* * * Op-Ed * * *
Widespread looting and rioting have gripped America these past few days. Business owners across Illinois, and likely much of the nation, have voted with their checkbook on the matter. They have little or no confidence in their local political leaders and law enforcement to maintain order.
Even small towns in the Land of Lincoln have experienced vicious looting this past weekend. Places you would never think would see the sorts of action America saw in Minneapolis, Baltimore and, back a few years ago, in Ferguson.
Big box stores in my area didn’t fare so well – even here in normally bucolic Bloomington, Illinois.
Police played cat and mouse with carloads of “protesters” for a couple of hours until both cops and crooks met in the “Battle of Target” at about 1:00a.m. Cops retreated after the bad guys chucked hammers, bottles, rocks and bricks at them.
Seems the local police decided that meeting deadly force with deadly force wasn’t the outcome their leadership wanted, so they retreated. Looters then stormed the store and gutted the interior as cops literally watched a few car lengths away. Before the officers finally drove away, that is.
Later in the day, thanks to video, the whole community saw the impotence of their local law enforcement in maintaining order.
The video is NSFW (language primarily).
While the video above isn’t exactly high definition in quality, viewers can easily discern police cruisers not even twenty yards away by the reflection of the emergency lights on the wall of the store.
Here’s more from a few minutes later.
Meanwhile, one of our local gun shops that specializes in self-defense tools and tactical gear faced down several carloads of looters through the night.
Why did these would-be looters leave without causing so much as a scuff upon the business? Because the owner holed up inside with hard armor and his copy of America’s favorite rifle, the AR-15.
Those opportunistic predators wanted no part of meaningful resistance.
Hours later, even businesses that weren’t looted voted with their checkbooks and boarded up their businesses.
Stores like Walmart in Normal, which experienced limited looting, looked like fortresses late in the afternoon prior to closing early.
It’s time for law enforcement to step up. Or gun owners will.
Frankly, the time for flowery talk about righteous protest and group hugs is over. The nationwide orgy of looting has NOTHING to do with a cop in Minneapolis killing a black man.
It’s time for law enforcement across America to take meaningful and decisive action against looters. These hooligans aren’t protesting anything at oh-dark-thirty, or in broad daylight lately. They’re opportunistic, violent criminals.
The police need to take action to stop this. If law enforcement can’t (or won’t because they’ve been hamstrung by local mayors or their appointed politician chiefs of police), then within a few days America’s gun owners will get involved on their own.
Good guy gun owners did what police couldn’t do in Ferguson a few years ago. Local political leaders in Missouri didn’t have the stomach to let cops restore law and order. Instead, they tied the cops’ hands with limited rules of engagement. And night after night the rioters continued to loot and burn businesses.
The 2014 rioting in Ferguson ended within a day or two after media reports of gun owners, not cops, standing on rooftops. These men (and women) made it clear that arsonists would be promptly shot on sight. And maybe looters, too. And guess what? Suddenly the streets were peaceful and empty after the sun set.
ABCNews, among many others, covered how gun owners volunteered to help secure businesses from looters and arsonists.
When night falls on Ferguson, Missouri, Sam Andrews gets to work.
Andrews – dressed in full camouflage and armed with an assault rifle and handgun – climbs to the roof of a dentist’s office to begin his nightly surveillance. He’s a member of the Oath Keepers, a group taking up armed positions on the streets and rooftops with the intent of protecting local businesses.
He says he’s here to defend “The best part of America, the creative part, the small businesses, the hardest working people in the United States of America. To defend them from arson.”
While some business owners are embracing the presence of Andrews and other do-it-yourself patrolmen with the Oath Keepers, many others – including police – are uncomfortable with the group’s mission…
Natalie DuBose’s bake shop, “Natalie’s Cakes and More,” was broken into and looted.
“I didn’t have the extra savings or extra money to replace everything that was destroyed,” she told ABC News following the vandalism. “The threat of not being able to take care of your children makes you feel like less than a human being.”
DuBose’s story caught Andrews’ attention. He was watching the news at home 40 miles away.
“I can’t even imagine a governor that would leave a woman like this and her business to burn, like they did,” Andrews said. “But I value this woman as much as anything I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“They were calling us the KKK, they were calling us the police. We were saying ‘We’re not the police, we’re here to defend you. We’re here to defend your rights,’” Andrews told ABC News.
Will it take America’s gun owners defending businesses from feral bands of looters in towns large and small to stop this free-for-all for criminals? Wait and see.