Massachusets Republican Governor Charlie Baker has activated the National Guard. It's not the first time Baker has activated the Guard since not-so-peaceful protests broke out in this country last May following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Baker on Thursday ordered the activation of up to 1,000 members of the Massachusetts National Guard "to provide necessary assistance to State and local civilian authorities and/or special duty and emergency assistance for the preservation of life and property, preservation of order, and to afford protection to persons."

The order came a day after a grand jury failed to charge three Louisville, Kentucky police officers with the death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in March. Violent "protests" erupted in Louisville and a number of other cities across the country in the wake of that decision.

The State House News Service cites a spokesperson for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security as saying the call-up was ordered, "in the event that municipal leaders require assistance to protect opportunities to exercise first amendment rights and to maintain public safety during large scale events. National Guard personnel are deployed only at the request of, and in coordination with, the communities seeking support."

In other words, leaders in some municipalities anticipate trouble this weekend and want the Guard ready for deployment should it materialize.

Funny, thousands of folks rally weekly all over Massachusetts to "Back the Blue" and in support of President Trump's re-election and I haven't heard the Baker Administration indicate a need to call out the National Guard "to protect opportunities to exercise first amendment rights." Maybe I've missed something and you can remind me of a time when the Guard was placed on standby to protect their First Amendment rights.

Governor Baker should be honest with the people about this action. He should also issue a stern warning to those who would consider anything less than peaceful protesting that rioting and looting will not be tolerated, and that he is prepared to deploy the National Guard to protect people and property. But of course, he'd have to mean it.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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