Protesting the Protesting

Really, people? Protesting? Rioting? Looting? What the heck are you doing? How do think this is going to change anything? It’s not as if the instigating event was a case of social or systematic injustice — it was a single case of a one man committing a crime that everyone seems to agree was egregious. He has been arrested and charged. So what’s the point of protest? It’s done.

If the protests were focused on the use of a particular means of subduing a person, then that makes sense. Kneeling on someone’s neck should never have been acceptable police procedure.

But that isn’t what people are protesting.

I can see that people want to express their overwhelming feelings toward the event, so why not a candlelight memorial for the victim to show they care? Why not some sort of benefit to offer support? But a protest? Someone needs to rewrite the narrative. Cops kill as many unarmed whites as black. (According to FBI statistics, of all the unarmed folks cops have killed, only 6% involved a white cop/unarmed black.) So what’s to protest? All deaths by cop? That makes sense since there really shouldn’t be any at all.

But that isn’t what people are protesting. If it were, race wouldn’t be an issue in this current conflagration.

Still, a quiet protest, no matter how illogical is one thing. Rioting is another.

People are still not allowed in church in groups of more than fifty in order to stop the spread of a disease, but apparently, if huge numbers are going on a spree of violence, the disease can’t catch up with them, so mobs are okay. (Does anyone else see the irony of rioters and looters wearing surgical masks to keep from accidentally spreading a disease when they are purposely doing harm to others? It sure boggles my mind.)

It seems that people are taking for granted that peaceful protests can spontaneously combust into violence. Fisticuffs, sure, but more than that is simply not possible. If one is planning on going to a peaceful gathering, one does not fill a backpack with spray paint cans, weapons, bricks, large rocks, incendiary devices. (The chance of a simple match or lighter burning down a building without any sort of flammable materials being involved is just about nil.) So if people are carrying such things, then the protest almost by definition, can’t be peaceful. And if people aren’t carrying such things, they had to come from somewhere. Which means that someone purposely instigated the riots. They didn’t just “happen.”

And looting? Oh, yeah, nothing says “solidarity” like destroying the businesses in one’s neighborhood, and nothing shows one’s sterling character like theft. To say nothing of the irony of stealing liquor and televisions and Huggies to protest crime.

Silly me. I really thought we were better than this.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

12 Responses to “Protesting the Protesting”

  1. Royann Behrmann Says:

    Good article! I am at a loss to see this as anything but politically driven chaos. Someone is encouraging rage and this can only have a bad outcome for all of us.

  2. Judy Galyon Says:

    I’m with you!!! There is NO NEED of all this violence! The world has gone totally crazy!!!! Burning & destruction do help a thing.

  3. Kathy Says:

    Heartbreaking to see the destruction when we already have so much to deal with. Also think some of that anger is redirected from this whole “Bob” situation. Gives them something concrete to fight against. Sad, sad, sad! I can’t do anything creative or very productive these days. I try to avoid the news and other media that makes everything worse. I’d like to focus on my little part of the world but that’s not working either. Can’t even immerse myself in a book. It’s all too much!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Yes, so heartbreaking! I hadn’t thought that some of the anger could be redirected from The Bob situation, but I think you’re right. The Bob seems to have primed people for this.

  4. Sam Sattler Says:

    Pat, my wife and I are depressed about this some days and angry on other days. I can’t believe this is what our country has come to. I’m appalled by what I see on television from so many big cities…people protesting racism and than living up to the worst stereotypes about their race. It’s sad and it is doing some long term damage to the future of this great country that will be hard to overcome.

    As for these far left Antifa types, it’s way past time to start locking up the worst of them for a decade or longer. They need to know that there is a price to be paid for what they are doing to this country.

    So now will we have a second wave of covid-19 infections? If the black population is truly the most vulnerable to this virus, they are fixing to have a heavy price to pay. I’m convinced that people are just stupid. I’m getting happier and happier just to stay home and away from the fools.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I doubt we will have a second wave of the virus. I know it’s my author-y imagination going, but it seems this newest mess was placed well to take people’s minds off what is not happening.

      Even though nothing is happening here, I’m not planning on going anywhere. It’s too dangerous out there in the world!

      Keep safe.

  5. Joe Says:

    The murder and subsequent rioting in Minneapolis over the last 7 days took place within a mile of me so we’ve been dealing with it all along. I can assure you almost 100% certainty that outsiders infiltrated and integrated the looting etc because while undoubtedly some community members did loot etc., many businesses that were owned by Black/immigrant/minority etc were deliberately targeted, torched and destroyed in some cases. Over 175 were hit along one major street, alone, including pharmacies. Why would the community do that to itself? It wouldn’t likely although it’s possible. I sensed it was outsiders the third night that it really started with the arson, looting, at nightfall and into the morning. Confirmation has been random but many plate-less cars with suspicious people have been spotted everywhere and allegedly incendiaries were stashed around the city for use, so word went out by social media to be on the lookout and confiscate, keep watch etc.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thanks for the first-hand account. So many times when people try to tell the truth, they are shouted down as “fake news.”

      I knew the riots were in black neighborhoods, but I hadn’t realized they were specifically targeting minority businesses. It would they are targeting those who weren’t buying into the powerless black/immigrant/minority narrative.

      Even when you know something like this was going to happen (it’s been in the works for decades), it’s still horrific to see.

      Stay safe!

      • Joe Says:

        My spell-check substituted “integrated” for “instigated” above. Actually the riots here started when a peaceful march from the murder site toward the Third Precinct police station resulted in the police in riot gear responding with tear gas, flash-bang grenades etc. It devolved from there. Protestors began attacking the building with rocks and projectiles, but it wasn’t until the next night that the building was torched and then abandoned by the cops. I have the impression the outside actors were really getting started that night, and it moved to the next precinct nearest me the following night. However the governor and city leaders “walked back” the belief about the outsiders, white supremacists, etc., the next day, but I think they are wrong or else covering up something. Even far from the main action, mysterious fires popped up in a historically black neighborhood. They torched their own businesses, restaurants, etc? Please.

        And jj7854 below has it right. I’ve been educated, uncomfortably, about these topics from time to time, especially lately. When I put it alongside topics such as all the women in science who were ignored, or the black women who were instrumental in the success of space flight, I want to know why these perspectives and life experiences were downplayed, ignored and minimized in the media and news. It’s like new worlds have opened up that were there all along, and I don’t think the powers that be (or were) can hold back the tide any longer.

  6. jj7854 Says:

    The protesters are there because of the year of systematic racism shown towards people of color, especially black people from the police. It isn’t all about the killing, it’s also about how they are regularly treated and profiled. It is far from unusual for especially a black man to be stopped by police, questioned and then when cleared the excuse generally is you fit the description of someone we are looking for. I posted once such example on FBook where the man was in his company van. They riffled through all of the boxes of materials he had for HVAC and other types of repairs. Asked him why he had checks and money attached to his clipboard for each project then accused him of selling drugs. He no longer works after dark on emergency cases as is concerned for his safety from the police. The ones that do tend to profile do it more and more aggressively after dark. Another story is from a woman that was making fun of her large husband who would not take her pink shopping bag to run to the market. He explained to her that there would be a greater chance of being detained by the police as they could assume that he, a large black man, stole the pink bag from a woman. As a large man he has to continually be contentious of his body language as needs to appear as unobtrusive as possible, constantly on alert. A friend of mine confirmed these and other stories about how he and his friends must be on guard 100% of the time when out in public, especially in ‘lighter’ areas. Imagine how stressful that is, having to keep up with every move you make every day of your life while away from home. The talk that white parents have with their children is very different than what people of color have with theirs. Especially black parents and even more so parents of a boy. The protest are not restricted to the US but have gone onto many other countries that have similar problems of social racism that spills over into many sectors including their police too. These protest are very righteous and obviously I fully support. That being said the protesters are not the vandals and instigators. Those are people out to spread their own agenda by trying to invalidate the protest and there are those that are just out there for themselves to get what they can or simply be as destructive as possible. The two groups are not the same, protesters and the vandals. The vandals need to be arrested for what they are doing.

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