Good Riots and Bad Riots

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Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s incompetent response to the riots last summer that devastated Minneapolis, and to a lesser extent St. Paul, will never be forgotten. He waited four long days before he finally called out the National Guard in numbers adequate to end the reign of terror that had settled over the Twin Cities. Why was Walz so slow to defend public order? He openly expressed support for the aims of the rioters, looters and arsonists, and worried publicly that a stronger law enforcement response might upset them:

The very tools that we need to use to get control, to make sure that buildings aren’t burned and the rule of law collapses, are those very institutional tools that have led to that grief and pain [of the rioters].

So Walz wrung his hands impotently while Minneapolis burned.

Fast forward to today. Suddenly, Walz’s attitude toward riots has changed. Now, having previously been unwilling to call out the National Guard to stop rioting that had gone on for days, devastated communities, caused deaths and injuries and resulted in $500 million in damages, he has vowed to call out the Guard in response to rioting that hasn’t happened:

Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he plans to deploy the Minnesota National Guard to protect against potential threats to the state Capitol ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Walz says he has gotten warnings of threats of possible violence. Pro tip: there won’t be any violence at the Capitol that requires the Guard, or in all likelihood, any violence at all. And Walz didn’t need “warnings” last summer to know that the largest city in his state was going up in smoke.

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What is the difference? Last summer, Walz sympathized with the rioters, looters and arsonists. He seems to have regarded them as Democratic Party rioters, looters and arsonists, and he was probably right. This time, he fears Republican rioters–a completely different animal. Never mind that there are no such rioters, and in all likelihood there won’t be any. Better safe than sorry, except when you essentially agree with those who are destroying your state.

When people talk about the worst governors in the U.S., it is a serious mistake to leave Tim Walz out of the conversation.


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