“They are no better than the bad cops.”
“I am all for a protest, but the looting and rioters are ruining it for everyone.”
“Peaceful protest ok but not laying in the middle of the highway hindering traffic or emergency personnel , looting, attack people, throwing bricks. That is not acceptable. If you do that then you are no better than the bad cop. Your causing property damage and hurting innocent people. Who had nothing to do with it at all. Thats just my opinion and don’t want to make anyone mad.”
“You can’t seriously condone the murders that are a direct result of the riots, when you are marching for the death of an innocent man.
So how many people have to lose their lives before the cause is rectified?”
Direct quotes from Facebook interactions.
If you for one second agree with these words, I genuinely need this question answered.
What constitutes peaceful?
A peaceful protest is defined as the act of expressing disapproval through a statement or action without the use of violence, also known as nonviolent resistance.
Most of the protests nationally and even locally began and remained, by this definition, peaceful. But what happens when peace is met with irritation, provocation and aggression by our law enforcement?
The first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees individuals the right of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. Yet it is also Virginia law to declare unlawful assembly when 3 or more persons are gathered and the group may threaten peace or order. Protests are being deemed unlawful assemblies simply for blocking roadways as they march or sitting in areas that cause inconvenience to the public around them. Subsequently, they are being attacked with tear gas, rubber bullets and direct force to heard them away. Some say maybe they should not have blocked the roadway. I say, how else do you expect them to gather? Where should they stand that will not threaten your convenience? Where should they meet that does not impose on your definition of “peace and order”? Peaceful does not equate to convenience, so please explain, where then, are they free to exercise their first amendment right without then being deemed unlawful and giving law enforcement the right to legally use force? How much force should they have to endure with out retaliation when all other forms of outcry have been ignored for so long?
When they kneeled peacefully, they were deemed unpatriotic. When they protest in the streets, they are deemed thugs. You cannot have it both ways.
I do not wish physical harm to anyone, I do not yearn for destruction. But at what point do we stand for passiveness and pretend that change will occur when history has proven that aggression causes change.
Examples of rioting and looting that worked:
1. When colonist, and president John Adams father Samuel Adams, felt oppressed by the British taxes they organized the Boston tea party (looting and rioting)
2. Paper money riot in 1782-riots to for urge congress to issue a hard currency to help alleviate debt
3. Whiskey riots protesting government tax on whiskey (1791-1794)
4. New York city draft riots in 1863 fighting against an automatic draft into the civil war
5. The 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. riots that broke out after his death and were what actually drove the passing of 1968 bill
Were these outbreaks not the cry of an unheard people standing up for a worthy cause? And remember, they too were being told to sit down and shut up, don’t disturb the peace, don’t be violent.
These are just the riots with results that most people (and by most I mean you, white majority) can stand behind. If I were to take the time to list the countless riots white America evoked specifically against black America to continually oppress them ( shoot let me name a couple anyway Cincinnati riots of 1836, black Wall street) I fear you’ll continue to disregard them as irrelevant acts of past horrors and not acknowledge their significance in this conversation.
We must remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, since it his face and legacy so grossly being misquoted for the sake of silence “riots are the language of the unheard.”
You advocate for peaceful protests and I advocate for black America to have a peaceful existence and until the latter happens the former will continue to disrupt your threshold for comfort.
If violence is truly your concern, are you advocating for black lives in the same manner you advocate for the peace of protests? You say you want no violence but what role are you personally taking to ensure black lives are no longer endangered and victims of said violence?
- George Floyd
- Breonna Taylor
- Ahmaud Arbery
- Sandra Bland
- Michael Brown
- Trayvon Martin
- Tamir Rice
- Freddie Gray
- Eric Garner
- Philandro Castile
- Alton Sterling
- Sean Reed
And the list goes on and on and on.
And so we are CLEAR these protests are not simply about the lives that have been tragically STOLEN. They are about the gross injustice and systematic oppressions so deeply rooted in society that their deaths were even made possible. It just happens to be their tragic deaths themselves that most people can recognize behind the blindfold of their white privilege that allows this movement to have a voice.
If those protestors are no better than the “bad cops” than are we, white Americans, no better than them for not doing more to stop it?
Until you grieve their loss, until you hand the mic over to black America and listen to their cry, until you actively work to destroy the foundation of racism we built this country on, UNTIL YOU CAN BE JUST AS OUTRAGED BY THE OPPRESSION ITSELF, do not be outraged by how black America chooses to fight for their freedom and equality.
2 Cor. 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.