Uncivil disobedience: looting and riots are counterproductive

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Over the weekend, violent protests erupted throughout the nation and in other parts of the world. Parts of large cities have been turned into urban war zones. Much of the country has been put under curfews.

Any justice loving person was outraged by what happened to George Floyd on Monday. But these riots are not righteous or noble. I see so many people who act as if these actions are above being questioned. It’s madness.

I see so many friends who talk as if these riots are the most logical response, like there’s no other way.

I fail to see how looting and destruction will achieve anything positive or win anyone to the cause. How will that make anything better and not worse? You have great cities all over America where private businesses are being vandalized and destroyed. You have law abiding citizens all over this nation who are peacefully protesting and demonstrating. And their efforts are undermined when people riot, burn down, and loot.

For the people who are justifying the riots and destruction, they don’t want to focus on the safe protests, they want to make excuses for lawlessness. I’ve seen people compare the rioters to our founding fathers taking on the British, to Jesus in driving the pharisees out of the Temple, and to basically any other virtuous group who has ever existed.  

I’ve also seen people who have argued that the riots aren’t even being caused by the protesters. That it’s the alt-right, that it’s government actors who are agitating groups. Then why do so many rush to justify these actions?

I hear about how racist our society, government, and justice system all are. And to even push back on that is an obvious example of racism. But let’s just say that’s true and that everything is so prejudicial, HOW does destruction then help that cause? It doesn’t. It doesn’t make a bigger tent, it pushes people away.

How does destroying property in inner city areas help anyone? It doesn’t. It hurts more people. It hurts small business owners, many of whom are minorities. The riots and looting also run the risk of discouraging larger companies from wanting to do business in these areas.

I’ve seen posts that these same antics may also start coming into suburban areas. All that would do is alienate even more people from wanting to help and take interest.

I see relatively few people calling out the riots and protests as wrong. I think there’s a tyranny of thought that if you aren’t “woke” and supporting this movement and whatever actions they take, you’re a racist. Well I refuse to submit to that tyranny. I don’t have a racist bone in my body.

I simultaneously hear that if you’re not agreeing to a progressive, left-wing agenda and ideology on race, then you’re a racist, while these larger cities are simultaneously burned for their racism despite being controlled by…democrats. Minneapolis hasn’t had a republican mayor since the 60s. Neither has Detroit, San Francisco, or Baltimore. Philadelphia goes back to the 50s. Chicago to the 30s. Atlanta since the 1880s. These large cities are run by the Democratic Party and somehow this radical movement portrays the left wing as the only possible savior to racism.

It’s nonsense.

What happened to George Floyd was a travesty. Fortunately, the officer who had his neck on Floyd has been arrested and charged. Lord willing, he will be convicted (he should be). Everyone agrees that what the officer did was wrong. It was evil. He’s being investigated by both state and federal officials.

Is the system perfect? No. Is there more than can be done? Yes. But looting will move things back, not forward. Politicians want to divide, the media wants to divide. Most people are pretty tolerant and accepting. Are there racists? Yes. That’s a sad reality of our fallen world. People are sinful. But destroying property in largely urban areas doesn’t work to remedy that.

With people who do want to peacefully protest and continue to advocate, I appreciate you. We’re imperfect. Policing policies and tactics is something that should continue to be reviewed, for the safety of all people. I read a fascinating piece in the National Review outlining the issues with police unions in protecting bad cops. I think there are also legitimate concerns to be raised on those fronts in terms of the difficulty that cities have in firing bad cops and holding them accountable.

From the piece:

Writing in the Stanford Law Review, scholar Katherine Bies notes that ever since “the rise of police unions to political power in the 1970s,” they have succeeded in shielding their members from public accountability. “Police unions have established highly developed political machinery that exerts significant political and financial pressure on all three branches of government,” Bies writes. “The power of police unions over policymakers in the criminal justice context distorts the political process and generates political outcomes that undermine the democratic values of transparency and accountability.”

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