State, city leaders play politics with public safety - Albuquerque Journal

State, city leaders play politics with public safety

Readers of this column know I’m not much for federal intervention in state affairs. Logic tells us the doctrine of State’s Rights is the way to go as local elected officials are the ones most in touch with what their citizens need.

But what happens when the states make a muck of it? What happens when community leaders worry more about their next election and appeasing dissidents and less about public safety?

The federal government has now inserted itself – albeit in a back door way – to try to restore some sense of security to besieged communities. Too bad it’s not in locations where riots have become a nightly event.

For three months, the city of Portland has been plagued by the violence of a band of roaming criminals who are fueled by unknown benefactors. Arson fires, looting, frightening harassment of innocent citizens and business owners, even murders are now commonplace.

Worse yet, left unchecked, this destructive Marxist-anarchist-led revolution has emboldened rioters in other cities. Hey, when local politicians order police to stand down, what’s to stop those bent on revolution?

In cities as disparate as Denver, Seattle, Baltimore, San Antonio and Lafayette, Louisiana, criminal mobs have staged destructive rampages. It is certainly acceptable if citizens want to peacefully protest, but when those demonstrations morph into senseless storms of destruction, then authorities must stop the violence immediately.

The most recent rioting took place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following yet another police shooting of a Black man. Despite two nights of terrifying violence, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers refused the Republican president’s offer of federal troops. After the rioting escalated and two people were killed, Evers agreed his state needed federal assistance.

Can we please stop playing politics here?

Is this what America’s future looks like? How much more can average citizens and business owners be asked to endure?

In the meantime, the feds have quietly pushed ahead with “Operation Legend,” an anti-crime program that unleashed 1,000 federal agents to help round up violent career criminals. In just six weeks the operation – named for 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro who was shot as he slept in a Kansas City, Missouri, apartment — has resulted in almost 1,500 arrests in the nine cities in which it has been deployed.

So far, the operation has taken nearly 400 firearms off the streets, and at least 90 suspected killers were arrested. Others were charged with crimes that included drug trafficking, bank fraud and bank robbery, extortion, robbery, arson, carjacking and illegal possession of a firearm, many held by ex-cons.

The operation began in little LeGend’s hometown of Kansas City and expanded to Albuquerque, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Memphis, Milwaukee and St. Louis. Indianapolis was added most recently.

To be clear, Operation Legend is not focused on quelling the riots. It is focused on simply assisting local officers in what must seem like an overwhelming daily grind of good vs. evil. At least it’s a start.

But not every city has welcomed Operation Legend’s federal assistance. Chicago’s Democratic Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, declared she wouldn’t let federal troops in to “terrorize” the city. She later changed her mind after Chicago murders increased nearly 200%. Tim Keller, the Democratic Mayor of Albuquerque, a city the FBI reports has the dubious distinction of having a crime rate about 194% higher than the national average, derisively called the federal agents, “Trump’s secret police.”

Nonetheless, the feds activated the program to New Mexico’s largest city, and the roundup of criminals began.

Again, can we stop playing politics with public safety?

I am a believer in state’s rights. But if riotous lawlessness continues, it is entirely appropriate for the president – whoever it might be – to invoke the Insurrection Act and send in federal troops. Fifteen past presidents have done so.

In 1957, President Eisenhower sent thousands of troops into Little Rock to ensure school desegregation went forward as ordered by a federal court. In the ’60s, President Johnson dispatched federal troops several times to tamp down riots in five cities. There is plenty of precedent for the commander in chief to intercede – whether the governor of a state wants it or not.

Deployment of federal troops should be automatic during these troubled times. The besieged population has had enough. Damn the politics, citizens want peace.; email to


Home » Opinion » Columnists » State, city leaders play politics with public safety

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

Thieves take so much more than your cash
Being victimized can cause trauma, and ... Being victimized can cause trauma, and has nothing to do with your 'intelligence or common sense'
Tips for keeping you and your energy bills cool ...
It is hot outside. According to ... It is hot outside. According to PNM, demand for electricity is highest during the summer cooling sea ...
A new community hub for the South Valley
Social Enterprise Center brings new approach ... Social Enterprise Center brings new approach to economic development
Navajo nurses took different paths to making big differences ...
Looking back on long nursing careers, ... Looking back on long nursing careers, Erma Marbut and Lavenia Diswood are most proud of the ways the ...
Anniversaries of grief bring lessons, opportunities to help
ABQnews Seeker
You will not 'get over' the ... You will not 'get over' the loss of a loved one; you'll learn to live with it
Journal reader engagement focusing on underrepresented communities
I moved to Albuquerque from Colorado ... I moved to Albuquerque from Colorado last November, marking the third time in my 53 years that IR ...
NM voters should get say on healthy environment
What is the Green Amendment and ... What is the Green Amendment and what would it do? Democrats in the New Mexico House and Senate have ...
Newspaper memo from the past rings just as true ...
Editorial page writer Sharon Hendrix rarely ... Editorial page writer Sharon Hendrix rarely throws anything out. So before retiring last month after ...
Credit freeze effective against identity theft
Study found that only 3% of ... Study found that only 3% of victims initiated a halt