One of the most patriotic elements of the American way of life is the ability to protest your own government. So important, the Founding Fathers enshrined the right to petition the government for redress of grievances along with the right to peaceably assemble in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights along with freedom of speech and religion. It is just as critical today to support and defend those who choose to exercise these rights, even if we disagree with their message as the right applies to everyone or it applies to no one. Yet what we are seeing in the streets of our major cities has nothing to do with protest, with redress of grievances or peaceable assembly. What we are witnessing is pure agenda driven greed and violence. It does nothing but further drive a wedge into our communities and keep them from working together. But then, isn’t that the point?
From what I’ve seen, there was an actual peaceful protest in Minneapolis following the release of the video. But that’s where the protests ended, and riots began. The “cause” was taken up by others who have been waiting for the right timing and event to push their agenda. Knowing the emotions of the community were raw, it took very little to spur them into violence. The rage quickly engulfing and destroying their very own communities, neighbors, friends and families.
How exactly does looting and burning your neighborhood businesses, the same ones that are owned by and / or employ the people around you help the cause of social justice? How does looting a stack of big screen TVs, appliances, cars, clothing, food or cash promote change in the criminal justice system? How does burning cars and buildings help the community come together for solutions? How does savagely beating shop owners trying to protect their property or innocent motorists trapped in traffic while rioters swarm the streets help heal your community? How does killing other people help the cause of justice for the person whose name you are rioting in?
Naturally, there can’t be a national crisis without a political blame game. Big city mayors and governors have been quick to point to out-of-town/out-of-state agitators as being the ones responsible, even as they have been encouraging their own citizens to act out. Blame has been placed on white supremacists, criminal gangs and even drug cartels “trying to take advantage of the chaos”, all without proof on the ground.
Of course, nobody wants to blame Antifa, even as they claim to be involved and in control. The irony of Antifa is the very same progressive, far left politicians who have supported and protected them, now realize they can’t control them or the violence they bring as they destroy their own cities.
Thank goodness for the media who have been on scene with critical, non-biased reporting. As an example, one on camera report said, “I want to be clear on how I characterize this. This is mostly a protest. It is not generally unruly” as he stands in the middle of a riot with a building burning behind him. The press has also been quick to condemn any use of force by law enforcement even as they demand more be done to quell the violence and officers are assaulted and literally dragged through the streets. Politicians have also blamed people who have been forced to defend themselves, since law enforcement is unable or unwilling to help them right now, for instigating more violence.
Personally, I am disgusted at the actions of people who choose to riot in the name of justice. But I’m more disappointed the people are so easily lead into senseless, random violence believing that this is the way to achieve peace in their community. You can blame outside agitators all you want, but it takes a voluntary conscious decision on the part of those in the community to attack and kill innocent, non-involved bystanders, loot their businesses and burn their buildings to the ground.
What isn’t being commonly reported are those who have chosen to protect their lives, the lives of their families, and their properties with firearms. As with every day, non-riot life, very few will every have to discharge their firearms, but they are nonetheless effective. About the last thing in the world any law-abiding firearm owner wants to do is use it against another person. But they all know this is just one step below allowing someone to harm them or their families.
As for why this has erupted so quickly across the country, sadly I fear it has nothing to do with justice for Mr. Floyd, it has everything to do with politics and power. Just as the country was beginning to turn the corner from the COVID-19 economic shutdown, this incident – not other earlier ones with equal or greater social and radical injustice – was chosen to ignite the next fire. I’d like to say we as a nation are better than this, but it really appears we are not. Those who wish to fan the fire for their own purposes are still given far too much attention.
In the meantime, we all need to stay safe. Your safety really is up to you. Nobody is every going to be there to protect you and your family, in times of riot or otherwise. All lives are important, but you are the only one who can, and will, take care of you.
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