Editorial

EDITORIAL: Violent and Destructive Protests Teach Youth the Wrong Lesson

A former MPD officer, after being honored as Officer of the Year in 2019, recently turned in her badge, apparently disgruntled over the policies and procedures that continue to guide the police force in the District.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Dec. 12, nearly three dozen people were arrested during the evening after a rally supporting President Trump turned into a night of chaos and violence. Protesters, allegedly connected to white nationalist groups, looked for and found anti-Trump counterprotesters and engaged several in fights.

According to MPD officials, at least four stabbings occurred.

Police initially found a way to keep the two factions separated, leading to growing frustration among the more vocal and antagonistic Proud Boys — an organization guided by male chauvinist ideologies who remain unconvinced that Trump lost the recent presidential election.

Tensions flared after nightfall as the Proud Boys and others with similar sentiments sought to take over Black Lives Plaza where they were met by police who attempted to thwart their plans of accessing the District’s central location for those advocating for justice for Blacks and others of color.

Meanwhile, so far unidentified people destroyed banners in front of four churches, including Asbury United Methodist Church, which affirmed their support of justice advocates, burning banners which read “Black Lives Matter.”

Asbury counts as one of the District’s oldest Black churches.

D.C. Mayor Bowser said in a tweet Sunday, “faith-based organizations are at the very heart of our community and an attack on them is an attack on all of us.”

Some within the ranks of Black Lives Matter DC have criticized police and the Bowser administration for allegedly protecting the Proud Boys and others as they marched through the District, and “threatened lives, damaged historic churches, destroyed and burned property.”

We hope and believe that those who broke the law will eventually be brought to justice — no matter what faction they represent. We support peaceful protest in all of its forms. But when citizens cross the line and misuse their constitutional right of free speech, such actions cannot be condoned.

America continues to meander down a treacherously, slippery slope – one which we can ill afford to allow to escalate further.

If for no other reason, we must remember that America’s youth are watching. What lessons are we teaching them?

While we may not all agree and while the recent outcome of the presidential election illustrates how divided our nation currently stands, we are all Americans. That should be our central message and guide our actions both today and in the future.

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