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Shapiro: Left's willingness to tolerate violence is frightening

“Mostly peaceful.”

So goes the characterization of demonstrations that have routinely turned into looting and rioting for months on end, from Portland to Seattle to New York to Los Angeles.

“Protesters in California set fire to a courthouse, damaged a police station and assaulted officers after a peaceful demonstration intensified,” read one recent ABC News tweet.

CNN called protests in Portland “mostly peaceful,” adding that “they have at times devolved into violence, vandalism, and arson.”

During riots in Los Angeles in June, as the entire county locked down, the Los Angeles Times noted, “The third night of countywide curfews followed days of massive, mostly peaceful protests ... Nearly 1,200 people were arrested Sunday after police officers clashed with demonstrators and looters shattered windows and emptied stores in Santa Monica and Long Beach.”

The phrase “mostly peaceful,” then, is rather fungible.

Consider that during the tea party protests of 2011, then-Vice President Joe Biden reportedly likened tea partiers to “terrorists”—and those protests were notable mostly for people cleaning up their own litter. When anti-lockdown protesters descended on the Michigan state capitol, a columnist for The New York Times labeled them “armed rebels,” despite a complete lack of violence. When three white supremacists were arrested for plotting violence at a pro-gun rally, GQ’s Talia Lavin headlined, “That Pro-Gun Rally in Virginia Wasn’t Exactly ‘Peaceful’”—even though the rally saw no violence.

In truth, the category of “mostly peaceful” is a brand-new invention meant to obscure the simple fact that many of our cultural elites are fine with violence so long as those who engage in such violence have the proper goals.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the pseudo-historical 1619 Project, celebrated when critics labeled rioting and looting “the 1619 riots”; she added that destruction of property was “not violence.”

This week, Democrats grilling Attorney General Bill Barr could not be bothered to condemn violence, prompting Barr to rant, “What makes me concerned for the country is this is the first time in my memory the leaders of one of our great two political parties, the Democratic Party, are not coming out and condemning mob violence and the attack on federal courts.”

This should come as little surprise, given that those same cultural elites have cheered on massive protests in a time of a deadly pandemic, explaining that sometimes politics is just too important to stop a raging disease.

Our journey back to the 1960s is nearly complete. Too many Americans have rejected some of the key lessons of that time—that a breakdown in law and order costs lives, that political change does not require violence—in favor of a newfound sense of purpose. These Americans will pat the violent vanguard of revolution on the head, content that they will not pay the price, all the while maintaining that those who crave law and order stand for regressive autocracy.

Thus, Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle recently informed MSNBC that federal law enforcement attempting to stop destruction of federal property in Portland actually represented a “dry run for martial law.”

With Democrats and those in the media willing to run cover for violent leftists, the thin veneer of civilization disintegrates. When violence is excused as speech and speech by the opposition labeled violence, democracies die. With each passing day of silence by those who should know better—or worse, those propagandizing on behalf of those who engage in criminal activity—America draws closer to the brink.


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Guest Views: Despite precautions, virus is beating baseball

Decades before the nation’s pastime was invented, Robert Burns captured the essence of the sport from far way in Scotland with his observation about how the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Baseball has proven this adage over and over again.

Take the 1969 New York Mets besting the Baltimore Orioles. Please.

Or Bill Buckner’s fielding in the 1986 World Series.

Or maybe the idiot who thought 10-cent beer night in Cleveland in 1974 was a wonderful idea.

Or at least how unlikely it was that Rick Dempsey with his career .233 batting average was World Series MVP in 1983.

Just when Major League Baseball looks predictable and stodgy (a sport that fosters endless debate over the exact dimensions of the strike zone is surely leaning in that direction), somebody throws a curve.

And then came the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday and Tuesday nights, the Baltimore Orioles were set to play the Miami Marlins in Miami in only their fourth and fifth games scheduled for the pandemic-shortened season. The games were “postponed” by the coronavirus. Not because anyone involved was unaware the virus existed but because Marlins games are threatening to become their own super-spreader events. At least 17 players and club staff have reportedly tested positive. The outbreak left the Marlins stranded in Philadelphia with MLB deciding by midafternoon Tuesday that the team should sit out for at least a week and the Phillies until Friday as well. In other words, the threat of Orioles Park becoming Baltimore’s biggest hot spot with two Marlins games scheduled to be played there beginning Wednesday has been nullified, at least for now. The O’s are getting the Yankees instead.

Make no mistake, we have been rooting for MLB action for months, the return of the Orioles and the other franchises a much-needed relief for stuck-at-home sports fans already weary of watching “encore” performances from baseball seasons past. But we could not have predicted that three games into a 60-game season, the whole enterprise would look to be on the verge of coming apart at the seams.

As Dr. Anthony Fauci observed Tuesday, the season is already in danger.

We don’t much enjoy the possibility of anyone, no matter how well paid or youthful and vital, risking his life for the amusement of television viewers. And it’s certainly not acceptable when it extends to front office staff down to secretaries and trainers. Is this Camden Yards or the Colosseum in ancient Rome?

Did Commissioner Rob Manfred and his minions think this through? Actually, they appear to have made quite an effort. Baseball imposed elaborate precautions after weeks of negotiations with the players’ union. Lots of testing. No high-fives, spitting, licking of fingers or chest-bumping. Personal protective gear worn off the field. There are even protocols about how to get to the games (driving alone is best). The problem more likely stems from each team’s base of operations. The Marlins happen to exist in Florida where there’s been a stunning 79% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations since July 4, with Dade County among the areas hardest hit.

Perhaps Commissioner Manfred can keep canceling games until the situation has stabilized and that will prove adequate. We do not relish the prospect of calling off the season entirely (even though it would leave the lowly Orioles with a truly improbable 2-1 winning record) but turning baseball into a public health fiasco would be so much worse—a symbol of this nation’s botched COVID-19 response broadcast large. Baseball should be prepared to do that if a lot more players are sidelined. How long before star players drop out rather than show up in Miami, for example? Or teams have to field minor leaguers? Or what happens the day there’s a fatality? We mourn a life lost to cable television ratings? It’s one thing to risk lives for the greater good, it’s another to do so for the nation’s entertainment. The season was already asterisk-loaded.

Other professional sports need to take note. How long before the National Basketball Association, set to resume play Thursday with all games in Orlando, Florida, and playoffs in mid-August, has its bubble penetrated by the virus?

The National Football League season looks particularly impossible even as training camps open.

But we love people like the late Dr. Joseph Costa, the Mercy Medical Center critical care chief who died of COVID-19 on Saturday, more. Baseball is great, but COVID-19 is not easily contained, its spread often unpredictable. Putting sports above public safety would be unacceptable.


Letters to the editor for July 30, 2020

My mask decision should be up to me

This entire coronavirus mask debate is getting out of control. The CDC has flip flopped on their advice and even states on its website that masks “could” slow the spread. Not stop, “could”.

If masks work, why did the positive cases in California jump 162% since they issued a mask mandate over 30 days ago?

The fact is the survival rate for the virus is up to 96.6% and rising. That rate is probably low as many have had it and never got tested. That number is much higher for individuals under 65. Also, have you noticed how the media is not focused on the number of deaths anymore, now the focus has been on number of positive cases.

If a business wants to mandate a mask, that is their prerogative, just as it is my choice to spend my time and money with that business.

As individuals, we weigh risk factors with every decision we make every day. We do not need government making that choice for us.

TOM MARTIN

Janesville

Listen to the experts and wear a mask

Strange how I never realized that there is another freedom besides the Four Freedoms. And that is the Freedom to Kill.

I refer you to people who won’t wear masks in public to protect from the coronavirus, claiming that any laws banning them from such as government buildings are an infringement of their civil rights!

What these people are apparently thinking is that the coronavirus is of no real danger and government has no right to interfere with their personal lives. What they do not think or want to know is that they themselves could be unwitting carriers of the virus, the symptoms of which vary to extremes never encountered before!

In the early decades of the last century when typhoid was a killer and penicillin had not yet been blessedly discovered, there was an individual, a carrier, whose name has been passed down through the years as “Typhoid Mary.” Who now would like a similar moniker; maybe they should listen and learn.

Listen to Dr. Fauci, folks! He’s the expert, has studied disease, bacteria and viruses of all sorts for years! Ignore D. Trump, President; leave him to confuse other issues!

Government can and should have the right to save lives; it is its duty to sometimes carry a big stick. People lacking common sense may hurt themselves, but they do not have the right to hurt others. Assembly, the desire to gather en masse, needs to give way to citizen cooperation.

Wear a mask! Follow the guidelines and listen to the experts. The real ones!

JOANNE O. ANDERSON

Janesville