Editor, The Beacon:
I must respectfully disagree with The Beacon’s editorial “‘Anti-riot’ law is anti-American” (April 29).
The new law has nothing whatsoever to do with the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests following the George Floyd killing. It has everything to do with the looting, burning, assaulting and murder that swept through Minneapolis, St. Louis, Portland, Seattle, Kenosha and other cities last summer.
The nation watched in horror as city after city saw entire blocks razed to the ground, resulting in billions of dollars in property damage, dozens of killings, and many lives and businesses left in shattered and irreparable ruins.
Who can forget the frightening images night after night as antifa and other extreme left-wing thugs attacked, vandalized and tried to burn down the federal courthouse in Portland, injuring law-enforcement officers and innocent bystanders in the process?
No, it’s not the peaceful protesters depicted in The Beacon’s accompanying photo that the law is targeting. It’s aimed squarely at the common criminals who used the George Floyd tragedy as an excuse to smash through the windows of innocent local merchants and empty their shelves. It’s focused on the nihilistic mobs who vandalized police cars, firebombed buildings, and terrorized the local population.
The new law ratchets up the penalties when three or more persons engage in “violent and disorderly conduct” which results in “injury to another person” or “damage to property.” Peaceful protest, by its very definition, precludes violent acts leading to injury or property damage. Thus, no lawful protesters need fear this law, only the criminals.
The most elemental purpose for having a government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens. Therefore, I see no problem in holding local governments accountable if they fail to do their most important job, whether through lawsuits brought by citizens or through state sanctions. It’s good to know that our governor and Legislature are looking out for the people, first and foremost.