Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

What Is Going on Here?

I've been 'watching' events unfold on Twitter tonight and in various livefeeds. I don't have access to TV where I am. But I'm not sure that gives me less information.

For all the pyrotechnics, literal and figurative, and all the various outrages, large and small, what I see more than anything else is no one in control. And that's been the dominant theme for days. That might strike some as a sort of exoneration. But that is not how I mean it.

A few people have told me, "Wrong. The police chief is in charge. This is by design."

But that doesn't cut it. This is a major civil disturbance that has been going on, escalating, for days. There's a county government, a Governor, a federal government. Whatever police chief is in charge answers to them - mainly to the governor, at the end of the day. There are ways, even heavy-handed ways to quell protests and riots. But this seems like a repeated use of the same heavy-handed tactics that have proven counter-productive night after night.

The police seem like they're on autopilot, following the same script. Again, step back and it just doesn't seem like anyone is in charge.