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.