There's a pattern emerging if you pay close enough attention.
Civil discontent leads to civil unrest, which leads to protests and counterprotests.
Without fail, what should be an exercise in how to peacefully disagree turns ugly the moment looting, vandalism, violence, intimidation tactics and rioting are introduced into the equation. Instead of restoring order, local police stand down.
Tensions rise, violence escalates, and federal armies move in.
Coincidence? I think not.
This was the blueprint used three years ago in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, when the city regularly cited as being one of the happiest places in America, became ground zero for a heated war of words—and actions—over racism, "sanitizing history," extremism (both right and left), political correctness, hate speech, partisan politics, and a growing fear that violent words will end in violent actions.
It was a setup: local police deliberately engineered a situation in which protesters would confront each other, tensions would bubble over, and things would turn just violent enough to call in the bigger guns.
It is the blueprint being used right now.
In Charlottesville, as in so many parts of the country right now, the conflict was over how to reconcile the nation's checkered past, particularly as it relates to slavery, with the push to sanitize the environment of anything—words and images—that might cause offense, especially if it's a Confederate flag or monument.
That fear of offense prompted the Charlottesville City Council to get rid of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that had graced one of its public parks for 82 years.
That's when everything went haywire.