Violence like a cancer grows — even on Capitol Hill

Violence like a cancer grows — even on Capitol Hill
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Violence tolerated is violence forecasted. After eight months of violence in urban streets across America that was largely met with Chamberlain-esque appeasement by those charged with the responsibility to protect us, the political elites are suddenly incredulous that violence has come to their workspace.

The unwritten rules of violent behavior mandate that barbarity be restricted to poorer neighborhoods and its effects borne primarily by the lower socio-economic classes. According to this way of thought, that’s where rioting properly occurs; that’s where robberies and assaults and murders properly occur; that’s where domestic violence and human trafficking all properly occur. When confined to those areas of society, this theory holds, violence can be managed and tolerated.

The breaching of the heavy doors and magnetometers and concrete barricades of the Capitol, erected by the elite to protect the elite, broke all kinds of unwritten rules. Those deterrents were designed to keep terrorists at bay, not mobs of violent Americans. Mobs are supposed to damage their own neighborhoods and businesses, according to the elite. Storming the Capitol just isn’t done. The Capitol building is not Kenosha, for heaven’s sake.


The establishment went apoplectic on Wednesday evening. Cable news avatars gave hot airtime to politician after politician who, with indignant consistency, described the Capitol breach as “a dark day in American history.” Why — because Congress has now personally felt the heat of violence? Large segments of urban poor and urban businesses continue to have dark days every day while these same, now shaken politicians have done little to nothing to end the violent nightmare rending these communities. In reality, elected officials have made it worse.  

Anyone with a background in the military or law enforcement knows well this singular harsh truth: Violence unmet with strong deterrence will beget more violence. Violence allowed is a reliable predictor of violence to come.

Criminals continue to burn and destroy property in a number of our cities. Criminals have now stormed and destroyed property in the Capitol. Politicians and their media acolytes desperately draw left wing/right wing distinctions in their typically cynical attempts to wring political advantage that would benefit them and their parties. It’s a disgusting theatre. There are no distinctions. Offensive violence is a crime, deserving of disincentivizing punishment no matter what the motivation.  

When violence is not punished, we cannot be surprised when it continues. Right now, like it or not, the message of 2020 is that violence pays off. Democratic mayors and city councils responded to anarchist thugs with autonomous zones, stripped police budgets, and dropped criminal charges. Then-candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Democrats' struggle for voting rights bill comes to a head David Weil: Wrong man, wrong place, wrong time  Biden's voting rights gamble prompts second-guessing MORE said little of substance about the persistent riots, and Democratic-leaning media downplayed coverage.  

President TrumpDonald TrumpClyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight  Why not a Manchin-DeSantis ticket for 2024? MORE had a legal right and, arguably, an obligation to use federal resources to stop the violence in these major cities, but instead disingenuously claimed that he needed an invitation from the affected localities in order to act. He needed no such permission. The federal government will step in and protect minnows in an estuary without state consent.  

Democratic leadership failed to act in order to appease a leftward-drifting base. Republican leadership failed to act in order to amplify the disorder in Democratic-controlled locations. In other words, violence was tolerated in favor of political calculus in an election year. Lives were imperiled and property destroyed in disadvantaged areas so politicians could obtain or stay in power. This is the weak, self-serving political leadership we have been sentenced with.

Many in Congress are now criticizing the police for failing to deter the rioters storming the Capitol. Their hypocrisy and double standards are stunning and shameful. The police were demonized all last year for the sins of a few and, ostensibly, for inflaming the passions of peaceful protesters. Their departments have been verbally brutalized and defunded, and the best of them are leaving the profession in droves. But now that the elite need them, the police are pilloried for not providing adequate protection.   

The responsibility for violence belongs to those who encourage it and those who carry it out. But the responsibility to protect the law-abiding from violent criminals rests with our political leaders — and they are failing many in America. Violence can be significantly reduced by overwhelming, strong and appropriate deterrence. When politicians choose not to adequately confront violence for political reasons, we can expect with absolute certainty that violence will continue to metastasize. Those who traditionally feel safe soon won’t.  

Now that the Capitol has felt the sting of a violent mob, perhaps an autonomous zone can be established in those hallowed hallways to accommodate the grievances of those who stormed in. And maybe the Capitol police can be defunded at the same time. Certainly charges don’t have to be pressed upon those who feel marginalized. After all, what’s good for the rest of America should be good for our representatives.

Sounds absurd, right? The absurdity of weak leaders isn’t hard to expose. Let’s not tolerate violence — no matter where it appears or who commits it.

Kevin R. Brock, former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI, was an FBI special agent for 24 years and principal deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). He independently consults with private companies and public-safety agencies on strategic mission technologies.