We’re seeing exactly what happens when we give the mob its wish and order the police to stand down. These protesters don’t say, “Well, that’s more like it” and go home; they ramp up the violence because now they figure they can get away with even more.
Law professor Glenn Reynolds of the Instapundit blog has written wisely that the inevitable result of this is not a utopian society with no evil gestapo cops, but vigilante justice. The people will only put up with being terrorized for so long, particularly when the officials they foolishly elected abandon them to the mob and tell them, as the Seattle Police Chief just did, that “we can no longer enforce the law. You are on your own.”
The only responses in such a case range across a spectrum from armed self-defense to neighborhood patrols to gangs to vigilante groups to militias. Do the leftist leaders of these cities really prefer any of those options to police (I exempt Chicago, since they’ve obviously preferred letting gangs run wild to backing the police for years)? As Prof. Reynolds puts it, “In the end, the police aren’t there to protect the public from criminals, they’re there to protect criminals from the public. Communities dealt with crime long before police were invented, usually in rather harsh and low-due-process ways. The bargain was, let the police handle it instead. No police, no bargain.”
All those who accuse the police of not being gentle enough with them when they assault someone or steal or destroy someone’s property really aren’t going to like what happens if the police go away and their victims start dealing directly with the problem themselves.