Common Sense Instead of Mob Hysteria

Common Sense Instead of Mob Hysteria

© David Burton 2020

Common Sense

NOTE:Unless noted otherwise, quoted boldface text represents emphasis by me, David Burton, and not by the quoted source.

     Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, mass hysteria overtook the United States. People stopped thinking and, instead, succumbed to inane rhetoric, provocation, and mass protests that morphed into rioting, looting, destruction of property, and even death and injury to some, including the police.

     Throughout the U.S., there arose the hysterical cries of: “Black Lives Matter”, “Defund the Police”, “Do Away With the Police”, “Police are Murderers of Innocent Blacks”, etc.

     Fortunately, there are a few sane people remaining in America who refused to succumb to this mass hysteria and, instead, have used common sense and are addressing some of the real problems associated with the improper use of force by a few of the bad apples in law enforcement. Here in Massachusetts, the governor, Charlie Baker, has been leading the fight to come up with effective legislation to address the issue of police brutality, without regard to the issue of race. Yes, we know, there are still a few troglodytes among our law enforcement personnel who have it in for Blacks. But we all know that there are also bad police who dislike Hispanics, or Jews, or Orientals. Fixing the problem of bad police officers means fixing the problem of bad police officers, PERIOD! This is not just an issue of White police harassing Blacks, targeting Blacks, or killing innocent Blacks. The issue is bad police officers, PERIOD.

     “Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on {17 June 2020} announced his proposal for statewide police reform. He described the bill as ‘critically important’ and called on the legislature to take action on the bill before the session {ended} on July 31.
     “The bill is called An Act to Improve Police Officer Standards and Accountability and to Improve Training. According to Baker's office, it would create the first statewide certification system for police officers and allow for suspension or decertification if officers commit acts of misconduct.
     “Baker said his administration began working on the bill almost a year ago, in cooperation with members of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus and public safety officials.
      - - -
     “{The}chair of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, said the bill is one part of the caucus' 10-point plan for reforming law enforcement. He said the caucus has already met with police unions about this proposal.
     “Baker said the bill also proposes creation of a Police Officer Standards and Accreditation (POSA) Committee, which would oversee the certification system. The committee would be made up of both law enforcement and civilian members . . .
     “If enacted, the bill would also require the POSA Committee to create a database of certified officers which would be consulted as part of the background check for police department applicants.
      - - -
     “Also {in June}, Republicans in the U.S. Senate unveiled proposed national changes to police procedures and accountability including an enhanced use-of-force database, restrictions on chokeholds and new commissions to study law enforcement and race . . .
     “That move in Washington {followed} President Donald Trump's announcement . . . of executive actions to create a database of police misconduct.” (Ref. 1)

     At the national level, meaningful police reform legislation is in the works. Both Republican and Democratic legislators have been working on the proposals and so is the White House. The need for quick action came as a result of the universal revulsion at the death of George Floyd and the subsequent, often violent, unrest stirred up by the incident.

     “House Democrats and Senate Republicans on {17 June 2020} took up competing proposals to reform policing in the United States.
     ‘The proposals {followed} more than three weeks of protest in the United States that was spurred by . . . police killings of George Floyd in Minnesota and other African Americans.
     “The chamber's judiciary committee {began} debating the House proposal, in what was expected to be a marathon markup session for the Justice in Policing Act . . .
     “The reform package {included} measures to make it easier to prosecute officers in criminal and civil court . . .
      - - -
     “Senate Republicans . . . also unveiled their proposal . . . one day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order instituting new federal incentives to bolster police training and create a national database to track misconduct.
     “Like Trump's order, the Senate proposal {avoided} mandates, like an outright ban of chokeholds, but {relied} on leveraging financial incentives to encourage compliance among local police departments.
     “The Senate bill {required} departments to share disciplinary actions taken against officers when they apply for new jobs, but it {didn’t}establish a national tracing database like the House version does.
    - - -
     “. . . the Senate bill {prioritized} three main areas -- data collection, training and police transparency.” (Ref. 2)

     These and other actions came after a blind, hysterical rush to “do something”. Fortunately for America, there are still a courageous few who retain the backbone to speak up in defense of free speech, common sense and the unquenchable commitment to do what is right in the face of blind, stupid criticism.

     On 18 June 2020, Boston Police Commissioner William Gross met with United States Attorney General William Barr and immediately faced criticism from some city councilors.
     In reply, Gross rightly retorted, ‘I don’t run, duck and hide from any conversation from anyone”.
     The unthinking opposition to the Gross-Barr meeting came as demonstrations across the nation were turning violent and Barr had supported tactics used by law enforcement in attempting to control the violent elements of the protests.[3]

     Police Commissioner Gross needs to be thanked for his refusal to be muzzled by “Black LIves Matter” extremists. He needs to be applauded for his vigorous defense of everyone’s right to free speech. We need to be thankful that there still is someone who refuses to be led to the cliff like the rest of the Lemmings - like some Boston City Councilors who tweeted: “This is a disgrace to our city & a breach of trust to our communities,” and retweeted a picture of Gross and Barr, writing, “Defund whatever the hell this is.”[3]

     As proof that mob hysteria - Mobocracy - had overtaken America, we take note of the facts that, “A debate over policing, race, and history has degenerated into general lawlessness, as mobs have swarmed and destroyed statues in our biggest cities from coast to coast.
     “And these mobs have hardly been discriminating.
     “They’ve targeted Christopher Columbus, Founding Fathers, Confederate generals, Union generals, abolitionists, black Civil War units, priests, and even a novelist.
     “They’ve attacked people of a multitude of creeds, races, and religions: white, black, and Hispanic; Catholic, Protestant, and Hindu.
     “All in the name of purging, in the words of many activists, ‘systematic racism,’ and various other sins inherent in our country’s past, present, and future.
     “Unfortunately, this sort of mob justice is unlikely to bring us to a kind of post-racial utopia, a heaven on earth. More likely it will bring us straight to perdition, where free government disintegrates and we become a nation of men and mobs, not the law.
     “. . . this slippery slope of statue toppling was a natural progression for those who believe that American and Western civilization are built on nothing but malignancy.
      - - -
     “One way or another, what has transpired . . . has become worse than simple denunciations of statues and figures of America’s past.
     “{A} statue of George Washington was lit on fire and toppled by a mob in Portland . . . After all, if our nation was founded on the evils of racism and slavery, what respect should we show to the father of our country?
      - - -
     “As we saw . . . in cities across America, lawless vandals {were and still are} defacing and pulling down statues, destroying public property, often as police and authorities essentially stand down and watch.
     “Regardless of what one thinks of any particular statue in this country, a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people requires deliberation in a public process for any kind of removal to take place.
     “Now, the few dictate to the many, with force, what statues stay up and which come down. Most simply come down.
     “In addition, politicians have seemingly been eager to meet the demands of this movement, and the whims of the mob, by jumping ahead and removing statues and the names of historical figures, often with little legal justification.
     “This is mob rule, pure and simple, and it’s what our system is devolving into in cities around the country . . .
     “Mob rule is the path through anarchy to tyranny.” (Ref. 4)

     Here in Boston, the home of the Sons of Liberty, the cradle of the American Revolution and a bastion of anti-slavery ferment prior to the Civil War, a statue of the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln, was scheduled for removal[5] because part of the monument had a Negro slave in chains being freed of by Lincoln. Following two public hearings, the Boston Art Commission voted to remove the Emancipation Group, a statue installed in 1879 in Boston’s Park Square. The statue features Archer Alexander, a Black man who “assisted the Union Army, escaped slavery, and was recaptured under the Fugitive Slave Act.” The vote followed a nationwide movement calling for the removal of monuments that celebrate the Confederacy or are viewed as racist. [4]

     The utter stupidity of the removal and the cowardice of the public officials who sanctioned its removal was aptly described in an article by Cornelius Sullivan. His article is reproduced in its entirety below.

     “There is a narrative that the United States is racist — a politically motivated bias that presently begets mobs and violence. Our country ended slavery, precisely because many heroes were guided by the brilliant ideas of its Founders. The nation should be proud.
     “Despite the fact that Thomas Jefferson was a lifelong slaveholder, he included strong anti-slavery language in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, but other delegates took it out. It was Jefferson who wrote ‘all men are created equal.’” Benjamin Franklin, also a slaveholder for much of his life, became a leading member of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, the first recognized organization for abolitionists in the United States.
     “As president, on March 2, 1807, Jefferson signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves and it took effect in 1808, which was the earliest allowed under the Constitution.
     “Historical figures have providential destinies. Grand events happen in historical timelines that combine expediency and opportunity. Abraham Lincoln could not have freed the slaves if Jefferson had not written the ideas behind that action.
     “The Emancipation Memorial in Boston is being removed by the city’s Art Commission and Mayor Martin Walsh. It is not their monument. It was paid for by the freed slaves out of pride and gratitude.
     “Ekua Holmes, vice-chairwoman of the Boston Art Commission said that ‘we should not have works that bring shame to any groups of people.’
     “Although the Art Committee and Boston’s mayor did not hide behind masks, they were driven by the same ignorance that drove the violent rioters to deface the great Robert Shaw Memorial across from the State House. Colonel Robert Gould Shaw was given the honor to lead the Massachusetts 54th Regiment of all-Black soldiers in the Civil War.
     “The Emancipation Monument was initially called ‘The Lincoln Monument’ because one motive of the freed slave’s sacrifice in making the memorial was gratitude to the president.
     “The sculptor, Thomas Ball, has correctly and clearly represented slavery as it was, a Black man in chains. If an art expert is uncomfortable with that, what does that mean? Does that mean that the truth of slavery should be denied, covered over, made pretty? This monument represents one chapter, one big step, in our gritty, not pretty history to end slavery.
     “The figure of the newly emancipated slave in the statue is not well known like Lincoln. It is Archer Alexander, an enslaved man in Missouri during the Civil War who risked his life to help the Union army.
     “The memorial was created through a fundraising effort begun by a newly emancipated Virginia woman, Charlotte Scott, who donated the first $5 she earned in freedom to a memorial. Others contributed as well. It was dedicated in 1876 with former president Ulysses S. Grant in attendance and a rousing speech by Frederick Douglass.
     “A young woman once said to me, ‘Does that mean that the Coliseum should be taken down because Christians were fed to the lions there?’ That made me grateful that no one has had an ignorant agenda to take down the buildings at Auschwitz because now it has become a place of mourning and prayer. And I am reminded that moral human beings have a duty to preserve history.
     “ ‘It is criminal for the uninformed to destroy history. It is our history.’ “
(Ref. 6)

     Mass hysteria gripped the nation following the death of George Floyd. Irrational acts of violence took place. National stupidity seemed to be the theme of the day. Public officials violated their vows of office to uphold the Constitution and to protect the rights and property of the citizens. Law and order were deemed secondary to meeting the demands of unruly mobs. Time has long since passed when common sense must be restored. We need to move forward with defending the rights of all our citizens – not the rights of just a few.

     From the killing of George Floyd the new revolutionaries have moved on to working to eliminate any trace of the old Confederacy whch went out of existence more than century and a half ago. “Angry mobs are tearing down and defacing monuments across America. They make no distinction between Confederate and Union, abolitionist and pro-slavery, 15th-century figures and 20th. They don’t care when a monument was erected, who built it, or why. They have not come to debate or persuade their fellow citizens to relocate these statues to museums or private property. They believe the debate is over and that they have won.
     “Their target is not the Confederacy. It is the United States. They mean to destroy symbols of American history writ large, because to them all of American history is racist and genocidal. Their goal is not to cleanse a nation they love of monuments to Confederate traitors who tried to secede, but to cleanse their consciences of ever having loved such an evil and irredeemably racist country in the first place.
     “That is why you see mobs defacing statues of abolitionists like Matthias Baldwin and Union war heroes like Adm. David Farragut and Gen. George Thomas. That is why the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution in Philadelphia was vandalized this past weekend with the words ‘committed genocide.’ That is why statues of Christopher Columbus were torn down or beheaded . . . That is why officials in Dallas recently removed a Texas Ranger statue from Love Field Airport. That is why a mob of college students toppled two statues of American pioneers on the University of Oregon campus. That is why Black Lives Matter protesters in San Antonio, Texas, are threatening to march on the Alamo.
     “To suppose this has anything to do with the Confederacy or the Civil War is to misunderstand completely the nature of what is happening right now in America. The people who are pulling down monuments, defacing statues, and demanding U.S. military bases be renamed do not have a limiting principle. They don’t distinguish between those who fought for freedom against the British Empire and those who fought for union against the slave states of the South. To them, the Union itself was a crime against humanity long before the South seceded. What kind of moral monster would ever fight to preserve it?
     “This is the 1619 Project come to life. If the American Revolution was fought to protect and preserve slavery then the entire history of American colonization and westward expansion is a litany of crimes that no one should celebrate. The Founding Fathers are no less guilty than Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis — not just because they owned slaves but because they founded the United States, a nation conceived not in liberty but in white supremacy.
     “In this reading of history, the crimes of Gen. George Washington are worse than the crimes of Gen. Lee. . .
      - - -
     “{Today’s ‘crazy’ mob does} not love America because {according to them} America is wicked. There is almost nothing worth celebrating in our nation’s history, and almost nothing in our heritage worth honoring.
     “There’s a reason, for example, the anarchists and Antifa rioters in Seattle’s ‘autonomous zone’ set up barricades and hung a sign saying, ‘Now Leaving The United States.’
     “These people don’t want to improve America. Like the monuments they despise, they want to tear it down. (Ref. 7)

     By singling out Blacks for special consideration we are espousing the philosophy of racism. It is pure racism to shout “Black Lives Matter” which reinforces the implied notion that Blacks are different and distinct from other Americans. Those who carry signs with this slogan or chant it would be much better served by the slogan “All Lives Matter”. Racism means falsely asserting that one group is different from everyone else. Whites who see Blacks getting special considerations simply because they are Black will look upon Blacks as receiving something that they themselves can’t get. Such an attitude will not help the Black cause. Blacks who ask for and receive preferential treatment because of the color of their skin will never gain the equality that they claim to seek because such a perception will only encourage many among them to rely upon the grudging handouts they receive and not work to eliminate the real causes of their plight. Asking for special treatment for Blacks only reinforces the racist agendas of white extremist groups.

     Blacks who call for sympathy and special treatment because their ancestors were slaves more than a century-and-a-half earlier do not advance the cause of equality for Blacks here in the21st century. Emancipated Black slaves may well have deserved compensation and special consideration for their servitude, but today’s Blacks must stand on their own two feet and not on the backs of their long-gone predecessors. If Blacks want to be recognized as equals and to be treated as equals, they need to act equal and earn their way in today’s America. Other immigrant and other ethnic groups have initially faced the problems of integration into and acceptance by the establishment and have largely succeeded by proving that they can earn their own way and can contribute to the common good of all Americans. Such has been the case with the Irish, the Italians, the Jews, the Chinese, and the Japanese when they first came to these shores. This has long been the American way.

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  1. First-ever statewide police certification system proposed for Massachusetts,, 17 June 2020.
  2. House debates police reform bill; Senate unveils rival proposal, Don Jacobson,, 17 June 2020.
  3. Boston’s top cop defends meeting with AG Barr amid criticism from city councilors,, 19 June 2020.
  4. Statue Toppling Is Bringing Mob Rule to America, Jarrett Stepman, The Daily Signal, 22 June 2020.
  5. City of Boston to Remove “Emancipation Group” Statue Depicting Formerly Enslaved Man Kneeling Before President Lincoln, Cornelius Sullivan, Good Black News, 5 July 2020.
  6. Emancipation Memorial part of America’s anti-slavery history, Cornelius Sullivan, Boston Herald, Page 15,
    4 August 2020.
  7. The Monument-Destroying Mobs Don’t Hate The Confederacy, They Hate America, John Daniel Davidson,
    The Federalist, 15 June 2020.

  27 August 2020 {Article 432; Suggestions?_51}    
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