Horowitz: Trucker attacked by mob on I-35 was delivering fuel to black-owned business

· June 2, 2020  
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Truck on bridge
Tim Evans/NurPhoto | Getty Images

It was an indelible image, etched in my young brain, that I wished I had not seen. Watching the nightly news with my parents on April 29, 1992, I, along with millions of others, witnessed Reginald Denny being dragged out of his truck at a Los Angeles intersection and beaten in an unspeakable manner in retaliation for the Rodney King beating. I never thought I’d see something like that again outside a place like the Middle East, but here we are again, staring down the barrel of unbridled anarchy.

Are fundamental rights so contorted that rioters now have the right to block streets and freeways too, demand that anyone stop for them, and then beat them out of their cars? And then the innocent drivers are the ones who get in trouble, not the murderous mobs?

Evidently, motorists are going to need a new app that shows them where riots are taking place. Otherwise, if police have not already blocked off the street, they could be confronted with a choice between continuing to move and potentially running over the people obstinately blocking their way, or stop and wait for the rioters to drag them out of the cars and hope they leave a heart still beating.

Bogdan Vechirko was just back from delivering fuel from his tanker truck when he was suddenly confronted by a huge violent mob blocking the bridge on I-35 west, the major interstate out of Minneapolis. Who would ever have thought police would stand back and allow rioters to block a freeway? Yet as the chaotic event played out on Sunday, people initially thought this was a man on a murderous rampage to kill the saintly “protesters.” He actually wound up stopping to avoid hitting people, even though he was unaware of what was going on, and was dragged out of his truck and beaten. Then he was arrested by Hennepin County police. To my knowledge, nobody who beat him was arrested.

A black business owner named Lonnie tweeted out the following on Sunday afternoon, which shed light on what really happened:

The name of this business owner is Lonnie McQuirten of 36 Lyn Refuel Station in Minneapolis. He recently testified before a state senate committee on delaying property taxes during coronavirus.

Here is the description of the situation according to John Harrington, the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.

“We do have some info that he was speeding,” explained Harrington. “We do have some info that he saw the crowd and initially he panicked and he just kept barreling forward.

“Then he saw a young woman on a bike fall down in front of him and he slammed on the brakes. And he slid until the vehicle stopped.”

It turns out the barricades were not yet up to block people from going westbound onto that bridge, and the driver was in the wrong place at the wrong time. His only crime was driving too fast on what he thought was an empty highway.

“We know that the driver of the tanker truck was on the freeway already. He was on 94 already and he turned onto 35 before we got barricades or trucks there to block off his access to 35. This was his second run of the day. He was running empty, there was no fuel in that tanker truck,” said Harrington.

Is this what is confronting ordinary Americans now? Because one policeman killed a man who happened to be black, that now allows anyone to block freeways and beat motorists?

According to local media, “Gov. Tim Walz said the driver, 35-year-old Bogdan Vechirko, “feels incredibly lucky that he did not kill someone,” adding that even though he was assaulted after stopping the 18-wheeler he “is really lucky Minnesota showed some of their better angels and he did not get killed.”

Wow, thanks for showing such grace. A world upside down when people are free to riot on freeways and you forfeit your life if you are unaware of the riot, while those breaking the law have the right to kill you, unless of course they show “better angels” and only beat you. This is the worldview of people like Governor Walz.

This is a growing trend happening everywhere. We’ve seen a female shop owner savagely beaten in Rochester, New York, another business owner in Dallas nearly killed after a gruesome beating, and another one in Columbia, South Carolina, knocked unconscious. Why do these people have the right to block roads and even highways, and how are innocent people supposed to know where they are going to attack next before police have a chance to block off the roads, rather than shut down the illegal riot altogether?

Vechirko was lucky that he was not severely beaten, but other business owners and innocent bystanders have not been so lucky. The grisly images of rioters surrounding motorists and breaking into the cars must spur our government into action. Has self-defense now been outlawed as well to please the media gods of racial politics?

Obviously, we don’t want people purposely trying to run over the rioters, but are we going to flip the script of criminal and victim – right to move freely vs. nonexistent “right” to riot – on its head and force innocent motorists into gruesome beatdowns?

A trucker in Tulsa who didn’t want to suffer this fate drove past a “checkpoint” set up by rioters blocking I-244 and was questioned by police after two rioters were injured when he sped off. He was released because he did nothing wrong but save his own life. The media is making rioters out to be the victims and the trucker out to be a murderer.

Here is the way the Tulsa World described the incident:

The crowd let a car driven by a black female pass through and the pickup attempted to follow the car. Protesters blocked the driver’s path, and the man then placed a handgun on his dashboard, Simons said. That angered protesters, who began throwing water bottles at the vehicle.

The driver then accelerated through the crowd, said Simons, who was standing near the vehicle when it happened.

“It was fast enough that I felt like I had to run,” Simons said. “Everybody felt like they had to run. People scattered.”

How dare he try to fight back? Doesn’t he know he was told to stop by the new road patrol? He didn’t have the right color of skin, evidently, like the motorist in front of him, and should have taken his beating like a man!

As of now, nobody has been charged in Minneapolis for beating Vechirko, and Vechirko himself appears to still be in custody, although that might be for his protection, which in itself is very disquieting.

This is truly a sorry and dangerous state of affairs. Rather than making individuals responsible for their actions, we are coddling criminals because of the race of one victim of a bad cop. That bad cop has now been charged with murder in a very swift indictment. Now it’s time for justice against the rioters who have beaten, killed, looted, vandalized, and obstructed our free movement.

Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.