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As the line goes in Death of a Salesman, “Attention must be paid.” On Friday one of the great institutions in Minneapolis and one of the best independent bookstores in the country was burned to the ground by rioters. For decades Uncle Hugo’s and its co-located operation Uncle Edgar’s have been The independent bookstore for science fiction and mysteries, especially rare books and signed first editions. There are probably less than a handful of bookstores in the entire country promoting science fiction the way Uncle Hugo’s did.
It’s all gone. The owner, Don Blyly, got the alert from his alarm service at 3:30 a.m. He drove to his store to see storefronts on both sides of Chicago Avenue engulfed in flames, including his. The arsonists were dancing in the streets. Since his fire insurance is sure to have an exclusion for “civil disturbances” the chance of any insurance coverage on the loss is practically nil.
One can hope that crowdfunding will enable him to rebuild. Regardless, Minnesota’s state government has a moral obligation to cover his loss and those of other businesses burned out when the governor failed to deploy a significant portion of the Minnesota National Guard to protect the Twin Cities. On Friday night, I doubt there were even 100 troops present on the streets because Governor Walz called out only 500. That’s not even a battalion!
One can only hope that the case can be made against the conspirators who have been organizing the riots in Minneapolis and in so many major cities. I have no doubt that it’s the Antifa crowd. Some reporting on Antifa argues that it is operating as separate cells around the country, sort of a nodal network. I would suggest that Antifa is inspired by the history of 20th Century European Communists, especially in Germany prior to the rise of Nazism. The recent post on Ricochet by ToryWarWriter puts Antifa’s tactics in the context of Communist “doctrine” for revolutionary movements. Today it sufficient to label them, and the rioters that they have been inciting, as the book-burning vandals we fought World War II to eliminate.Published in