Last weekend, Renee Jean’s editorial began by citing the “shocking events in our nation’s Capitol.”

I have to ask why only this recent event was worthy of an editorial, and not any of last summer’s riots all over the country. Many protests characterized as “mostly peaceful” were replete with mayhem, injuries, killings and lootings. Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, Kenosha, Louisville and others ended up with millions of dollars worth of destroyed property. What happened at the Capitol was disturbing, but not more so than any other “event.”

May 2020 found DC protesters lighting fires and trying to enter White House grounds — another “shocking event.” Sen. Kamala Harris stated protesting “should not stop,” while not endorsing the rioting. Fair enough, but why are all of last week’s “peaceful protesters” being lumped in with those who actually swarmed the Capitol?

In 2016 before DAPL, the Army Corps of Engineers waived a mandatory permitting process for an encampment. I looked into links from a Rob Port article: one website featured college-age people planning to “do the DAPL,” that summer’s go-to spot. After protesters left, ND sued for damages, and in September 2020, Ms. Jean wrote of the Army Corps’ pursuing a settlement.

During DAPL, some residents suffered: cattle killed, ranchers harassed, law enforcement

threatened. During the 2020 protests that turned riotous, some cities’ residents also suffered: it’ll take years for their communities to repair and rebuild. How long before anyone will be held responsible?

Our country should have one standard for all, no matter the party, no matter the ideology: “peaceful protests good, violence bad.” The sentiment that “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” should remain in George Orwell’s Animal Farm where it belongs.

Rena Helberg


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