Protests, rioting and serious calls to defund police
The horrifying death on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis of 46-year-old black man George Floyd after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes led to protests across the United States and in other countries against racial injustice and police brutality. Sadly, many of these protests turned into rioting and wanton destruction and looting of businesses, with cities on fire.
Significant factors in this were wall-to-wall coverage by an agenda-driven media and the coordinating efforts of radical agitators. The latter goaded others into destruction and even had bricks, gasoline, firebombs and other material brought into targeted sites ahead of protests for this purpose.
While the protests were decrying injustice, the riots devolved into terrible injustice themselves. Part of the fault here was that of government not applying equal application of the law in allowing looters to destroy businesses and buildings. People argue that this is only property, not people’s lives. But destroying people’s livelihoods does destroy lives in many ways over time. And during the rioting there were several severe beatings and many people actually killed—21 as of June 8, a few who were trying to protect others and some who were just innocent bystanders. Making matters worse, many who were arrested were immediately released, enabling them to commit further crimes.
One of the more disturbing aspects of what happened was that even among more peaceful protesters a popular chant taken up was “Defund the police,” the mantra that leaders of Black Lives Matter have a petition for on their website. They want to eliminate the police everywhere and replace them with some kind of public safety advocacy.
This is not a new idea. It is one that anarchists and extremists have trumpeted for some time. And now the idea is gaining traction. On June 7 a majority of the Minneapolis city council announced that it had a veto-proof majority to push disbanding the police department.
It should be considered that despite the many faults of human government, the one thing we expect from it is the maintenance of law and order. The apostle Paul even referred to the abusive Roman state in these terms: “Everyone must submit to governing authorities . . . Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong . . .” (Romans 13:1-7, New Living Translation). Without law and order, the result would be warlords and mob rule.
Of course, eliminating the police would not happen in the more affluent communities. It is the poorer urban communities run by liberal-leaning politicians that would more likely see the police departments defunded—when these are the communities most in need of police. These places would be turned into gang-ruled war zones. And nearby community police forces would have to help—because they wouldn’t want problems spilling over into their neighborhoods. Even still, the skyrocketing crime in the places without police would not be contained there. This is a recipe for utter disaster.
Chinese government culpability in pandemic and fallout
In a business show interview, former White House political strategist Steve Bannon laid out a compelling case for the complicity of the Chinese communist government in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people around the world from the Covid-19 pandemic and the devastation to the global economy that resulted (interview with Maria Bartiromo, Fox News, April 17, 2020).
As Mr. Bannon demonstrated, the Chinese government had known by at least early December 2019 of human-to-human spread of the virus and had blocked travel from the outbreak center to other parts of China. But, and this is critical, China made a calculated decision to cover up the outbreak from the world. Chinese virologists attempting to warn about the outbreak were punished, some even disappearing.
Bannon noted that if China had let the world know by the end of December, perhaps 95 percent of the global transmission wouldn’t have happened. But China’s government determined it was in its own national interest for other countries around the world to suffer the effects of the pandemic and not China alone.
Bannon made a careful distinction between the hundreds of thousands of innocent Chinese people who were spreading the virus around the world and their communist government, which he stated had blood on its hands. All of this came under further investigation, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later placing blame on China for its actions and intentional misdirection.
There are several important takeaways from what’s happened:
One is that consideration of political systems is not just “politics,” as many think. Huge moral considerations are at work. History has shown that communism kills and devastates lives for those who live under it and, as we see in this case, abroad. It is a system based on lies, theft and coveting—violations of God’s law—and what the Chinese state has done has resulted in killing and massively robbing people the world over.
We can see what a lie told to protect one’s own standing and image can do. Lies do great harm to others and to those who perpetrate them. China’s reputation has grossly suffered.
We can further see in what happened the failure of people to learn from the mistakes of history. Trusting totalitarian regimes to give honest reporting can be cataclysmically dangerous.
One news commentator pointed out: “These were highly familiar moves. The first reflex of the Chinese government is always to lie in order to hide failure and avoid embarrassment. In 2003, for example, the Chinese government lied about the initial outbreak of SARS, another coronavirus. In July of 2011 two passenger trains traveling in opposite directions smashed into each other at high speed . . . on a railroad bridge. Four cars derailed and tumbled to the ground below. Within hours authorities arrived with backhoes. They pushed the passenger cars into a pit and began covering them with dirt. By some accounts there were still survivors inside at the time . . . Chinese media, meanwhile, were ordered to ignore the crash entirely except, quote, ‘for positive news or that news issued by authorities.’ This was the template for China’s official response to the Wuhan virus” (Tucker Carlson, April 18, 2020).
Sadly, so much of the mainstream media in the United States and other countries are still quick to embrace and pass on Chinese propaganda, in part due to heavy financial ties to China.
Further, the West failed to really count the cost when it started relying so much on China for cheap supplies and manufacturing and commercial involvement. It all looked like such good deals—but the cost was ultimately a lot higher than anyone imagined it would be.
Looking ahead, we see that while China will remain a major player in Asia, its dreams of dominating the world are being dashed by what’s happened. Not only is there mistrust of China everywhere, but nations will be taking steps to secure themselves against reliance on China. The gains China had made in international relations are being eroded by all this. It appears we will see continuing dominance by the English-speaking nations for the near future, though Bible prophecy informs us of eventual global domination by Europe rather than China.
Coronavirus: Is the cure worse than the disease?
In late March the United States implemented stay-at-home and social distancing rules to slow the spread of the new coronavirus—to “flatten the curve” so that medical facilities would not be overwhelmed. It is possible that some slowing of the spread was accomplished, but some contend that the virus was already spreading too significantly before President Trump banned travel from China at the end of January and from Europe in mid-March.
If so, that would actually mean that the virus is not nearly as dangerous as it was assumed to be early on. In fact, that seems to be the case anyway. It is by far mostly those elderly in nursing homes or those who are on the verge of needing such care who are in danger of dying from Covid-19.
In America approximately half of the fatalities have been in nursing homes. In Canada it was 80 percent. If nursing home deaths are not figured in, the danger to the rest of the population is shown to be greatly reduced. (Sadly, many nursing homes were not adequately protected to start with, allowing greater spread of the virus. And in New York, the state government ordered nursing homes to accept Covid-19 patients, resulting in thousands more deaths.)
It’s been found that children are very unlikely to get this disease or to spread it to others, and yet schools remained shut down until the end of the school year, and some talk of continuing that—making it impossible for parents of these children who don’t work from home to return to their jobs. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, a champion of social distancing, has said that children need to return to school.
Strangely, many political leaders who continued to impose strict lockdowns through May and June and who called for longer delays in reopening businesses and allowing churches to assemble and even outdoor gatherings nevertheless promoted and even joined the massive and overcrowded protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in late May. This should serve as proof that these leaders are not as concerned about the virus as they claim to be.
So what has been wrought by the shutdown? Whether it has actually done much to save lives is unclear. But what is definitely clear is that it has done a great deal of harm.
There has been a vast and untold destruction of livelihoods and futures. Some counter that this is just being focused on money and the economy. But it needs to be understood that economic concerns are actually over people’s lives being at stake over the long term and the short term. Political leaders shut down their states on the grounds that not shutting down would mean some would die. Yet if shutting down businesses and destroying jobs leads to massive loss of income and years of retirement savings wiped out for millions of people, many of those affected may not be able to afford the standard of living and kind of care in their senior years that they would have been able to—that is, they will die earlier in much greater numbers than those who would die of coronavirus.
Added to the long-term human cost is the fact that many people have already died because of the shutdowns or may yet in the near term. Suicide hotlines have received many times their normal call volume. A May 26 Washington Post headline reported that with the coronavirus pandemic, “A Third of Americans Now Show Signs of Clinical Anxiety or Depression”—a huge jump from earlier surveys. Another headline reported, “Record Number of Suicides: ‘We’ve Seen a Year’s Worth of Suicide Attempts in Four Weeks” (Lionel Du Cane, National File, May 23, 2020).
Routine medical treatments and screenings have dropped immensely due to the shutdown. Think about a doctor saying, “We caught that cancer (or other serious ailment) just in time.” Sadly, this has been said far less in recent months—with terrible consequences.
Poorer nations may fare far worse. The United Nations is warning that “the economic devastation the pandemic wreaks on the ultra-poor could ultimately kill more people than the virus itself. The United Nations predicts that a global recession will reverse a three-decade trend in rising living standards and plunge as many as 420 million people into extreme poverty . . . Hunger is already rising in the poorest parts of the world, where lockdowns and social distancing measures have erased incomes and put even basic food items out of reach” (Kate Linthicum, Nabih Bulos and Ana Ionova, “The Economic Devastation Wrought by the Pandemic Could Ultimately Kill More People Than the Virus Itself,” The Los Angeles Times, May 11, 2020).
In many places a proliferation of unreasonable government restrictions has led to people being arrested and jailed for violations. Yet at the same time, inmates who’ve committed serious crimes are released.
A concerned editor commented that through claiming they might get coronavirus while incarcerated, “career dangerous criminals are being marched out of the jails and prisons in astounding numbers. According to UCLA, which is tracking this data, 67,000 criminals have been released throughout the 50 states. The majority of the criminals, 43,000 of them, have been released from the nation’s jails, and 24,356 were released from prisons. Consequently, given that we know the shocking degree of recidivism even among criminals more carefully selected for release, we can add victims of crime due to coronavirus jailbreak as the latest long-term death toll from COVID-19, or at least from the governmental reaction to it” (Daniel Horowitz, “67K Criminals Released So Far Under Coronavirus Jailbreak,” Conservative Review, May 22, 2020). He goes on to show that the actual threat of Covid-19 does not warrant these releases. This has much more to do with political ideology about the need to free criminals.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. No doubt we will learn of more damage going forward. God warned in the Scriptures that as nations depart from His laws they fall under curses, including confusion and making bad decisions.