Home News Violent protests, Montreal's 1969 'Night of Terror', and New York City today

Violent protests, Montreal's 1969 'Night of Terror', and New York City today

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By Brett Gillin

By now, you’ve certainly seen and read about many of the police protests happening throughout the country. Ever since the protests began in earnest in Ferguson Missouri, there seems to be a rapidly growing anti-police sentiment, both in the protest circles themselves and in many media outlets. Now, with protestors directly calling for violence against police officers, we’ve decided to take a look at what it might be like if the police force stopped protecting these protestors (and everyone else). What would life be like, even for just one night, if there weren’t any police?

While just about every police officer in the United States will gladly defend a citizen’s right to protest peacefully, many of these protests are beginning to take on a vehemently anti-police tone. It’s getting to the point that protestors are calling for the death of police officers, which we can all agree simply goes too far.

As the Daily Caller pointed out, anti-police protestors spent their holiday time in Portland Oregon recently singing mock Christmas carols to the tune of “Deck The Halls With Rows of Dead Cops.” Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident of protestors going too far. Protests in Murray Hill New York recently chanted “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now.”

Unfortunately, these protestors recently got their wish with the murder of two officers in New York City. So what would it look like if police officers, simply tired of being abused by those they’re trying to protect, stopped doing their jobs? It might be hard to imagine, but it’s not without precedent.

In 1969, Montreal police went on strike. The reason for their strike was partly due to their need for higher pay, but another major reason was how often they were being forced to patrol frequent, violent protests and disarm bombs planted by separatist factions. Then, with the police on strike, an enormous riot broke out, known as the Murray-Hill riot.

The riots went on for 16 hours, leading to the death of a police officer. But that wasn’t the only thing brought on by the police strike. Six separate banks were robbed, over 100 stores were looted, 12 sizeable fires were set, and more than $3,000,000 in damage occurred.

People loot the Ferguson Market and Liquor store on August 16, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Several businesses were looted as police held their position nearby. Violent outbreaks have taken place almost daily in Ferguson since the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
People loot the Ferguson Market and Liquor store on August 16, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Several businesses were looted as police held their position nearby. Violent outbreaks have taken place almost daily in Ferguson since the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Imagine, for just a moment, if the same situation happened in New York. If police were to strike, even if just for one night, you can bet that we’d all be lucky to get off as lightly as Montreal did. For example, New York City alone receives more than 33 911 calls per minute, or around one call every other second. If there were no police to respond to those calls, New York City would fall into chaos in mere hours. New York also has thousands more banks than Montreal, which would surely be targets for criminals, and the tens of thousands more shops would all be at great danger for looting. After all, even with police presence, looting is not uncommon around these protests. The scene at iconic New York locations like Times Square or Rockefeller could look like something out of a post apocalyptic movie with fires burning, stores being looted and people hiding in fear.

This doesn’t even begin to take into account all that police officers do to make sure the cities are running smoothly, from traffic and parking tickets to the enforcement of restraining orders and open container laws. There is no doubt that a situation similar to Montreal happening in New York, or just about any major U.S. city, would lead to anarchy quicker than the protestors could come up with a new chant.

If you think the idea of the police walking off the job is too farfetched to be based in reality, you might want to think again. In fact, according to this article in Rolling Stone, NYPD officers have already begun a sort of “virtual work-stoppage.” Ticketing and arrests for minor offenses, such as parking violations, open container laws, and public urination, are down 94% by some estimations!

The NYPD may be looking to hit embattled Mayor Bill de Blasio where it hurts the most (his budget) but either way, their form of protest shows that it’s not an impossibility that some of these protestors could get the lack of police presence they want. They just won’t like what the world looks like without the police keeping the peace.

So the next time you see protestors lamenting the police presence in their city, or calling for the blood of those who protect them, just think about what would happen if they got their wish. There’s a very good chance many of them would never be able to protest again.

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