With riots, there are many tragic issues at hand. Looting is not an expression of rage against an injustice. And if I came to find my store burned to the ground? I would be devastated. And this to, is not raging against an unjust system. Of course, looters and vandals are people who are taking advantage of legit grief and anger in a situation. There were many peaceful protests last night.
But in the end, the greatest problem of a riot is this:
It allows the white community (of which I am a member) to avoid focusing on the real issues. Instead of having to face and address the injustice in front of us, we have a diversionary tactic that allows us to shift focus and blame.
The issue is police brutality, and more specifically, how it applies to the black community. If you look at this situation and your focus is looters and vandals, rather than how an officer with very minor injuries can shoot an unarmed young man in a hale of bullets? You have a unique privilege. This is a reality for non-white America. If a cop kills them? People will leap up with great fervor to prove the victim really had it coming.
Mike Brown was not the “Perfect Victim”…well, outside of young children? Victims are seldom without blemish. Yet, neither is Wilson. He is far from the shining example.
Brown looked like a Demon to Wilson. That is Wilson’s description. And one that might be understandable to an average person with no crisis training. But for a cop? The standard is higher.
And yet, now, the main focus will be on “Why is there looting?”
A few days ago, an elected Republican suggested that people would possibly take to the streets violently in negative reaction to President Obama’s Executive Order. It, of course, did not happen. Not because white people do not riot. But because the stakes were so different. President Obama did not make a statement that the lives of certain Americans do not matter with his executive order. What happened in Ferguson is part of an ongoing problem that is happening across the country. and we were told the police do not have to fear threat of a trial if they take the life of an unarmed person.