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#Don’t let rioting thugs derail America’s search for justice #OpinionNews

Don’t let rioting thugs derail America’s search for justice

May 30, 2020 | 11:54pm

“That is not a protest. It is not a statement. It’s people, a handful of people, taking advantage of a situation for their own purposes — and they need to be treated as criminals,” said the commander in chief. “. . . A handful of criminals and thugs who tore up the place.”

The president, of course, was Barack Obama, talking about rioting that followed the protests over Freddie Gray’s 2015 death in Baltimore. The difference is that Obama faced a fraction of the backlash from the liberal media as Donald Trump did for tweeting the same word to describe the looters: Thugs.

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Both presidents were right. A thug is not black or white, a thug is a person who takes the righteous anger over an injustice like George Floyd and burns down an affordable housing complex. A thug is someone who uses a protest to rob Scores Sports Bar in Minneapolis, owned by a black firefighter, KB Balla, who poured every cent he had into the business.

A thug is someone who vandalized a city, causing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to plead, “What I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.”

A thug is someone who just wants to watch it burn, as Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said yesterday. “The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd, it is about attacking civil society, instilling fear, and disrupting our great cities. As you saw this expand across the United States, and you start to see whether it be domestic terrorism, whether it be ideological extremists to fan the group, or whether it be international destabilization of how our country works.”

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How our country works. Slowly, frustratingly at times. It is a measure of justice that Derek Chauvin, the police officer that put his knee on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder. His fellow officers will face charges as well. We hope to live in a day when men like George Floyd and Freddie Gray don’t die in the first place.

The American project continues, and this country grapples with racism and fairness every day. There will be protests to make things better, as there should be, and we believe that it is in us as a nation to get better. We need to get better. And we cannot let the thugs derail that.

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