By any standard, 2020 has been a terrible year. If the COVID-19 pandemic wasn't damaging enough to the global economy and political stability of our nation, the national reaction to a myriad of riots and protests throughout America has plunged our collective discourse to a new low. This statement isn't rhetoric; it's based on the fact that at no point in American history have elected leaders from state and local government tacitly and even overtly allowed violent rioting, vandalism and assaults on law enforcement to go unpunished to achieve a political objective.
The question now is whether or not the actions of these elected leaders is illegal, and whether they will be enforced despite the political impact that charging these local leaders may come as a result.
As previously reported, local mayors and prosecutors have been circumventing constitutionally required legislation needed to change laws they (or their voting base) don't agree with by simply not enforcing those laws. However, this tactic which was normally used only with seemingly harmless violations — is now being applied to acts of property damage, rioting, drug dealing and even harassment and violence. The correlation of these lax policies at the local level and skyrocketing crime rates are undeniable.
What's also undeniable is the collusive nature in which the mainstream media has failed to hold local leaders to account. In past generations, despite visceral partisan disagreements between left and right, the news media tried to uphold an appearance of impartiality with editorial oversight to keep them honest. Unfortunately, as 2020 is an election year, media objectivity has deteriorated greatly, which is empowering these hyperpartisan local leaders in conducting selective law enforcement duties.
When the media reports news with a biased slant on the coverage, they fail to report the objective truth of a story. For example, when reporting prolonged riots and unlawful protests that occupy and paralyze sections of cities as "peaceful protests," the media is willfully failing to report the taxpaying residents and business owners of that area who are being deprived of their civil rights on a nightly basis. When this coverage soft-plays the wrongdoing of the local political and law enforcement leaders who are allowing their lawful citizens to be prisoners in their own communities, those elected leaders act as if they are "above the law" and continue to allow these unlawful acts to continue. Worse, by eliminating the veneer of objective journalism, Americans are forced to seek out coverage they "identify with," which isolates the public among those with similar, often inaccurate beliefs. This lack of "forced counterpoint" has created a dangerous lack of thought process known as "groupthink."
Therefore, if people's rights and physical safety are in danger and the local leaders elected and appointed to keep order are unwilling to do so, how can we "put the toothpaste back in the tube" to assure that our constitutional rule of law prevails?
If the rule of law is not upheld, we are setting a dangerous, partisan precedent in where elections can be swayed through the creation of instability by other leaders in an opposition party. This is why it's essential that Attorney General William Barr start using his powers of both criminal prosecution and litigation to get this situation under control. Predictably, the media's reaction was negative when President Donald Trump unveiled his plan to deploy federal law enforcement to quell rioting in Portland and Seattle, in addition to "Operation LeGend" which utilizes federal statutes to help get street crime under control in places like Kansas City and Cleveland. This visceral reaction from the left is telling in that it illustrates how some in the media and Democratic Party are willing to allow violence to continue in order to continue to portray a false narrative of instability leading up to the 2020 election.
The truth is, the Department of Justice is completely within their rights to enforce violations of title 40, U.S. Code section 1315 with respect to unlawful protesters as it is in prosecuting criminals under titles 8, 18 and 21 of the U.S. Code. This is not new nor is it novel as the use of federal task forces in local law enforcement has been in existence for nearly a century.
What is becoming increasingly evident is how the attorney general should start looking at the political and nongovernmental figures supporting and enabling the criminal behavior endangering America's citizens. If you plan a protest that spills onto an interstate or blocks through streets, you should be charged with interfering with interstate commerce. If you use, transport or manufacture improvised explosive devices to throw during protests, you should be charged under the numerous federal laws pertaining to firearms and dangerous devices.
If you make overt statements to overthrow the U.S. government, supporting a forceful opposition "of the authority of the United States government, to prevent, hinder, or delay by force the execution of any law of the United States,." then the attorney general has the sworn duty to indict you under title 18, U.S. code section 115 — which encompasses the crimes of treason, sedition and subversive activities. The stakes have never been higher. Americans of all racial, religious, political and sexual backgrounds are being threatened for exercising their rights. No, I'm not talking about the roving bands gathering unlawfully in the streets, but those trying to express their views on social media, in church and in the halls of power without the fear of intimidation or reprisal.
In an era where simply supporting the lawfully elected president of the United States, your local law enforcement officer or an athlete's right to stand for the National Anthem in respect to the brave men and women in uniform, it is vitally important that the highest law enforcement officer of the land use his powers to point out that we are a free country that will not be held hostage by the political fringe.
A. Benjamin Mannes, MA, CPP, CESP, is a Subject Matter Expert in Security & Criminal Justice Reform based on his two and a half decade career on both sides the criminal justice system. Mannes served in both federal and municipal law enforcement in though the 9/11 attacks, D.C.-area sniper task force, homeland security exercises and natural disasters. Mannes' work in D.C. led to personal encounters with the D.C.'s unlawful personnel actions, unconstitutional gun laws and criminal justice inequalities, which led him to become an advocate for public integrity. Thereafter, Mannes served for nearly nine years as the Director, Office of Investigations for North America's largest medical board, as a Chief Compliance Officer, consultant, expert witness, nonprofit board member and political adviser. Read A. Benjamin Mannes' Reports — More Here.
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