Karate, and the Officials Who Won’t Let Us Use It

Karate class [Photo courtesy Sierra Vista]

Daniel LaRussa, in the iconic 1980s move The Karate Kid, wanted to learn karate so he could win fights.  His mentor, Mr. Miyagi, wanted Daniel to learn karate for the same reason.  (Daniel had been targeted by bullies who knew karate and used it to torment him).  But Mr. Miyagi felt there was a more important reason—bullies respect strength, and seldom start trouble with someone who can beat them.  Eventually, Daniel got the message.  Toward the end of the movie, Miyagi asked Daniel a rhetorical question:  Why should he learn karate?  “So I won’t have to fight,” Daniel replied.

Many big-city mayors and some state governors should watch The Karate Kid again.  (The 1984 version, that is.)

For months, thugs have used the George Floyd tragedy as a pretext for rioting, looting and general mayhem.  In many cities and states—-almost all run by progressive Democrats—-the police have been told to hang back and give the “protesters” space.  The “protesters” know that, if someone is weak-willed enough to give you an inch, you can probably take a mile from them instead.

Statues have been pulled down all over this country, often while local and state law enforcement authorities stand by and watch as the thugs methodically attach cables to the statue and topple it.  Urban downtowns that took decades to build up have suffered millions of dollars in damage.  In Minneapolis, where George Floyd died, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that “vandals left a trail of smashed doors and windows…and set fire to nearly 150 buildings, with dozens burned to the ground.”[1]  An estimated $500 million dollars in property damage occurred[2]—much of it not covered by insurance.  Now, Minnesota’s governor has asked Washington (i.e., the American taxpayers) to help pay to fix the damage.

The damage in Minneapolis, and other American cities, took days to inflict.  Local and state police were often overwhelmed, or told to soft-pedal their responses to the lawlessness happening right in front of their eyes.  Some governors resisted deploying the “cavalry” that normally rides to the rescue of beleaguered local law enforcement agencies—their states’ National Guards.

Minnesota’s governor, Democrat Tim Walz, was arguably the worst of them all.  On the morning of June 10th, activists announced their intention to tear down the Christopher Columbus statue on the state capitol grounds.  Local media saw the notice and alerted state authorities.  So, what happened?  According to Tom Hauser of KSTP News in Minneapolis:

Just after 5 p.m…the KSTP newsroom witnessed a live feed of the statue being torn down by protesters. After the protesters refused to accept a piece of paper [from a state trooper, which outlined] the steps necessary to legally have a statue removed, the trooper walked away and left the statue unprotected. Two protesters then climbed the statue with no State Patrol in sight and tore the statue down. Just a few minutes later, more than a dozen State Troopers emerged from the State Capitol and circled the pedestal that had held the statue of Christopher Columbus since 1931.[3]  [Text in brackets added by the author, for clarification].

The thugs rampaging through our cities must have rubbed their eyes in disbelief.  In too many cities across America, it was as if the mayors and governors had no will—or real desire—to stop the mayhem.  That was an invitation to more mayhem…and more mayhem is what we got.  A lot of it.

Once thugs start rampaging, they don’t just stop on their own.  Someone has to stop them.  Now, our exhausted police have to tamp down an organized corps of rioters that feels it has the upper hand.  And, who can blame the rioters for feeling that way?  After what they’ve seen the past few months, they probably feel they can get away with most anything.  (If you were an Antifa type, and saw the ultra-progressive leadership Tucson has nowadays, wouldn’t you be tempted to have a go at some “offensive” Tucson statues?  Or store windows?)

The thugs aren’t backing down.  On July 17th, a protest in Chicago degenerated into violence, when people tried to pull down a statue of Christopher Columbus in the city’s Grant Park.  The police contingent defending the statue was actually overwhelmed initially by the mob, and had to pull back.  Protesters then managed to mount the statue, attach ropes to it, and organize crews to pull it down.  The police had to send in reinforcements—for which they were criticized by city and state elected officials!  Four Chicago aldermen, one state senator and one state representative signed a declaration that said this: “We unequivocally condemn Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s decision to send the Chicago police to beat, arrest, and terrorize the demonstrators and journalists gathered in Grant Park tonight.” About 18 police officers were injured.[4]

After that, if you were Antifa, would you quit while you were ahead?  When you have elected officials criticizing the mayor for FINALLY pushing back on your thuggery—wouldn’t you try more mayhem in Chicago?  Or elsewhere?  Look at the news reports, and see how hard the poor Chicago police had to work, to rein in that mob.  (The Powerline blog used this title for its article on the incident: “Warfare in Grant Park.”) Now, thugs inspired by their successes in our major cities are likely to try their luck in other cities and towns.  Now THOSE cities and towns’ police will have to absorb some beatings (or perhaps worse) in order to finally get these jerks off the streets.

Our local and state law enforcement authorities can keep the peace, if they are allowed to.  But now, after the thugs have had so much success trashing our cities, the police will have to work harder, much harder, to bring the “protesters” under control.  Once a mob gets rolling, it’s hard to stop.  That’s probably going to mean more violence.  Thugs are going to try to get away with mayhem that they might not have tried at all, had law enforcement been allowed to do its job in the first place.

Wouldn’t it have been nicer—not only for our statues, but the people who live, work, invest and run businesses in our urban areas—if the police had been allowed to prevent all this mayhem from getting out-of-hand?  Wouldn’t it have been better for the police to have prevented a fight from starting at all?   The questions answer themselves.

[1] https://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-st-paul-buildings-are-damaged-looted-after-george-floyd-protests-riots/569930671/

[2] https://www.city-journal.org/minneapolis-disorder-failure-of-state-leadership

[3] https://kstp.com/news/timeline-columbus-statue-torn-down-by-protesters-90-minutes-after-vow-to-protect/5756515/

[4] https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-chicago-police-christopher-columbus-protest-20200718-ea62bmy6ujgh7cbeofrpwbakse-story.html

About Donald Smith 10 Articles
Donald Smith wrote the “Fort Buckley” blog on TucsonCitizen.com from 2011 to 2012. He lives in Tucson.