Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, fresh off a successful primary fight against challenger Joe Kennedy III, isn’t tacking to the center as he heads into the general election. Instead, the Democrat is embracing one of the most far-Left positions when it comes to the calls for police reform. On Monday, the senator declared his support for disarming police of “weapons of war” to tear gas, rubber bullets, and other less-lethal means of defense and crowd control.
Portland police routinely attack peaceful protestors with brute force. We must disarm these officers, and every other police department in America, of weapons of war, and enact a nationwide ban on tear gas, rubber and plastic bullets, and bean bag rounds. https://t.co/PDZcjhmSLB
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) September 14, 2020
“Peaceful protesters,” he says. No mention of the riots, looting, and unrest that have rocked Portland for more than 100 days. Markey makes it sound like police in Portland are just randomly attacking people at prayer circles, instead of responding to riots where would-be revolutionaries try to set fire to the mayor’s apartment building.
Markey and his Democratic comrade-in-disarmament Bernie Sanders have introduced something called the No Tear Gas or Projectiles Act, which, in their words would “prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement officers’ use of tear gas and rubber bullets by banning federal officers’ use of riot control agents and kinetic impact projectiles, and by restricting the allocation of federal funding to state and local entities that do not ban riot control agents and kinetic impact projectiles.”
“Our streets are not meant to be battlefields, and law enforcement shouldn’t be using weapons of war against protestors and other Americans,” said Senator Markey. “Law enforcement’s use of tear gas also compounds the effects of structural racism, because we know communities of color are already suffering disproportionately during this global respiratory pandemic. It’s time we stop using these potentially lethal weapons against our own people. I thank Senator Sanders for his partnership on this legislation and urge our colleagues to join us in protecting the health and rights of the American people.”
I find it fascinating that some on the Left like Markey are now declaring that less-lethal methods of crowd control are now “weapons of war” that should be banned for use by police, even while Markey is apparently okay with law enforcement using the semi-automatic firearms that his fellow Democrats have described as “deadly and dangerous weapons of war that belong on battlefields—not our streets.”
You’d think if Markey wanted police to stop using tear gas and rubber bullets he’d also be calling for law enforcement to be disarmed of their “assault weapons” as well, but the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2019,” which was co-sponsored by Markey, contained an exemption for law enforcement to continue to use the rifles while on the job.
At this point, I’m not sure why Markey doesn’t just embrace the idea of disarming police completely; no sidearms, no stun guns, no ASP wands, no tear gas, no pepper spray. Maybe he’s waiting until after Election Day. In the meantime, don’t be surprised if Markey’s Republican challenger, attorney Kevin O’Conner, hammers Markey on the issue during the pair’s upcoming debate.
If Markey doesn’t want police using less-lethal means of crowd control, what exactly are his recommendations when officers are facing hundreds of agitators who are throwing rocks, bottles, and Molotov cocktails at law enforcement who are trying to keep the peace and quell riots and unrest? Police in Portland say that Mayor Ted Wheeler’s decision to ban the use of tear gas is going to lead to officers using impact munitions, as opposed to hugging it out with those trying to burn down the city’s center.
“Banning the lawful use of CS will make it very difficult to address this kind of violence without resorting to much higher levels of physical force, with a correspondingly elevated risk of serious injury to members of the public and officers,” the statement reads. “CS, while effective, is a significantly lower level of force than impact weapons, which would very likely be necessary to disperse riotous groups with its prohibition.”
In short, because of Wheeler’s decision, police will be forced to shoot members of the public at protests with pepper balls, rubber bullets, flashbang grenades, or other “impact munitions.”
This is what happens when a politician’s desire to pander to their base takes precedence over offering any real solutions to improve the tenuous situation in too many of our Democrat-controlled cities. Police have an obligation and a duty to ensure public safety, and as cops in Portland point out, the Left’s push to disarm police of less-lethal means of crowd control is likely to only escalate confrontations and lead to more force being used against those “peaceful” protesters who are trying to burn down their cities.