Pandemic. Masks. Riots. Looting. Vandalism. These are the recent events in the U.S. that have made safety priority one for many Americans.
Amidst all this chaos, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), more than 2 million Americans are now first-time gun owners. In May, gun sales skyrocketed.
When video first surfaced showing unarmed African American George Floyd being killed, for the first time in a long while, there was unity. A victim of a senseless and inexcusable killing at the hands of a Minneapolis policeman, Floyd became a rallying point for all Americans to unite behind. President Trump quickly condemned the murder and ordered the Department of Justice to get involved. There was not a credible voice to be heard rationalizing or minimizing this tragedy.
Large numbers of Americans took to the streets throughout the nation to engage in peaceful protests. At the same time, however, there was a significant amount of violence, looting, and burning. In our hyper-partisan atmosphere, the political lines were quickly drawn.
On the one hand, Democrats are urging for “defunding the police.” On the other hand, Republicans are urging for a strong stance to be taken to put an end to the looting and burning taking place in our cities amidst attempts by others to exercise their First Amendment rights to protest against racism in America and police misconduct. Only one has correctly captured the desires of the public.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) said that we must “seize the opportunity we have right now to build anew. Yes, America is burning, but that’s how forests grow.” Far from condemning the criminal behavior, she seemed to be implying it was a necessary part of what was needed to achieve the desired results.
Not to be outdone, in multiple cities, Democrats have embraced the idea that the best way to move forward in a positive direction is to cut spending on the police. In Los Angeles, police were anticipating an increase of $671 million. Now, Mayor Garcetti wants to cut $100-$150 million. In New York City, 40 City Council candidates are calling for a $1-$6 billion cut in police spending over the next four years. At what might be considered Ground Zero, Minneapolis, Democrats are advocating to move to dismantle the police department and replace it with a “transformative new model for public safety.”
The president of the Minneapolis City Council, Lisa Bender, issued a specific challenge. “If you are a comfortable white person asking to dismantle the police, I invite you to reflect: are you willing to stick with it? Will you be calling in three months to ask about garage break-ins?”
Apparently, this sort of thinking that it makes you a bad person for not wanting someone to break into your garage is having an impact. A recent report published by Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF), a research organization, estimated that more than 1.7 million firearms were purchased across the United States in, an 80 percent increase compared to 2019. This continued a trend. In March, April, and May, sales were between 70 and 85 percent higher than in 2019.
As a National Rifle Association (NRA) certified pistol, shotgun, and personal protection instructor, it is important that Americans as a whole, and women in particular, are coming to a greater understanding that protecting yourself, your loved ones, and your property is not a bad thing.
To the outrage of reporters at The New York Times, Arkansas U.S. Senator Tom Cotton penned an op-ed that asserted the violence in many of our cities had gotten out of control, and that it was time for the use of strong force to bring it to an end. After first defending running the column, the hierarchy at the Times capitulated, saying the column had not met some unspecified set of standards. Of course, in the past, the Times ran columns by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, officials from ISIS, and the Taliban. The episode served as the almost perfect disconnect in how Republicans and Democrats are viewing the world.
My bet is Democrats have already overplayed their hand. Even in the midst of justified anguish over the horrible killing of George Floyd, as well as a heightened attention to issues of systemic racism and police misconduct, I simply do not think most Americans agree with an approach that either condones violence or reduces police presence. In a civilized society, law and order are good things. For Republicans, this is good policy and good politics.