortions and unctuous, newly found patriotism.


Only one person was killed during or as a result of the January 6 riot: Capitol trespasser Ashli Babbitt. The media blackout on that killing is one of the most stunning examples of political double standards in recent memory. Babbitt was shot at short range by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd, in what appears to be a patently unjustified use of force. Byrd had zero reason to think that Babbitt was armed or posed an imminent threat of lethal danger to himself or bystanders. Had Byrd been white and Babbitt black, even if Babbitt’s political sympathies were otherwise unchanged, the media would have called racism on him. And had a white-on-black shooting occurred outside the Trumpist context—had a white police officer shot an unarmed black trespasser breaking into a public building, say—the resulting mayhem would dwarf by magnitudes the January 6 riot.

Yet the media and Democratic politicians showed no interest in the Babbitt shooting. The homicide went down the memory hole. {snip}

In light of the crocodile tears shed over the trauma experienced by the Capitol’s defenders on January 6, you would think that the Democrats’ post-George Floyd denunciations of systemic police racism never happened. In his speech, Biden lauded the “brave law enforcement officials [who] saved the rule of law.” {snip}

This outpouring of grief and gratitude contrasts with the silence regarding quotidian anti-cop violence. Through November 30, 2021, 67 police officers had been feloniously murdered by criminals, a 56 percent increase over 2020. That toll rose in December 2021. Ambush assaults on officers were up 91 percent in the first six months of 2021. Those victims elicited no tears from the media or tributes from national politicians. In almost every case, their passing went unacknowledged.

For the first three days of the George Floyd riots in Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct came under increasing attack. Rocks and bottles were hurled at officers; the precinct’s parking lot fence was torn down; cruisers were vandalized. On the third night of anarchy, as the rioters breached the precinct’s defenses, officers trapped inside the building and on the roof were warned to put on their gas masks in case a bomb were detonated. The defenders were running low on ammunition. Desperate calls went out over the police radio: “They’re coming in. They’re coming in the back.” “We need to move. We need to move.” A few officers still guarded the roof, but then withdrew. The Minneapolis mayor had ordered that the precinct be ceded to the mob, in the hope of dissuading the vandals from further violence. In the final moments of evacuation, a cruiser barreled through a precinct gate, followed by a motorcade from the parking lot. The crowd threw fireworks and boulders at officers fleeing on foot. Moments later, the precinct went up in flames. The arsonists prevented firefighters from approaching the building and it burned to the ground. Appeasement failed. The next night’s riots were the most violent yet.

The Minneapolis officers received no sympathy from the national Democratic establishment. No media outlet ran profiles on them. Similar silence greeted the hundreds of officers across the country who have been injured during each successive wave of George Floyd riots.

Members of Washington, D.C.’s law enforcement community, by contrast, have been serviced by trauma experts and wellness dogs to help them recuperate from their January 6 emotional scars. {snip}


But the crime and riots that the Democrats alternately tolerate and justify also have the potential to unravel democracy. If law enforcement is delegitimated and hindered from doing its job, if property is not secure, if civilians fear being held up at gunpoint, pistol-whipped, or shot when they enter the public square or even in their homes, then there is no more security and no conditions for prosperity. The George Floyd riots also took aim at the symbols of government—courthouses, prosecutors’ offices, police stations, City Halls, and squad cars. The cop hatred that they amplified has proved far more lethal than the January 6 convulsion. Far more people have participated in the George Floyd riots and in the ongoing assault on law and order than breached the Capitol. The events of January 6, 2021, do not meet any legal definition of “insurrection.” But if Democrats and the mainstream media insist on the term, then the violence of the last two years has also been an insurrectionary force.