SocietyWatch

From the April 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

Raids on California human trafficking

A statewide operation to combat human trafficking in California in January culminated in the arrests of 474 people and the rescue of 28 sexually exploited children and 27 adult victims.

The sweep took place January 26 to 28 and combined the efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and task forces, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said 70 percent of trafficked children are taken from foster care situations. “They’re looking for love,” he said. “They’re looking for someone that cares about them. The pimp says that they’re going to give them this, then leads them down a path of destruction.”

McDonnell said that, while the majority of child victims are abducted from foster care, traffickers have ensnared people from all walks of life: “[A]ny family, any kind, anywhere with the Internet can get involved in a situation where they think they’re meeting someone who cares about them on the Web … and then from there could drug them and drag them into the life of this type of behavior. Enslave them, essentially.”

Human trafficking and enslavement are not limited to California. Across the United States, 7,572 cases were reported in 2016—up from 5,526 the year before.

Berkeley riots: Divided America

Thousands of protesters descended on the University of California–Berkeley campus on February 1 to block Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos from giving a speech. Mainstream media reports described this group as “peaceful protesters.” A few hours after the protest began, however, another group of 150 people arrived—dressed in black and wearing masks. This group started throwing rocks and tossing barricades through windows, then set a generator on fire, which produced massive, building-high flames. People were beat up and assaulted with pepper spray, and windows were smashed. Meanwhile, the “peaceful protesters” cheered and chanted, holding signs that read, “This is war” and “Become ungovernable.”

All this was done to fight against “fascism” and “hate speech” that was “un-American.”

“Let’s be clear: A significant number of Americans, both on and off America’s college campuses do not believe in other people’s right to give speeches with perspectives and ideas they oppose,” wrote National Review contributor Jim Geraghty in responses to this violent riot. “[National Review editor Rich Lowry] noticed how frequently the term ‘un-American’ is thrown around these days in the debates about immigration law. Physically attacking people because they have different beliefs is about as un-American as it gets” (February 2).

Over $100,000 worth of damage was done to the campus. Police arrested one person.

Mainstream media rushed to explain that the acts of violence were committed by a small minority of the protesters. “The university blamed ‘150 masked agitators’ for the unrest, saying they had come to campus to disturb an otherwise peaceful protest,” cnn wrote February 3. Meanwhile, thousands of others were standing by, cheering on the destroyers and allowing them to hide among them.

The Berkeley violence foreshadows the future of America: divided and dangerous.

Obama endorses anti-Trump protests

Former United States President Barack Obama issued a statement through his spokesman on January 30 encouraging Americans to publicly protest President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily restricted the immigration of refugees coming from seven Muslim-majority countries known for exporting jihadists.

“President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country,” said spokesman Kevin Lewis. “In his final official speech as president, he spoke about the important role of citizens and how all Americans have a responsibility to be the guardians of our democracy—not just during an election but every day. Citizens exercising their constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.”

Two days after President Trump signed his executive order, thousands of demonstrators rallied in more than 30 cities across the nation. Protesters in California blocked traffic in Los Angeles and shut down the international terminal of the San Francisco airport. With influential Democratic Party politicians like Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders supporting such protests, it is likely that they will develop into an increasingly common disruption of American society.