“Looters and Rioters Will Be Shot on Sight!”

“Looters and Rioters
Will Be
Shot on Sight!”

© David Burton 2021


     The time: April 1906. The place: : San Francisco, California. The event: The aftermath of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. “When San Francisco Mayor Eugene Schmitz made his way down Market Street on April 18, 1906, on the morning of the disaster, he observed saloons in full swing and evidence that looting had already taken place. . .
     “Army Gen. Frederick Funston, realizing that the disaster was beyond the ability of city officials to deal with, immediately -- and on his own initiative -- ordered 2,000 troops from the Presidio into the city to maintain order. Mayor Schmitz issued a written proclamation later that day declaring that looters should be shot on sight. [Emphasis mine]
     “The first looter was shot while trying to break into Shreve's Jewelry Store at Post and Grant streets at 10 a.m. on April 18. During the next few days, according to official counts, nine men were shot by military and volunteer forces. . . ” (Ref. 1)

     But if the lawlessness that followed the earthquake and fire is illustrative of how people act when the social fabric is torn, the citizens of Boston might have benefitted from the presence of such men during the looting and rioting that followed the death of George Floyd in 2020.

     Here in 2021, those of us who live in greater Boston remember the uncontrolled rioting and looting in Boston during May and June of 2020 that followed the call to arms by Black Lives Matter and others following Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

     As 2020 drew to a close, we had another call to arms. “A Boston police sergeant has been placed on administrative leave and the department's Bureau of Professional Standards has been ordered to investigate after a series of body camera videos taken during racial justice protests over the summer were released in a report Friday {17 December 2020}.
     “{in the videos,} police officers are seen ‘bragging about attacking protesters, targeting nonviolent demonstrators for violence and possible arrest, discussing arrest quotas and the use of cars as weapons, and multiple instances of excessive force and liberal use of pepper spray.’
      - - -
     “At the time, the Boston Police Department announced the arrest of 53 individuals during protests that began on May 31 and spilled into the early morning hours of June 1. . . [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “One body camera clip . . . shows a sergeant ‘bragging’ about his actions during the protest, including hitting people with his vehicle . . .
     “The unidentified sergeant in the video . . . is heard laughing and explaining to another officer how he hit protesters with a vehicle.
     “He describes using an unmarked state police cruiser to hit protesters who were nearby.” (Ref. 2)

     Back in mid-2020, the situation in and around Boston, in some ways resembled a war zone. “Ten people were arrested during protests outside the Boston Police Station. . . as protests erupted around the country after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
     “. . . Four police officers were taken to the hospital . . .” (Ref. 3)

     “What started as a peaceful protest in Boston . . . turned violent as the sun went down.
     “Thousands marched peacefully through the streets of Boston, culminating with a rally at the State House, where they demanded justice over the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers . . .
     “Later in the day, a police cruiser was set on fire near Downtown Crossing and stores along Boylston and Newbury Streets in the city’s Back Bay neighborhood were targeted by looters. Windows and doors were smashed and merchandise was stolen. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “The Boston Police Department confirmed . . . that nine officers were injured and transported to area hospitals, and many more were treated on scene. Police said 21 cruisers were damaged and 53 individuals were arrested on a variety of charges, including larceny, breaking and entering and malicious destruction of property. [Emphasis mine]
     “{Massachusetts governor, Charlie} Baker . . . thanked police for protecting Boston from violent individuals, whose actions he described as ‘criminal and cowardly.’ “ (Ref. 4)

     Once more, the charges of police brutality, racism and misconduct were spread as many rushed to judgement without considering or learning all the facts – current and past. Let’s take note of the fact that the pictures and charges were released by the attorney defending several of those accused of the looting and rioting back in May/June of 2020. He is not exactly an unbiased individual. The pictures released certainly do not tell the entire story. Just what were all the facts surrounding the bodycam pictures? Do the bodycam pictures in any way tell what really happened? What do any of the released pictures have to do with the guilt or innocence of those accused of rioting, looting, injuring, or damaging and destroying Boston police vehicles? Just who are the real criminals – the looters and rioters who were stealing, destroying and injuring, or the police who were defending all of us from these rioters and looters at the risk of bodily injury, or worse? What ever happened to the admonition “Looters Will Be Shot on Sight”?

     And what did former President Donald Trump have to say about violent law-breaking protestors? Donald Trump had his own way of handling the civil unrest in Minneapolis, following the brutal cop killing of George Floyd? - Trump wanted the looters shot.

     True-to-form Trump tweeted his outrage, ". . . These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"
     Now, check this out . . . Twitter immediately tagged Trump's post, saying, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible." Translation -Trump's appalling, yet predictable, call to violence is irresponsible, but we need to know that's his mindset.
     And apropos of Donald Trump, he took an insulting, gratuitous shot at Minneapolis' Mayor, "I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get{s} his act together and bring{s} the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right . . ." One can compare this statement and Trump’s threat to send in the National Guard with Trump’s words and total lack of action during the violent - and fatal - Capitol riot of 6 January 2021!
     Mayor Frey shot back, "Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions. Weakness is pointing your finger at somebody else during a time of crisis."[5]

     Following the rioting over the George Floyd death in May of 2020 but before the stoming of the U.S. Capitol in January of 2021, an article appeared in American Rennaisance that addressed the problem of violent rioting masquerading as “free speech” and the failure of authorities to address the problem and to adequately protect law-abiding citizens and their property. Here is my heavily edited and updated version of the problems and solutions addressed in the article. Remember, the original article was published more than 6-months before the outrage in Washington D.C. at the Capitol building.

     Within the past year, here in these united States we have seen uncontrolled rioting and mob rule replacing the law and order to which all Americans are entitled. In Minneapolis, there were multiple nights of looting and arson. Demonstrators in Atlanta, Phoenix, New York, and Washington smashed windows and burned cars. In Washington, tension was so high that the White House briefly went into lockdown – and as we all now know, much worse was yet to come. In Portland, Oregon, rioters broke into police headquarters and burned it. The governor of Georgia declared a state of emergency in Atlanta. And throughout all of this, the authorities took little to no meaningful action to end the violence. The reason? The authorities were afraid to offend the sensibilities of our bleeding-heart liberals and the supposed aggrieved parties for whom the riots and lootings were being perpetrated in the name of racial inequality and later of “a stolen election”.
     Arrests were made in reverse proportion to the level of chaos. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, there were practically none as fires continued to burn. In New York City, where rioters torched police vehicles but not buildings, there were hundreds of arrests. There is a simple principle here: When rioters can overawe the police, they will loot and burn until there is nothing left. When authorities are afraid to act decisively and swiftly, there will be burning, looting, injury and even killing.
     There was a pathetic admission of this when, during the Minneapolis rioting, Minnesota’s governor held an emergency press conference, along with the Minneapolis mayor, the state public safety chief, and a Minnesota National Guard general. The governor and the mayor said over and over that they sympathized with the protests, that it was right to be angry about injustice, but things had gone too far. They were especially grieved that some of the looted and burned business were owned by non-whites.
     The central message - especially from the governor - was that government cannot restore order. There were too many “demonstrators.” He said police can take only “defensive” action around important buildings and protect firemen; they can take no “offensive” actions against criminals. What a total abrogation of the governor’s sworn duty! His primary obligation to the citizens of the state that elected him to office was to protect them and their property! This was nothing but cowardice in the face of lawbreakers and fear of offending some in the Black community and their blind supporters.
     Apparently, the message from Minneapolis was: if there are enough rioting thugs, they can loot and burn all they want.
     It used to be common to maintain order with live fire. The morning after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, the mayor put up notices all over town warning that: “The Federal Troops, the members of the Regular Police Force and all Special Police Officers have been authorized by me to KILL any and all persons found engaged in Looting or in the Commission of Any Other Crime.”
     In December, 1913, the San Antonio River overflowed, and there was serious flooding in central Texas. The order issued to the state police was, “Shoot all looters, and shoot to kill.”
     There was another famous “shoot to kill” order in 1977, after flooding in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. When its mayor heard reports of looting he told police to kill looters, and as soon as the word got out, the looting stopped.
     Few people remember that when Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of Mississippi there was very little looting. Its governor explained why: “The reason, I think, was because I said people could shoot looters. I think it was a real deterrent.” Mississippi does not have restrictive gun ownership laws, and many citizens are armed.
     Government is supposed to have a monopoly on lawful force. But at the end of May 2020, in Minneapolis and in many other cities in America, criminals had a monopoly on force. To take back that monopoly from the rabble must today be the first task of government. Thousands of people living in our cities - and a great many of them are black - have proven that they will run amok if normal restraints are lifted. Unless and until our authorities demonstrate the courage and the will to take charge and perform their sworn duties to allow law enforcement to protect and defend, chaos will continue to spread.
     If a looter were killed, we would undoubtedly hear lamentations about the “sanctity of human life” and the savagery of shedding blood just to protect property. There would be shocked reminders that civilized societies operate according to certain rules. Sorry, but in Minneapolis-St. Paul, in Boston, in Portland and in Washington D.C., the rioters changed the rules. Day after day of lawlessness cannot be left to burn itself out. Firm measures against looters would no longer just be protecting property; they would be protecting something infinitely more valuable: the order without which society cannot function.[6]

     During these last few years, we are seeing what happens when law-abiding citizens are at the mercy of violent looters and rioters. We have seen the results of law enforcement not enforcing the law and not protecting peaceful citizens and their property – either because they have been unwilling to do so or because they have been ordered not to do so. Respect for the law and for the properties of others is a fundamental requirement for any legitimate society. Otherwise, anarchy and lawlessness will result and society will revert to law of the Wild West, where everyone becomes a law unto himself and the strongest will be unopposed in oppressing everyone else. The law must be respected and obeyed – even feared if necessary. And if it takes the imposition of the threat to shoot looters and rioters on sight to accomplish this, then so be it! If anyone should understand and adhere to this admonition, it should be the President of these United States.

     Our failure to act decisively against the rioters and looters in 2020 has been one of the enablers of the Capitol riot of 2021. America was made a laughing stock throughout the world as a result. Kneeling to the violent and disruptive is not the sign of a free and democratic society. Submitting to the tyranny of the minority is not the mark of great nation. Those who feel free to loot and riot should be warned that from now on: LOOTERS AND RIOTERS WILL BE SHOT ON SIGHT!


  1. The dark days after the 1906 earthquake / New Orleans' chaos echoes S.F. violence, Kevin J. Mullen, SFGATE,
    16 January 2012.
  2. Boston police officer on leave after bodycam videos from summer protests released, Hollie Silverman, CNN,
    19 December 2020.
  3. 10 Arrested, 4 Police Officers Injured After Protests In Boston, Hollie Silverman, CBS Boston, 30 May 2020.
  4. 9 officers injured, 21 police cruisers damaged, 53 arrested during Boston protest, Melanie DaSilva, WPRI.COM/2, 1 June 2020.
  6. How to Stop the Rioters, American Renaissance, 30 May 2020.


  4 march 2021 {Article 463; Whatever_78}    
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