OPINION: Cities Destroy Themselves Then Demand Everyone Else Pay to Fix It

OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

I have four kids, so I’ve experienced my fair share of meltdowns. I’d venture to guess that parents have experienced a child pitching an epic fit, throwing things, screaming, crying, flailing, etc. When a child has a colossal freak-out like that, you don’t reward that bad behavior. Well, this summer of civil unrest has shown us which cities are the “tantrum children.” Lawful protests and peaceable assemblies following the death of George Floyd quickly devolved into weeks of rioting, violence, and destruction in cities across the country. Damages could reach $2 billion and some places are still being ravaged. People are fleeing these cities that are essentially bankrupt and destroyed. And there’s a reason for that. Consider these three major cities:

Seattle—Home of the CHOP/CHAZ. Really, it’s jut complete chaos. Anarchists literally took over a section of the city. Reporter Andy Ngo said of the anarchy,

“You have here a group of several hundred people who have laid siege to a territory and have claimed it as a separate political entity from the United States.”

They renamed it, built a border wall (which is hilariously hypocritical), banished the police, had armed patrols, and began destroying everything they could see.

“If you happen to live in that area or happen to run a business in that area, you are on your own. According to what Seattle police said, they have been aware that some businesses are possibly being extorted for money inside there.”

Buildings burned, people died, and violence raged. Meanwhile, the Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone was more like a block party and could turn into “a summer of love.” She hired a former pimp to “act as an adviser to the City of Seattle and ‘street czar’ community liaison,” in an effort to engage with the public, rather than empowering the police to quash the violence. Turns out the pimp czar then encouraged the anarchist occupiers to demand money from the city before agreeing to release the captive city. Major businesses are now leaving the ruined city for more hospitable locations.

New York—Downtown New York was the target of extensive rioting and looting. Dozens of stores, from small shops to high end luxury retailers, were ransacked by hundreds of rioters. Unruly mobs blocked the streets and even prevented police from responding to calls. There was a sharp increase in violence across the city. Buildings and cars were burned. Property defaced. It was truly anarchy. Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio reported only “limited protest activity.” He turned a blind eye while anarchists trashed his city. Gov. Cuomo was ready to send in the national guard in, but not to quell the raging violence. Rather, they would help pick up the heaping piles of garbage that accumulated in the poorly-managed city. People are fleeing the once majestic city in droves, citing the ongoing riots as the final straw.

Portland—Arguably the worst of the three awful situations, Portland has seen well over 100 days of continuous violent riots. Dozens of arrests, many of whom have been immediately released due to the District Attorney’s refusal to prosecute such crimes. Firebombs, high powered lasers, industrial fireworks, mortars, Molotov cocktails, and a host of other homemade weapons of destruction have been common on the streets of Portland for weeks. Buildings, vehicles, and piles of garbage are routinely set ablaze and sections of the city are literally blocked off by large fires or armed mobs. And Mayor Ted Wheeler has repeatedly refused any federal help to get the violence under control. Not only did he refuse it, he made a big deal about releasing a letter to the public showing how he had repeatedly refused federal help.

He let the city burn. In fact, he was forced from his own home when his apartment building was targeted by fireworks and rioters.

For months the leaders of these cities allowed the anarchy to rage unchecked and even defended their choices to allow the dangerous and destructive behaviors in their cities. Police were restricted, violence was ignored, criminals were released, leadership pandered to the mobs. Unfortunately for them, their choices have cost live, livelihoods, and caused billions of dollars of destruction to their cities, which were already bankrupt from years of failed democratic leadership. So now that the bill has come due, these cities are expecting the Federal government and taxpayers across the country to foot the bill for them. Well, the Trump administration knows that when a child throws a temper tantrum, you don’t reward them afterward. Because the leadership of these cities allowed the violence and destruction to persist for so long, the Department of Justice named New York City, Portland, and Seattle as “anarchist jurisdictions,” which means they could lose federal funding. Trump isn’t about to let upstanding American citizens be required to pay for the poor decisions of the rioters and the city leadership, and I’m grateful that he isn’t. Attorney General William Barr said,

“When state and local leaders impede their own law enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest…We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance. It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens…

This makes perfect sense. If you are in charge and you allow your city to be destroyed, then you can’t come asking for a handout when it’s time to face the consequences. Well, as tantrum-throwing children do, these cities are not happy about being held accountable for their bad decisions and have decided to sue the Federal government! Mayor de Blasio of New York City said,

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“It’s morally wrong, it’s legally unacceptable, it’s unconstitutional and we’re going to fight it. I said weeks ago if the Trump administration persisted in trying to illegally take away funding from New York City we would take them to court, and we will beat them in court.”

I’m picturing the opening arguments for this law suit including something like, ‘We allowed the violence, destruction, and anarchy to rage unchecked in our cities because it was really mostly peaceful. And now our cities are destroyed and it’s your job to bail us out. How dare you refuse to bail us out. We’re suing you for refusing to bail us out after our terrible decisions led to the destruction of our cities.’ Sound about right?